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August 7, 2006 | by  | in Opinion |
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Surveys and Blogs

Have you done the VUWSA spam survey yet? If not check your VUW student e-mail account. This is a follow up to the spam survey VUWSA did in 2005. This helps VUWSA decide what our priorities should be for the next year and also ties into the fresh direction for your students association I talked about at the end of Trimester one. Last year nearly a quarter of students replied to our survey, so it would be great if we could top this in 2006. You’ll see posters around campus, and advertising in this magazine giving more information about the survey.

Something slightly less informative than the VUWSA survey has been the emergence over the last couple of years of blogs. Blogs act as a sort of online diary and a place to rant. Most of the current bloggers are members of the current student-politico scene. Mostly made up of junior members of parliamentary political parties, bloggers tend to spend considerable amounts of time talking to each other over their cyber spaces. I should admit at this point to briefly keeping a blog myself. I called it ‘Dialectical Materialism’, and I posted an article from a leftist Australian group, and said I intended to brew beer in the Welfare Vice-President’s office (which I sadly never got around to). I soon grew tired of the blogs and found the only people who looked at them were other bloggers. So I figured it was hardly a tool to reach the masses.

I am always amazed at the level of crap that gets discussed on these blogs. Every political junkie in town has to blog like crazy every time Helen reshuffles cabinet, or something equally dull. One pastime of bloggers seems to be adding the latest conspiracy theories about students’ associations. As a member of the University staff said to me early this year “blogs seem to be a place where every stupid thought, that as civilised human beings we should be able to discard, instead gets put up on the net for all to see.” It’s going to embarrass more than a few bloggers in 20 years time when all their silly comments are still stored in Google for their kids to see. 90 percent of what’s published on these blogs is pure bullshit. It’s even worse when people start posting on these blogs, under fake names, and then get outed because they say things that make it far too obvious. I’m sure this threat will result in a posting on a few blogs, and I’m sure someone’s going to waste space in my e-mail inbox forwarding me the comments made…I yawn when it happens, I guess.

This is not to say that the internet can’t a very useful place to share information and debate issues. I am a member of a number of e-mail lists where a wide variety of issues are often discussed. If you’re interested in stuff on campus, the best one is the Education Action Group list:

This list will become particularly interesting over the next few weeks as we approach fee setting for 2007. This will be the best way to find out both what the increases will be, when they will be happening, and how students, and the EAG will respond.

If internet discussion is your thing you could also try Indymedia: Indymedia is an open posting site for articles, pictures and comments. I do warn you that there is a certain level of crap on this site too. But you do every so often get some fairly interesting discussions about the issues of the day. Also with it being open posting you get a fairly wide range of comments.

So what is happening this week? Our weekly Student Representative Council meeting at 12noon on Wednesday in the Mt St Café should be interesting this week. We have invited Don Carson from the Wellington Palestine group and another speaker representing the position of the Israeli government who will be debating the current conflict.

Other notices
Help us organise a campaign around fee setting. Fees are likely to go up for domestic students for 2007 and we need make this a significant political issue. The meeting is at 1pm, Tuesday in the Clubs Room.
If you are a graduate of VUW and are interested in being a member of the University council, why don’t you become a Court of Convocation Rep. To find out more visit:

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