One can find the face book thing a joke, you give up so much personal data opening one up to potential hackers, identity thieves and face book will deny any culpability when their records are compromised, but racism, hatred is rampant on the internet and print news papers especially in certain counties like Mohave County where if one is anti-Obama, anti-democrat nothing is off limits in content one can print whether it be lies or libel!
I think his point about anonymous comments is relevant. Here's the thing: I don't want my comments to be easily accessibly to anyone casually searching on my name such as a future employer. Not that I'm ashamed of anything I say, I just don't want to spend that much time thinking about comments to say, hm, how will this look in 10 years and is there a chance that it will tick someone off. I'd prefer that tying comments to me personally at least require finding my personal email and likely getting a warrant (or not if you're the NSA).
Who knows what facebook will do with them, but anything tied to facebook is tied to my name and personal account.
Thus I don't comment at ADS at all anymore (and the people rejoiced) and I've virtually stopped reading it (virtually, ha ha). Which is too bad since it's the only significant source of local news outside of the TV stations and if you ignored the trolls there were some good comments and some real information in them occasionally. It seems strange that a newspaper would be afraid of the statements of their readers, even if they disagreed with them.
But the ADS is not much more in depth or useful than the TV news anymore so maybe it's time for it to die.
If I'm understanding Serraglio's point, or at least one of them, Facebook is a sort of evil empire bent on monetizing (I hate this word) all communications flowing across and within its network. Yeah, that's why they exist or as the French would have it their raison d'etre. Serraglio's point is true but trivial. That the federal government, we've learned, has ready access to all communications on Facebook (and other social media site) is also true but deeply troubling; being an electronic massive data dump and NSA storage facility was not a primary goal of Facebook's founders.
So to many of us Facebook haters, the move by the Daily Star was a bridge too far, an inedible meal. You can be a liberal, libertarian or conservative and find adequate reason to opt out of the Facebook "community." You'd probably find common cause in your reasons including crude attempts at monetization, privacy concerns, or an overflow of unfiltered information from friends and relatives with too much time on their hands.
The ADS took the path of least resistance and the decision was probably made outside of Tucson; part of a corporate directive intended save money or generate additional revenues as the scrubbed up new commentaries somehow become interesting and palatable to a broad population of readers ...and go viral. Serraglio is correct, the new ADS online comments direction appears to be a massive failure with few bothering to bother and much of the same vitriol flowing (only much less of it). But that said, the Weekly comments section is also a pale shadow of the former ADS site even with its affording anonymity to posters. Maybe it's a trend, folks deciding not to contribute to the electronic noise.
Just another reason not to read the Arizona Daily Star. Wonder how the sponsors feel about so few people reading the ads with the comment section. The comments were also part of the entertainment! The Ariz Republic is also doing the same. few comments. Is it censorship of just plain stupidity? Hard to tell in Tucson. I wish the Star all the bad luck they deserve. We get the Sunday paper. Four pounds of ads and very little new. Except for the massive article on how college students are collecting and studying the trash of illegal aliens. Thank you Debbie Kornmiller! Keep your resume fresh the paper has little time left.
As said previously, the ADS lost control of commenting, and, I think, they gave up and out-sourced the job of moderating to Facebook.
I agree with the gist of this opinion piece: it is not so much about the name a commenter uses as it is about the owner of the website's willingness to moderate comments.
Kudos to the Tucson Weekly for its willingness to moderate comments to its articles!
Simple solution, Have a Facebook acct under an alias.
Works for me when I want to remind people how much power racism and ignorance hold over Arizonans.
Welcome to the new Mississippi.
Great article, Randy. I participated in the Star's comment section until they switched to Facebook. I valued a forum that allowed one to speak freely without "sharing" the thoughts with all the family members and others on Facebook. Some ideas and opinions are best not said to some family members and friends. Anonymity is a form of privacy that enables free expression that social circles tend to inhibit to keep the peace. Anonymous forums are not as peaceful, but you hear how and what people really, really think. The Star blew it!
Like Wise-Guy I was banished from the ADS comments for using a forbidden word. In my case the word was "Teabagger". I wasn't aware of the sexual connotation of the word (really!) and I sent an e-mail to John Bolton trying to explain. He told me he'd have to talk with his associates to see if I could be forgiven.
I cancelled my subscription to the ADS forthwith, and I don't ever plan to return, although I'm frequently receiving solicitations to "come back". I wonder how John Bolton developed such a virginal sense of propriety, certainly it could not have come from being a moderator on the old ADS comments.
ChetDude refers to "right wing trolls" on ADS boards. Why stop with right-wing? To be fair, left-wing serial posters like Benjamin Long and Autumn, Malcolm (Tripod) did their share of trolling.
I was both a participant and a lurker on the old ADS comment site. I enjoyed anonymous posting as I put in my comments from work computer and needed privacy. I enjoyed reading the vigorous exchanges on political topics about which I wasn't particularly opinionated or knowledgeable (Benghazi, Fast&Furious, Obamacare, immigration, etc.) and putting my two cents worth on a few topics I do know well. I learned a lot about the constitutional and election issues from posters like Langer and Harry Red Dog, gun rights/gun control issues from Wayne B. (Rain) and Harperman, enviro comments from folks like Skinnyman, SilverTones, Jerrod Sandhill, and Horquilla, and the super clever posts by Rat T. The information provided by the posters supplemented the many times thin or biased story lines written by ADS. Heck half the time, the fellow posters provided the links we needed to do something about what we learned or to fuller stories in other papers. I miss the rapid-fire conversations. The conversations now on the threads are slow, insipid, and boring, but hey, the folks all seem to agree with each other! Dissenters and provacateurs on the left, middle, and right have split.
Randy, having read your comments in the Arizona Daily Star and seeing you speak before the public on many occasions, I never thought that I would ever agree with you on anything. But in this case, I think you are correct. The Arizona Daily Star lost control of the forums it used to allow citizens like you and me to comment on important issues in our community.
However, my comments were seldom removed by the Arizona Daily Star's censors because they were made in a courteous and respectful manner. However, many of the other individuals in these forums would repeatedly report me, for no other reason than to censor my comments. As you may know, this is one of the ways the system was abused.
Oh well, the good old days of discussing Rosemont Copper in the Arizona Daily Star are gone. With Rosemont Copper nearing the successful completion of the permitting process and commencing construction at the site in the near future, there would not be very many opportunities to continue these discussions anyway.
Chris J. Horquilla
Serraglio is correct, to a point. The ADS comments section was for the most part part poorly moderated; and for those prone to swooning with the vapors after reading intemperate diatribes from those on the extremes, a swamp of excess and incivility. It was also a good place to argue substance and fill in the enormous holes in the reporting of a suspect pool of journalists. But to claim as Patrick O'Neill would have it, the Comments section is hugely improved, is strange. It is like suggesting a bowl of lukewarm pablum is an improvement over a bowl of well prepared chili. The few comments seeping in from Facebook, are colorless and insubstantial; this was to be expected.
I posted with some regularity. In the end my challenge to the the liberal/progressives who rightly took issue with the theatrics and idiocy in the state legislature was simple enough. I will as the lawyers would have it, stipulate the Republicans running the state are bizarre and childish. But, in self-proclaimed Baja, AZ we witness with mind-numbing regularity, the abject failure of the liberal/progressive Democrats in the City of Tucson and the County of Pima, to spend hundreds of millions of tax dollars and have, at the end, something to show for it; a return on the promises. Rio Nuevo, of course, is just one example among many where these folks have distinguished themselves as, at best, incompetent and at worst corrupt, venal criminals.
So maybe here, a local liberal or progressive will take the challenge and offer why it is a given that the Republicans running the state are troglodytes but the local Democrat machine in the Baja continues on a path of destruction without comment. I've issued this challenge a dozen times on the ADS boards without a response and would be happy to hear from someone here who believes the local Democrats are worthy of praise or even forbearance.
Maybe they can remove this article to, this guy hates the truth plain and simple.
I participated in many meaningful comment exchanges about ADS articles in the past; however, I have no intention of joining "facebook", "twitter", or other unsecure way for hackers and criminals to cause undue harm.
The newspaper published in our sister city to the north went to this requirement some time ago. Certainly it ended the vitriol, but it also ended any meaningful comments. Now there are only a few, either advertising work-at-home schemes, or saying, "Well, I don't know. I sort of agree, but then I sort of disagree, too." That, coupled with only 'like' to click makes the comments completely uninteresting.
PLEASE, TW, do NOT go the same way!
Count me as one who was 86ed from The Star for unknown reasons. Some of the most vitriolic racist anti-muslim comments were being posted about the story of the Phoenix muslim father who "honor killed" his daughter. I simply pointed out the facts of christian mothers who have killed their offspring, and christian web sites devoted to christian men abusing their families.
My comments were NOT removed but my account was frozen. After an email exchange with John Bolton, he directed me to call him to determine if I would be allowed back on. Screw that! No way I'd kiss his wrinkly old ass just to make comments in The Star cesspool that didn't violate their rules to begin with. That was the last time I posted there and never looked back.
Gee, finally, a good reason to join Facebook.
The Star can't tombstone you from Facebook, can they? They can only delete your comment, right?
It appears that the most egregious form of comment, the one that will get deleted quickly is any that appears to diss Frank Antenori or any right-wing, bat-crap crazy republican politician.
Or, as this article shows, any reasonable attempt to calmly call out one of the execrable right-wing trolls dog paddling in the ADS comment cesspool...
The 2nd (and final) time that I was censored and tombstoned from the ADS comments (ironically, soon after one of my LTOEs was published) was when I called Frank a neanderthal -- even though I DID include an apology to Neanderthals everywhere...
Having witnessed Frank's irrational, racist, bigoted, war-mongering act, I was being kind...
I still have the astounding email thread from when I protested the Star's discriminatory policies from the corporate level on down. That was a previous "editor". It sounds like Kornmiller's has taken up where the last one left it...
Aw, on 2nd thought, the ADS is a lost cause and their comment threads are a huge waste of time. The Star sucks on the teats of the developers, university and the ugly, expensive, wasteful war machine just like most of the rest of the "power" in this town. Trying to get any other point of view in that rag other than the letters to the editor is a lost enterprise...
I discovered the Facebook only requirement on the Star recently and it will probably result in the cancellation of my paid subscription.
Why? I don't have a Facebook account. I don't need or want one. And before folks start calling me a Luddite, I happen to teach computer classes and recognize that data mining and security issues are rampant on many of the social networks.
I was the sole admin for an international car club forum for 16 years. In that time I had to keep folks focused on the topic and put out the fires when they occurred. It takes a firm hand and is almost a 24 hour job to do something like that.
If the local print media doesn't want to pay local people to manage the responses in an intelligent way, then perhaps they should just give up and not allow any responses at all or in the case of the local daily, just "get out of town" to borrow a phrase.
I don't like every article or column in the TW either, but at least it appears to be researched and written by real people who have a passion for Tucson.
The Star's commenting section was a disgrace ( I wrote 2 articles on it on Tucson Citizen) that gave the entire city a black eye to any outsider reading it.
However the switch to Facebook commenting HAS made a huge improvement - at least for the moment most of the trolls have taken their marbles and gone home.
I agree with Randy Serraglio:
"But the Star has no one but itself to blame, since it failed to moderate the comments in a meaningful or effective way."
And perhaps this is why the Star gave up and outsourced the job. But, instead of finding a path to more civil comments, it succeeded in reducing the number of comments by, What? 90%?
And I agree with Randy that a civil comment is often the best response to an uncivil comment and that the real issue is not so much the name we choose to use when commenting but the comment. The Star did lose control of its comment forum. Moderating must be a hard job; but the Tucson Weekly seems to be demonstrating that it can be done.
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