In defense of anonymous

The weekly newspapers in Kitsap County owned by Sound Publishing will soon require readers to log-in with a Facebook account if they’d like to comment on a story.

I wasn’t planning to write anything about the change, because it’s one of many experiments being tried in the industry and not something we’re pursuing. I’ve written about other attempts to change commenting before, and stated my feeling that tech solutions alone aren’t the answer to the downside of online commentary on news sites. I disagree that eliminating anonymous comments will alone somehow “mature” the discussion on newspaper websites, and, despite the occasional heartburn we experience here in monitoring comment threads, I believe there is good reason to allow pseudonyms in online forums and we’ve committed to that. It’s also not my cup of tea to hand a website’s registration process over to Facebook, or to force my readers to sign up for a site they may have no interest in.

That said, after seeing our newspaper’s “credibility” called into question (yes, it’s our newspaper Lary Coppola is talking about if you scroll down on the comments), I felt like responding by sharing a quick story.

A few weeks ago I wrote two emails to readers who use pseudonyms to comment on our site. They had, I felt, commandeered a comment thread by pointing in a direction I thought was off-topic from the story itself. Their part of the discussion took on a fairly weighty and serious topic in the context of a lighter feature story, which seemed inappropriate. I asked that they keep the heavier and controversial discussion to stories with a more direct relation to their argument. (Sorry, but I’m keeping it general out of respect to these readers. Some of you may still figure out who these guys are, but that’s beside my point here.)

One called me back the next morning and we talked about it, the other guy actually showed up in the office. They both get bashed from time to time on the threads because of some divergent viewpoints, but both were pleasant and reasonable and I really enjoyed both conversations.

I don’t often hear outpourings of thanks like the one that came from one of these guys. Kitsapsun.com discussion forums are incredibly important to him, and the anonymity is key. Because of his contrarian viewpoints on certain topics, this man doesn’t want to use his name. He’s not advocating hate, lying about who he is or bashing others simply to bash; he’s expressing a view that could harm his business or ostracize him from his in-laws or long-time friends. He uses our forums as an outlet, hoping to engage others in a discussion that is near to his core beliefs, or perhaps to see that others in our community think like he does. That utopian idea of enlightened back-and-forth doesn’t always happen, of course (just as it doesn’t always happen in real life), and some threads have a tendency to devolve and allow one or two critics to harp on this guy. But he remained optimistic about the free, open forum that has coalesced into a community on kitsapsun.com, and his optimism is something I tend to share.

I think the anonymity offered on our comment boards gives critics of it a faulty perch on which they assume the worst of people: that is, the argument those who won’t use their “real name” are jaded cretins wallowing in hate and aggression. There’s probably some like that, sure, and there’s others who won’t engage cooperatively or listen to reason. The two men I spoke with have experienced the short end of that stick again and again. They’ve learned, like I have all the times the Sun gets beat up on those forums, that in the online world you need both thick skin and a decent sense of humor.

So I’ll stand by the practice of allowing pseudonyms as part of the community that’s developed on our site. That sort of “free speech” doesn’t mean we allow all speech, as we’ve repeated many times when pointing users toward our comment guidelines. But I’ll take the responsibility that comes with hosting an open forum, where contrarian views can be held and all opinions can be offered, because I believe that’s part of how we communicate online. Pseudonyms let readers remain anonymous, but they also allow commentors to build credibility through being consistent in opinions or reasonable in debates. And I think most of us are smart enough to sort out which of those we trust.

One last point, to briefly clear up another fallacy that was raised on that Port Orchard Independent piece I linked to above. We don’t keep anonymous comments because it somehow benefits us monetarily. (In fact, as far as staff time on moderation is concerned, we offer them at a loss.)

It’s true that part of online advertising is based on page views, but looking at our statistics does not bear out that the majority of our page views come from stories with high comment traffic. We get more traffic from obituaries than most stories with multiple comments. Even on opinion pieces that draw more than 100 comments over a period of days, those rarely compete with our most viewed stories of the day, and they tend to draw the same small group of repeat readers rather than a broad range of unique visitors, which advertisers may also find more attractive. There’s no moral choice of sacrificing ethics in a chase for page views.

My guess is there will be some discussion beneath this post, so I’ll try to answer any more questions there. Thanks for reading.

—David

80 thoughts on “In defense of anonymous

  1. Given enough time, the usual suspects show up at the scene of the crime. Amazing at this confab how dutiful people are about using a name, perhaps even a real name, but in the subterranean world of most of the Sun blogs, those niceties are quickly jettisoned.

    Someone, whose handle I have lost, claims anonymity protects against retribution as if the matters discussed in these august comment threads was another Watergate unfolding. If retribution was really such a danger at large, why — or how could — anyone actually write a letter to the editor with a published name and not be subject to total retribution or worse?

    And the thought that someone even made reference to someone (at the Sun?) having “ba***” standing up to the lunatic fringe. I believe that writer ‘s GPS is on the blink.

  2. I support the Sun in keeping their policy for anonymity with commenting and appreciate their efforts to manage the responses and curtail the offenders when the individuals do not adhere to the written Terms of discussion and write with civility. I am a subscriber to the print edition as well, and will remain so as long as this policy for anonymity holds.

    I enumerated my reasons for supporting anonymity back in Feb/Mar of this year on an earlier editorial written by David Nelson when there was a meeting covering this very issue (that editorial and comments are still accessible via this site).

    Of course without “Anonymous” our American Founding Fathers may have found their efforts thwarted, and certain authors who use(d) pen names may have gone unpublished. In fact, the First Amendment does allow for online anonymity (see the argument here http://www.lawrecord.com/files/37_Rutgers_L_Rec_36.pdf ) and so anything less is a breech of our Constitutional Rights.

    It seems we all have our run-ins with online ‘harrassment’ issues, and I even had the editor of a local paper call to demand my ‘real name’ when I had actually supplied it ?! Hence my use of a somewhat anonymous profile for discussions (of a volatile (political) nature).

    Thank you.

  3. Actually, I thought that “balls” thing was a nice compliment. Thanks EndersMom. Believe it or not, it isn’t easy to make these decisions and we spend a lot of time talking about them. And I’ve spent a lot of time responding here, as several of you have, which I’m also enjoying.

    @Colleen and @Robin — Sounds like you guys are talking about forming an editorial board like ours! (Which we’re currently accepting applications for, by the way. Email Jim Campbell at jecampbell@kitsapsun.com if you’re interested.)

    @Jane — I’ll go look for that comment thread, because those types of stories (suicide or others that are sensitive) are the stories we do remove offensive comments from pretty regularly.

    For what it’s worth, I thought the comment by Jerry Harless was right on. Like he seems to be saying, I also trust in the intelligence of readers to sort through some of what we put up with in the name of free speech to find trustworthy opinions; also, I agree that many people will be just as argumentative when they use their full names. Here’s Jerry’s statement again so you all don’t have to dig around:

    “I do have less respect for opinions posted anonymously–especially if they are accusatory. I disregard entirely posts that are filled with name-calling and rants between liberals and conservatives that contain no more thought than ‘my side is right and your side are morons.’ That kind of garbage comes from a few named sources as well as the anonymous ones.”

  4. The amazing irony here is that this man rants against the very newspaper that not only allows him to rant – it gives him his own byline and blog format in which to do it.

    Shame on you Mick!

    If this tirade against the Kitsap Sun and her editor isn’t proof positive the Kitsap Sun is dedicated to freedom of speech – I don’t know what is.

    Colleen – You ‘thank’ Mick for his rant. How long do you think you would last on Sound Publishing if you posted a rant article against them in their own paper? I’m guessing you wouldn’t last longer than a sneeze.

  5. @Sharon,

    I think you may have misread some of Mick’s comments. Although I recognized them as quotes from some of the anonymous bloggers, from your previous posts it appears you misinterpreted them as his own thoughts.

    Freedom of speech is not free, you have to use it responsibly too. Do we allow people to yell “Fire” in a movie theater, of course not. Do you think it is okay for threads to go on that make light of someone’s death? Attempted suicide? Making fun (endlessly) of one’s religious choices? Lobbying for or against a newly proposed public expenditure or policy without disclosing that you would make a profit? Allowing openly racist rants to stay on line or if removed continue to let the same blogger to continue on the same thread?

    By putting your own name to it at least you own your opinion, there are many who make vicious comments that are never removed even though other comments before & after in the same thread are removed. I’d like to know the names of a few people who have threatened me on this site. I guess all you need is the WSP to investigate as they did with “Hunter” the stalker cop.

  6. “Believe it or not, it isn’t easy to make these decisions…”

    No, it isn’t. In many respects, you are attempting to achieve an even higher standard than entities which disallow anonymity.

    Whenever we discuss this issue, the worst possible behaviours are often cited to justify removing anonymity. To demand identity disclosure or the ‘owning of one’s words’ for innocuous conversation is overkill. For them most hostile repeat offenders – anonymous or otherwise – the solution is moderation. As it is, if a ‘real name’ launches into mean-spirited rhetoric or exchanges (because it happens), his or her post usually ends up deleted like an anony’s.

  7. “Believe it or not, it isn’t easy to make these decisions…”

    No, it isn’t. In many respects, you are attempting to achieve an even higher standard than entities which disallow anonymity.

    Whenever we discuss this issue, the worst possible behaviours are often cited to justify removing anonymity. To demand identity disclosure or the ‘owning of one’s words’ for innocuous conversation is overkill. For the most hostile repeat offenders – anonymous or otherwise – the solution is moderation. As it is, if a ‘real name’ launches into mean-spirited rhetoric or exchanges (because it happens), his or her post usually ends up deleted like an anony’s.

  8. James M. Olsen Says:
    November 18th, 2011 at 6:33 pm
    “David ~~”balls” thing was a Tea Bag illusion — off color and inappropriate. My, oh, my.”

    My, oh, my … I do think you meant allusion.

    And please check your other definitions as well. ‘Balls’ refers to ‘chutzpah’ or ‘fearlessness’ as in ‘bravely going forth’ regardless of the risks. Which is indeed what EndersMom was referring to regarding the subject of anonymity here and at the other site.

    I didn’t see anything about ‘tea’ in the Websters or other word master’s lexicons when looking up the word balls.

  9. Poor Jim. Must not know me very well because those who do know I would never allude to tea-bagging anything. My apologies for expecting one to have enough sense to parse the sentence and understand the context. I would never consciously take advantage of anyone mentally challenged.

    Ali Perry

  10. @Sharon You requested quotes , I took some fairly common ones , listed them . You mis read them , accused me wrongly of disparaging Sally Santana . You were wrong . That comment and others you took me to task for personally were the ones I gave to you after your request . They were from other people . You been told twice by me now , and two other bloggers have pointed out . I also re submitted the post with my comments with quotation marls and the rest were the comments of the others I was sharing with you . Want to be in the conversation , read slower , ask for clarification . I tried to use a bold type but when i pasted it on the blog here it did not show the bold print . Because of my terrible command of the written word you asumed they were my own comments . You seem to have gotten upset about it . I agree with you those comments are inappropriate , but I did not make them . The cliche is you made my point for me , well obviously those comments were inapproriate . Yes shame on my bad Communication skills , but I admire you for being upset about the comments . It shows you value civility , perhaps practice some of it yourself ?

  11. @David Would you support the Independent if it wrote stories aboyut the lack of intellegence of its staff . Mock the education levels of your management . Ridicule the editor based on his religious belief ? The Independeant then claims it is doing the credible thing by allowing free speech bleed through their printing presses ?

    I am still unclear of your postion here . You seem to believe my opinion it is only important on these blogs if the individual complaining to you is being harrassed ? Your solution is stop blogging . How does that stop the mentality that is acceptable on the Sun’s blog that is acceptable to mock the essence of another human being . Givibng it a forum makes it look as though it is acceptable behavior . Having guidelines as part of the forum that are not adhered to is not credible.
    You started the conversation with your comments about another newspaper . Your logic in me not blogging was taken by yourself , just quit reading the independent . The same concern of the your paper being trashed is no no ore important then a person’s race , education , job status , etc being trashed . What makes me or you so more important Dave ? I am advocating for the people who get trashed on your blgs, never reasd them , but surely have to deal with that heinous sapping ignorant bigotry in their life and from the political machine that uses it for its sourse of power.

    Its why so many of us all agree to support No Bullying In Public Schools . No one is more important then the least of us .

    This community , this country is begging for leadership and leaders who will promote civility . Step up to the plate , your time is here . When a person’s dignity is attacked because of their gender, sexuality , education and so on , we all are attacked.

    @Registered Voter moderation I agree is the best method . Most newspapers do not have the ability to even cover the news anymore , being a moderator so adults can talk to each other would be hard for an buisness to rationalize . Suggestion of community volunteers were made last time .

    @Marvin have heard about stories of people being harrased because their names were given on a blog . Since a blog can be seen to the world , you have no idea what kind of person who reads it . Maybe just saying your pro life politely , or pro choice politely can cause major problems if a problematic personality reads it . Point well taken . And have read from a blogger whose quote above I used as an example if inapproritae comments ” . He stated he had to privatize his internet connections because he was harrassed. i don;t support harrassment of any kind , even for the most vile personalities .
    But since the Sun thinks its not worth their effort , whats your suggestion , just leave it as is ?

    @ Jane Thank you for your comments , I have tried to explain it to her that the comments were from other people . She asked me for some examples . Anyway it is what it is I guess.

    @ Robin , Colleen , and maybe some others , perhaps it may be fun getting together . Robin this drinking liberaly fuction , is their a speaker or just a bunch of you coming together and sharing politics and issues ?

    Also Colleen like your idea , all candidates should be made aware that they are accountable . If we have tough questions , lets have Robin do the asking . LOL …I am honored you asked me , more of communty volunteer then political guy these days , but I do believe I have a political discernment and have a good knowledge of the history from the 90s on politically in this county .I think i could contribute .

  12. @ David Nelson. No thank you I will pass on that offer for now.

    Actually I applied to be on the Kitsap Sun’s editorial board three years in a row and was never selected. In fact the last time I applied and was again turned down, Andy found out about it and then offered me my own column which I have totally enjoyed for nearly two years now. So in some ways I owe the Jim Campbell and the Sun a big debt of gratitude for NOT selecting me:-)

    Yes, we are looking to form our own editorial board in a way. Except we will have arguments for both sides so that the voters can decide we will not take only one position. It will surprise you at how diverse the members are, from all parties, positions, lifestyles and beliefs. Many will be names you recognize. A few members have had a considerable amount of experience in their past doing successfully for other parties or groups what we are about to do. And yes, so far everyone we have recruited has agreed to use their own names.

    We are choosing to form outside of the normal boundaries. Collectively our most common ground is that we are rather fed up with the status quo way of doing business and feel the community deserves yet another option. A positive election option from a group of involved citizens that is not operating in the guise of a smear campaign.

    We will not be beholden to any one party. We do not rely on our group efforts for our livelihoods, appointed or elected office and/or compensated profession and we will not be directly beholden to any “news” entities or the rules that drives that business to retain our position within the group.

    @ Sharon. You misinterpreted Micks posts and you have misinterpreted my thanks to him. By posting his “rant” as you label it and having it be allowed in a forum hosted by the very entity he is taking to task, proves that the checks and balances of the free press system is in fact working as it should. If everyone had to shut up and agree all the time, then none of us would be posting. Not all conversations amongst community members occur here. Robin, Mick and I and a whole host of others use texting, email and Facebook to communicate with one another on the side while we are posting here and even when we are not. My comment was directed at Mick. He knew exactly what I meant by it. I cannot control what the interpretation of others is on all of my comments. I can only try to explain where possible if I feel it will do any good.

    Colleen Smidt

  13. “@David Would you support the Independent if it wrote stories aboyut the lack of intellegence of its staff . Mock the education levels of your management . Ridicule the editor based on his religious belief ? The Independeant then claims it is doing the credible thing by allowing free speech bleed through their printing presses ?

    I am still unclear of your postion here . You seem to believe my opinion it is only important on these blogs if the individual complaining to you is being harrassed ? Your solution is stop blogging . How does that stop the mentality that is acceptable on the Sun’s blog that is acceptable to mock the essence of another human being . Givibng it a forum makes it look as though it is acceptable behavior . Having guidelines as part of the forum that are not adhered to is not credible….”

    @Mick… David – most posters – make sense to me…clear and concise…while reading your posts make me feel like I’m mucking through a bog trying to get to the other side.
    I’ve tried to understand what you are talking about…but I fail to understand how you – how anyone – can blast the very newspaper and editor who give you the voice to do so. You blast them on their dime without being clear what you’re talking about.
    You mix up copy and paste from other posters as your own – so who can say who said what…in my opinion.

  14. “I would never consciously take advantage of anyone mentally challenged.’

    Ali Perry your above comments on a blog that the editor of the paper used to defend his papers policy I find ironic. Many of us have good friends who have to deal with some aspects of problems dealing with their mental capabilities. Perhaps Mr Nelson does not believe your comments matter , I do . Your comments reflect a bigoted and in humane use of group of people that are depicted as less then .
    You thinking you somehow possess more importance then another because of your IQ proves that wrong .

    For those men and women who have found their way to my church ,kids who have found their way to our daycare , those who I have watched particpate in Special Olympics , the hundreds of kids dealing with their disabilities often with remarkable courgage and diligence in our public schools , like many I find actually they are a positive to our community ,

    Those folks like many who use blogs as a way to shoot their perverted comments about others , attempt t promote negative stereotypes or use them as an instrument of converation to make a point about an issue by using their disabilty as an example of something negative is pathetic.

  15. Sharon yes some have a problem with my english . Some actually have enjoyment from it am told . Like some of ideas . The above post a person is using a mental challenged person as a means of insulting another .

    You thinking it is because Daves newspaper we should shut up , thats your problem . Thats why we have so many problems . Your suggesting when mentally ill people are used as tools to mock others we shut up and agree. Shame on you .

  16. Shame on you mick for suggesting the woman who said this…”I would never consciously take advantage of anyone mentally challenged.’… ”
    means she was against mentally challenged people!

    Do you condemn every person who mentions mentally challenged in any form?
    This is my final post on this subject…I didn’t realize you were so challenged, Mick – sorry.

  17. The following is ok with you Sharon ?

    Poor Jim. Must not know me very well because those who do know I would never allude to tea-bagging anything. My apologies for expecting one to have enough sense to parse the sentence and understand the context. I would never consciously take advantage of anyone mentally challenged.

    Ali Perry

    Read more: http://pugetsoundblogs.com/editors-desk/2011/11/16/in-defense-of-anonymous/#ixzz1e8XKxLfS

    Sharon peace to you , but I can no longer converse with you .
    From reading your comments and beliefs about me personally , this should make your life easier .

    Other people here understand my posts well enough most of the time , and actually have built some good on line relationships . Actually joining up with people to make a positive difference . Usually when i blog more , I write worse i admit . Got work on the vocabulary , will help me say more with less.

    Have learned quite a bit from people , and some by those who i never once thought I would . Even changed my opinions on some major issues .

    Except for some negative character traits I have that you like to enlighten me and others on these blogs i have noticed constantly over the times I have read your conscise posts. I have not learned anything really from you . I already know I have faults , and especially my grammar . Not sure what the importance of you pointing them out , but the person you just defended likes to also . Perhaps you two should converse and insult each other . Makes sense i guess.

    But my sense of right and wrong I beg to differ is out of your jurisdiction . I found your last comment sad . Because you find nothing wrong with mocking another and using mentally ill people as part of the process, it does not entitle you then to ridicule some who does find it pathetically sick .

    The mocking using the mentally ill as a negative coorelation to olson is obvious .
    I see you having these issues with others all th time Sharon . Could it be you ?

    Defending civility actually is quite popular these days . You have proven why Sharon . it was not my lousy grammar , it was your excellent grammar that made my case .

  18. I am certainly with David on this one. If you don’t like what you read on these threads, take a hike. It has been my experience that those who regularly post here, do a pretty good job of moderating the conversation. Sometimes it gets a little spirited, and some even get a little out of hand, but in the end, that’s what conversation is all about.

    Mick S., I get that you don’t like me. I’m suprised you didn’t print that Pinnochio joke again and try to spin it that it is evidence that I am mocking your religion. I don’t know or care what your religion is. I pretty much hold them all suspect, and just because you don’t like it, it gives you no special privilage. If you want to preach to the choir, confine yourself to your own self moderated forum and enjoy the traffic that you receive. Your characterization of Ali Perry is so far off base, it is completely offensive and you should be ashamed of yourself. Your powers of perception are failing you.

  19. Note to Jim O. over the use of the word ‘balls’, Here it is used in a sentence: When I invited you to meet me at the police station to discuss the false statements you made about me in your bogus reports, you didn’t have the balls to show up. I hope that clears things up for you.

  20. Mick Sheldon Says:
    November 18th, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    “I would never consciously take advantage of anyone mentally challenged.’

    Ali Perry your above comments on a blog that the editor of the paper used to defend his papers policy I find ironic. Many of us have good friends who have to deal with some aspects of problems dealing with their mental capabilities. Perhaps Mr Nelson does not believe your comments matter , I do . Your comments reflect a bigoted and in humane use of group of people that are depicted as less then .
    You thinking you somehow possess more importance then another because of your IQ proves that wrong .

    Dear Sir, my comment was not meant to be bigoted or mean spirited in any way. I have a sibling with mental challenges. I do not take this lightly. What I was trying to say, which did not translate well into print, was that I do not follow Mr. Olsen’s postings for sport. It was typed with kindness and sincerity on my part. You read it to be bigoted. I am truly sorry that it came across that way because that was NOT the way it was intended.

    My sincere apologies for offending you. I give the Sun my full blessing to remove my offending post.

    Ali Perry

  21. We will not be beholden to any one party. We do not rely on our group efforts for our livelihoods, appointed or elected office and/or compensated profession and we will not be directly beholden to any “news” entities or the rules that drives that business to retain our position within the group.

    This is why I love what I do. All parties walk in with the belief that they are not beholden to agendae, have no interests which can be influenced, and don’t stand to benefit from decisions or policies. Once we’re done, they all realise each of them are and do, and acknowledging this is one of the first steps towards proceeding in good faith whilst achieving results that stick.

    We each have an agenda and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s how we conduct ourselves in spite of it that makes the difference. As citizens and voters, we all stand to be impacted by the decisions of electeds.

  22. David,

    How about at least improving the environment by allowing only a single pseudonym (verified, as we know is possible with a credit card, library card, or whatever) and a rating system like we see on some other sites where verified users get to rate other commenters/comments and the worst offenders fall out of sight of automatic view? I’d also appreciate a “like” button and “dislike” button for comments. Often someone says something very well and I’d just like to add an “amen” to it.

    It is very difficult to defend against allegations made in shadows. It was especially evident during the campaign season.

    By the way, I am well aware that there are consequences to folks for posting with their real name. I’ve been harassed, threatened, and some have even attempted to intimidate me through my employer (I survived, go figure). But the damage to real individuals by anonymous individuals is also very real and I think the Kitsap Sun owes a duty to be a better moderator and enforce your terms of service.

  23. Mr. Nelson-

    Thank you for your consistent effort to insure free speech in the Kitsap Sun’s comments section. It is much appreciated.

  24. I would agree with a rating system or like/dislike buttons. It might reduce the “me too” posts, or at least hide the more offensive ones.

    Kathryn – what you experienced was between parties using their real names, just as it was in the lawsuit you filed against a poster, or when you culled personal information about me during a joust. It’s all real when users cross the line into 3D, and simply because they’ve got a bee in their bonnet about someone. Even worse when innocent third parties are targeted.

    I don’t condone bad behaviour by named or anonymous participants and believe the Kitsap Sun owes a duty to all of us, particularly those who generally operate in good faith. David’s post on behalf of the Kitsap Sun shows he gets it despite obvious challenges. Port Orchard Independent has changed its rules to offer another option and that’s great, but let’s face it: neither it nor the Sound Publishing papers had a significant level of participation anyhow.

  25. The Simpson case in the local courts was between two publicly named parties. Interestingly enough, the Judge dismissed the case. It did not meet the standard of damages it was filed for.

    Just as her case was about perception, she perceives that anonymous comments have damaged the candidates during the campaign process. There’s no proof of that offered for any of the campaigns, her previous case, and her alleged treatment at work, that she was damaged, or the victim of any conduct. One can only “cry wolf” so much.

    Her comments to other publications and blogs suggests that she perceives a series of pot shot and character assassinations by anonymous commenters.

    A case in point would be Lary Coppola. When elected,he enjoyed a 70% majority to put him in office. Anonymous comments didn’t cost him the election. Registered voters are currently voting him from office. If he ultimately does prevail, I expect that he will do a better job of managing his public actions.

    But when the man sets the bar as low as he has, a DUI after 2:00am, a more mature majority is attempting to remove him by vote. From his own blog Lary describes anonymous commenters as morons. It’s better for both Simpson and Coppola to focus on the content and context of the comments, and the criticism that comes with holding public office.

  26. Interesting to what the Sun and it editors believe about this ???

    I would wait till the end of the day and read the comments from a spiritus and bummer . If you believe your paper should remain with the policy it has , so be it . I do believe we all have a sense of right and wrong that sometimes is confused by our own prejudices, but I believe in man’s basic need to do what is right . At least in America still . I myself am committing to giving up blogging , I think its addicting . And it can negatively effect anyone involved in this . It has me . The majority of this country most likely disagree with me on many issues , but we all have been blessed by the vast majority of Americans . Why do we negatively portray the basic characteristics , those basic characteristics our own government was told to defend by we the people ? I would just assume to think newspapers would defend this also ? Plus I am almost going into full time in regards to helping people who have no homes or in dire needs. Interestingly I use to speak against your papers choice for a certain writer in a column , turns that person has been instrumental in helping me help . To paraphase Rocky Dave , If I can learn and others can learn , we can all learn to work together . Open avenues allow that when respect and all of us are afforded some basic safeguards to dignity and respect . Debates can help all of us learn , they can also leave a lasting enemy . Building bridges , building walls . Your choice . Any change , even one keeping anonoymous has to be an improvement .

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/dec/20/letter-to-the-editor-help-reaffirm-traditional/

    in response to capsea:

    Kitsap county, gay rights hot bed of the nation? Or another cheap attempt by a po dunk news paper to get more page views. Is the paper for sale or something? How much do you get paid per page view by your online advertisers?

    There are plenty of redneck bigots in other communities too, but other community papers don’t exploit it for gain.

    Heidi was a PTA president , and spent hours volunteering for her school district and community . She supported kids , all kids , supported issues that all kids benefited from , including gay kids .

    I read your comments and wonder why you believe you do not have to subject yourself to the same criteria . I also wonder why the Sun allows sewer comments like yours , bullies to be allowed to comment here anonymously . You disparage people in our community who help and use their real names . You hide behind a computer . The very fact your changing laws with only the ability to use the word bigot or attempted intimidation shows your flaw , not Heidi’s . Many people can give a good argument for gay marriage , your not one of them .

    Read more: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/dec/20/letter-to-the-editor-help-reaffirm-traditional/#ixzz1hBrr4XNI

  27. Yes, I followed that story for awhile. But the blogger’s motives (she had gone to lengths to criticize this guy and sway the Google search results for his name rather than just report the story) and the fact that no reputable media picked up her findings made it pretty clear to me this wasn’t really “citizen journalism.”

    I know there may be hints about how non-professional journalists who blog or post online may be treated, but this woman’s motive and behavior kind of caused me to lose interest. I’m all for our state’s shield laws, however, and I think they should apply to bloggers who don’t work for print publications, as long as the tenants and ethics of journalism are still followed.

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