Saturday, October 13, 2007

On Comments

Every few months I do a version of this post. As we approach Election Day it seems I need a re-run:

1) I allow any comments that are not spam, and I allow you to post them without leaving your identity.

2) If I could require that you at least use a pseudonym, I would, but I can't, so I will simply ask nicely and encourage strongly: If you don't want to use your actual name/nickname, don't choose "anonymous" when leaving a comment. Choose "other," and make up a name. I don't care what the name is, it could be 'anon1' for all I care. When you post anonymously, people reply anonymously, and then you get comments like "I agree with anonymous that anonymous doesn't understand what anonymous is trying to say, but anonymous does have a point." Please don't start conversations like that here.

Special NOTE!! There is no known-to-me limit on what name can be chosen. It is always good to be suspicious of the contents of anonymous postings, you should also be cautious about assuming posts from individuals with real names are actually posted by the flesh-and-bone person with that name. For instance, if someone named "David Madison" posted a mayoral endorsement in the comments, you can pretty much assume it's an impostor.

3) For those who are inexperienced at internet forums (like comment threads in blogs), it is almost always better to leave the trolls/cranks/etc. alone. Do not engage. They don't care about reasoned debate, they care about pushing agendas and/or picking fights. You don't really want to help them. You will be tempted, and on occasion you will give into that temptation. Then you will remember why people keep giving you this advice.

I say this now in particular because there have been some sensationalist and rumor-mongering type hits on some of the candidates that have been left as comments on this blog. When I read a blog, and a post has only one comment, I sometimes read the comment. If it has 10 comments, I will definitely check out the comments. Taking on the cheap shots only tends to help the cheap shot artist.

If a campaign would like to respond to such a commenter, however, they can email me, and I'll try to get them front page space if they want it.

4) It should go without saying, but I don't endorse any comments, nor do I necessarily even like the presence of any particular comment, unless I specifically say that I do. I do like to encourage readers to comment and converse, so I take the bad with the good. A lot of good discussions have taken place in the comments here.

5) Finally, I would like to congratulate Bexley on the cleanliness of the campaign so far. I got an email from someone in another suburb who had created a brand new anonymous email account from a computer at their public library for the sole apparent purpose of mailing embarrassing legal records regarding a candidate out to bloggers. That's the sort of thing that leaves a grimy film on every one involved. I'm not a fan of some of the anonymous comments here at BB, but it's nothing compared to that kind of sliminess.

1 comment:

chefrb said...

I am a new reader of bluebexley and have been looking for a way to make a statement about the candidate I support for Mayor of Bexley. Instead of writing a letter to the editor of a local paper, I was hoping to make my statement on the Internet. I hope this is an acceptable forum to do so. And thank you for being open to comments!

I am supporting Bill Minckler for Mayor of Bexley. I first met Bill during the presidential election of 2004 when I volunteered with the group "Eastsiders for Kerry" which Bill organized and ran.

Throughout the last few weeks and on Election Day 2004, I saw Bill running a VERY organized volunteer effort. Even when people simply showed up at the door looking for some way to help with the Democratic campaign, Bill kept the efforts running smoothly and efficiently. And he was ALWAYS positive and upbeat. He is very effective at keeping people motivated and organized.

Since that time, I have remained in touch with Bill, and I continue to see a person who is highly organized, efficient, a good motivator, and always positive. I have not heard him make one negative comment about the mayoral race or any of the other mayoral candidates.

I believe Bill Minckler has the leadership skills necessary to organize and direct the efforts of City Council in a positive and productive manner. I like the fact that Bill Minckler has a business background rather than a politician's experience. I think Bill Minckler will be a very effective leader for Bexley.

And so I encourage all Bexley residents, especially those who lean "blue," to consider voting for Bill Minckler for Bexley's next mayor. Let's not divide the Democratic vote. Let's get behind one candidate who can move Bexley forward.

Thanks again for the opportunity to make a statement.