Possums Pollytics

Politics, elections and piffle plinking

Major Announcement

Posted by Possum Comitatus on August 24, 2008

This place will be ending and the whole thing moved across to a new home, Pollytics.com

I’ll have more tech capabilities, there’ll be bucketloads more content, it will be funded by advertising and I’ll even be decloaking for the process.

If we’re going to get serious, we may as well do it properly.

So folks, are there any new things you’d like to see, because just about anything will be possible?


60 Responses to “Major Announcement”

  1. barry said

    no requests, but wow, congratulations! looking forward to it!

  2. Just Me said

    Provocative, and justifiably so. The MSM, especially The Oz, needs a damn good kicking.

    And naked Possum? This could be interesting.

  3. […] And in good old post-Olympic fashion, Possum Comitatus is turning pro. […]

  4. Counting down to the fun Poss.

  5. caf said

    Excellent news. The end of the “Possum Comitatus” moniker will at least remove the unfortunate association with the Jim Crow laws.

  6. Ad astra said

    This is great news Possum. I anticipate your excellent statistical analyses will continue in centre stage on Pollytics.com

    An addition the political blogosphere needs is a site where a critique of MSM pieces can be made: where unsupported assertions can be challenged, where the facts presented in support of an argument can be disputed, where conclusions not in accord with the presented facts can be contested, where fact and opinion can be disentangled. Too often the MSM gets away unchallenged with questionable ‘facts’, faulty logic, inept statistical analysis, defective argument, and flawed conclusions. I’ve enjoyed reading critiques where articles in the MSM are dissected, analyzed and criticized paragraph by paragraph in a way that would make a serious journalist wince. Assuming that journalists will read such criticisms on Pollytics.com, their writing might thereby improve. While the also-rans probably won’t worry too much about their writings being exposed to serious evaluation and disparagement, serious journalists will. Feedback is the food of champions.

    You may need a small group of correspondents willing to write such critiques with the time and resources to do a proficient job.

    A valuable addition would be a running commentary on the contemporary political process along the lines of The Piping Shrike. I find such analyses that probe the underlying processes and strategies of political parties informative and thought provoking. They need not be a daily feature. The writer would need to be an accomplished political analyst.

    This addition should be additional to Possum Box, where more contributors on a variety of subjects are to be encouraged.

    When a thread is begun on any subject, I suggest you encourage or insist upon subject consistency from responders. While some latitude is acceptable, getting onto a completely different track is distracting when one is trying to follow the train of thought on a given topic. For example, The Poll Bludger threads usually start with comments on a poll but often meander onto other topics.

    This suggests there is a need for blog space where bloggers can make running comments on what’s happening in real time, such as in Question Time, on Insiders or Lateline, or draw attention to contemporary political events here and overseas. It could be called PollySpot, or PollyNews or PollyUpdate or PollyAlert, or some such title. To make such a feature more intelligible, it would be helpful when a new subject is introduced into an existing thread, it be given its own unique life so that comments on the new topic are aggregated in a space of their own. This of course would require someone to monitor comments as they are added, and start a new thread where necessary.

    In all blogs, links to other sites should be encouraged, especially when supporting facts are needed to sustain an argument or conclusion. The more evidence-based dialogue we can have, the better.

    George Megalogenus’ recent call for a veto on bloggers making personal abuse against other bloggers, or hackneyed comments about political parties or individual politicians that reflect entrenched political biases, is a sound move. So far comments on your site have been moderate, but setting the ground rules at the outset would be wise.

    I wish you well with this exciting venture and hope that those who admire your existing site will give you the support you deserve in opening up the political blogosphere to more critical comment from us citizens, who have so little opportunity to influence the political process and the sometimes outrageous utterances emanating from the MSM.

  7. phil@vvb said

    Well, as you asked, I’d like to see you take a couple of pieces of silver from Rupert.

    Short of that, a continuation of your excellent work – particularly for the functionally innumerate amongst your readers – is all that is needed.

  8. Grumps said

    I will be following Poss and await with tingling anticipation for the de cloaking, but don’t chew off to much. Remember Rupert took a few generations to construct his Evil Empire.

  9. Mick said

    Best of luck. Maybe you could ‘do a Rupert’ and poach the intellectual blackbelts from the Australian and get them to write for you.

    I’d love to see an electoral Almanac as well as a T-minus sort of indication to when state, territory and federal elections and by-elections are coming up.

  10. Rx said

    I’ll be there, Poss. Too much pollytics isn’t enough!

  11. paul said

    Is the decloaking going to reveal that you are infact Dennis Shanahan’s inner voice/split personality/alter ego????

    No political advertising please.

    And throw Malcolm Mackerras a bone once in a while.

  12. Chatswood Statsman said

    Just love your work and your droll use of binary variables like “Latham”, “Crean” etc.

    Keep to your niche (tree) and leave the breathless real time stuff to Poll Bludger.

  13. Enemy Combatant said

    Onya Poss, well done! Keep giving ’em heaps. Especially Shill Shanahan.
    Will representatives of Crosby-Textor be attending your opening bash?

  14. Stig said

    Congratulations & all the best for the new site. Just remember – fame … notoriety … it’s all the same.

  15. Kirribilli Removals said

    Hate to say I told you so Poss, but I’m next to certain it’s the only time (! LOL)

    Whatever format you re-emerge in Poss, all the best, and you can be sure your little Aussie battleship of barrackers will always be there, sailing close behind.


  16. rod said

    Congrats Poss and best of luck, you worked hard for it.

  17. Swing Lowe said

    Congrats Possum!

    My only request would be if you could set up a US politics forum until November that is appropriately moderated – the ongoing “Cold War” between the 2 Pollbludger sites is getting a little tiresome…

  18. George said

    Very excited… can’t wait to see the new site/analysis/etc… ahem… will you be appearing on Lateline/7:30Report? 🙂

  19. Harry "snapper' Organs said

    Both myself and him indoors laughed, laughed and cackled at your promo(silly old fart behaviour, us, that is). We’re looking forward to the de-frocking!
    Seriously, look forward to the new site. Would support Ad Astra’s general thrust. The Shrike’s analysis I find particularly interesting, and possibly some cross referencing where appropriate might be useful. Probably also Larvatus Prodeo.

  20. bryce said

    Bob Dylan lost me when he went electric.
    Don’t forget your roots, Possum.
    (will there still be a Possum?)

  21. Possum Comitatus said

    Thank you everybody. I’m a bit humbled by the response around the intertubes actually.

    I just want to state from the outset that I have absolutely no intention of stepping on any other bloggers toes here, especially William from Pollbludger and the folks at LP. This isnt an exercise in cannibalising an existing audience, but trying to expand the audience what we all have. The best of the blogosphere on any given day is, on the analysis side, at least the equal to our MSM, and often be better. With that simple reality, there’s no need for cannibalisation.

    I’ll be focussing on my core polling stuff (but expanding it massively) as the lifeblood of the new blog, but also doing a few new things, one of which will be giving a lot more outlinks to the blogosphere generally and deliberately hooking what I’m doing into what the other bloggers are doing and vice versa. Trying to make the issues net denser…. so to speak.

    Stig and George,

    If I ever turn into some vacuous media-famewhore-talking-sock-muppet, do me a favour and belt me with a 4×2 will you?

    I’ve studiously avoided that twaddle so far and have absolutely no inclination to change that – although you might have to put up with my ugly noggin in a few vodcasts as time goes by. Maybe even a few weird lunch live events – but that’s a little later.

    Swing Lowe – I plan to do a bit more stats stuff on the US election (including the previously mentioned, but still as yet to be seen ‘Jaundiced View Intrade/Polling confluence’ ) – whether anyone yaks away on that is entirely up to the readers: again, I’m not trying to step on anyone’s toes here and I’ll be going out of my way to make sure the stuff we do over here (or over at pollytics.com as it turns out) will be different to what others are doing.

    KR – come on mate, as if you really hate to say “I told you so”! :mrgreen:

    Ad Astra – a lot of the things you raise there I’ve given a fair bit of thought about over the last few weeks. I’m still working through the possibilities of possumbox and whatnot, but by mid-September I hopefully will have a decent plan on how to move forward with it (deary me, “move forward” – somebody slap me!).

    I’m taking across the same moderation rules as I apply here – which have been strangely unspoken but basically go:

    “Don’t be a dickhead”.

    No flamewars, no abuse – witty put downs accepted and encouraged.Moderate early and often on those that breach.

    Again, thanks folks – the response really is a bit humbling.

  22. Possum Comitatus said

    Bryce – there will always be a possum. When I decloak, it will only be in the “About” section.

  23. bryce said

    Good to hear, and good luck.

  24. gusface said

    when is the book coming out 🙂

  25. Andos said

    Praise be, Possum.

    I have been a dedicated reader of your site since I discovered it in the lead-up to last year’s election. You do great work. Keep it up, I am awaiting the birth of your new location eagerly.

    One suggestion; see if you can find an editor. That is, someone to just cast an eye over your writing and tidy up the edges. Not that I have a problem with your writing. I don’t think your grammar/spelling oversights detract from your work. It’s just that, what with you going Pro and all, it might be worthwhile getting your writing polished a little. You might be able to attract more advertisers or something…

    Anyway, best of luck with the move. I can’t wait to see what treats you have in store for us.

    One last thing. Don’t take no guff from those News Ltd swine.

  26. Fozzy said

    I’d like an old thing – I rather liked the possum with the pistol and bluetooth earpiece. Apart from that. All the best Possum – I hope it works out to be as big as you expect!

  27. […] possible in terms of current independent web publishing but I’m not entirely sure what Possum has in mind for an expanded and monetised site and community but he sure is building up expectation […]

  28. I can spell “possumcomitatus”,I can spell “possumcomitatus”!
    I wish you well, but honestly have to say that I mourn the loss of yet another advertisement-free Aussie blog site.
    I hate those large ads breaking a story block in two or flashing under a blog name and, I’ve never skimmed over one yet that offered anything worthwhile (on principle I never, never click on).
    Still, go Poss!

  29. Larry Buttrose said

    Good luck with it Poss. Look forward to seeing how it all develops.

  30. Sans Blog said

    I opened the bonnet of my car yesterday to top up the windscreen washer reservoir. And, lo and behold, there was a possum asleep on top of the engine. I’m REALLY glad I didn’t start the car! Now I’m going to have check under the bonnet before starting the car everytime.

    (This has nothing to do with Possum’s announcement. I just wanted to tell someone about my possum experience.)

  31. Scorpio said

    Hey, Possum,

    Check out posts #11 & #12 at LP.


  32. John of Melbourne said

    Good luck Possum, “you can do it!” 🙂

    – Remain partisan (don’t go the way of Crikey)
    – Links to Political Parties and poll results and other pseph sites.


  33. Guido said

    Looking forward to you being on the Q&A Panel next year after the success of Pollytics.com

  34. Kymbos said

    Good luck, Poss. I will be watching with interest.

  35. 2353 said


    Obviously you won’t be appearing on the ABC’s Gruen Transfer anytime soon (but neither will I). The new dedicated site sounds like it will be good. The only concern is if the “uptime” and “load time” suffers, the site looses creditability.

  36. KatieLou said

    Very cool Possum. I look forward to the new site.

  37. gandhi said

    Give ’em hell Possum.

  38. Lyn said

    Good on you Possum. A bigger and better common room and salon of the online world the MSM annointed can accuse of intolerance and incorrectness. Let them eat cake. Or dust.

  39. Classified said

    Wow, I better finish “PossumWatch” 😉

  40. kerneels said

    I am a bit concerned about this ‘de cloaking’ idea. How will we know which one is real – the possum we all know and love or the young upstart we know nothing about? Also consider the feelings of Mrs Comitatus, she will need time to get used to this transformation!
    You could encourage people to keep to the point on PossumBox if you set up a ChatterBox section so that interesting posts that are not on topic have a place to go.

  41. Anonymous said

    Following in the footsteps of Andrew Landeryou and his VEXNEWS.com Congratulationa and all the best. Thw more public news content the better

  42. Julian Watson said

    Things I’d like?

    More car spaces and shorter add break on TV please.

    (Thanks in advance).


  43. Possum Comitatus said

    No worries JW, I’ll get on it right away!

  44. Jason said

    Hey Poss,

    just got this news cos I’m flat out like a squished toad.

    Great news – good luck – great initiative.

    What I’d like to see? More of the same, more often – sounds like that’s the plan!!!

    You’re a blogospheric treasure – all the very best, mate.

  45. Toby Ziegler said

    For a start, no red-to-green background gradients!

    More generally, echoing Andos, a quick once-over by an editor – to add apostrophes, if nothing else – would help you look “professional”. As would some input from a graphic designer.

    Otherwise, there’s little I can add to the discussion: the actual content of this site is already brilliant, and it doesn’t what it looks like, I’ll still hang on every update.

    Best of luck with the move.

    (I hope your advertisers can’t monitor just how many of your loyal audience use the Firefox plugin, AdBlockPlus.)

  46. KeepingALidOnIt said

    I thought you weren’t allowed to move possums more than 50 metres from their original haunts! best of luck in your new home. Not too garish on the theme, hmm?

  47. john said

    Don’t take the decloaking business too far – you’ve still got to keep the site all possumy! The comments wouldn’t be half as fun without the marsupial madness.

  48. Diogenes said

    Brilliant idea Possum. Any chance of a Book of the Week segment specialising in books with political relevance?

  49. Excellent news. Good luck with the transition. One thing you might consider is simple summaries of new research – apo.org.au does this with Australian studies, but you could do it with the US ones as well (there’s a steady stream of fascinating US randomised experiments coming out in APSR/AJPS). These findings don’t typically go stale, so you might consider a separate page devoted to the 50 studies that you think are most interesting.

    Conversely, you might think about becoming Australia’s premier site for data downloads. The easier it is to get polling data, betting data, and historical election results, the better the analysis will be that academics and others can do.

  50. HarryH said

    Good luck Poss. I will be wading over to the new creation and reading with interest.

    One thing i would suggest is that you endeavour to keep your numbers and analysis(as in polls etc) as independant from polling companies as possible.

    I feel that Nate over at 538 has compromised his numbers and freedom to accurately analyse such numbers because of a business relationship with Rasmussen.

    You are the future, don’t let them use you.

    Hope that makes sense.


  51. Classified said

    Well, when I said Christian was calling you out I figured I could look forward to a nice good ole Possum bitch slap to put him back in his box… A nice up side the head walloping of facts,stats and quality snark.

    I wasn’t expecting this!… Remind me not to piss you off 🙂

    Anyhoo, my motherinlaw is quite the bitch and I’m pretty sure she’s always wrong… Can I hire you when you’ve got some free time :mrgreen:

  52. Labor Outsider said

    Hi Possum

    I don’t have much to add to the comments above – expect to wish you luck and say that I am looking forward to seeing how your venture unfolds.

    Presentationally – getting an editing/graphics consultant would be ideal – graphs can be powerful things and yours would be even more persuasive with a few touch-ups…

  53. Xercius said

    Crikey, Possum.

    Looking forward to it and the brave new world it will inevitably represent for your good self. All the best wih it!

  54. Possum Comitatus said

    Xercius – glad I’ve caught you. I’m going to hold the promised “Someone Please Explain these damn curves” post over for the new site. It is coming!

  55. Ad astra said

    Possum, I’ve another idea for your new site. However, I realize it may not fit with your plans. It was Andrew Leigh’s valuable suggestion that your site become “…Australia’s premier site for data downloads…” that prompted me to forward this suggestion. Tiresome, and I believe unsubstantiated myths that opponents of the Government and some of the media continue to perpetuate are the ‘All symbolism but no substance’ and ‘All talk but no action’ mantras. No evidence is advanced to support these assertions; they are promulgated as self-evident truths, and are probably accepted as such by the unthinking who may find no need to challenge their veracity. At the same time they accuse Kevin Rudd of frenetic activity and the Government of making ceaseless announcements and initiating endless inquiries and reviews. So presumably these are all examples of mindless symbolism and talk with few outcomes of import. The contradiction, while explicable politically, is not tenable logically.

    One way of putting the lie to these myths would be to systematically and chronologically document the actions, announcements, policy initiatives and legislative progress of the Government on an easily accessible page on Pollytics.com, to which those perpetuating those myths, especially journalists, could be referred. The only way I can see to change their behavior is to confront them with the undeniable facts. There could, and I believe should be corresponding pages for the Coalition and other parties, who also make announcements and policy statements and affirm their legislative positions.

    The effect would be not only to display the Government’s performance for all to see, critique and criticize, but also to compare, and contrast, the activity of all the parties.

    One would think it easy to find the information necessary to document all this, but it is not. The official ALP website is useful as are the Liberal, Greens, Family First and Xenophon websites. There are also websites for Hansard and a new one derived from Hansard that is more user-friendly. Hopefully there are other sites. The media must have sites they use for news-gathering. The challenge would be to aggregate information from these and other sites into a running account of what each party is doing, side by side. It would create a fascinating display of verifiable facts that might bring about a fresh reality to political comment, unpolluted by the biases and distortions that so often depreciate the MSM.

    A search facility, and, if possible, the capacity to rearrange the order of items after download, would make the page even more valuable.

    It would be somewhat of a formidable task to go back to the beginning of the Rudd Government and document all that has happened, but once done, keeping it up to date would not be so difficult. I for one would value such a resource, as I expect would many others in the blogosphere, and the media.

  56. David Richards said

    I would like to see an estimated Seat count based on Pollytrack, giving the best guess election result. Either as a bar graph or as a “chamber” graphic.

  57. Harmless Cud Chewer said

    I’m a poll addict, and its all your fault! 🙂

    More seriously. It would good some day to go beyond mere polls and look into the minds of voters. It might scare us, but its worth doing. Perhaps the web may provide the tools we need.


  58. Kirribilli Removals said

    21 Poss

    “KR – come on mate, as if you really hate to say “I told you so”! :mrgreen:”

    Only in my ‘ignorant loathing leftie mode’! LOL

    But in your case Poss, all the best, and if anyone can make a crack of it, then you can. With the mathematical smarts to draw in the pointy heads (meant in the most affectionate way!), and the literary style to appeal to the rest of us, you have a great combination of skills, that makes the MSM look insipid even on their good days!

  59. Plasma Supplies said


    You are going to be a hard act to follow, so we at Plasma Supplies hope you and your data migrate intact to wherever it is you are taking yourself and Mrs Possum. We all knew your Darling would change you. They all do it and we all allow them.

    Like all true possums stay up high above the smog line and drop your nuts on the low life below.

    We cats are likely to go with you – no need to put butter on our paws to stop us from straying. Just pack our litter trays – and we’ll see you there.

    Plasma Supplies
    Proudly Assisting Australian Sicknesses

  60. Tom said

    Congrats Poss, didn’t realise you were a klingon, but anyhow, looking forward to the new site and your continued “sorting then wheat from the chaff” exposes.


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