Get Rid of Anonymous Postings Comments on Stories, posted by First Amendment Supporter, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on May 25, 2010 at 9:51 am
Are you sick and tired of the blatherings of people who hide behind anonymous postings? Let’s have an honest discourse of the issues. Pleasanton Weekly don’t allow anonymous postings! Require that individuals must be registered uses of the blog. They can still hide behind whatever screen name they choose. The First Amendment does not grant the right of anonymous free speech.
Posted by m, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2010 at 10:22 am
I hear this a lot on this forum. As a technology and business communication professional I would like to explain my perspective on the issues:
The more you want from a blog or forum is usually an issue of functionality of the software being used. The more complicated the software, for example accessing and verifying registration, reply capability, content review et al, may be a cost and resource concern. These type of forums are not necessarily CHEAP for publishers. For example, it may take a full or part time person with the proper technical capability to perform all the functions you would like. Having an open forum is less costly and takes less resource. Of course the problem is having what you call trolls bouncing in and out of the forum.
The other issue is content policy. What's bad news for one person may be good news for another. What's useless to one may be valuable to another. So, you have to ask yourself what is the content objective you're trying to achieve. Just saying "get rid of the dinks I don't like" is not really a policy. Editing topics in an open forum may lead to unwanted or unwarranted bias or political favoritism.
Anyway, my point is that there is a lot involved in achieving what you want. There are many variations on the theme. I think resources is the biggest issue. Wanting more stuff comes at a price.
Maybe we should ask Gina to write an op-ed policy statement of her objectives so everyone can get a sense of the end game. I'm sure everyone wants an enjoyable experience from this forum.
Posted by m, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on May 25, 2010 at 12:00 pm
One more technical point on managing forums. It is NOT the registration vs anonymous functionality that curtails off-topic, ad hominem responses, use of inappropriate language or images ... it's the MODERATION of the forum. The moderator monitors ALL input and either allows or rejects the post. This is the expensive part of the forum. You can increase the level of functionality of the site through software, even tracking certain word uses ... but it will always take a HUMAN BEING to sit and watch the post flow. This is where the money issue comes in with most forums. There are some news sites that take up to two days to get posted ... some don't even allow posting because of the expense. There's no right or wrong answer and as usual monehy can be a sore point for creating upgrades and improvements. Anyway, I hope this helps. I too would like a more agreeable site. But we need to identify the proper valves if we want to control the flow.
Posted by First Amendment Supporter, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on May 26, 2010 at 9:19 am
Posting anonymously was a sardonic joke.
The First Amendment was intended to protect individual Free Speech from Government censorship. The US Supreme Court over the years have flip-flopped over the years with its interpretation of the First Amendment. Lately the US Supreme Court has broaden the interpretation to include libel, slander and private action. The Supreme Court has ruled on anonymous speech in Talley v. California in 1960 where they struck down a LA ordinance prohibiting anonymous pamphlets. The concept was further supported in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission in 1995 with a similar law in Ohio. However, the Supreme Court did uphold restrictions of anonymous speech in Meese v. Keene in 1987. Flip-Flop. That leaves libel and slander supported by Tort Law. The Supreme Court has ruled that it requires “actual malice” in order to meet the threshold of libel and/or slander. Do we have slanderous comments posted in the blog? Were they intended to inflict actual malice?
Phew…with the constitutionality aside is this what we want for our community? Downtown we have had several instances of aggressive religious demonstrators yelling about hell and damnation. Their actions could be considered to be protected under the First Amendment. How does it make you feel? Do you like it? Does it affect your ability to pursue happiness?
My point is that people need to be held accountable for their speech. A civilized society is one where people get along. That is the whole basis of our laws (and most religions). Think twice, speak once. Most people would not say the nasty things posted to the blog in public nor would they admit to posting them.
Let’s bring back a healthy discourse of the issues and reject hate speech. Pleasanton Weekly eliminate anonymous postings.