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Thread: What do you think about the policy requiring user identification?

  1. #46
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    I don't really have a problem with an anonymous post that asks an honest question or makes an interesting observation. And I could care less when anonymous posters bash each other. What crosses the line for me aren't just the anonymous smears, but also even "mere" anonymous constructive criticism.

    Jeff B., as far as getting a handle on it, well, you can't. You can expose inaccuracy and vile, but you can't stop it. I participate because I enjoy the sport (there are so few other avenues of life where prevailing comes as easy).

    To get a handle on the smears (and just the comments that I thought rose to the level of smears against identifiable people), I went back to five of the most heavily commented Town Crier articles leading up to and following the April 5 election. Here's what I found:

    • "cleareyesfullheart" was the worst offender, with a total of 13 smears: 8 aimed at Shawn Kinney, 2 at Jeff Baron, 2 at Ellen Grieco, and 1 at Alexi Obar. In hindsight, I wish that I had asked that he/she tone it down a bit. I did, however, write the following in Mr. Kinney's "defense."


    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach
    For what it's worth, I have ZERO problem with Mr. Kinney having missed the deadline to submit the disclosure form. While this might have been a problem had the other Wayland School Committee (WSC) members voted 2-2 on the budget, that scenario was not the case in this instance. Certainly, he had nothing to gain by being unable to vote.
    • "cleareyes" was the only "smearer" of the challengers or those supporting the challengers. By comparison, there were a total of 6 posters scribing 32 smears against incumbents or their supporters.

    • "ggrish" was the worst anti-incumbent smearer with 9: 4 aimed at Louis Jurist, 2 at Barb Fletcher, 2 at Juliette Fay, and 1 at Tom Fay.

    • Close behind was "Parents" with 7. "Parents," interestingly enough, repeatedly admits to violating the Town Crier posting rules. Since the Town Crier admits not enforcing its rules, perhaps there's a symmetry there. Targets: 2 against Dr. Jurist, 2 against Ms. Fletcher, and 3 against Malcolm Astley (who wasn't even running!).

    • "alldone" was close behind at 6: 3 against Dr. Jurist and 3 against Ms. Fletcher. "alldone" hard arguably the most reprehensible quote of the campaign (and also a strong runner-up candidate.


    Quote Originally Posted by alldone
    The time has come to rid the school ( and wishfully the town) of the Fletchers and the Jurists and all the others who think their money and clout allows them to bully and intimidate others.
    Quote Originally Posted by alldone
    '[Jurist and Fletcher] will be nothing but a toxic malignancy to 'train' a new Super.
    • Not to be too outdone by "alldone", "A Better Community" (winner of the Irony Award for username) tallied 5 smears: 2 against Dr. Jurist, 2 against Ms. Fletcher, and 1 against Mr. Astley.

    • Jeff Baron came in at 4: 2 against Ms. Fletcher, 1against Dr. Jurist (although the one against Ms. Fletcher and Dr. Jurist was really more of a falsehood than a smear), and 1 against Mr. Astley.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron
    'Since the closing, the School Committee has reinstated all the positions that were cut to create the savings. with the exception of a crossing guard.
    • "TransParent" brought up the anti-incumbent rear with 1, aimed at Juliette Fay.

    Backup for the above is attached. Note that the numbers in brackets at the end of each "smear" on Sheet1 of the spreadsheet refer to different Town Crier articles as shown on Sheet2 of the spreadsheet.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Jeff Dieffenbach; 04-11-2011 at 09:16 AM. Reason: Clarification regarding footnotes.

  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    I don't really have a problem with an anonymous post that asks an honest question or makes an interesting observation. And I could care less when anonymous posters bash each other. What crosses the line for me aren't just the anonymous smears, but also even "mere" anonymous constructive criticism.

    Jeff B., as far as getting a handle on it, well, you can't. You can expose inaccuracy and vile, but you can't stop it. I participate because I enjoy the sport (there are so few other avenues of life where prevailing comes as easy).
    Without getting into the inaccurate accounting of smears or the definition of what is a smear and what is an opinion, all I can say is that anonymous comments in general are far more weighted towards bad vs. good. You're right...it can't be stopped unless the boards don't allow it (such as this one). I have decided, unlike you, that I'm no longer interested in the sport. It only encourages these imbeciles to keep going.

    I would add that the one poster who is most agregious in your count above has been reported to not only the TC admin responsible for comment content, but has also been reported to the police given concerns around stalking and harrassment associated with a recent post. While it is highly unlikely, my hope is that this complaint will force the TC to release this poster's identity.

    I find it highly interesting that you chose not to include that most agregious of smears on your accounting. I also find it less than amusing that I found you, at times, encouraging this poster's irresponsible behavior on those boards. That encouragement crossed the line for me and, quite honestly, is unlike your typically responsible behavior in regards to comment boards in general.

  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    I would add that the one poster who is most agregious in your count above has been reported to not only the TC admin responsible for comment content, but has also been reported to the police given concerns around stalking and harrassment associated with a recent post. While it is highly unlikely, my hope is that this complaint will force the TC to release this poster's identity.

    I find it highly interesting that you chose not to include that most agregious of smears on your accounting. I also find it less than amusing that I found you, at times, encouraging this poster's irresponsible behavior on those boards. That encouragement crossed the line for me and, quite honestly, is unlike your typically responsible behavior in regards to comment boards in general.
    Jeff Baron, I saw the post I assume you are talking about and agree completely that it was over the line. I don't know when that post was made (and removed? I couldn't find it just now, but maybe I was looking at the wrong post) compared with when Jeff took his inventory, but I would have to agree it should have make the list.

    Jeff Dieffenbach, does your list include the many posts that have been removed? (I can't imagine you got them all since so many of the worst offenders have been removed)

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Jeff Baron, I saw the post I assume you are talking about and agree completely that it was over the line. I don't know when that post was made (and removed? I couldn't find it just now, but maybe I was looking at the wrong post) compared with when Jeff took his inventory, but I would have to agree it should have make the list.

    Jeff Dieffenbach, does your list include the many posts that have been removed? (I can't imagine you got them all since so many of the worst offenders have been removed)
    The post was removed recently, within the last few hours (at least it was there when I left for a charity event early this afternoon from which I just returned). Maybe that is the reason it was not on Jeff's list, though it ws up so early this morning that Jeff's list would either have to have been assembled yesterday or not included that particular article to have missed it. I would say that except for a potential argument for one other I can think of, that post was the most agregiously over-the-line post I've ever read on those boards. It was the one that made me realize that when you recognize the presence of the morons, you provide them the forum they so richly crave. If I don't respond, they no longer have a forum.

    One other action I asked the TC to take was to delete the user account of that poster completely. I do wonder whether they took that action as well...

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    The post was removed recently, within the last few hours (at least it was there when I left for a charity event early this afternoon from which I just returned). Maybe that is the reason it was not on Jeff's list, though it ws up so early this morning that Jeff's list would either have to have been assembled yesterday or not included that particular article to have missed it. I would say that except for a potential argument for one other I can think of, that post was the most agregiously over-the-line post I've ever read on those boards. It was the one that made me realize that when you recognize the presence of the morons, you provide them the forum they so richly crave. If I don't respond, they no longer have a forum.
    Sometimes that is what it takes -- in my case, not only was I attacked for doing something I had not done, but a family member of mine was as well. Once someone goes over the line like that, you can't find a way to respect them or care what they think at all. And once you don't care what they think, it's that much easier to ignore what they say. And all of a sudden, you feel peace. Glad you've made it there. :-)

  6. #51
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    My analysis was done before the latest round of posts mentioned above (I saved a copy of them). I'm in agreement, they crossed a line they shouldn't have (oddly, they were weird, but I couldn't grasp their point). Spouses and families should be off limits (the series of posts elsewhere on the Town Crier site about a Committee member and his/her children being a prime example). Of course, candidates themselves should be off limits for anonymous criticism.

  7. #52
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    Another article on Anonymity v. Transparency: http://mashable.com/2011/05/19/anony...t-infographic/. This one isn't highly informative or deep, but at least it was aesthetically interesting. Thought I'd post it just to keep the library of articles on the topic going.

  8. #53
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  9. #54
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    Default Extreme Anonymity

    This article highlights the effects and dangers of anonymity on steroids:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/us...d-vicious.html

  10. #55
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  11. #56
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    More on online outlets tackling the issue of anonymity: http://www.npr.org/2012/07/31/157665...-papers-say-no

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