Up for Debate: Who said that?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 10:05pm

Should news websites allow anonymous commenting on their sites? Why or why not?

Filed under: City Voices
Tagged: Up for Debate

73 Comments on this post:

By: yogiman on 12/21/11 at 11:55

It would depend on what the comment was about. If it was a negative allegation on an issue, the accuser should be required to identify themselves to justify their comment. I think anyone making an affirmative comment would be glad to identify themselves.

On the internet section of the news media everyone is using post names. Should they all be required to use their legal names? Most would accept it, but some wouldn't because they don't want anyone to know who they are because of what they are posting.

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 4:06

Good morning, Nashville!

Uh oh...I don't like this question...sounds like the NCP is getting ready to revamp their comment boards and go with Facebook, the universal comment board moderating and censorship service that is gobbling up all the independent comment boards.

Soon, Facebook will be the only game in town...Big Brother will then be in control - Newspeak word filters and a long list of forbidden subjects and phrases are some of the main features of the Facebook product.

The NCP has the personal data on each registered poster, so the idea that we are engaging in "anonymous posting" here is BS.

I implore the NCP staff to leave their online product alone...it's fine, just the way it is...if the NCP goes with Facebook, I will leave the site...I don't believe in Facebook.

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 4:16

Trolls love Facebook and Disqus; they can "follow" their victims across the internet ether...Facebook and Disqus are stalker-friendly services. Trolls have found a way to defeat the original purpose of the "follow" feature.

We are now in the "good old days" of the internet; when media outlets ran their own comment boards and free speech enjoyed a brief renaissance. Soon, all the comment boards will be run by one or two mega-services, like Facebook and Disqus...if one gets banned by those big boys, one could be banned from commenting everywhere, forever.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 4:53

You are right Loner; there are other ways to get around it. I sure serr8d has already found away around this little inconvenience. He would love to get other people fired.

Care to bet the he got d7 in trouble.

By: dargent7 on 12/21/11 at 5:06
Sorry I've been missing all the fun. "New Rules" at work.
If mgt. even suspects you're on the Internet, you're waterboarded then forced to read this board.

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 5:09

Mornin' Cap'n....you are up early....hope all is fine.

D7 posts from work?

Barfly: "Hey bartender, I'm dyin' of thirst down here!"

Dargent7: "Just a damn minute, Buddy, I'm busy trashing a troll and solving the world's problems here."

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 5:18

lol Loner.

Yes I am up. Getting ready to go to Ann Arbor for the Holiday.

By: dargent7 on 12/22/11 at 5:24

I don't know why people think my permanent job is as a bartender.
I've waited tables and bartended during my life, usually between real jobs.
It's like L'ner plays the sax so people think he's Stanley Turintine.
I haven't poured a drink professionally for two months. Hope to get a New Year's Eve gig.
........Topic: Yes, Facebook is a great media and clears out a lot of big mouth liars who hide behind posting names like, "Mr. Big", and "Hung", yet they're neither.
The Tennessean went to that format last month and 50% of the jackasses left the board.
Thank God.

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 5:37

That's a long drive. There's a snowstorm pounding the Midwest...hope you don't run into it as it moves Eastward....I know that you, as a Rochester, NY trained driver, can handle the snow and ice...but still...take it easy and have a safe and joyous holiday!

It's warm and calm outside...only 2 inches of snow here this year, so far.....uncanny. Canada geese are still hanging out, across the road....they may just stick around 'til Spring, if this keeps up....days are getting longer now...had a solstice ceremony at our UU church last night.... a celebration of our European pagan heritage.

Counting down the days until I can return to Brushwood Folklore Center....my Summertime pagan playground....but my calendar says that this is the first day of Winter....guess I'll have to break out the X-country skis and stick it out for a while.

Winter is a good time for indoor musical jamming....helps drive the Wintertime blues away.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 5:41

There is rain to the west of me and I don't think it will be cold enought for snow. Maybe coming back next week could be bad.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 5:55

I always thought d7 was a cap jockey. Got any good places you want me to visit in Ann Arbor.

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 6:00

Sorry Darge, if I stereotyped you...I know that you do tend bar and have talked about it here in the past...I did not mean any offense....just trying to be a wise @ss.

You are right, I'm no Stanley Turintine.

Well, I may have to join the jackass migration, if this site goes with the trendy Facebook comment board moderation & censorship service....Hee Haw.

By: Ummm... on 12/22/11 at 6:05

Loner said: "Uh oh...I don't like this question...sounds like the NCP is getting ready to revamp their comment boards and go with Facebook, the universal comment board moderating and censorship service that is gobbling up all the independent comment boards.

Soon, Facebook will be the only game in town...Big Brother will then be in control - Newspeak word filters and a long list of forbidden subjects and phrases are some of the main features of the Facebook product.

The NCP has the personal data on each registered poster, so the idea that we are engaging in "anonymous posting" here is BS.

I implore the NCP staff to leave their online product alone...it's fine, just the way it is...if the NCP goes with Facebook, I will leave the site...I don't believe in Facebook."

Loner, I agree 100%. The FB mandate serves to stifle speech- speaking for myself, I wouldn't feel comfortable expressing my candid opinion in this forum if my employer could see that the post came from me. Political discrimination definitely exists in the workplace, and many employed persons keep their opinions to themselves at work for that very reason.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 6:09

I join in on this board several years ago to express my thoughts and was attacked and verbally spit on, by the neo cons. I think I learn to spit back a little since that time.

The change could bring out the truth about the many “lives” of yogiman.

By: dargent7 on 12/22/11 at 6:17

L'ner: No. I knew Jack Kennedy, and you're no Jack Kennedy...." Llyod Benson to Dan Quayle. Best line after Reagan's, "I'm not going to exploit my opponent's youth and inexperience for political purposes..." Reagan to Mondale.
Ah, those were the days.
Cpt. Ann Arbor is so pretty during Christmas...any snow there? Is global warming screwing up Mich. too? I lived in Farmington Hills 8 years before I left for San Diego.
I loved U-M on break. Especially since I met that gymnast in General Chemistry 101.
"I can do contorsions that are unbelievable..." to Jerry Seinfeld.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 6:18

Loner do you remember the old flap-jaw two cents worth? Once his identity was exposed by dooley and youngbuck meet his challenges and visited him at Sam’s Sports bar. He stop his verbal attacks on this board.

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 6:20

My, my...we are a bunch of early risers this morning...good morning, Darge and Ummm.

Ummm raises a good point, one's job and/or career could be in jeopardy, if one's employer can easily access your internet postings.....charges of "anti-Semitism", for example could be lodged against someone for merely expressing their views on the Middle East conflicts. Expressing one's opinion on gay marriage could result in a charge of "homophobia" and subsequent termination of one's employment. Expressing one's opinion on the right to life issues could also have its unforeseen repercussions and ugly consequences.

Anonymity, when expressing unpopular views is, on balance, a good thing, although it is often abused by folks with bad intent.

Again, the Nashville City Paper has an excellent set-up right now...real time posting and minimal word-filtering...no "flag for abuse" BS...no "likes" BS...no "top-rated" BS. Our posting community is not too big and not too small....this is a great free speech platform....leave it be.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 6:25

Ann Arbor is pretty anytime of the year. Great people, food and culture can be found there.

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 6:26

The police can now troll the FB pages, looking for Cannabis users, illegal aliens, unregistered gun owners, "terrorists" etc. they have the technology....all for our own good, of course.

FB sucks, IMHO....we are being slowly stripped of our privacy, why surrender it willingly? I just don't get it.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 6:31

I am going to go back and take a nap. I will check in before I leave, if I have time.

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 6:31

I remember two cents worth and the late, great Dooley. who could forget the Youngbuck? Those were the days...then Clint Brewer wrecked the place and we had to re-build....it never fully recovered from that purge...Ben Dover was thrown out too....many others left in protest.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 6:33

Being stripped? I feel a draft.

By: govskeptic on 12/22/11 at 6:33

I have mixed feelings about this question. If NCP is thinking about following our
other daily paper in the same manner that would be bad because they may then start also carrying Gail Kerr's ridiculous rants. With 800 million subscribers Facebook has
become an International source for the "Tracking and Classifying" of every member!
Under the least of Government pressure the management would turn over any
iinfo requested of them and I'm not talking about just threats that might have been
made by some goofball in a posting.
Being self employed, I try to self restrict my time on any subject or medium, and have
sent myself a memo to stop reading the postings of windbags that go on forever or
those that are so crude as to be ignored! Take caution in deciding this policy!

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 6:34

I still talk to young buck from time totime. He is doing well.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 6:36

But will you respect me in the morning gov.

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 6:38

Govskeptic...we share some common ground on this issue...for many of the same reasons....how 'bout that?

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 6:50

Let's face it (pun intended) Face Book is a two-edged sword...it has benefits and risks.

Today, folks are a little more sophisticated than they were in the 30's, domestic spying is more subtle...and a lot easier to do.

If the "government" wanted to pry into our affairs at this level, people would balk...but, because FB is privately owned and operated, people get the false impression that this is not Orwell's "Big Brother". FB may not be Big Brother himself...FB is Big Brother's unscrupulous and ambitious cousin....he'll do anything for money, or to save his own neck.

If the comment board goes FB...the Lone one bugs out...if I live long enough, the darkness of the pre-internet isolation could return...alone, once again....screened out and marginalized....the good old days may be short in number...enjoy this site now, while you can.

By: Kosh III on 12/22/11 at 7:24

Don't change it!

By: Ask01 on 12/22/11 at 7:26

Many Professional Military Education venues have, or at least during my time, had in place a policy of non attribution which, on paper at least, prohibited any degree of retaliation for spoken or written opinions. The goal was to allow and encourage open and honest expression of ideas.

If one could be certain of the same courtesy on message boards, I believe no one would have a problem using real names.

The difficutly is I have encountered individuals on these boards I believe to be unstable, and, for the safety of my family, would not wish to have access to identifying information. Likewise, I recall instances of people being terminated for views and opinons publicly expressed, and wonder how many unknown victims may have run afoul of employers by expressing a contrary view on politics, current events, religion, or a myriad other subjects. This is, after all a "right to work state," more properly I believe, a "right to fire state," since, as I understand, lacking a contract, employees can be terminated for any, or no reason at all.

The bottomline is, no one is actually anonymous, unless a serious, no life, super geek capable of, ala television screen writer, sidestepping electronic tracking methods. When signing up for message boards, personal information is usually required which, while not made public allows moderators to track those commenting. Anyone considered dangerous CAN be identified to law enforcement, as disturbingly Big Brotherly the concept may be.

I view the move toward Facebook by so many as a method to control and censor opinions with the implied threat of possible retaliation by employers or unstable stalkers reading the posts.

I do not use Facebook, nor will I be coerced to use this service. I have abandoned several message boards and will not hesitate to do likewise again.

I don't live and die by these message boards and, while I do appreciate the opportunity to examine others opinions and share my insights, I won't suffer this particular version of expressive extortion.

I believe we should all follow the example I read of and abandon Facebook. Oh wait, I never even started.

By: Kosh III on 12/22/11 at 7:28

"just trying to be a wise @ss."

Congratulations! You succeeded Loner. LOL.
Just teasing
Ni
Ni
Ni

-------------
The ground here isn't even close to being frozen yet. I planted some bulbs in October and they are already starting to come up, no one told them that global warming was a vast-leftwing conspiracy and they should ignore it and stay buried till March.

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 7:55

I agree, Ask01. Posters are registered, the ID of each poster is already known to the hosting media....that should be sufficient safeguard. FB takes the hassle out of Comment Board hosting...media organs want to farm out stuff like "payroll" and "Comment Boards"....Paychex and Face Book are right there to serve....that's capitalism in action.

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 7:56

You betta smile when you say dat....Kosh.....nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.....wooo....wooo....wooo!

By: yogiman on 12/22/11 at 8:09

Civilian "arguments" aren't the same as military "disagreements" Ask01. The vast majority of the civilian posters are ashamed for the ones they disagree with to know who they are for their lack of intelligence.

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 8:17

Do NOT feed the bear!

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 8:19

I'm working a few BINGO cards this morning, besides this one...we are having a lively discussion about what's next in Iraq on this CSM board:

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Backchannels/2011/1221/With-US-gone-Iraq-s-Maliki-is-setting-the-board-for-a-power-grab/%28page%29/2

Please chime in.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 8:38

Bombs are going off in Baghdad 60 are dead so far. Is this the start of a civil war?

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57346927/baghdad-bomb-attacks-kill-at-least-60/

By: BenDover on 12/22/11 at 8:42

I kinda like the limited anonymity we have now. I post a lot more provocative post now than I would if it was overtly public.

It's like the gay marriage thing. I'm for it but I often make the point that it should not be settled in the courts but should be decided in the law by the people or their elected representatives. By the time you get to the point of defending yourself on this you're already crucified as a homophobe even though you really believe society should accept gay marriage.

Plus the war of Northern Aggression. If you point out that it was about anything but slavery and that the Emancipation Proclamation didn't apply to the northern slave states then you are a closet Klansman longing for the days when you could just string up them uppity N*ggers.

I'd never bring these up under my real name because you're immediately hanged by the court of public opinion before you can make a valid point about the topic.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 8:46

Ask01 says, "The difficutly is I have encountered individuals on these boards I believe to be unstable, and, for the safety of my family, would not wish to have access to identifying information"

Agreed there are some that would take advantage to harm those with different opinions.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 8:50

The war of Northern Aggression was started by an illegal act of southern slave owners and profiteers.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 8:52

Ben you forget that the KKK would burn my home and hang me for disagreeing with you.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/22/11 at 9:03

BenDover your sheets are back form the launder. lol http://www.clker.com/cliparts/c/1/b/6/1216306562167833124lemmling_Cartoon_ghost.svg.hi.png

By: BenDover on 12/22/11 at 9:10

argumentum exemplum

By: bfra on 12/22/11 at 9:11

Nemo - Saw your earlier comment, have a safe trip and hope all the weather is good! Plus, have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 9:14

Ben Dover, my old adversary and confessional opponent...and my old friend....I agree with your points about anonymity....but I do not wish to rekindle the American Civil War here today...I will pass on the bait.

Working this BINGO card too:

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/terrorism-security/2011/1222/Baghdad-bomb-ratchets-up-worries-about-slide-into-sectarian-violence

By: Funditto on 12/22/11 at 9:20

IMO, moving the comment board to FB would not be a smart business move. Think of all the hits their site would loose and all that sales revenue would go down the drain - or into FB's pocket. I certainly wouldn't participate.

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 9:23

I dig your 9:10, Ben.

It's ad hominem - reducto ad absurdum - excreta maxima and ironically, in this particular case, post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

Do you concur, Doctor Ben Dover?

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 9:24

Funditto! Welcome back!

By: Funditto on 12/22/11 at 9:34

Hey- I'm only back for a few days. I'm on vacation from my job at a "major corporation" that blocks everything on our computers. My Iphone is my only access to the outside. I swear, it's like prison! And the food is awful! Plus the people are robots - they care way too much about the price of the cough drops on the clipstrips. Oh how I long for days of working at home, sparring with Serr8d and laughing at House of Pain.

By: BigPapa on 12/22/11 at 9:34

If you don't like FB, then don't join or participate in it, really simple solution to that. It's no more the "default" internet than AOL is, remember that? Some day FB will be replaced with something new.

As far as the anonymous posts, it depends on what you want in the comments. Do you want people to say what they really think or do you want milk toast answers and only a few people commenting who are open about their extreme political views (everyone has a friend or relative like this, no matter what the issue it's either the fault of the evil Dem/Rep.)
Those type of people will post often because it's what they live for. To mouth off about the opposing party, others will just not post at all.

By: Loner on 12/22/11 at 9:35

I actually visited Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park, London, in 1968....lots of raving and ranting, quite entertaining, lots of heckling etc....and I'd say it was relatively dangerous for the speakers, compared to what we now have on the internet....with "anonymity".

As I said earlier, we are not anonymous to the NCP webmaster, only to each other, and that, on balance, is a good thing, IMO.

These internet boards are like the famous Speaker's Corner...sure there are going to be some nuts on "soap boxes"...and trolling...and spamming....but the idea of free and open speech is a time-honored democratic (small"d", Ben) tradition. Anonymity protects the whistle blower and his/her family from violent repercussions.

Anonymity removes much of the fear factor in expressing oneself and that has to be a good thing.

By: Funditto on 12/22/11 at 9:36

I've lost a few friends on Facebook for simply making fun of Newt or Palin or the likes. I, in turn would never unfriend someone because their affiliation. Some folks take themselves way too seriously.