Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Service announcement

For the next six months, posts to this blog will be from South Africa.  My home base there is very remote and internet connection can be problematical.  It is therefore likely that updating will be less frequent and immediate; and that the moderation of comments that I have been driven to institute may be regrettably slow.


  1. Testing whether your moderation works.
    I.e. I should not see this.

  2. I approved this comment after my arrival in Middelpos, in order to show readers that the system, albeit somewhat cumbersome, does work. Three other comments that were awaiting moderation I have rejected, one as spam and the others because the commentator is persona non grata on this blog.

  3. I hope you had a tolerable flight south and are enjoying the warmth. Although the jet-lag is minimal (+/- 1 hour) the overnight flight still takes it out of you.

  4. I confirm that the message did not appear before your approval.

    Misuse of internet freedoms has unfortunately huge impact for serious users, and pre-moderation can be forced.

    - - -

    Since this thread is "off-topic" anyway, dedicated to the issue of blog moderation, allow me to mention, that for people ever travelling into Thailand pre-moderation is strongly recommended if you have just one single enemy. It remains a fact that:

    1. Insults, "lese majeste", to the Thai king or royal family are punishable with up to 5 years in jail. This is pr. insult, so if a posting or statement contains three insults we talk about 15 years.

    2. The blog operator is held responsible.

    3. Anyone can raise a complaint with the police, who must investigate immediately.

    4. It is not uncommon to spend up to a year in prison while the police investigates.

    5. It will not help the moderator that he/she deleted the message. As soon as the message has been on-line the insult is a reality.

    6. Court cases are run for closed doors, due to "national security".

    No details of the alledged insult will be published.

    The number of lese majeste cases was zero in 2002. In 2010 there was 478 cases.

    It is not that people nowadays suddently walks around and insult the king all the time, as little as flying on brooms and casting a spell resulting in death was widespread in the years of the witchtrials.

    It has simply become the weapon of choice in Thailand. Even if you manage to prove yourself innocent, the long jailing and the huge lawyer expenses will effectively bring anyone down. For foreigners, well, an English speaking lawyer in Bangkok costs 250-300 USD/hour.

    The Thai police has warned that they now can trace anyone clicking "I like" on a Facebook-page with lese majeste content can and will be traced.

    I assure you, that on a post-moderated blog all that would be needed to land the blog operator in Thai jail would be to post a statement of above mentioned nature and report the blog owner to Thai police. The blog operator would - not "could" - be arrested and jailed, either on his premises if police could find him, or on exit from Thailand.

    "This must all be utter nonsense!"?

    The links below is a tiny fraction of the cases that recently has been through Thai courts.

    . . .
    Chiranuch Premchaiporn was first arrested ... accusations of allowing webboard comments with lèse majesté content.

    Thailand lese majeste man jailed for 20 years

    'Da Torpedo' gets 15-year jail term

  5. The blogspot system does not appear to provide for e-mail notification to me that there is a comment awaiting moderation. Nor is this flagged up on the face of the blog. I have to remember to access the dashboard to see if there are comments queued up. And as I don't have an operational smartphone in South Africa, this can realistically be done only while I'm at home and on my computer. However, notwithstanding these drawbacks, the system does work.

  6. Very sneaky of you to leave just as the temperatures finally started to drop here sir!