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Get Rid of Town Square

Original post made by Sherri on Apr 30, 2011

I think the weekly should get rid of Town Square Forums. They do nothing but cause animosity amongst residents of Pleasaton and make our community look bad. It is sad that people bash each other on their views and I see no value in having these forums.

Comments (33)

Posted by night owl, a resident of Birdland
on May 1, 2011 at 12:23 am

Sounds like an opinion coming from a teapartyer who hasn't won very many arguments lately. (Garsh, I wonder why that might be?) I've got a suggestion for Sherri: If she doesn't like reading the spirited debates on the Forum, perhaps she should stop reading. Maybe she might use the extra time to work on her spelling instead. <grin>

Posted by Sherri, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 1, 2011 at 8:54 am

Night Owl, you are a perfect example of people being rude and why they should get rid of these forums. and no it is not because I am a tea party member, far from it!

Posted by Erly Riser, a resident of Happy Valley
on May 1, 2011 at 9:16 am

Well sertin he is deaply, aschamed.

Posted by Julie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2011 at 9:50 am

Julie is a registered user.

I agree that there is a lot of animosity on these boards. I was shocked by it from the first time I posted. I had considered this a useful forum for asking if anyone knew why there had been helicopters flying over my neighbourhood and while I got a couple of helpful responses, some people used it as an excuse to vent their anger at life.

I disagree however that the Town Square Forums *cause* the animosity or that it's the fault of the forums if our community looks bad. The fault lies with the *people* who post inappropriately. There are a lot of unhappy, angry, disturbed people out there who use forums such as this to release some of those negative feelings.

Posted by No Tea for Me, a resident of Downtown
on May 1, 2011 at 11:24 am

It is upsetting to read people's nasty, narrow-minded posts, especially about our schools and politics, but it's good to know what people's opinions are. It's frustrating though. There's some small chance that facts and intelligent discourse may change their minds.

Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on May 1, 2011 at 11:38 am

One problem with forums like these is that a disproportionate number of posts come from people with extreme viewpoints since they tend to feel very passionate about their views. For example, in the recent topic about a dog mauling incident in San Ramon, a disproportionate number of posts were from pit bull owners trying to defend the behavior of the breed. But you just have to put all that through your own filter when you read the posts. I have gotten a lot of good information about Pleasanton through these Town Square topics so I hope that they continue.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I agree, it isn't the Town Square Forum itself that causes the sanctimonious posts by anonymous, non-registered users who have no interest in practical discussions about actual issues. The software interface could be vastly improved to reduce the incidence of such posts though.

I haven't decided yet whether I should support local journalism, although I'd like to. I think this forum still leaves something to be desired.

Posted by Great Laugh, a resident of Happy Valley
on May 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Stacey's comments fall short of her call for censorship of a few weeks ago, but her sanctimonious criticism of those who she criticizes for being sanctimonious gave me my best laugh since hearing last night's Seth Meyer jokes about The Donald.

Thanks, Stacey. And please do tell us when you've decided whether you can or cannot support local journalism. I for one am sitting on pins and needles in anticipation of your verdict.

Posted by Big S, a resident of Parkside
on May 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm

I didn't find Seth Meyer's jokes about Donald Trump at all funny. They were mean.

Posted by mellow fellow, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm

The Forum is truly a gem. It is a raw and relatively uncensored microcosm of the world we live in. It takes guts to run a forum like this. It takes guts to read it. It takes guts to post on it. Yes, before the forum Pleasanton residents viewed itself as serene and homogeneous in views, morals, politics and lifestyle. CRASH! .... But you know what, after hitting my head against the wall after reading the forum I'm not sure I would feel good if it went away. I like it. No, I LOVE IT (in a love/hate sort of way). Keep it going and if you can't stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen cause there's some rootin' tootin' gun slinging going on this thought-provoking bar. It's the wild west and freedom of speech rules the roost. (I know mixed metaphors ... but you get my point).

Posted by Tim, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Get a load of the Big S. The Donald hires investigators to find dirt on our President's past, denies the factuality of Obama's birth certificate, raises questions about a black man transferring into an Ivy League school, demands to see his college transcripts ... and can any one doubt that The Donald's next move will be to accuse that black man in the White House of being a womanizer? All this, and Big S. finds Seth Meyer's jokes about Trump being a joke and wearing a fox on his head "mean"??? Takes all kinds.... Whew.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I see nothing funny in using one's freedom to write anonymously and non-registered here to pass moral judgements on other posters, psychoanalyze them, or to call them names. Other people are not seeing the humor in it either, as evidenced by this thread. I called for posters to register and to utilize the "Report Objectionable Content" link. Posters can also limit their new threads to registered users only. The PW can go further such as by requiring registration to post. Another person had suggested that posters should pay a membership fee in order to post. This site is one of the lone hold-outs that still does not require registration.

Posted by Dr. Emil Scheuffhausen, a resident of another community
on May 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm

(Post makes no sense and has been removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff.)

Posted by dublinmike, a resident of Dublin
on May 1, 2011 at 10:32 pm

dublinmike is a registered user.

Doing away with any forum only confirms one thing, a freedom of expression would be diminished, lost because some feel uncomfortable with thoughts expressed by others, regardless of how irrational the reader thinks. I do not particularly care for some Tea baggers comments or even Fox cable station but, I'll be damned if I will not support their right to express their viewpoints.

Some self-promoting person like Donald Trump, an embarrassment to the United States, should have the right to make a damn fool of himself for ONLY one reason, that some poor bastard in Syria, Russia or China exercising their right to speak out will be jailed or even killed for doing so, something we take for granted.

Posted by John, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2011 at 10:55 pm

You pass judgement on others here daily "Stacey" and somehow think you are above the anonymous status, therefore better than other posters? You could be anyone for that matter- unless of course you have presented a birth certificate.... To me, your just as anonymous as I am, yet twice have stated that you are more entitled to pass judgement on others. I disagree.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 1, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Stacey is a registered user.


If you found something I wrote that is inappropriate, please use the "Report Objectionable Content" link.

Posted by John, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 2, 2011 at 12:01 am

You claim to not be anonymous and I disagree- you pass moral judgement daily as an anonymous person, the very thing you speak out against in your own post. Nowhere did I state it was inappropriate- just commenting on your claim, which I find very ironic considering your posts. From your response, I guess you missed that point.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 2, 2011 at 12:25 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I made no claims that I am not anonymous. I fully realize that you do not know me. I am just a registered user, verified through the log-in processes. I take the time to log in before posting in order to provide readers with the "registered user" guarantee that this account wrote this and all posts marked in such a way. Requiring registration to post, like the report link, makes it easier for moderators to enforce online community standards. This account could be blocked for violating those standards. Therefore, registered posters have an incentive to meet those standards. That's why I believe the PW should require registration to post.

Since this forum began, I've come to meet many throughout this community for whom I am no longer anonymous, both those with whom I've agreed and disagreed. Maybe someday I will have the opportunity to meet you too.

Posted by Night Owl, a resident of Birdland
on May 2, 2011 at 12:42 am

If I hadn't read these posts, I wouldn't have learned so much about the great things accomplished by PUSD teachers and administrators and how much genuine support they receive from so many members of the community.

By the same token, I think the Forum offers a real service in that it provides readers with a unique opportunity to assess the state of our political culture. The Forum is a variant of any newspaper's 'letters-to-the-editor' section, only here all contributors are free to question or challenge and be questioned and challenged in turn. Obviously some don't like this, but ironically they seem to be some of the Forum's most frequent posters.

Over the past months I've seen a shift from the teapartyers and other right-wing posters pretty much having their own way on these posts to a discursive environment where their previously unchallenged comments are now subject to rigorous and intelligent scrutiny. As a consequence, their self-perceived effectiveness has been considerably eroded, sometimes laughably so, and I think Sherri, Stacey, the Big S and um, well, I guess that's it, are chafing and expressing sour grapes.

Posted by SteveP, a resident of Parkside
on May 2, 2011 at 9:01 am

SteveP is a registered user.

It's unfortunate that the likes of night owl, john, tim and others can't understand the message of those in the right because they don't find it articulate enough for them.
These forums are a service to the community to provide opposing viewpoints that would not otherwise be shared. There has to be some balance to offset the promoters of the status quo, that not only defend the policies that have driven our state into the gutter, but condone throwing more of other people's money at the problem.
Aside from the name calling that erupts from those who cannot present coherent counterpoints, the Town Square is an asset to this community.

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 2, 2011 at 9:19 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Over the years I've seen a shift from posters providing rigorous and intelligent scrutiny of local issues to those who don't. I am sorry if I am just pining for those old days.

If you think someone's post crosses a line of decency, that's what the "Report Objectionable Content" link is for.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on May 2, 2011 at 11:04 am

I agree with some poster here!

Posted by Bighead Marshall, a resident of Ironwood
on May 2, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Regarding: "Over the years I've seen a shift from posters providing rigorous and intelligent scrutiny of local issues to those who don't...."

Go to any of several posts over the past several days -- here I'm thinking primarily of any of the posts having to do with education, and specifically Measure E. I think these posts indicate that Stacey's above lament is unfounded.

I find Night Owl's words are more accurate. "Over the past months I've seen a shift from the teapartyers and other right-wing posters pretty much having their own way on these posts to a discursive environment where their previously unchallenged comments are now subject to rigorous and intelligent scrutiny. As a consequence, their self-perceived effectiveness has been considerably eroded, sometimes laughably so, and I think Sherri, Stacey, the Big S and um, well, I guess that's it, are chafing and expressing sour grapes."

Posted by No journalists here, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 2, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I like well informed Stacy, who can be tracked & followed for her CONSISTENCY, and who in a split second knows how and where to 'access' the facts and charts of whatever the topic, usually within CA, not national. She is often personally NEUTRAL, just pointing out facts vs flaws. ( some people don't like being told they are wrong...with proof).
I find Stacey valuable, but NOT so valuable is very political Cindy, who is likely a paid lobbyist, or employee of Obama or Mcnerney. Her carefully written screed is really the 'campaign' teams talking points for the day...possibly written for her.
Actually, because of her, I am not going to 'join' or 'pay' for the PW new idea of 'paying' to speak....I don't think that's what Thomas Paine or Thomas Jefferson had in mind.
Requiring registration, with title of paid, appointed, or elected position would be far more valuable and justified.
I like Town Square the way it is, I find it more honest, thus more valuable, but if some can't stand the heat in the kitchen, I guess they want to burn down the kitchen. I will not play if I have to pay to speak. A really sad day for journalism....ooops, it's NOT journalism !!! It's hypocirisy. Please don't insult the readers. So at the end of every post, ""This was PAID by so & so's campaign or lobby"". How TRAGIC ! ! ! I will not be paying to such a scam, nor reading opinions. I don't like, but would play with ACCURATE identification registrations and NO pay....but there is no way I'll be involved with ANY aspect of blind opinion written by somebody 'registered' in DC, just because they PAY to be printed !
If PW doesn't want to mail to my home, so be it. I won't support this concept. The Independent does a good job.
I won't pay to opine online, so I sure won't be paying to subscribe to print days with PW are over. Good luck...hope you can keep advertisers, without readers. ALL the surrounding issues are irrelevant, I will not pay to opine online.

Posted by Gina Channell-Allen, president of the Pleasanton Weekly
on May 3, 2011 at 11:09 am

Gina Channell-Allen is a registered user.

As a good journalist would do, I want to set the record straight. Readers can still continue to receive the Weekly in the mail and post online without becoming members.

This allows me an opportunity to reiterate why it is important to have quality journalism in a community. First, opinions such as the one above can be taken as fact if not refuted. The Weekly is not requiring payment for the paper or to "opine online." Cindy Cross is a resident who has an opinion and likes to write, not a paid lobbyist.

Second, our journalists are the ones who monitor these forums, which, quite frankly, would be easier if we required registration. However, people would not speak as freely under those restrictions. If you don't agree with Cindy, you have the opportunity to post that and your reasons. Monitoring these forums - which are extremely valuable platforms for people to bring ideas, opinions and information to the public - is a 24/7 job.

We are asking for help to continue providing the award-winning local coverage of our community online and in print, we are not requiring it.

Posted by Tim, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 3, 2011 at 11:15 am

Thanks very much for your good work, Ms. Channell-Allen.

Posted by Tim, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 3, 2011 at 11:16 am

... and for setting the record straight!

Posted by Get the facts, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 3, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Ms. Channell-Allen, I simply suggest you make everyone register under their real name. In no other way that I can think of can we say ANYTHING we want anonymously, other than in a blog. The discourse would be so much more worthwhile this way.

Has this ever been considered by staff?

Posted by Nighthawk, a resident of Birdland
on May 3, 2011 at 10:42 pm

I think today has been a very constructive one for readers of these posts. If we read some of the other threads -- specifically those dealing with President Obama and his extraordinary recent strike at the heart of terrorism -- we are confronted with the fact that racism is alive and well in Pleasanton and its surrounding communities. Many of us already knew this, but it is good to be reminded lest we forsake our vigilance in the struggle to become a healthier society.

Without anonymity, the many racist posters who wrote today most certainly would not have had the courage to post what they did. Without anonymity, those who wage a struggle against racism would have been less inclined to contribute their ideas for fear of retaliation from sick people who live in our midst. Although my convictions run true, my courage is not such that I would risk exposing my family to the possibility of retaliation from monsters in our midst.

I once wrote an opinion piece for a large metropolitan area newspaper, in which I argued that a culture of racism had become entrenched in that city's law enforcement institutions. The following day, my family and I awoke to a life-sized dummy, painted black, that had been hung from a hangman's noose in a tree in our backyard. Yes, in this decade, and not in Georgia, but in California. That was only the beginning of the harassment we then endured; and a few excruciatingly long months later we were able to relocate to another city. Until we relocated, the threat of violence was everpresent in our household. So real was the threat that staying within the community in which we had lived happily for two decades was not an option.

Signing in under a registered name, for me, would never provide me with the needed sense of security I would have to have as a contributor. An administrative error, a theft, a leak, although all probably quite unlikely, would nevertheless be possibilities that a responsible person with family commitments would have to bear in mind. In case I am being unclear, I am stating that I fear some of the posters on these threads. It is instructive to hear their views, if only for the sake of having those views made public and exposed for what they are to a PW readership. But it is quite another matter to open contributors up to even the possibility, however remote, of having their identities exposed to this sick element within our communities.

I think the PW Forum offers to the community a valuable service. Although it sometimes is frustrating dealing with other anonymous posters like myself, it is important to keep in mind that without this Forum, many of their opinons, beliefs and attitudes would remain hidden from our view. I trust that the overwhelming majority of readers of the Forum are capable of reading with intelligence and making informed judgments about the viewpoints being expressed. My hope is that the Forum continues in its present form.

Posted by get rid , a resident of Amador Estates
on May 4, 2011 at 8:27 pm

please get rid of this forum, my son was totally devastated when he saw people write horrible things about him in the sports section. it ruined his twinkle in his eye and love for his own community.

Posted by Get rid? Get real!, a resident of Avignon
on May 4, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Get rid,

I'm sorry about your son's experience on the forum. However, I don't think you'll have much luck with your request.

It has become clear that the Weekly feels that without its internet presence, people's free speech will be hindered. Of course, we had free speech before this forum, but that's the mentality we see in keeping the Town Square Forums open.

In "serving the community," this forum has become a breeding ground for bile and vitriol for years now. Cyberbullying has found a true home here. Of course, sometimes someone's rights, privacy, or children are exploited, but at least those posts are sometimes removed shortly after the damage has already been done...

After all, without the Forums, how could people from Tracy and other communities log in and spread lies about Pleasanton local measures? How would we know what was going on with those kids on the corner of St. Mary's street, looking all suspicious? How else could we proudly display our community of character by libeling others and assassinating the characters of our teachers, coaches, children and neighbors?

So you see, it's all about the First Amendment, really. And about responsibility. Oh, and of course, it's about doing something positive for the community.

Thank you, Town Square Forums and Pleasanton Weekly. Our city is much better off because you make all this--and so much more--possible!

Posted by Embarrassed , a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 18, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Reading some of the post on these forums is just sickening. At least make people register. When we allow people to hide behind fake screen names it gives them the ability to say and make up whatever they want. Freedom of speech is great but you maybe challenged and have to face up to distruction you might cause. Cyberbullying is a real issue in this community and it is becoming more and more common. If you have to post something that isn't true or is just mean, post your name and defend your position. I am suprised teachers stick around after reading some of this rude!

Posted by Chris, a resident of Amador Estates
on May 18, 2011 at 9:50 pm

I am the father of a middle school girl who has been severely cyber-bullied so much that I have had the Pleasanton Police involved. So I know firsthand the disastrous effects of cyberbullying.

At the same time, I DON"T NEED OUR SOCIALIST ANTI-AMERICAN (MIS-)REPRESENTATIVE WASTING our taxpayer funds hosting this event!!! Teen smoking is also a big let's have our big government nannystate mis-representative fly across country specifically to host anti-teen smoking too!

In fact, now that I think of it, he has voted to place our children in SO MUCH DEBT for the rest of their lives, that some are accurately stating people like McNerney are fiscal child abusers! I don't want this pathetic socialist 50 yards from my child!!!

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