Saturday, August 30, 2008


WHO DAT DOG SAY DAT? Beginning today “got windmills?” will no longer be accepting “anonymous” comments due to various factors not the least of which is the abusive nature of some comments.

Although our friend Joan Conrow has chosen to moderate her comments section after having similar problems with “trolls” we’re choosing another method for now. Anyone may comment but only with an “OpenID”. It’s easy to do and takes 30 seconds to register.

We will also be deleting any comments that are abusive of others who comment as well as those that are clearly and intentionally irrelevant to the subject of the column under which they appear or any conversation spurred by it.

Although we’ve been considering doing this for some time now yesterday’s abusive, sexist, personal attacks on others were just the last straw. We will no longer allow the purveying of this type of discourse in our little corner of the internet.

This is an attempt to encourage intelligent, thoughtful conversations and end the trolling in our comment section.

For anyone complaining about censorship or having their “free speech” curtailed we have news for you- you can start your own blog in 30 seconds. Just click on “Create blog” at the top of this page. Then anyone who wants to read what you have to say can read it and those who don’t, won’t have to.

We feel that the elimination of anonymous comments will also serve the purpose of providing the very conversational aspect that a couple of anonymous posters have complained is lost with moderation.

It’s absurd to read an anonymous post from “no one” saying “I” this and “me” that. Who is “I” or “me“? You” aren’t even there.

There is no continuity and so it’s impossible to converse with one particular anonymous poster because there might be a dozen anonymous’. You can’t debate a ghost.

The purpose of any “name withheld” publication is to protect the person from retaliation in the case of whistle blowers- those who are providing information and fear repercussions.

But we haven’t seen one comment here that deserves that kind of protection yet. If that’s the case email us and we will check out your story and perhaps write about it.

Anonymous posting only encourages the leaving of the written equivalent of a flaming bag of poop on the doorstep.

If throwing stink bombs is your juvenile and pathetic attention-grabbing, idea of “fun” and you really need the instant gratification of seeing a your petty, self-centered, irrelevant comments on line, the newspapers “forums” provide just that kind of cyber-place along with dozens just like you to do it with..

Allowing people to directly comment upon and have a conversation about whatever subject we’ve chosen to address each day is what we see as the purpose of even having a comments section. It is not so that abusive immature people can have a place to waste everyone’s time babysitting them... we’re not your mother.

We hope that this move will accommodate the numerous people who have told us they are reluctant to comment because they fear they will be personally attacked when they do.

We’ll see how this “experiment” goes, We are determined to clear out the trolls and stop the abuse of our readers. If people continue to abuse the open ID process there is always moderation.

The Management


Ace Harbinger said...

My, but it sure got quiet around here since your announcement yesterday afternoon. Maybe it’s the holiday thing.

I understand your indignation, Andy, but I can’t tell if your reaction is an attempt to restore order or to give up the fight. Don’t you think your watchers can discern the clever from the clutter?

Still yet, it IS your blog, and I support you. We’ll see how the experiment goes. I just hope it doesn’t devolve into nothing more than a pleasant conversation between you and Katy.

- A. H.

Katy said...

I hope so, too, because we need a multiplicity of voices and perspectives.

But what we don't need is the kind of sexist attack Andy graciously deleted from the comments section yesterday.

It was utterly predictable that Joan and I would eventually be subjected to that type of vile attack. It's still unfortunately common for smart and outspoken women to be targeted like that. If it doesn't shut us up, it at least dissuades other women from stepping up and crossing the lines.

Thanks to Andy for being a good ally and putting a stop to that crap on his blog.

As for debate, I see no reason why it can't go on without the garbage and attempted intimidation. Unless the folks who disagree with Andy, or myself and Joan, really don't have anything else in their arsenals.

Joan Conrow said...

You made the right choice, Andy. I'm still getting comments on my blog, even with the moderation. Why let trash talk dominate? That's not a discussion, anyway.

Andy Parx said...

I shouldn’t make a difference Ace- anyone can register even without using their real name. But the registration will bring a semblance of a “conversation” and continuity as opposed to the sniping- which is what has to be stopped.

I haven’t “given up” on anything. Nothing has really changed. People can still instantly comment but now “who is saying what” will be clear and others can respond to that. I hope in the long run it encourages people to discuss things because they have a safe place to do so.