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In defense of anonymous

November 16th, 2011 by David Nelson

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

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80 Responses to “In defense of anonymous”

  1. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    Seems sort of silly to me. The idea – and Sound Publishing isn’t alone in it – being forced to join a social club, Facebook in this case, in order to post elsewhere makes as much sense as being forced to maintain an account in one bank in order to make payments from other banks. The subject bank holds all your cards.

    As David mentioned there are some anonymous posters I’ve found worthwhile to read no matter the subject whenever I spot their anon name.
    Others, using their own name don’t warrant a glance.
    Thank you… Shaorn

  2. Robin in Manette Says:

    It should be noted that you can still post at Sound publishing without a Facebook account, you’ll just have to send in a letter and have your identity confirmed. I think the thing that Sound publishing has failed to take into account is that people can easily create a pseudonym on Facebook, so requiring people to logon from Facebook is not the solution they think it is.

    I’m torn on this issue because my real name was posted by someone else in these forums and folks have taken overt measures to try and intimidate me, I’m guessing so that I won’t post. I considered going away, or creating a new account, but I refuse to be bullied.

    It may sound immature, but I’d like to see some of the turds around here come and face me man to man. Even though most of them think I’m a woman. heheheh….

  3. James M. Olsen Says:

    David Nelson is being cagey about the extent of his Sun blog problems. I have called Nelson out for allowing bullying and intimidation on his site. Nelson knows he does not have a cap on the Sun blog problems. Check out the 2% of the people who post under their full names.

    Notwithstanding Nelson’s contention, he does gain financially by the additional traffic to the blogs that translates to $$$$$ by ad rates.

    Sun blogs have frequently been a cesspool. Shame, shame.

  4. marvin Says:

    The fact is, posting with your real name can get you in a whole lot of trouble. I once had a blog where I expresssed my views. I didn’t advertise or tell anyone, but one of my co-workers discovered it and took offense that my political beliefs were not equal to his. He was quite a fan of free speech, but what he actually meant was that it was great if you agreed with him, not so great if you did not. Overnight I went from being a ‘good guy’ to being a ‘bad guy,’ which affected my work and personal relationships.

    In other words, this can affect someone’s employment and livlihood. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. I was basically forced to change my behavior to be more politically correct or put myself at financial risk.

  5. David Nelson Says:

    Jim,
    I’ve never claimed to have a handle on all the problems that comment threads bring to our site, and I admit there are headaches that we deal with.

    What I believe is that forcing everyone to use their identity, whether through Facebook or otherwise, isn’t a silver bullet to fostering a great community discussion. You personally know the folks that you sparred with on our site, and that didn’t end matters one bit or keep any of you from taking cheap shots. My contention, which I wrote about earlier this year, is that comment threads improve when our reporters and editors participate in the discussions, and when we remove comments or ban users who abuse our guidelines.

    -David

  6. Robin in Manette Says:

    Marvin has a point. I run a small business and risk alienating my customers if they don’t agree with my political position. When I worked for the corporation I know folks who were fired for posting about the company on a public forum.

    But I’m encouraged by the fact that many people approach me in real life and comment that they read my posts and applaud my stand. I’ve come to the conclusion that if a customer of mine stops doing business with me because of my position on a subject here, then I didn’t really need them as a customer anyway. But that’s one thing for me, I have my own business. What about the poor guy who has to work for someone else?

    I used to work at a company where the owner required me to put political signs on my company vehicle I drove around. I always pulled over once I was out of the parking lot and removed the signs.

    I think David has a tough job, and I actually applaud the Suns, mostly “hands off” approach. Bottom line, there is no simple answer. What we need is more decent people to step up and drown out the turds.

  7. James M. Olsen Says:

    James M. Olsen David Nelson, Editor– you’re wrong. Totally. And there is a silver $$$ lining to your running up the count on your website. That is a fact. Time will force you to mend your ways. I and would assume my comment to your opinion stands. We wouldn’t want censorship, would we? And as an experiment, demand people who weigh in on this issue use their real names for a refreshing change. “Anonymity” is a cute concept but it is the equivalent of Occupy Wall Street as a wholesome endeavor.
    Again my challenge: comments to this thread should use their real name and not their avatar.

  8. Robin in Manette Says:

    Mr. Olsen, you seem to have one of the worst reputations of anyone around here. Other posters seem to think you have a whole stable of sock puppets. I just try to avoid you. Get off your high horse, you’re part of the problem.

    That being said, I recognize that many people may feel the same way about me. I’m willing to admit that I say things in an attempt to shock people and illicit an emotional response. By definition I’m “trolling”.

    I would use my real name, but I’ve already become the victim of mail fraud and harassment when my real name was posted in these forums. Someone went so far as to call my house and leave offensive messages. I have a wife and two teenage daughters, I have to think about their safety.

    All that taken into consideration, I’m still here with my two cents!

    Robin Henderson

  9. James M. Olsen Says:

    Robin Henderson — ad hominem does not suit you, Robin Henderson. Your accusations are wrong and telling. Deal with the issue at hand and not strike out being defensive about your reasons for anonymity. I am not the editor, that is David Nelson. I use my name and not a handle. Do you also write letters to the editor under a phony name because you are afraid of mail fraud?

  10. Robin in Manette Says:

    Sorry Jimbo, I’ve got better things to do than waste my time on you.

  11. James M. Olsen Says:

    Robin Henderson in Manette. Thank you making my point so brilliantly. Try using your real name all the time and not only when it is self-serving – try it, you will like it and others will respect you more
    .

  12. Ducttapeo1 Says:

    Lary is absolutely brilliant at playing the victim. Lary, along with a few other people, do not like being judged in the comments section.

    In my current case, I’ve got a lady that constantly complains about anonymous comments. Sure, I admit it, I make smug comments about local officials, their conduct, and Code 911 subject matter.

    The legally cited drunk mayor of Port Orchard reminds me of Mr. Bill and someone looking for a conspiracy.

    Because that is what I’m supposed to be according to some comments on kitsapsun.com and the Sound Publishing sites. I don’t post to any Sound Publishing site. I don’t like drunks, and I expect public officials to act as responsible stewards. I call it the way I see it.

    People that get drunk, do this: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2008/may/16/website-comment-doesnt-justify-protection-order/

    and then the newspaper prints this: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2010/apr/30/man-accused-of-m*sturbating-in-his-car/ (replace *, an a)

    Well that just sets the bar for an intelligent discussion, doesn’t it?

  13. Mick Sheldon Says:

    Excellent decision by the Sound Publishing Paper.

    There was a forum here not too long ago and addressing this problem . I did not see any changes by the Sun because of it .

    The cess pool is correct in speaking to the bloggers on the Sun pages . I have seen some go outward and harass people On Facebook .

    Recently Jan Angel had a blogger harass her account , used ad homiem attacks to address politicians and those who supported certain politicians .He became so abusive people to block his comments . He was doing what he did on the Sun , aligning those within the political view points that may often identify with republican or conservative views in such mocking references of bigoted , ignorant , as just recently here some of the same people who recently mocked those views in an article with comments speaking to Jesus watching others have sex and so on . Just comments that have no basis for community newspapers blog . The person I am making a point about was a known abusive political blogger. This blogger went to the Independent paper and became the victim . He can instantly switch demeanors . It’s a miracle I guess. Jan Angel was actually called up by the paper, the rest of blocked the guy He felt his rights were violated because people did not want to hear their creditability and personal views aligned with hateful analogies. The Sun’s creditability is taking precedence over everyone else is my point .

    This specific blogger had come to the Sun with a few other bloggers from an organization for political gain . He has since had his comments removed totally . But not before he had followed me to my facebook account , harassed me , and then used information and started to use my friend list . He thus started to align myself with every politician I had as a friend . He did this vile and comments reflecting my bigotry etc etc . The creditability you claim the paper is concerned about sounds shallow David because of the response and lack of action action from ms Dice in this corresponding issue .. She told me she was keeping an eye on me ? For what ? Civility ????? Plus your total lack of response when I made the situation known to you . , What creditability are you speaking to ? If she was my employee she would have reprimanded for her snarky response to myself and her threat of keeping an eye on me . I was concerned about a nut harrassing my page , sending comments to me . She is watching me ? For civility , because I usually take the right of center side ? I go to church ? Your losing that creditability debate from the majority I have talked outside the Sun blogs at forums and other on line connections . At least from a business sense I do not understand your lack of attempting to improve your system you have .

    We need a community newspaper , your in actions stops this from being one . Which is a shame , we need one as a community . Actually because I really do not think the paper has ever been better in being neutral and getting out the news . But baggage the Sun has .

    Perhaps these kinds of statements found on the Sun’s bloggs are just flippant remarks in the circles many live in , but to the greater community , those concerned regardless of political beliefs religious or non religious, who want to speak to issues like the homeless, people who can not find jobs , lower or higher taxes , etc. , comments mocking religion , race, sexual orientation , mental stability , and making those comments personal to others in a negative manner because of political beliefs is the reason your creditability of the Sun is just sounding so empty . Are you that desentized David to appropriate public discourse ? Would you allow a 14 year old read these blogs , a 16 ? Just when is the age we start explaining to the next generation that this is par for the course ? You really want to leave the discourse smuttier and more vile then the way your generation found it David ?

    It deserves more concern from you then only speaking to the issue when your creditability is under fire . I suggest read the blogs from your paper , most any person regardless of political belief have their creditability far more challenged .
    This is still common on the Sun’s pages .As Ms. Dice apologized for her starky remark . In fact never even followed up on the story

    Your missing out of what I believe is a great awakening for this nation . The recent demonstartions show the very least awareness. the Tea Party movement showed at least the same thing . The majority of us see many good pints from both sides , or at least want to work on the problems . Not attack the messengers any longer . Just went to a forum this afternoon on the Homeless. It had all the usual supporters and the perspective they share . But it had something else , a new aspect of the community that showed up to help , those who may not align politically or even on what ideas they feel most passioned about to help .

    But the main thing was to help , the main thing was make things better for all of us , because we are a us . We had name tags on .

    Keep your creditability .

    297-2040

  14. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    “Are you that desentized David to appropriate public discourse ? Would you allow a 14 year old read these blogs , a 16 ? Just when is the age we start explaining to the next generation that this is par for the course ? You really want to leave the discourse smuttier and more vile then the way your generation found it David ?”

    I just realized you have to be joking! When I rode the school bus as a child, I never once witnessed or took part in a sexual act on the school bus, nor held the camera filming it as happened here recently. Talking with my grandkids I’ve learned such behavior is nothing new in the schools or buses. .
    You don’t call such behavior smut and vile for children? Is the Kitsap Sun to blame for it?

  15. heybooboo Says:

    Not everyone stays anonymous for cowardly or nefarious reasons….

    I am not a member of Facebook and refuse to join it. I don’t like the way Internet sites are consolidating personal information about people and then reselling it (or forcing people to hire other websites to monitor and clean up the information). That is the main reason that I prefer to stay anonymous. Facebook is part of that whole consolidation process.

    This is sad that Kitsap Sun will require people to join Facebook in order to comment. I see no benefit to joining Facebook–all I see are disadvantages.

  16. Jeff Says:

    I believe that using Facebook is not a good thing. If anyone has taken the time to read their legal notice, you will find that anything you post on a Facebook website whether it is comment, picture, or even some personal poetry that it becomes the property of Facebook. By posting it on Facebook you are giving them permission to use it. Even as stated before, there is nothing stopping a person from using false names or information.

    As to staying anonymous, I feel it should be allowed for this gives someone the ability to say something without fear of retribution. This retribution would include items already mentioned by others, but could easily affect their current employment or future employment. It could even affect someone being picked for jury duty.

    I feel the Kitsap Sun staff does a pretty good job monitoring the blogs. To force people into Facebook will not solve any issues and only cause some to drop out of the blogs that have brought constructive comments. Let these social sites remain being a social place for people to visit. The Kitsap Sun doesn’t need to be part of Facebook.

  17. Mick Sheldon Says:

    I recall telling my daughter she could not watch a movie when she just in First Grade . The movie had swearing and some gratitious sex and violence .

    Her reply ….” DAD I ride the school bus for crying out loud ”

    But i do recall volunteering as a chaperone , and having my home opened to kids in my home for own children to have over . And yes I would not alow any one to verbally berate another , bully or attemt to intimidate another human being .

    Also the paper does not allow that to happen on its written editorial page . You have to explain to us the need to be able to “allow” people to mock their religion , language , abilty to read , comprehenson , sexual identity , and the other smut the flame throwers use to intimidate debate and exchange of ideas . Saharon defending the Sun to allow it is fine , it does not mean you are saying the nastiness, it means you are defending that nastiness to be the prevailing method of exchange as it has become . So be it , I guess to you that is joke . i don’t get it , but laugh I guess.

    And obviously David thought it was at least important to pay ip service to it because he has wrote about it before , went to a forum , but then the paper did NOTHING .

    This is the Suns forum , its their paid for domain . they can run it and allow as much smut as they want . They can require registration with names , or no registration at all . The Sun is not at all to blame for behavior that is vile . But the comments by Dave spoke to creditability , allowing it on his blog or to be allowed in your own home , to me and most people who value civility as an important factor in supporting healthy communities is not something he seems interested in .

  18. Robin in Manette Says:

    #Ducttapeo1, I was not a big fan of Mr. Coppola. He seems like a classic smug conservative. But I have a good friend who asked me to take a second look. People often think that I’m a smug liberal, so I guess I can relate. I read some of Lary’s stuff and took a look at the job he was doing as Mayor. Port Orchard is running pretty smoothly and I think he deserves to keep the job based on his performance. Sometimes you need to put personal feelings aside in the interest of doing the right thing. If we limit public servants to people who’ve never made a mistake we might find ourselves having to elect coma victims.

  19. Robin in Manette Says:

    Blaming David for the problem is silly. Sound Publishing’s solution is flawed and will just result in fake Facebook accounts and more sock puppets. Mick mentioned being able to block other posters on another forum, I wonder if Facebook would allow us to do that?

    We all have a certain way of presenting our ideas, some may be smarmy, stuffy, silly, or rude. Some things we say may not have been acceptable to our parents just as younger people say things we will find offensive. Look past the language and see the message. What makes us any better than folks using rude language if we are delivering the same accusatory message?

    “Is the Kitsap Sun to blame for it?” No, we are to blame.

    We need to respect all opinions of how it should work. Those of us who put ourselves out into the public discourse will face the fact that we may become victims of harassment. We should listen to what David has to say, this is a hobby (or obsession) for us, it’s his career. The solutions are not simple.

    I will once again offer my solution. Require folks who comment on articles to create an account using their real names. No need to check every request, but if the community challenges someone you could authenticate the account.

    But what about the folks who prefer to remain anonymous? Create a separate community forum that is not directly linked to individual articles. Daughter boards could be created for Local, National, Opinion, Sports, etc… People would use screen names and the various boards would have user moderators.

    Rather than forcing others to accept your values, why not accommodate everyone?

  20. Colleen Smidt Says:

    Pretty much every decision in regards to governing comments at the local news levels contains flaws. The Sun’s policy is not perfect either. However the reason that I support Sound Publishing’s (SP’s) decision (and it’s not just because they publish me) is that a community should have choices. Choices and variety on where and how they can participate on the same local issues.

    There are still free for all anything goes environments available, there are the slightly moderated, flag for removal environments like the Kitsap Sun engages in and now there is a choice for those that do enjoy having their comments linked to their social media sites.

    I was just posting with Robin yesterday (on a Bothell newspaper) about how SP’s decision now has their stories going places they would never have experienced before. I posted the link to the Editor of the Bothell Reporters editorial to his readers about the comment change and suddenly a larger geographical group of people were reading it and commenting.

    So for as many people who drop off for not liking it, it will now attract those that do and have been looking for a place to comment that does in fact provide such a service.

    And yes, I have also been targeted for using my real name. Just this past month a poster “Ilaheean” was removed for posting something personal about me and had done so to others in the past. Ok. So. I am in a position where my words, my picture and my name are out there every single week for the people to judge and to judge the publication the provides such a space for me week after week.

    Choices are a good thing for consumers. Competition via new ideas and services helps to keep the entire industry a little fresher and operating at a diverse level. People will judge what they want and select the service environment that fits them best.

    Colleen Smidt

  21. Colleen Smidt Says:

    Robin, you do bring up a good point on your post this morning on Discus.

    Part of the reason that SP is going to Facebook has to do with money and staff time. Discus charges for their service. So by switching to Facebook they are saving money.

    It really does come down to what we (consumers/community members) are willing to pay for what we (consumers/community members) want. When consumer community members choose to engage in a higher number of paid subscriptions, that can fund additional staff positions which in turn could then provide expanded, labor intensive, diverse services back to that same community. If posters choose to comment and not subscribe, well then they get what they pay for and have no platform from which to complain when services and or restrictions do not meet their desired requirements.

    Colleen

  22. Mick Sheldon Says:

    Boo Boo Facebook of course has its down falls also . So do using real names . I know a couple of people including myself who have shared stories of their personal lives being invaded and intimidation tactics because of using their real names . I don’t blame or even say anomoyous names have to be given up .

    The Sun did nothing here after the forum they wrote about for civility awareness. . There are ways one can block comments from individuals being seen at least from the blogger on Facebook , that is just an idea thatcould be implemented cause harrassers to go away wehn they realize their comments are not seen . Say i block you personally , yur comment would be made , but myself as an individual would not read it . The Sun then does not even make the decision , the individual would .

    A plege of anominity is another example that could be used , a pledge no content will be used outside the confines of the blog unless the author has given permission will use their comments outside the blog . This may even create better exchage . Go to Sally Santanas articles , you see her bombed with bloggers who have taken over the opinion in the Sun section regarding her religious views that have NOTHING to do with her views on helping those in need. I don’t even agree with Sally on many issues ,but mocking her religion makes no sense ? Why is it allowed .

    The Sun could set policy say of anomity in regrads to outside harrassing , its their blog . If someone violates , determine if it is rightfully a vilation , warn orblock the blogger.

    i have seen people who have had good ideas and made great excahnges become targets and do what is human nature and become the flame throwers themselves . When you insult your Mothers Army Boots as a means of making your exchange , people end up walking away or diggin in their heals and return fire , usually with one up to the other persons Wives Army pants .

    is very liberal and is a catholic who watches Bill Marr . I can not understand for the life of me why he does not find that guy just over the top , but he finds his humor funny . Ok agree to disagree . But have we gone to this point in culture where some basic mutual standard of not attatcking the personal beliefs , place of origin , educational background has not become the basis for civic exchange .

    You made a good point here , I did not have to acknoweledge it , but if I attacked your personal socio group , etc instead of addfressing the issue in my opinion sets a stage for a failed community resource.

    The sun does not have a community resource here , if they believe that is credible I disagree.

  23. David Nelson Says:

    @heybooboo –
    I think you read the blog post incorrectly; the Kitsap Sun will not be requiring anyone to sign in through Facebook. Just wanted to make that clear.

    @Mick –
    Thanks for the passionate response and I appreciate the feedback, but I’m still unclear on what your complaint is. If you really think our comment threads are causing you to be harassed, I’d suggest you no longer participate. Like I said, I appreciate the feedback and don’t mind criticism, but I’m also a little disappointed in some of your remarks because you are a regular and active member of those comment threads. If they are as disappointing as you claim, why still participate? Your frequent participation tells me we’re doing something right as far as fostering a community online, and the warts are something that comes with the territory.

    @Robin –
    We had generic discussion forums in the past (the distant past considering how much more involved people are than four years ago, I’ll admit) but they never generated anywhere near the interest as comment threads that follow stories.
    Also, the editor of the Ventura County Star played with a similar idea a year or two ago, posting a blank story each morning where folks could talk about anything under the sun. They found that people only used it until there was a new news story up, and then all the attention (and sometimes the same conversation or debate) moved over there. I don’t quite understand the psychology, but there’s something about the story format that attracts people.
    I do like your suggestion that accounts must be created with a real name, as long as the use of pseudonyms is still allowed (like the handle you prefer). That would preserve the anonymity that I think is acceptable, but allow us some check on when bullying, criminal or unethical behavior takes place (a politician on a thread posing as someone else, for example, or like the Bainbridge cop in yesterday’s story). The interesting part of that is that I’ve found most users do seem to register with a genuine name and email address, even those who I have to write later to explain why they’ve had comments removed.

  24. heybooboo Says:

    David, I’m confused regarding your comment to me. How is requiring logging in to Facebook before leaving a comment on Kitsap Sun not a requirement to join Facebook. Is Kitsap Sun not associated with Sound Publishing?

  25. David Nelson Says:

    No, we’re not associated with Sound Publishing. That’s why I wasn’t planning on writing about the change our competitor had announced. The Sun is part of the E.W. Scripps Company.

    -David

  26. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    “…i have seen people who have had good ideas and made great excahnges become targets and do what is human nature and become the flame throwers themselves ….”

    (Mick -Please show an example of what you are talking about)

    “When you insult your Mothers Army Boots as a means of making your exchange , people end up walking away or diggin in their heals and return fire , usually with one up to the other persons Wives Army pants .”

    (WHAT does “Mothers Army Boots” and “Wives Army pants” MEAN?)

  27. James M. Olsen Says:

    A quick tally of the percentage of “anonymous” comments comes from today Kitsap Sun article about alleged police misconduct on BI.

    Posts that have no identifiable name in the blog name was 46 out of 51. Posts that have what appears to be a real name was 5 our of 51. No way to know if the names are real. Some of the posters who did not have an identifiable name did list a name at the end of the post. This is not the common protocol with Sun bloggers. Of the 51 posted comments there were 4 censored posts and a few that appeared to have disappeared. I think the use of names at the end of the post are in part due to this “anonymous” discussion.

  28. heybooboo Says:

    David, thanks for the clarification. I’m glad that Kitsap Sun isn’t requiring FaceBook accounts to post right now.

  29. Mick Sheldon Says:

    David because the atomsphere is sewer like , would you give up on attemting to make this community better ? I am no King , but because he faced the most vile of confrontations in the community he was a member of , do you question his attemt to make the community the better place ? Interesting perspective you share .

    Perhaps its because I am Irish , but yes i ahve walked away from bullies many a times because ofintimidation . Not proud of it always , sometimes perhaps it was just god judgement .

    My frequent particpation is because of the format you allow , just as this country allows a freedom to particpate does not mean Dc is doing something right in how it is handling partsian politics.

    Right now your the only central forum available . You choose to credit yourself with doing something right . I beg to differ.

    At one time the only public forums allowed were segrated and discriminated against those same socio groups used in the Sun’s blogs to harass others . many particpated in order to make change , not because that forum was doing something right .

  30. Mick Sheldon Says:

    (Mick -Please show an example of what you are talking about)

    Hi Sharon I am alittle surprised to your question . Because I have knowm many people who have shown disgust by the intercahnge from both political points of view. In fact I was asked to be a moderator from those on the side of the political spectrum and have received private notes thanking me for my attemts to promote civility . And I have lost my better Angels myself .

    Sharon perhaps that is the problem . I can see what I consider name calling and someone else just sees it as lively interchange . But just an example of perhaps not real nasty comments , but just the normal interchange of the blogs on the Sun .

    I can understand why you would disparage Sally for presenting an ignorant portrayal of reality

    Sally writing about faith is akin to someone with a mental disability writing about mental health: Sure, they will have some interesting insights but they can hardly be relied upon to provide a complete understanding of the topic.

    I find this definition of indoctrination acceptable, and I am against the religious indoctrination of children. I would however, like to thank a couple of the older Catholic girls in my childhood neighborhood for taking the time and effort to assist in my education.

    Thanks koilee, I glad to know that we have your support in advocating for children’s right not to be inculcated with nonsense.I don’t recall knowing any Catholic girls growing up.It must have been exciting knowing that Jesus was watching.

    ” Describing our elected officials …

    That tells it all. The voters would elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad if he were to run as a Democrat for the Legislature over any Republican candidate.It also explains how we’re still stuck with the likes of Jim McDermott, Jay Inslee, and the “Dimmest Bulb” in the Senate, Patty Murray at the national level.

    ‘And the incredible amount of these quotes found on about 10 of the most consistent posters” The same ones .

    This comment was removed by the site staff.)

  31. Jerry Harless Says:

    I make it a personal policy to post only under my own name regardless of what The SUN allows. It certainly has a self-editing effect and deters me from saying things I might be embarrassed or ashamed of later.

    I don’t feel strongly enough about it to lobby The SUN to change their policy, but 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.

  32. Robin in Manette Says:

    Mick, To be honest I have a hard time figuring out what you are trying to say sometimes. Are each of those paragraphs a quote form someone else? If so, why not place them in quotation marks along with the authors name? I was going to say I thought your comments were rude until I figured that they must be quotes from someone else…

    I’m not trying to be rude, but please make an attempt at brevity and clarity in your posts, because I am interested in what you have to say.

  33. Mick Sheldon Says:

    Thanks Robin , yes they were comments from others. But glad to see you thought they were rude. The problem in these situations I believe we often circle our idealogical wagons and see the other sides rudness and sort of over look our own . Like you the older I get I see more ane more the idea rather then the source or my own prejudice as having importance .

    My English is terrible , I make excuses for myself with dylexia, ADD and any ddd learning dsability out there . In my day and age we were put into the third reading group. Still skip sentecnes sometimes when reading , But have to say either through perseverance or maturity of some sorts I have become quite the reader in my senior years . So actually I most likely am more guilty of laziness in many of my typos . If I had the command of the english language like some of the bloggers that use it to attemt to destroy anothers personal identy , I be more inclined to use it to make my point Is the jest of my concern here .

  34. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    “…I can understand why you would disparage Sally for presenting an ignorant portrayal of reality

    Sally writing about faith is akin to someone with a mental disability writing about mental health: Sure, they will have some interesting insights but they can hardly be relied upon to provide a complete understanding of the topic.”

    Disparage Sally? The reality is she is working for a cause. Are you unaware of plain speaking Mick? Asking an honest question when the comment is not understood?

    You, sir, refused to answer my questions to you. I respected you enough to bother asking what you mean – I wanted examples of what you mean and you ignore it and blather on further about God knows what.
    Be well… Sharon

  35. Mick Sheldon Says:

    Mick mentioned being able to block other posters on another forum, I wonder if Facebook would allow us to do that?

    Robin Facebook does do that . Say I was blogging on Collens page , and you had no desire to hear from me . All my psots would be able to be seen on Collens page , but because you blocked me you yourself would not be able to see me . We used this on a blogger that was harassing jan Angel , it got the guy so ticked he went to the Independant and attemted to re arrange the context of what happened , turned it into censorship , actually we just all blocked him and could not read what he was saying . Except those who just ignored his posts or refused to answer him .

    Which I guess is the Sun’s preference , just ignore the incivility .
    But my view is the in civility ends up taking over the total conversation more often then not.

  36. Mick Sheldon Says:

    Sharon those comments you objected to were from other bloggers. No me . I was deending Sallys religious column from being atatcked because of her Faith .

    http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/oct/22/sally-santana-dont-let-your-reality-override/

    Go to this and see how her column is taken over by a couple of bloggers who if you read the Suns blogs are often accused of being one and the same . There was never a chance of speaking to the subject matter Sally brought forth , a religious column was mocked because in fact it was a religious column .

    So what you call blathering of mine were example of others comments that you had asked for . I call them incivil and vile , you call them blathering . I suggest you proved we are on the same page more then you think . ;0)

  37. Mick Sheldon Says:

    “My comments are only the ones with quotation marks . I try to make bold the comments of the examples of other bloggers I gave you , the blathering as you call it “.

    I can understand why you would disparage Sally for presenting an ignorant portrayal of reality

    Sally writing about faith is akin to someone with a mental disability writing about mental health: Sure, they will have some interesting insights but they can hardly be relied upon to provide a complete understanding of the topic.

    I find this definition of indoctrination acceptable, and I am against the religious indoctrination of children. I would however, like to thank a couple of the older Catholic girls in my childhood neighborhood for taking the time and effort to assist in my education.

    Thanks koilee, I glad to know that we have your support in advocating for children’s right not to be inculcated with nonsense.I don’t recall knowing any Catholic girls growing up.It must have been exciting knowing that Jesus was watching.

    ” Describing our elected officials “…

    That tells it all. The voters would elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad if he were to run as a Democrat for the Legislature over any Republican candidate.It also explains how we’re still stuck with the likes of Jim McDermott, Jay Inslee, and the “Dimmest Bulb” in the Senate, Patty Murray at the national level.

    “‘And the incredible amount of these quotes found on about 10 of the most consistent posters” The same ones . The same derogatory remarks that take over the blogging conversations , removed sometimes , but there always long enough to take over the conversation.”

    This comment was removed by the site staff

  38. Jane_Rebelowski Says:

    I must say I fully agree with Mick. Although I do not belong to any organized religion I shudder when there is an article available to comment on regarding religion. The Sun allowed an especially horrid thread regarding an attempted suicide in the past week that deserves a special place of “honor” (sarcasm intended) in community discourse. Someone dies before their natural time, free for all of hateful comments. Sorry David, by never in-acting real changes as a result of your much touted discussion of anonymous comments, your credibility is limited.

  39. Robin in Manette Says:

    Mick, are you diagnosed dyslexic? I’ve been lucky, an avid reader since early grade school and the English language has come fairly easy for me. I have a cousin who struggled with Dyslexia, so I can relate a little.

    I only have a high school education and learned more about the English language from my Spanish teacher than I ever did in English classes. But I credit two things for whatever skill I may have in crafting a paragraph.

    1) years of avid reading.

    2) years of avid posting on forums. ;-)

    I was a regular in several usenet groups from the mid 90′s on. Usenet was an unmoderated anonymous forum. It was anything goes, and if you think it gets vicious around here, you should have seen usenet. I learned early on how to duke it out with my words.

    Others may not see me the way I see myself, but I try to be the champion of the bullied. In the process some may see me as a bully. But when I see someone treating another rude or disrespectful, I tend to respond in kind. I’ve been trying to tone that down a bit. One thing I’ve been doing is to think of the other posters as someone I might know personally rather than some anonymous turd I just want to squash.

    All of us who post in these forums are attention whores. We all get a thrill out of seeing our words in print, and an even bigger thrill when we get a reaction from someone else. Not everyone has something interesting to say, so some will resort to offensive statements just to get that adrenaline rush when someone responds.

    I’m torn on this whole anonymity issue. On one hand I see how using a real name may limit some and scare others. But I also think that using real names would encourage us to treat each other like neighbors instead of adversaries.

    Let’s keep talking about it and maybe working together we can make a difference around here?

    I’m still looking forward to meeting you in person. Do you ever attend any local social or community events?

    Robin

  40. Robin in Manette Says:

    Also, I know that Facebook allows you to block other people, but will that feature transfer to Sound Publishing’s forum? That was the one thing you could do on usenet, thus my reference to my “plonk” list. Ignoring the trolls is the best course of action. When no one pays attention, they don’t get the rush and just wither up and go away. Or they clean up their act to the point where people will pay attention to them again. It is a way to punish poor behavior and reward good through peer pressure.

    David, what are the chances you could add that feature to your forums?

    Another fun trick we used was to rate troll posts. When someone came on with a nasty comment, rather than respond, we’d all just give it a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 for how nasty it was. You may have seen me respond to someone by telling them their post was Lame-O or giving it a score of .05 hehehe

  41. Dave Dahlke Says:

    When it becomes a requirement to join facebook to blog then I’ll no longer be blogging. I’m sure that will disappoint a lot of people. :)

  42. Mick Sheldon Says:

    Thanks Robin

    Not sure Robin honestly if I was ever diagonsed . When I was in grade school the school suggested an eye doctor . I went and remember being told I had “un coordinated eyes”. This would be the early 60s . I remember doing eye exercises such as poking a golf ball on a string hanging from our living room ceiling . When I write I have always put letters out of order.

    I think part of it is my just giving up at an early age because everything became so hard to do . Use to have re read paragraphs all the time because I would skip a line . I think I use to think I was just lame and never realized I was not even reading the whole text . If the text you skip does not instantly make you realize you skipped a line , you just never receive some of the information that is important to the whole theme . Important in schooling .

    Just got glasses two years ago because I noticed I could not see things close up like I use to ,, the eye doctor told me I should not wait another 50 years before I see an eye doctor .

    That’s why I say I think I am more lazy now , because if I really try I can can get it right with all the word processing tools available to day . If it was not for my love of American History and Marvel Comics , I don’t think I would have ever read except for required school reading .

    I got a Kindle now . I am a dangerous .

  43. Robin in Manette Says:

    Well I’ve read a ton of stuff. But my weakness is my love of pulp fantasy and sci-fi novels. Really good sci-fi novels often involve complicated social and political issues. Probably where I developed much of my idealism. I’ve recently come to enjoy military history, especially when I can read about some of my family members and ancestors. Glad to hear you are sticking with it. I’ve resisted the urge to buy a kindle, I still prefer the feel of a book in my hands.

  44. Mick Sheldon Says:

    I once in a while attend community forums . I just attended the Homeless Forum held Wed , Senator Rolfes spoke , then reps from various governmental and non profit organizations spoke in regard to those possibly being cut off from government support because of the budget . Kitsap mental Health , DSHS , Oasis which helps homeless kids , etc . Then we broke down into separate groups and did some brain storming . One of the better forums I have been to because of the diverse represntation there and the unity in spirit that was just trying to help the folks out who needed help . Regardless if you were big government or small government mind sets .

    I show up at other events too , but not involved in the GOP like I use to be so I tend to go to the non political forums these days . Volunteer with my school district still . Am on the Equit committee helping to promote a safe learning envirnoment for ALL kids, and I belong to a mentoring organization and Mento At Risk kids . Just the average right wing extremist trying to make sure our water and air is dirty and corporate America takes everything we have .

    Ha , your a good man , who would have thunk it . ;0)

  45. Robin in Manette Says:

    I got the impression you might hang out with Colleen on an occasion? I was at Greg Wheeler’s district 3 meeting Tuesday night with Colleen. I like to try and catch the Monthly GreenDrinks event, have you ever been to one? I’ve been trying to hang out with some of my conservative friends in an effort to see where we might meet in the middle and get our country out of the mess it’s in.

  46. Mick Sheldon Says:

    I never met Colleen .I do enjoy her posts and her clear thinking . She also doeas not let her own views stop her from listening and at times agreeing with others . I really am tired of if you disagree you there fore are based in ignorance etc etc .

    I am out of the loop on the Green Drinks Event .

  47. Colleen Smidt Says:

    Mick, Robin has a good point, you and I do need to meet in person one of these days;-) We have been talking to one another on the blogs for years.

    I am still kicking around that idea, I fronted to you Robin about forming a citizen driven bi-partisan diverse group of individuals willing to build on common ground before the 2012 elections, to vet candidates/issues and then provide community driven for and/or against statements about the candidates and issues for the rest of the voters to use to make up their own mind. Mick was actually one of the people I was going to ask to participate. Mick, I will get you my contact information via our facebook link so we can talk about it more.

  48. James M. Olsen Says:

    A rhetorical trick is to set up a straw man and then knock it down. To some extent David Nelson is engaged in strawman because he doesn’t really lay out what the alternative is to the Sun’s anonymous blog protocol. Give this a read to see what the alternative could be. This is Sound Publishing FAQ from http://www.nothkitsapherald.com. Very interesting.

    Facebook Comments: Frequently Asked Questions
    Online commenting offers our readers a vibrant and popular forum for discussion of local issues. With the freedom to comment comes the responsibility to treat other forum participants with respect – and to take responsibility for your own words.

    To promote the best qualities of reader comments and weed out the worst, we are moving to Facebook’s comment system for all Sound Publishing websites (which serve more than 30 communities around Puget Sound). While not every reader has a Facebook account, at present it is the most widely used social media platform – more than 800 million users worldwide – and integration with its platform will promote integrity and decorum in our comment forums.

    Why? Facebook commenting encourages and rewards real identity, which we believe is essential to thoughtful community discourse. Anonymous and mean-spirited comments – which put off many readers and hurt forum participation – are dissuaded and curtailed. Because our goal is honest disclosure of commenter identity, our editors are authorized to block comments from any reader who tries to circumvent the rules, regardless of the nature (positive or negative) of their comments or contributions to the forum.

    We are not alone in moving to Facebook’s platform for comment moderation. News sites with full or partial rollout of Facebook commenting include http://www.SeattlePI.com, http://www.LATimes.com, The Columbian (Vancover, Wash.), Gannett newspapers, Media General news properties, and American City Business Journals, among others. Sound Publishing is proud to be in this vanguard, and we believe it will contribute to open, honest and positive discourse for readers – good for both our news sites and our communities.

    Why do I have to use Facebook?
    The Facebook commenting interface is easy to navigate and already popular. Americans spend more time on Facebook than they do any other U.S. website, according to a 2011 Social Media report by Nielsen. Overall, our goal is to provide a higher quality of more relevant comments for our readers.

    Do the same community commenting rules still apply?
    Yes, the rules are mostly unchanged. We have added a provision that people commenting under false or assumed identities will be reported to Facebook for violating their Terms of Service and will be blocked from commenting on our site. Overall, our goal is to provide a higher quality of more relevant comments for our readers.

    Does everyone see my comment?
    Yes, the comment you provide on our website will be seen by any visitor to our site. When you submit a comment, it will also appear on Facebook if you leave the “Post to Facebook” box checked.

    Will people be able to view my Facebook timeline if I post a comment?
    Yes, but what they see is determined by your Facebook privacy settings. Those settings allow you to decide how much information you want to share.

    Do you store my Facebook password?
    No, we do not have access to any user information. Facebook controls all log-in and comment-storage activities.

    What if I want to share an important news tip with you, but keep my name out of it?
    We invite news tips and treat them confidentially. If you have information to share, you can always reach our editors and reporters by email or phone. Our contact information is listed on the Contact Us page.

    Do I need to turn on Cookies in my browser?
    In order to log into Facebook, you’ll need to allow third-party cookies on that site, as they store your unique session.

    I really don’t like Facebook and don’t want to use it just to be able to comment.
    Please know that we weighed many variables when making the decision to change our commenting system, including the possibility that some of our readers do not have Facebook accounts. We are not trying to exclude anyone from participating. Our aim is to provide a forum that encourages the highest quality of relevant comments for all of our readers, and the Facebook commenting tool has proven to be an excellent vehicle to achieve that.

    I have concerns about privacy when using Facebook.
    Recently Facebook has implemented several additional privacy options that allow users to control who sees their status updates, their photos, etc. It is possible to set up an account that has minimal personal information about you that allows you to comment at our site.

    How do I change my Facebook privacy settings?
    Facebook has an in-depth page devoted to this topic.

    Why does my Facebook profile picture and name appear on the comments page when I haven’t posted a comment?
    If you’re signed into Facebook.com, you will be able to see your information, but it is not visible to anyone else until your comment is published.

    How does the Facebook Comments Plugin work?
    Facebook has a helpful FAQ that outlines how their plugins work with your profile.

    How do I report an inappropriate or abusive comment?
    Click the “X” in the upper right corner of the comment. Choose one of the options to report a comment as spam or abuse. This information is then sent to Facebook.

    How do I report a fake Facebook account?
    It’s against Facebook’s terms of service to provide false personal information on a Facebook account. You may report a fake account by clicking on the user’s name or picture, then clicking “Report/ Block this person” at the bottom left of the page.

    Why can’t I see the comments?
    Comments on our site are public. That means anyone can see the comments, even without a Facebook account, as long as the Facebook application is not blocked by their server — a common practice by government agencies and some private employers. If you can’t see the comments, ask your IT department if it blocks Facebook.

    What will happen to the old comments?
    Comment threads from stories prior to the switch to Facebook comments will be viewable but we will no longer accept new comments on those stories.

  49. Robin in Manette Says:

    Colleen, I think it would be the single greatest thing that we could do for our community. I’m on board, let’s get it rolling. I think the three of us (five w/Robert and Todd) should consider attending the next Green Drinks event. It would be a great way for you two to meet some of our more active liberals. You might be surprised how much we have in common.

    http://www.greendrinks.org/WA/Bremerton

    I attend both Green Drinks and Drinking Liberally events locally. They have a liberal theme but we welcome all people not just liberals. The October Green Drinks event was held in Manette and called “Bite of Manette”. It was at the Manette Saloon also sponsored by the Boatshed, Kate’s, Der Bloken, and La Fermatta. There was a $10 cover, amenities included wine and beer tasting and lovely snacks from the various sponsors. Patty Lent was the guest speaker, I enjoyed her talk about what “Green” means to her. She said Green means sustainable locally owned small business. I like that message! The event drew nearly a 100 people.

    Sign up on facebook to get invites to their events. We just missed their November meeting at El Torro lounge, it was held at the same time as Greg’s meeting this past Tuesday.

    http://www.facebook.com/bremertongreendrinks

  50. EndersMom Says:

    There is a similar conversation going on at the Bainbridge Review’s website. Unfortunately, they don’t have the b*lls to stand up to the lunatic fringe screaming for total disclosure. Thank you, David Nelson, for seeing the double edged sword to this problem.

    John Haydon, one of Jim Olsen’s perceived “haters” posted the following:

    On April 3, 2010 (before he was banned from posting), BainbridgeClearCut, aka, James Olsen, writes: “—- ——— stop with the sactimonious line of reasoning regarding people who use handles on this site or any other site….people can post using their name, a nomme d’ guerre or whatever. You can judge what they say by what they say. Most comments are posted using handles and I assume that is for a complex of reasons. Lecturing about what name you use is just more nanny-state meddling.”
    End quote

    Jim wants everything HIS way or NO WAY and anyone who disagrees is labelled a “bully” out to get him. No, some people just like TRUTH. No matter how negative, tho, Olsen really likes the attention, and I have just consciously fed the troll. My bad.

    -Ali Perry (NOT Rear-Ender, as Olsen has mocked in the past – oooh so funny. What? Are you twelve years old and going to Sakai? Oops. No. There’s a restraining order against you going on the Sakai grounds.

  51. James M. Olsen Says:

    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.

  52. S2B Says:

    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.

  53. David Nelson Says:

    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.”

  54. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    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.

  55. Jane_Rebelowski Says:

    @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.

  56. James M. Olsen Says:

    David ~~”balls” thing was a Tea Bag illusion — off color and inappropriate. My, oh, my.

  57. Registered Voter Says:

    “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.

  58. Registered Voter Says:

    “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.

  59. S2B Says:

    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.

  60. EndersMom Says:

    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

  61. Mick Sheldon Says:

    @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 ?

  62. Mick Sheldon Says:

    @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 .

  63. Colleen Smidt Says:

    @ 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

  64. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    “@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.

  65. Mick Sheldon Says:

    “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.

  66. Mick Sheldon Says:

    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 .

  67. Sharon O'Hara Says:

    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.

  68. Mick Sheldon Says:

    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 .

  69. John Haydon Says:

    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.

  70. John Haydon Says:

    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.

  71. EndersMom Says:

    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

  72. Mick Sheldon Says:

    Thank you Ali ,

    Bless your heart . Your humility makes us all better .
    Been guilty of the same myself .

    Mick

  73. Registered Voter Says:

    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.

  74. Kathryn Simpson Says:

    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.

  75. anonymous Says:

    Mr. Nelson-

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

  76. Registered Voter Says:

    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.

  77. Ducttapeo1 Says:

    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.

  78. Mick Sheldon Says:

    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

  79. Colleen Smidt Says:

    David, have you been following this verdict?

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/12/22/bloggers-not-journalists/

    The ruling is not unexpected. Lines are clearly being drawn in the sand which is not necessarily a bad thing as far as I am concerned.

    Just wanted to see if you had a comment on it.

    Happy Holidays,
    Colleen

  80. David Nelson Says:

    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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