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Wednesday, November 07, 2007



It was pretty bad from the get-go. I couldn't stay around long, but the screen names of the folks participating was enough to tell where it was going to go.

Maybe we needed a "blow out preventer" on the Well, but I don't think it would have helped. Some folks were just ready to devolve.



I agree about the maturity level of some of the posters, however I don't feel like those posters made up a majority of the audience watching. I would like to see more community moderation tools on sites that offer public opinions. Currently there is no real personal accountability for things you say online. Users can hide behind an alias if they choose and post whatever they want. However, I really think we will begin to see better community moderating tools that allow the audience majority to determine what content is relevant on the site and which users are relevant to a site. On some sites, a negative comment may bring some balance to the site and may actually be a good comment. However, some posters are just childish and not ready for public posting so the audience needs to be able to determine this. I think if you allow better community moderating tools and not admin centralized tools alone you will begin to see public sites, news sites, blogs, etc.. that offer better content that meets the needs of the majority audience. That minority audience of negative posters, trolls, or people just not ready to post will eventually find an audience and be the majority on some other site. Just my thoughts. Thanks.



Ospurt ... agreed, and having some JW input validates the disappointment, thank you.

Jim ... I agree totally, and appreciate your comments. One thing I do agree with most of all and stated: the responsible users do far outnumber those not yet ready to handle the responsibilities of civil discussions.


Jimmy, kudos to you-and-yours for the effort ..... I regeret that some would choose to abuse the virtual platform you provided.

This raises what has been a difficult point for me when it comes to online journalism and public affairs ..... balancing the positive of a truly-open forum with the negative of having that forum turned by those who disdain civility, responsibility and - all too often - truth.

The solution? The proper balance? I don't have one to offer ..... at least not one that is a one-size-fits-all solution for everybody. In the past, at mywesttexas.com and, later, at newswest9.com, I took to manually reviewing, approving and/or rejecting each comment submitted to our stories ..... if I believed that statements made constituted libel (or slander, depending upon your medium), they were rejected.

Of course, that may not be practical for your forum if you are in the midst of a live, ongoing e-discussion.

I don't see any solution to the problem of people spewing online ..... it's not only a virtual right - it's an actual right. I think, though, that is encouraged ny the ability of online pundits and commenters to hide their identity ..... there is a certain level of courage that some reach from the safety of their anonymity. It's so much safer, really, to be unaccountable, to throw our virtual stones when we know we can't be caught.

Re: "Trust me ... you would not believe the level of bigotry and outright racism that exists here." ..... Oh, yes I would. And I would see it expressed so often, in the comments that greeted so many stories - from immigration reform to police-involved shootings, from polical races to Cinco de Mayo - AND I've seen it run in both directions.

Finally, re: "a medium that, despite its many flaws, has the ability to be a great educational and informational tool" ..... I agree with you 100%, and I hope that you won't let the rants of a few virtual mooks stop you from offering this platform again.


Jeff ... Yes, you would know, for sure. I appreciate your heartfelt comments and I wish there was an answer. As disgusted as I was about last night, Jeff, when I see some of the racist hatred comments that never make it onto the live site, it really makes me wonder what's going on out there. Scary.


I think the only way to even begin to address this problem is to remove the anonymous nature of it. If people had to post using identifiable information, they would just possibly be more careful of what they post. It easy to let yourself go when you know there is no way for everyone to know it was you. Personal responsibility is where it starts.


I don't think the removal of "anonymity" is the answer. The regular contributors at JW are "anonymous" yet, our nome de plumes carry a certain level of accountability and credibility. (I can't believe I just said that)

Besides, how do you authenticate somebody named "John Smith"?

Site Admin

Have a moderator than can ban the IP. It is a lot harder to change IP's than it is to supply bogus ID info serially. The dog may get its first bite but it is only censorship to ban someone from their own website, not from yours.

It was (and is) a good idea.


Ospurt, I can't believe you just said that, either.


I didn't say what that level of accountability or credibility was......


The sad thing about these people who post such negative things is that they hide behind the anonymity of the internet. I doubt seriously that you would EVER catch them out in public, grocery stores, church, schools disparaging others because it would make themselves look bad.


Guys - I was out with customers the night of "Blog the Vote", so didn't really get to participate or watch. I'm sorry it didn't work out. I did, however, read most of the JW diatribe, not always in real time. I did filter through a bunch of posturing, but I think the Wellheads did an awesome job of bringing everyone back to the subject at hand and policing the blog. I don't know that I would have had as much patience as they did.

I say all that to say I think the Blog the Vote forum was a great idea - don't lose faith, man. All of y'all have worked hard to build this medium, and though people may not comment, they lurk and read and it makes them think.

I know. I is one. (And yes, I did that on purpose!) And y'all made me think. And...whether or not you meant to do so, you made me vote.

Keep up the good work, all of you. JP, Wellheads, Jeff, George, Eric - you guys provide more quiet and behind the scenes service to this community than anyone will ever know.


Janie ... be glad you were out Tuesday night. 'Twas ugly.

Messenger bag

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

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