Local Blogs

Pressing Issues

By Gina Channell-Allen

E-mail Gina Channell-Allen

About this blog: I am President of Embarcadero Media's East Bay Division and the publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly, Dublin TriValley Views, San Ramon Express and Danville Express. As a 25-plus-year veteran of the media industry, I have experience...  (More)

View all posts from Gina Channell-Allen

Anonymity: Good for bringing issues to light or only a license to troll?

Uploaded: Dec 26, 2013
The lead from a recent Associated Press story caught my attention. The author, Barbara Ortutay, wrote, "Mix blatant bigotry with poor spelling. Add a dash of ALL CAPS. Top it off with a violent threat. And there you have it: A recipe for the worst of online comments, scourge of the Internet."

It was almost like Ortutay had been reading our Town Square forums.

The forums, which have been around for about seven years now, are supposed to be a venue for civilized conversations and a healthy exchange of ideas. That was the original intent, and it is a very good goal.

"Civilized" is not a word I would use to describe our forums; "conversations" is even a stretch. Some of the "ideas" brought forth are appalling, even for the most cynical of us. We have some online personalities who are addicted to posting, and posting the most inane - sometimes offensive - comments. All day, every day. I spent about an hour on Christmas Day monitoring the forums and removing comments.

Yes, Christmas Day.

While there are positive aspects to anonymous postings, far too many people see it as a license to spew forth hate and nonsense with impunity. Some organizations are trying to rein in the comments by forcing commenters to register. For example, YouTube now requires users to log into Google Plus to make a comment. Huffington Post is also taking steps to reduce homophobic, racist, hate-filled speech by employing moderators to sift through comments (even on Christmas Day). While it has always been mandatory for users to register before commenting on HuffPo, they are now requiring that registrants provide an email address.

I know for a fact that when we take away complete and total anonymity by restricting posting to only registered users on our Town Square forums, the number of posts I would not repeat in public or allow my daughter to read decreases substantially. A registered user can still use a "handle" instead of his or her real name, so other users won't necessarily know exactly who the comment is from. However, just the fact that there is some link between that post and an email address that staff members can see is enough to keep most comments mostly civil.

Some statistics Ortutay used in her AP story show a wave of change in how newspapers are handling comments. Many have stopped allowing anonymous posts. Ortutay wrote, "Of the largest 137 U.S. newspapers - those with daily circulation above 50,000 - nearly 49 percent ban anonymous commenting, according to Arthur Santana, assistant communications professor at the University of Houston. Nearly 42 percent allow anonymity, while 9 percent do not have comments at all."

The advantages of anonymity include the ability to speak out on topics and bring issues to the public without repercussions. The major disadvantage, in my humble opinion, is that anonymity gives some people with too much time on their hands a license to troll. And these trolls post hate-filled and / or stupid comments that make people afraid to post and require a lot of time for staff members to moderate.

What do you think? Do the advantages of anonymity outweigh the disadvantages?

Comments

Posted by sl, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 27, 2013 at 8:14 am

This is a very important area to say the least. I know there are ugly vitriolic comments that quite frankly most of us just dismiss with a shake of the head. I usually scroll on past to get to the thoughtful intelligent comments. But when the press begins censoring comments I cannot help but wonder if I will continue to give them the same weight as I do now or even read. By censoring you are creating a false sense of what my neighbors really think and now you have an editorial don't you. I'm not sure why you would censor anything except slander to protect the publication. As far as ignorant ranting it too qualifies as free speech.


Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community,
on Dec 27, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Free speech does not depend on content or logic. People can spew forth all forms of vile filth, and they have every right to do so. We also, of course, have the right to ignore them.

While people have the right to post anonymous comments, I always wonder how much value they place on those thoughts if they can't take ownership and responsibility for them.


Posted by Jake, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 27, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Anyone who has used internet, even music videos, knows that a few become abusive. Not to condone bad behavior or bad language, however, an abusive comment is preferred to no comments at all or very "filtered" one. We have the "Big Gov." already controlling many aspects of our lives; now the "Press" is editing free speech? So let us not use "civility" and "healthy exchange of ideas" to muzzle people.


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of another community,
on Dec 27, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Notice the ballyhooing about the 'need' to censor on xmas, but no offering as to what the censor's criteria might be. Offensive to whose eyes?

I've seen posts censored by PW on account of being critical of St. Ronald Reagan, while just above or below them badly veiled, red-necked, racist rubbish has been allowed to stand. Saw two sites closed down because they were pro-labor ... on Labor Day, no less. Saw two posts censored because they mentioned that Abe Lincoln was (more than) likely bi-sexual (much historical research, by many, supports this).

If the censor is concerned about fellow conservative readers being offended, or allied business community (advertisers) being offended, why not just come out and say it? The idea that the censor, with 'secret' censorial standards, is censoring based upon some opaque set of journalistic principles is really just too much deception, self-deception, to stomach.

Cheerio and Ta-Ta


Posted by Gina Channell-Allen, president of the Pleasanton Weekly,
on Dec 27, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Gina Channell-Allen is a registered user.

Thank you for commenting. The posts I removed on Christmas Day contained foul language (one actually said "Hey, it's Christmas! Give it a break a******s!) and unfounded, potentially libelous comments about a private citizen.

As far as what I consider offensive, I use the "reasonable person" standard. This is an HR term used with harassment cases. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, "The reasonable person standard aims to avoid the potential for parties to claim they suffered harassment when most people would not find such instances offensive if they themselves were the subject of such acts." The EEOC states that "in determining whether harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile environment, the harasser's conduct should be evaluated from the objective standpoint of a 'reasonable person.'"

For example, I had a harassment case brought to me one time in which a woman claimed she was being sexually harassed because a man told her that she had pretty hair. I equate this HR example with someone saying in a forum, for example, he or she believes homosexuality is a sin. It's not hostile; it's an opinion.

Then I had a harassment case brought to me one time in which a group of male employees would sing "Jungle Love" every time a certain female employee walked into the room because she had been raped. I consider myself a reasonable person and that is offensive to me. If a commenter on Town Square did something equivalent - like blame the family of a suicide victim for the victim's actions (which has happened) or describe in graphic detail a horrific, violent act he or she thinks should happen to this group of people or that group of people (which has happened) -- yep, you bet I'm going to remove it. As a reasonable person, I find that offensive. I would hope most people would. There are plenty of other sites for people to go to and spew that hate.

I also find removing the inane, juvenile comments ("tee hee hee" and "so and so, you're an idiot" and the like) beneficial because they don't further the conversation, just bog it down.

But let's get back to anonymity. Do you think anonymity is good or bad?


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 27, 2013 at 4:40 pm

I have found multiple comments by posters that are hate filled and loaded with racist/sexist/homophobic and sarcastic references to class. There have been posts suggesting that residents from Latin America who are in the USA illegally are sub-human and ought to be shot. Racial/ethnic/class hatred drives such comments and they are experienced as psychologically violent by many residents and others who read this blog. They also undermine any hope that people of color, despite whether or not they are in the USA legally/illegally can ever hope to develop reasonably healthy relationships with most American citizens, especially what are generally referred to as "white" Americans.


There are always questions re: whether or not I'm male/female. Wonder how come anybody expresses such concern about another poster's identity? I find it amusing and suggestive of an individual(s) who feel ill at ease with their internal selves.

I've been curious re: who edits the various posts? I experience the process as lop-sided and quite possibly and a power play. It's not so offensive as it is seems silly.

I luv to say tee hee and I also find it waaaaaaay silly! tee hee hee...

I enjoy posting and I have no intention of every bowing down to you.

Sincerely,

Cholo Pololo Mololo

ps I also find other folks who have blogs rather silly and pointless.



Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Corrections:

. ...I experience the process as lop-sided and quite possibly nothing more than a power play. It's not so offensive as it is rather silly.

. I enjoy posting and have no intention of taking what you find offensive very seriously. If anything, I experience you as deliberately inconsistent.


Posted by Gina Channell-Allen, president of the Pleasanton Weekly,
on Dec 27, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Gina Channell-Allen is a registered user.

The editorial staff and I handle monitoring the forums. There are three people currently in the editorial department and we have three very active, equally hostile forums. I get reports of objectionable comments from all three sites, and the others get them from only one of the sites.

I also find myself inconsistent at times, but not deliberately. It's mostly a matter of time and availability. One paper, two jobs, three websites, and three kids... and the occasional need to sleep.

The comments I addressed on Christmas were flagged as objectionable and, after I watched my kids open their presents, I took the comments off (which is easier than editing them) and ran through the other comments (and probably removed a couple "tee hee hee" comments). :)

I have said before that it really helps the staffwhen readers flag comments because it sends an alert and a link to the comment right to my email. However, people have differences of opinion on what is objectionable; some believe if they don't agree with something, it is objectionable.

But, please, help us out by flagging what you consider objectionable. And, Cholo, I don't care if you are a man or a woman. But please make your posts something somewhat substantial like the post above, and not just "tee hee hee." I think we would all appreciate that.


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of another community,
on Dec 27, 2013 at 8:14 pm

So, we begin with the misnamed 'Public Forum', which then gets reduced to what a Human Resources manual has to say about managing a workplace. Yeah, I get it.

Might as well rename the site to 'Let's Please Gina', because she's a reasonable person ... she tells us so.

Yes, by all means, so let's reduce all ostensible Public speech to Private workplace speech ... and Gina is the boss, of everyone.

Happy to hear one of the censors provide her criteria. Might try reading the great liberal/(libertarian) John Stuart Mill "ON LIBERTY" who discusses the need for a public sphere, with genuinely free and democratic speech unhindered by a prudish boss ... who censors tee-hees because, well, it doesn't 'further the conversation'? Yeah, whatever that means.

Private sector restricts free speech in the interests of profit making (e.g., capital's control of workers); public sphere, democratic speech permits everyone's tee-hees because we don't want to live in a world without tee-hees. We don't want to live in a world where tee-hee-ers have a fear of uttering a tee-hee for fear of having his/her tee-hees, and all that accompanies them, shut down.

So, obviously Gina wants us to PRETEND we're doing Public Forum speech when, as she acknowledges, we're doing private-sector-Gina-is-the-boss speech where SHE determines what does and does not 'further the conversation' (whatever the heck that means!).

Viva Tee Hee! Viva public speech! Viva the conversation interrupter! Viva the conversation changer! Viva those who have the conviction to call someone else's ideas idiotic!

Viva Hyde Park!!! Cherio and cheers everyone!



Posted by Barbara, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 27, 2013 at 8:30 pm

I prefer to remain anonymous because people can be nuts. If I am going to comment on something, particularly something controversial, I really do not want my name publicly attached to it unless I\'ve gone to the trouble of formally writing a "letter to the editor" that is thorough, well thought out, edited and well spoken. I do not want my personal information "out there" any more than it has to be. The anonymous comment usually itself speaks for itself in this type of situation, and not much is gained by attaching a formal "identity" to it.

However, I do see your point. Anonymity seems to provide "cover" for nastiness we would not allow ourselves to display openly in public. But that\'s a character issue for us, and we\'re indulging in truly bad behavior when we don\'t bother to censor out our own crap. Grandma was right; don\'t do or say anything that you wouldn\'t want splashed across the newspapers about you and you\'ll do just fine. Just because no one knows your "real identity" doesn\'t mean you can just say every nasty thing that comes to mind. It\'s still nasty, you\'ve still done a nasty thing, even if we don\'t know your "real" name.


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 27, 2013 at 10:52 pm

We bloggers can moderate the content on our individual contributions and the comments thereto. Having absorbed my moderating approach from Drew Curtis on the ever-popular fark.com, I think it's important that we moderate with a light hand, because neither we, nor the moderating we do, should become The Issue under discussion. We're like the umpires in a baseball game -- we need to make close calls, occasionally, but if we become the center of attention, then something is probably wrong. People, even anonymous alter egos, become quite wed to their prose. Any change or deletion will be viewed with deep suspicion (as demonstrated by the comments above).

So here are a few of my own editorial guidelines -- I will delete duplicate posts, and personal attacks on other commenters that do not go to the content of their posting. I will edit-out gratuitous profanity, again with a light hand -- it has to be mighty coarse and serve no legitimate purpose that I can discern. I try to have a verry light hand on comments, however personal or profane, directed at me -- because I do not want to be charged with self-service. Better to deal with those via response to them.

I will occasionally announce and enforce a per-thread limit on commentators when I think they are mostly just seeking attention or failing to self-edit, but I will loosen that limit if an actual discussion ensues. I've considered deletions when a commenter repeatedly posts the same tired harangue, but have decided against it. This Board is intimate enough that alter egos acquire reputations of their own, and can be easily enough dismissed by other readers.

I hope that commenters understand that their anonymity is incomplete -- IP addies are privately recorded with their comments. That may, in itself, moderate a few of the baser instincts to which we are all prone, from time-to-time.


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of another community,
on Dec 27, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Wow, a narcissistic blogger critiquing those who post because they are "seeking attention." Gotta love that one.

Who regularly offers tired, predictable harangues, but takes it upon himself to be "umpire" regarding the harangues of others.

Who chooses the term 'moderate' instead of 'censor' because, why? Cuz, see, that's what censors around the world have always done: they haven't censored, no, they have merely moderated.

The stuff about IP is so much blather. There are software packages, readily available on internet, free of charge, that permit scrambling or deleting of one's IP. No doubt this self-avowed censor (excuse me, 'moderator') above, deeply suspicious of those who disagree with him, has discovered this during his self-admitted surveillances of posters' IP numbers. Very creepy.

Gotta love this crew of editors/bloggers/censors. Human Resources experts, umpires, moderators. Yeah, right. Very amusing.


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 28, 2013 at 7:07 am

The thing is, 'Elizabeth,' that I've never edited, deleted, zapped, strangled, tortured, drowned or censored Any of your various postings critical of me or my blog. Nor am I likely to -- thus, your complaint really resolves itself into a tantrum to the effect that you are not in-charge. Now, that may be an injustice of a high degree, but I cannot help you with it -- perhaps there are others who can.

Check-out my recent blogs on privacy, I'll advise with blatant narcissism. Given the profundity of your concern that your IP address is discoverable by Anyone, I think you may agree with those points, at least directionally.

Finally, I think the use of the term 'Moderator' presents an important contrast that you pretend to miss. 'Censor' is a term best used to describe a government agent with an ax to grind and power to enforce consequences. We, however, are agents of a private business that seeks to appeal to a broad audience -- one that takes some offense at the bitterest bile spewed by its fringier folks. In service to that larger community, we may choose to "moderate" extreme expressions. That\'s a business decision, and unhappy commenters are free to be fringey, elsewhere. That fact is just not 'censorship' in any meaningful sense, and any attempt to elevate it to a freedom issue is just so much hyperbole. In the wide, wonderful world of the intertubes, there's a place where the fringes here are mainstream. If you are terribly unhappy in this little corner, vaya con dios.


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of another community,
on Dec 28, 2013 at 11:35 am

Get a load of Tom Cushing, horns in on Gina's blog (got attention-seeking anyone?), and then adopts the pontifical "We." You'd think he owned the newspaper, which he admits is first and foremost a business ... and thereby concedes the utter hypocrisy of calling the Town Forum much of a forum at all, not to mention the credibility of news that emanates from a business that defines itself as first and foremost a business. As in profit making.

Wants credit for not having censored me -- though how does he know who I am since I'm posting from Great Britain? But, more aptly, I've never claimed him to have censored me. Sorry to tell you this, Tom, but I haven't visited your blog for quite some time now. Beyond the predictability of your position taking, and the inconsistency of calling itself leftist when it is baldly rightist, there's the "creep" factor that is bound up with your admitted surveillance of posters' IP numbers.

Here we have a blogger-censor, unwilling to acknowledge how the PW censors some points of view (see Gina's comments above), who claims censoring extreme views -- you know, like Tee-Hee and anything critical of St. Ronald Reagan -- is mere moderation, not censorship. More than a bit delusional methinks.

Some speech forms are illegal. But most aren't. To claim business concerns as basis for one's censorship of posters' views is to reveal the corruption of democratic information sharing and opinion exchanging, as these become subordinate to profit motive, human relations manuals, and keeping advertisers content.

Thanks to Gina and Tom both for helping reveal how capitalism has colonized yet another life form. The Fourth Estate? What a joke.


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm

How do I know it is the same Max/Mike/Judith/JoanyB/Elizabeth etc.? Because you are the Only regular reader of this fine family publication who claims, remarkably and ad nauseum, that I am a conservative. Your themes and their pedantry are quite consistent, if not your monikers or their gender.

Your continuing presence hereabouts is excellent living proof of the proposition that you have nothing to fear from we who moderate -- despite your self-important pomposity and the ludicrous personal attacks, none of us has chosen to ban, or even edit you. You are a malcontent without a cause -- and might better ask yourself "who's the Real self-aggrandizer here?" Hint: it's neither me, nor Gina. Not cholo, either.

I'll stand by my first paragraph, above. Your only beef is that you're not in-charge. Wear it.

One more thing -- your last paragraph confuses business reasons with legal risk -- they are very different. The business justification is simply that I do not want to drive away the many folks I care about, in order to provide a forum for those few I don't care about. It's simple, and completely sufficient.


Posted by Wos, a resident of Canyon Oaks,
on Dec 28, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I thought this started about posting anonymously and it turned into a free speech. The PW has no obligation to post anybodies opinion. Either right wing, left wing or no wing. Free speech doesn't mean you can use the PW for your stupidity. It means you can start your own PW like forum or newspaper and say what you want and edit what you want. Stop using others creations of information and create your own you lazy louts.


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of another community,
on Dec 28, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Well, get a load of Tom, who claims an ability to identify me, he says, because I call him the conservative that he is ... though he 'forgets' that I called him a conservative well AFTER he apparently has once AGAIN searched my IP number. This ALL IN THE FAMILY claim of his now appears to include owners and bloggers sharing posters' IP numbers -- and especially the number of posters like myself who reveal the transparent inconsistency and disrespect of free speech held by owners and Tom, the family guard dog. How does one spell CREEPY?

Let's be clear. I'm not arguing that illegal speech -- hate speech (which PW eds have had no problem with), as well as libelous speech -- should be permitted. Now, Tom wants us to accept that Cholo's oft-censored Tee Hees are a matter of legal risk for the company/family/crew/whatever. Of course they are not. Nor do my often censored comments on St. Ronald Reagan, labor, and torture pose any legal risk. Tom's claim is idiotic.

Tom, in his pontifical garb, feeling the credibility of his views slipping away, lies when he says he and his family members haven't ever censored me. This is a bald-faced lie. And with this the liar moves from self-delusional pontification to an utterly unabashed embrace of deceitfulness.

... Now, with Wos's dumb remark, we have yet an even clearer view of what this forum is about. Own it, and you can say what you want; you can report on things the way you want. Truth? Who cares? Tom says this is a family business, and the Tee Hees are posing a legal risk to the paper. Wos says: Buy your own newspaper -- an implicit invitation white-owned and -operated newspapers have directed toward black folks for the past 150 years.

Democratic discourse should be about inclusion of voice. Plural. Everyone's. Genuine democratic discourse reveals arbitrary exercises of power, such as 'I'm going to disappear your post because, well, it doesn't further the conversation, and I'm rational, you're not, and besides, it's easy, and, see, Tee Hees and full-blown, well-articulated support of organized labor poses a legal risk to the newspaper, my newspaper.' Such reasoning is transparently specious. It is transparently specious despite Tom's increasingly deceitful attempts to kick dirt into everyone's eyes via lying and all other manner of deception.


Posted by Cholo Pololo Mololo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Wos = Wus! Have you no shame? We were invited to post and suddenly out of nowhere you pop up advising others to get lost, fly to the dark side of the moon?

I feel waaaaaay hurt and I mean it!

Are you a CIA mole or what?

i rest my case...duh

signed,

OUTDONE!


Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 3:05 am

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Gina,

This is an online blog, not a police TIP line. Anyone who wants to post a comment here should be open about who they are. When I had my own San Ramon Observer website I would not publish any unsigned comments.

Anonymity does not beget credibilty. It takes courage to speak out on controversial issues and risk being bashed by others who disagree, but anyone who hides behind a phony name doesn't deserve a free ride to gripe.

Roz Rogoff


Posted by occasional reader, a resident of Downtown,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 9:07 am

Gina,
I have no problem with you editing your forum for inappropriate comments. Your company owns that blog and you have every right to edit it. You have not hindered free speech by stating that people must comply with your rules to post on your forum. If they want more freedom than that they can go stand on the street corner downtown and spew their hatred, they will not be alone.
However, I will NEVER register for this forum because of the way that Jeb outed someone a few years back who is a registered user. Your promise to us is that registered users will remain known only to you and Jeb violated that trust. That violation is not something that I will ever believe will not happen again.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 11:27 am

I disagree with Roz. The question is not who owns the blog. The question is how much free speech do you encourage/appreciate in an increasingly diverse community?

I don\'t care what Roz publishes and I never have.

I enjoy the controversy that this blog would not otherwise have were it not for fun names and the silly games posters play! What I don\'t appreciate is the avoidance of racial/ethnic, class, sexist, and homophobia that many Plutonians relish. It\'s harmful to you, to your families/children, your community, and to our country. It is never funny to deliberately harm fellow Americans who are split-off as undesirably different. It harms the world when hate against others is condoned. HATE DOES NOT RULE!

The posters that trash people of color, members of the LGBT community, and members of the community who happen to be Muslim, while ignoring the sexual crimes visited upon innocent children by all clergy, is insanity and it must STOP.

Could it be that the anonymity that some posters prefer may be one of the only ways to protect the innocent and support free speech?


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 11:36 am

Incidentally, speaking on street corners is a highly valued tradition in many countries throughout the world.

If you have time to wander about London, you will see/hear what I mean!

If anybody on planet earth has the gift of gab, it's the Brits! As I recall, they are able to tolerate and welcome a great degree of dissent.

VIVA!


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm

How safe is it to tell the truth in the United States of America?

Edward Snowden: Web Link

Had Mr. Snowden spoken openly about his concerns, he would have most likely been imprisoned or disappeared.

It is spooky to speak the truth in the USA today.

In many ways, the Snowden story reminds me of Argentina during the Bloody War.

You either shut up or disappear.




Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of another community,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Yes, Roz, it takes great courage for a poster to use her own name to tell everyone about her xmas gifts. I doubt you're capable of thinking about anything beyond your own navel, but you might try -- really hard -- to re-read and ponder Cholo's above remarks.

It's ironic. The PW family -- Gina, Cushing, Roz -- seem to have no inkling about the historical role of newspapers and what they have been meant to be over the past centuries, as vehicles for truth telling and giving the oppressed a voice where they have had none because they belong to a minority who are effectively disenfranchised by enduring, block majorities.

Against the critical role of newspapers facilitating diverse voice, the business-first positioners embrace the idea of newspapers being businesses first and foremost.

No democracy for these folks. No talk of democratic discourse. No mention of the oppressed having a voice. Nope, for these righties, one of whom denies his Republican and authoritarian underpinnings, newspapers are about business. Let's have a rousing caucus one of them ballyhoos, but talk must be dinner party talk -- and by dinner party he means his own. Gina says she deletes you because you don't fit her idea of 'furthering the conversation.' (And I luv her cutesy little :-) after informing one poster of her wont to censor him for his unorthodox style.) Roz can only peer at her own toes and admonish those who don't choose to enter into her own tiny bubble of interiority.

The PW crew would have us delete all anonymous poetry, all anonymous revolutionary writing, because without a name attached to an idea -- sort of like a written business contract -- the idea doesn't have credibility. You see, as Gina and Tom Cushing make quite obvious, their practice is one of furthering business; nowhere do they present any knowledge of or sensibility toward newspapering as a vehicle for democratic discourse.

It's a classic political divide. Those like Cholo and myself on the side of genuine democratic discourse; those like Gina, Cushing, and Roz on the side of an authoritative, censorial, capitalism that trumps all. It's unfortunate there isn't a better newspaper for the community.

Well, I predict that within hours this site will have been moved into obscurity to make room for more Cushing and Roz ruminations on xmas gifts under the tree.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Roz: Cholo Simeone - A GREAT ARGENTINE SOCCER STAR! VIVA! GORA CHOLO!

Web Link

When I was young I would loved to have played against him! He would have been reduced to T E A R S against these fast feet!!! GORA CHOLO! GORA!


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Is Roz suggesting that the United States of America re-introduce a General Videla style of press control so that specific posters disappear? As in BEGONE TROLLS! pronto...

Roz, are you simply pointing a finger, snitching on anybody that doesn't appreciate your blog? I admitted earlier that I don't read your blog because I find it boring.

I'm not responsible for your distortions and I strongly suggest that you find a more sane, healthy way to amuse yourself other than sniping. If indeed you're an importunate romantic oaf, then I forgive you.

I'm shocked that you know absolutely NADA about the GREAT ARGENTINE SOCCER STARLET CHOLO SIMEONE...SHAME! tee hee...

VIVA CHOLO! GORA!

Web Link



Posted by Pololo Mololo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Roz, how have you come to believe that it's more noble for some folks to "bash"
innocent others for merely expressing an opinion? Did you intend to use the term "bash" and assume that we all interpret your comments exactly the way you might?

Are you saying that you find one poster bashing another poster is acceptable or even preferred behavior? Please explain in detail.

If you delight in conflict and encourage such conflict between fans on your blog, what are the boundaries of such conflict? Details please. GRACIAS.

anony


Posted by Gina Channell-Allen, president of the Pleasanton Weekly,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Gina Channell-Allen is a registered user.

Thank you for the spirited debate about free speech, even though I was asking about anonymity.

Thank you Cholo for joining in the discussion and actually making some thoughtful comments, and only a few "tee hee hee's."

Occasional Reader, if memory serves, the person Jeb named was not a registered user; Jeb recognized the writing style and a few ideas that had been emailed to him from that person. However, that was over six years ago so I can't say for sure.

Thank you Roz and Tom for weighing in with your thoughts. I appreciate your insight since you are "in the trenches" dealing with this daily too.

And thank you Elizabeth for proving that nastiness, personal attacks and off-topic remarks are alive and well in the world of anonymity. I also appreciate that you gave me an opportunity to show that, even though I don't agree with what you've said, I am not taking it down. It's your opinion, it's not libelous, and it's not offensive (to me as a reasonable person). :)


Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Pololo Mololo,

Amazing how you managed to totally distort what I wrote. Where did I say it is "noble for some folks to 'bash' innocent others for merely expressing an opinion"?

My exact wording was, "It takes courage to speak out on controversial issues and risk being bashed by others who disagree." If you need to have this interpreted, it means those who post under their own names risk being bashed by others who hide behind pseudonyms.

The bashees are the noble ones. I may critique them but I respect them for standing up for their beliefs. Snowdon, Ellsberg, Paine, all published under their own names.

Tom, Gina, and I are open about who we are. I don't know who you are. I have no reason to like or dislike you. You are no more than an annoying flea who takes up my time answering your misinterpretations of my writing, which you claim not to have read or care about.

Roz Rogoff


Posted by Cholo Pololo Mololo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 5:53 pm

I hope you're thankful that I explained the story of Cholo Simeone! Fess up, how do you like the taste of crow? B U S T E D! I'm shattered that you didn't even know a thing about Cholo Simeone! duh...he's a starlet! VIVA SIMEONE! GORA!

My kitchen sounds like a room full of silly senior hyenas busting a gut...guess what? We're all laughing at the Roz...the silly goose cuca! (the short form for cucaracha!)

Your response is waaaaaaay silly willy funny! Thx...

signed,

Cholo Pololo Mololo
Free Press Commentator
HOORAY! ...i mean it! over 'n out...





Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Plus I forgot to say that there is no need to be SNARKY.

signed,

Cholo
Managerial Level
Pyramid Scheme


Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Cholo,

I apologize for my comment about the name "Cholo." I wrote it before I saw your explanation. I'm not a soccer fan or fan to most team sports. Thank you for explaining it, and I'm happy you and your friends got a good laugh over it. I'm not being snarky.

Roz


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm

QE3 seems to have great difficulty with the distinction between state action and private speech. I'm guessing that it may have to do with a lack of sophistication regarding matters of private property (an observation which no doubt places me somewhere to the right of Attila). The ringing, if simplistic endorsement of the fifth estate's role in our democracy is heartening stuff -- and thoroughly irrelevant to the thread and the blog. QE3, if we were talking about the government's attempt to censor the Pentagon Papers, I'd be right there with you on the barricades.

But we're not.

We're talking here about the role of anonymity in posting comments on a blog, and its association with incivility in the conversation. The only content at-risk is that whose nastiness far outweighs and obscures any substantive value, or whose irrelevance badly dilutes the thread. Either of those types of communication tends to chill the conversations that the blog wishes to promote. No one is being censored in expressing important content; the worst that could happen is that another outlet would need to be sought that would welcome such expressions. Or, in the alternative, the gratuitous nastiness or irrelevance could be removed by the commenter, and the comment resubmitted. In any event, there's no state action, no free speech implication, and no danger to the foundations of the Republic.

So once again, the only argument I see being made boils down to the fact that QE3 thinks everything should come in and be tolerated, because, well, QE3 wants it to be so. And he will stamp his rhetoric feet and inveigh into the gale of injustice unless he gets his way. Good luck with that, QE3.


Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Just one last comment for Cholo. You might find this older blog of mine interesting, or at least less boring.

Web Link

Roz


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 7:26 pm

The Yiddish theatre thrived in Buenos Aires because there was a large supportive community. My parents attended the theatre and could only talk about the Thomashevsky's who showed up during NY's off season. When the military got spooky, many disappeared. Others packed a tiny bag and slipped out of Argentina and never returned. We survived.


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Here's a partial solution to publishers and editors who get the vapors over colorful speech: cut off the usage of sock-puppets.

Tom Cushing alluded to this earlier when he was addressing Max/Mike/Judith/JoanyB/Elizabeth.

One IP Address, one username.

If caught with more than one username then banishment until you can behave. I'd venture a guess that the same speech that gives our delicate editor and publisher the heebie-jeebies would likely be cut way down. And btw that colorful speech is PROBABLY made by a provocateur anyway.

Unless it includes a threat of violence or libel, nothing should be off-limits. Let the animals show who they are, once they're username is locked they could be more effectively avoided. Additionally, I'd add that if the comment is off-topic it should be deleted by management.

I have absolutely no issues with anonymity.

Sincerely,

Dan


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of another community,
on Dec 29, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Don't hear those who promote censorship refer to democracy and free speech at all. Gina congratulates herself for not censoring perfectly reasonable commentary which, because it cuts through her baloney, she labels 'nasty'. Nevertheless, she reminds us that she has the power to censor, and has done so, while failing to acknowledge how she's censored people's posts in the very recent past for no reason other than that she finds views opposed to hers 'nasty' or, um, unreasonable (e.g., Abe Lincoln was likely bisexual, US use of torture is inhumane, respectful referenes to organized labor on Labor Day, too many Tee Hees, and much else).

It's funny that Gina frets about anonymity while her very own/owned paper's bloggers, Roz and Tom Cushing, have unabashedly employed the 'anonymity stratagem', even on their own blogs (e.g., Citizen Paine, San Ramon Observer.) I guess when it's done by PW bloggers it's okay. Got hypocrisy anyone?

Let's move beyond the silliness of their posts but make note that their defenses of censorship (while ignoring their own penchant for 'nastiness' their own uses of anonymity, their own tendencies to disrupt flow of conversations) are couched in nothing beyond a high schooler-like appeal to a human relations textbook.

Cushing, nowhere to go but to resort to nasty name-calling, wants his whole defense of suppression of citizen voice to hinge on the following: only government agents engage in censorship, but when businesses do so, it's not censorship, it's merely moderation. Yeah, Cushing, we'll all take that one along on our way to man the barricades against big bad government, after we're done laughing. On Cushing's reasoning, when governments eavesdrop on our communication, that's spying; when Google and other businesses do so, those should be considered just good business practice. Cushing calls his pro business, anti govt views liberal. In the meantime, as we bust a gut laughing at his pathetic effort to save face as he defends an indefensible position -- "power, heh-heh, I've got and you can only wish for it, go ahead, stamp your feet" -- he ravenously pores through IP data in order to discern posters' identities ... in the interests of good business practice, of course.

No appeals to historical precedent or rationale, no referenced political principles, no sensitivity to those whose voice has been systematically marginalized by what Cushing calls 'good business practices', all these three pro-censorship laughers can do is remind us that they have power. And that to disagree with them is merely to stamp one's feet with a desire to change places with them. We can go elsewhere. Riiiight.

p.s. I found Gina's patronizing remarks to Cholo -- you're getting 'better' at talking like WE do, Cholo -- offensive in the extreme.

Cheers All


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 7:20 am

QE3: if we all thank you for a spirited proof of the proposition that a poor, off-point argument does not improve with repetition, then will you stop?

If so, Thanks!


Posted by occasional reader, a resident of Downtown,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 9:49 am

Gina,
Your answer is disingenuous at best.
"Occasional Reader, if memory serves, the person Jeb named was not a registered user; Jeb recognized the writing style and a few ideas that had been emailed to him from that person. However, that was over six years ago so I can't say for sure. "
The person was registered under a different name than her own. She was posting on threads either commenting on the PUSD problems or the proposed parcel tax. Jeb commented on her BY NAME, not by her registered name. When the outrage over this hit you promised to "reprimand" him, whatever that meant. Clearly you did nothing as you now claim to have no memory of the entire event.
If you want to censor your threads, on your forum, feel free. If you want to lie about things that have happened on the forum, be prepared to be confronted on it by those of us who have less selective memories that you apparently do.
Jeb outed a registered user. Most of us will never register as a result of that. You and your policies have created this issue or complete mistrust.


Posted by Hiding Behind a Vail of Anonymity, a resident of Birdland,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 10:02 am

I believe that being able to post something anonymously is great! It enables a person to give their opinion or beliefs without feeling that someone will know who they are and possibly take action against them. These towns are small and it is not difficult to figure out where someone lives or works. I am not saying that readers will harm someone else, but maybe boycott a business or make someone\\\'s life difficult on a PTA or sports team.

It also allows someone to post a pointed response to a post under the same vail of anonymity. I can see it now...parking lot fights, restaurant screaming matches.

I agree there has to be a moderator. Sometimes people\\\'s good names are dragged through the forums - happened a few years ago before it was caught and removed. People should be able to read the posts and see valid opinions and counter opinions without reading through curse words or personal attacks by naming a person. Such actions do not deserve a place in these anonymous forums. If you can\\\'t post something that others would view as vicious or hateful without putting your real name on it, you probably should not post it.


Posted by occasional reader, a resident of Downtown,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 11:06 am

@HBVA -- many years ago I had an issue with a neighbor's dog that barked from evening through the night as the person worked graveyards and the dog howled while alone. I went to them and spoke very nicely about how we might mitigate the problem. They retaliated with tens of thousands of dollars in damage to my house and vehicles.
You say "I am not saying that readers will harm someone else" but I say that you make a target of yourself when making your identity known. Too bad that our own neighbors are like that but that is reality these days.


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of another community,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm

When a newspaper is run as a business rather than as a journalistic enterprise, and appeals to half-baked business values over democratic principles, we should expect the not-so-surprising kinds of hypocritical and deceptive posturing of Gina and her loyal blog defenders.

When a newspaper is run as a business, Gina and her snarling defenders really have not much to say outside of the authoritarian (censorial), profit-motivated practices that they have unashamedly called their own.

What is so funny about this entire discussion is that those who embrace anonymity, and, more generally, free speech (as long as it isn't illegal), have proven themselves to be far better interlocutors than have Gina and her authoritarian blogger lapdogs.

Gina and her loyal lapdogs have been provided ample opportunity to appeal to principles that might rationalize their practices, which now appear to involve not only censoring some posters because of style (tee hee) and content (pro organized labor) but also outing others. This, combined with the hypocrisy of PW bloggers' frequent uses of anonymous names to bolster their own credibility in the blogo world -- "Look, Gina, people are reading me!" -- their own nasty name-calling (see this thread), a repetitive inability to adhere to even their own self-generated topics, and we have a rather disappointing gang of foxes guarding the chicken house.

Doing serious journalism within a democratic sphere of public discourse involves more than owning or working for a newspaper. It involves more than showing an ability to express an opinion and write them grammatically. It involves having a set of core principles, openly expressed, and defensible when challenged, that provide rationale for the newspaper's practices. We have seen nothing of the sort here. Only vague illusions to human relations textbooks, ownership, private property, and distaste for stylistic diversity is what is being offered by these folks. We expect better.

This said, it is not surprising how few posters contribute to these threads. The nasty truth about the PW Forum is that there probably aren't more than a half-dozen readers/contributors. Cholo, myself, Tom Cushing using numerous anonymous monikers, Roz (same), and the old fascist guy who has figured out how to post using many different names on the same site without his IP being detected. (The picture of the bloggers visiting their own sites hundreds of times in the late evening hours continues to amuse.)

The irony in all this is that were the forum to be more genuinely democratic, run and operated by folks who know what democratic discourse entails, there would no doubt be more readers and contributors. Discourse thrives in genuinely democratic environs; where speech is regulated by authoritarian censors and regulators, the discourse suffocates and dies.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Are there differences in the ways people speak to one another?

How does anyone explain how the differences in the style communication hinder or enhance meaning?

How do some posters on this blog set up others to get bashed?


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm

If one poster refers to another as "Ms" and another poster refers to the same individual as "Mr", is that identity information absolutely necessary in communication between adults?

Does one have a right to persist in requesting another poster\'s gender identity?

How come gender identity is important to communication on a blog?

Can information about one poster be used in a manner that\'s harmful, however innocent it may seem on the surface to others?

How come Daveg or Julia P. are on interested in gathering information to insult of harm me? just asking...


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Correction: Does anybody understand how come "Daveg" and "Julia Pardini" are so interested in gathering information about me that could be used in a manner to insult or marm me? just asking...

What are the political implications of gathering information about another poster?


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Another Correction: ...used in a manner to insult or harm me? Is it reasonable to not trust that "Daveg" and "Julia Pardini" do not have good intentions?


Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 3:36 pm

You know, if I am very, verry good in this life, I may get to come back someday, as somebody's lapdog. And if I do, I will hope that QE3's dubious contributions can be printed out, so that I may give them a lapdog's proper editorial sniff and response.

Lapdogs have time aplenty, but in this life I do not. I'm done.


Posted by Freedom to choose, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 6:14 pm

I pretty much agree with HBVA and occasional reader. Elizabeth is the only offensive commenter on this thread.
First readership and commenting have both been way down in the last six months. If commenters must only use their real name, there won't be enough to have a conversation.
To repeat: Pleasanton is a small town. That is the most critical point. I am proud of all positions I state. However, some less than critical thinkers have knee-jerk reactions, and wrongly, childishly stereotype. If you feel this way about 'whatever' positively, then you automatically also agree with them on 'xyz'. Neighbors across the fence, who think you agree on most, suddenly become an enemy if you voice opposition on something else.
It would have a chilling effect on comments, shrinking the site out of existence.
Over the years we have had a wide range of topics. Some have been Council issues with heated opinions. Shallow minds position a commenter as friend or opponent, which defeats conversation in future PW that need to be worked out.
We also discuss city, state, and national issues, one agreeable, another strong opposition. There are also wide ranges or 'degrees' on everything. Local, national, no opinion, crusading for a new law. There are just too many variables. Standards for picking a spouse, or voting for a national candidate, or speaking before Council, might differ. Again, weak-minded might rail against a topic that needs to be openly discussed, all because of ignorant stereotyping.
Consider this mixed bag. Local traffic, state public unions, religious superstitions, national laws, social media, contraception, drugs (which ones), national taxes, local taxes, local welfare(requirements), abortion, Ca train. Easy to get in a rage on any or all, depending the jurisdiction, who pays, degree/range, and which side you're on. A position on one should not cloud an opinion on another.
Take any ten of the above. You might strongly agree with a commenter on 3, and strongly disagree with 3 from the same commenter, you say myob I really don't care on 2, the remaining 2 you think should not be discussed in public. Do those 10 items mean you like the commenter, or knee-jerk dislike that commenter. There is such a range/degree from the same person.
I will not place myself in a position to be stereotyped. I am an independent, critical thinker. There is no person who can possibly predict what position I might take, based on my position on a different topic.
Registered or not, permanent names don't work well in a town this small, in my humble opinion!
I'm consistent. I'm pretty much always for freedom, so logically I'm freedom to choose. No 'real' believer would jump around picking and choosing restrictions over freedom...can't have it both ways. In the end, all are better off MYOB, otherwise just might be called a hypocrite.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 6:44 pm

I don't experience Elizabeth as the least bit offensive. I appreciate her support.

I'm going upstairs to play with my dogs and share ice-cream! HOORAY!


Posted by Mitch, a resident of another community,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Dan from BC nailed it. Anonymity is fine, but force people to create an account and stick to a user name. If that will "kill the discussion" then there wasn't much of a discussion to begin with.


Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of another community,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 8:12 pm

@"I'm done." ... That was evident to all after his first contribution to this thread. All else has been repetition, name-calling, and scatological allusion. When someone's philosophical touchstone is Lou Rawls, what basis could we possibly have for expecting anything better from that person? The "liberal." Invoking private property over free speech. What a laugher!

I find Cholo's contributions to consistently be the most insightful of all regular contributions (see his contributions to this thread), and his humor to be unmatched, though perhaps rivaled by the inimitable Casanova Frankenstein. The countless times Cholo's endured being censored on the PW Forum gives testimony to PW censors' dictatorial stylistic insistences, provoked by their frustration when having no effective retort to the contents of his posts and the posts of others.

How can a newspaper's owners and operators expect to generate an avidly interested readership when they engage in such flagrant offense against the ideas of those whose contributions clearly elevate the overall quality of discourse?


Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 30, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Mitch,

I think someone called Anne Fox complained about registering users because of some unfounded fear of privacy issues. She is a rabidly anti-anything-union-or-Democratic type, as you can see from this rant:

Web Link

Her opinions smack of weird anti-anything-government right-wing fear mongering. She, and her small group of like minded and small minded "citizens" were largely responsible for class size increases in kindergarten through third classes in PUSD. Pleasanton Weekly shouldn\'t worry about her complaints.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 31, 2013 at 10:30 am

I disagree Mitch. People can always be counted upon to harm others because it's framed as necessary fun.

If posters are seriously committed to harming others, they know how to do it and are often righteous while doing it.

There are tons of "illegals" in the USA. I've never objected and I've done a few good deeds when I've handed out a survival handout so that they can meet some of their basic survival needs - free food, how to use a hospital ER,
shelters, where to stand to find day work, etc. I ALWAYS inform "illegals" to be mindful and NEVER allow their children to be alone in the presence of clergy of any faith because of the risk of sexual abuse/rape.

Now, off to my volunteer job! HOORAY PUPPIES! FOREVER! VIVA PUPPIES! PUPPIES ARE THE APPLE OF MY EYE!






Posted by Right, a resident of Parkside,
on Dec 31, 2013 at 10:54 am

I post anonymously ever since I had some reader of the Valley Times track down my phone number, call me and threaten me over an opinion letter the Times posted about rampant union corruption. No one needs that type of intimidation in our community.
Speaking of which, perhaps if Elizabeth and cholo were to move to Pleasanton and join the community, they might be more understanding of the residents who live here and less likely to post their anti-white rhetoric and their hate of everyone and anything just to the right of Saul Alinsky.
We can always hope, but until then, as was mentioned above, we can just skip through their consistently maniacal posts and search for posts that read less like rants and more like intelligent thought.
Thanks, PW, for the opportunity.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 31, 2013 at 11:00 am

Removed because it was inane and off-topic.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 31, 2013 at 11:04 am

Removed because it was inane and off topic.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 31, 2013 at 11:20 am

My last question is: Is being a "troll" a sin? Actually, there's a more serious question: If a person turns left on a blinking yellow light, is it a sin?

The way I see it is if you wrilly wanna sin, you have to blink your eyes as fast as you can. That way, your spirit can sneak out of your body at super sonic speed and thus, not be present when it's time to pay for the ticket!

Cool or what?

Tell the Judge: I rest my case.




Posted by Freedom to choose, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 31, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Removed because it was inane and off topic.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 31, 2013 at 3:25 pm

CIA


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 31, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Removed because it was inane and off topic.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Dec 31, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Removed because it was inane and off topic.


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Dec 31, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

Gina,

A perfect example illustrating why off-topic comments should be deleted by management is right here on this thread.

Out of 61 comments and counting one individual has accounted for almost 50% of the comments (28), and most of those are just moronic nonsense and clutter. Ugh! Often times I just skip over some comments because I know the author has nothing to say, I'm sure many others do too.

Deleting these comments would go a long way in making these threads more interesting. And I'd be willing to bet that all but the most childish of individuals would get the message very quickly that their contribution is not wanted.

Sincerely,

Dan



Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of another community,
on Jan 1, 2014 at 11:11 am

Well, Cholo, I think we've gotten the message loud and clear. No silliness allowed, as determined by the Red Queen censor whose subjective position is that words are meaningful only when she says they are.

No inane speech will be tolerated here. If you want to race bait, or union bash, or spew hatred toward gays, young black males, new immigrants, well have at it. But no inane speech.

Apparently, since Gina has launched the Town Forum, she acts as if she owns and is responsible for all contributors' speech. Not so, of course. And I'm sure she knows it. But she must like being a stylistic dictator. Her rationales for so being are smashingly weak, ill-formulated, and utterly unconvincing. She's no more responsible for your speech than google is for any message that goes through it, or Hotmail is for all emails sent using Hotmail as its forum. As a first-and-foremost businesswoman, however, she knows full well that certain readers and advertisers may not like your contributions. So, off with your head! Her 'standards' are whatever she says they are at the moment, and too bad for you. Too bad for all of us.

Cheers from a residence I'm in that is only blocks away from Hyde Park.


Posted by occasional reader, a resident of Downtown,
on Jan 1, 2014 at 3:48 pm

@Elizabeth -- as the great all knowing and all spewing goddess, even if only in your own mind, perhaps you could buy your own newspaper or start your own blog. Since you demand the right to post any inane thoughts that spill from your very tiny mind then you should take the initiative to buy yourself a forum and spew at will.
Gina has shown remarkable restraint in leaving each and every one of your "insightful" (imagine a sarcasm emoticon inserted there) posts untouched. Actually, it furthers Gina's credibility to leave your repetitive rants up for us to see. Few readers could fail to see your ego and love of seeing yourself in print.
In case it has completely escaped you, Gina has the right -- and probably legally the responsibility -- to edit everything that is published in her paper. You want to avoid editing, buy your own paper. But please, give it a rest. You have stated and restated your ideas a dozen times or more on this thread alone. We hear you loudly and clearly, we just don't care what you are saying.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jan 1, 2014 at 5:04 pm

If you don't care what Elizabeth writes then how come you've gone to such an extreme to whack her and ask her to do you a favor and respond? Mostly what I get from your post is that you can count up to 12 "or more". And, if you're not interested in what she posts, how come you need to tell a lie and state: "We hear you loudly and clearly"...strange to say the least...a puzzle"

If you don't care what Elizabeth has to say, how come you feel a need to protect Gina? Gina is quite capable of speaking for herself. Unless of course you don't agree.






Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of another community,
on Jan 1, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Like Tom Cushing, Occasional Reader, who obviously doesn't read ENOUGH, reveals his authoritarian, authority-pleasing propensities by repeating ad nauseum that property trumps freedom of speech, that newspaper ownership gives owners/controllers the right to censor.

This forum is NOT a newspaper. Information/opinion here does NOT take physical form. Here, nobody OWNS anyone else's opinions. There are no fences; there is no physical property; there is no spoilage principle (see John Locke -- no, Occasional Reader, he is not a rock star); there is no finite volume of newspaper pages or print. As such, the censors have no good reason for censoring -- e.g., we haven't enough pages, we haven't enough ink, we haven't the resources to print "inane" remarks (whatever "inane" is supposed to mean -- for Gina has not told us what it means to her, what makes "inane" more deserving of censorship than, say, Occasional Reader's lies and expressions of intolerance).

Occasional Reader vents against Cholo and myself because he/she doesn't like our ideas. Anyone with even a modicum of intelligence recognizes that Cholo's and my ideas are better thought out, and more rational than the knee-jerk, authoritarian, unspecified standards that inform Gina's penchant for censorship.

If PW was responsible legally for "inane remarks" -- it isn't -- then every comment would have to go through a filtering 'censor' BEFORE being visible to the half-dozen or so people who read this Forum. But there is no filtering censor, as many posts stand for a day or two before being disappeared for such inane reasons as 'inanity', 'not furthering the conversation', 'being off topic'. No, somebody has a real problem with diversity of style and viewpoint. Now, that problem may reflect a relatively homogenous, intolerant community as much of Pleasanton tends to be. Nevertheless, it remains a conspicuously transparent problem without good reasons being offered -- you know, beyond humorlessness and slavish adherence to a Human Relations manual.

Too bad Gina and her loyal defenders haven't shown an ability to actually engage the ideas offered here. Repeating over and over that ownership trumps speech is not an engagement of ideas but only a repetitive fall back upon (unfounded) cliché.


Posted by Freedom to choose, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 1, 2014 at 11:42 pm

Elizabeth, although I have disagreed with the tone of some of your earlier comments, your latest about the very arbitrary deletions is right on. However, I don't believe it is Gina. There is another weekend/holiday person who gets his/her jollies by deleting...and, without reason. In all my comments, Gina has never deleted me. But, this person did, because they disagreed with my political comment. Later, after I complained there was no justification for deleting in total, when the opposing political line was all that this very partisan person needed to erase.... Gina then put the 'remainder' back in place. This weekender doesn't get that maybe a word or sentence is an 'inane portion'. I think it's a power thing. Gina doesn't do that.
I had more 'thoughtful' comment I wanted to do earlier today, but decided to skip it. This 'partisan' person would mess with it, so I didn't want to waste my time writing a thoughtful comment, only to have it deleted.
But, again today this person (for only the 2nd time ever) deleted on her 'inane' kick today. Yet, Cholo's 'CIA' answer to me is still here.
Chilling for both readers and comments to know the censoring is so targeted...and in total. Readership will dwindle if it's all mundane vanilla, and full of redactions.


Posted by Right, a resident of Parkside,
on Jan 2, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Liz-a-bit, if you think our city is intolerant, stay away and feel free to go elsewhere, where you can sow your seeds of hate and division. The same goes for your soulmate, cholo.
It's fine to espouse a far left agenda and imagine your utopian version of a city you'd like to live in, but if you're trying to manipulate our city from abroad, you need to get a life a little closer to home. Perhaps you could take a class to learn to cook British cousine, or maybe learn dentistry.
And if homogeneity is a problem for you, please explain to us how well the sharia laws are working out in jolly old England? Quite the melting pot you espouse.......


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Tough new rules on water are necessary
By Tim Hunt | 9 comments | 994 views

Saving Water
By Roz Rogoff | 4 comments | 730 views