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By Tom Cushing

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About this blog: The Raucous Caucus shares the southpaw perspectives of this Boomer on the state of the nation, the world, and, sometimes, other stuff. I enjoy crafting it to keep current, and occasionally to rant on some issue I care about deeply...  (More)

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Brand, Spanking New Year’s Poll

Uploaded: Jan 3, 2018

As we embark on a bright, fresh new year, unsullied by grossly inflated presidential references to personal anatomies – rats, too late for that now – I am considering possible changes to the RC. So, your preferences and suggestions are solicited (‘DIAF’ not included).

As background, I have always been interested in this blog becoming a forum for a forthright conversation over political issues – respectfully raucous, even. Obviously, there’s been little reluctance about expressing my own thoughts. I also have no illusions that mine are the only opinions worth considering. Still, I don’t think we’ve attained a consistent ‘forthright conversation’ level.

Not unrelated to that goal, these columns have been “moderated” with a pretty loose hand. My prior experience as a Mod was with, a topical humor and commentary site once described by Time magazine as “one of the ten best places to waste time on the ‘web.” We considered that to be pretty high praise.

Our modding model at FARK was of a social gathering where all were welcome to hang out, unless folks conducted themselves with sufficient jerkitude that they’d eventually be asked to leave. In most instances that worked well enough at FARK – and here, there have been only a few commenters excluded on that basis. A tighter hand could also subject the column to charges of censoring disagreement, especially since the general subject matter is politics, about which mileage seems to vary.

Today, however, I received the following email from Doug Miller, who occasionally comments in the threads (reprinted in-part and attributed with his permission):

“Your comment closing out your last article reminded me of a suggestion I made several years ago about implementing more stringent rules with regard to comments about your articles. Had you done something along those lines you wouldn't have had to end with this comment and I think your audience, at least measured in terms of those who comment, would be much larger today.

… the comments almost immediately get out of hand and get off on tangents. It is too bad.”

Essentially, Doug recommends that the relevance standard be tightened to maintain the thread on topics related to the blog. He believes that many more readers would then be inclined to comment. There might also be room for a greater civility (although we do a much better job of decorum here, than, say, in ESPN articles where hormone-based insults appear to be required).

Other possibilities include limiting comments to only site-registered users (I can click a box for that), or to folks who appear to be using their own names. I’m not sure those changes would be improvements, though, nor designed to encourage greater participation. One thing I will Not consider is editing comments – the responsibility for their content rests solely with the commenter. Then they either stay, or go.

SO … the floor is yours. Do you prefer the current approach, or one that excludes extraneous postings to keep threads in hand? Should I never comment, as someone once suggested as a more “mature” (?) way to go? Have you considered commenting but decided against it – if so, why? Should there be a rule against snideness, sarcasm, scorn or personal attacks? What are any other ideas – point/counterpoint (and are you volunteering)?

Kindly let me know your thoughts – here or via email. Thanks!


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jan 3, 2018 at 6:29 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Tom, I will gladly debate any one of your commentators on any issue.

The requirement: They identify themselves with real name as registered with Embarcadero media, verified by Embarcadero Media.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on Jan 3, 2018 at 6:56 pm

Tom, I'm fine with the current approach, except for maybe more warnings and clamp-downs on personal attacks since once that starts to happen things can quickly spiral out of control.

@Michael Austin - Embarcadero Media has no interest in “verifying" the identities of people who register on this web site.

 +   2 people like this
Posted by Scott Hale, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 3, 2018 at 7:50 pm

Scott Hale is a registered user.

No silly screen names, only real(ish) ones. Only verified email addresses. Those who are afraid of their opinions should not post here no matter what their silly excuse for using an AOL like screen name. Sounds like those all the publisher and/or software admin to deal with, tho.

And the verification code, really?? Useless.

 +   6 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of another community,
on Jan 3, 2018 at 10:14 pm

Seems to me Sam and "personal attacks" are synonymous.

As for Scott Hale... He says things like, "I'm one of those who actually knows about the deficit and how LARGE it is." Well, all I can say about that is this: pomposity breeds ridicule.

Cushing asked, "Should there be a rule against snideness, sarcasm, etc?" The better question to ask is why would Cushing want to make a rule against what he does best?

Look, sarcasm, humor and criticism all have a place at the table of debate. The secret is in the style in which you use them.

Good luck with all that, fellas.

 +   2 people like this
Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on Jan 3, 2018 at 11:41 pm

@Malcolm Hex

Gee, a post decrying personal attacks that is filled with personal attacks. Oh, the irony.

 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of another community,
on Jan 4, 2018 at 12:46 am

That your idea of a personal attack? All I said was that your name was synonymous with personal attacks. Need proof? Read on from one of your tantrums in the last blog.

"...but out here in the real world it just shows everyone how out of touch you are with reality..."

Civility ain't your specialty, brother.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on Jan 4, 2018 at 6:11 am

@Malcolm Hex

Uhhhh.....yeah. Those were a whole series of personal attacks that you wrote. Let me help you out:

“personal attack (plural personal attacks): Making of an abusive remark on or relating to somebody's person instead of providing evidence when examining another person's claims or comments."

You offered nothing on the subject of politics or national affairs in your post. Nothing! Just a pure, 100%, unadulterated series of personal attacks.

Oh, and as for your quote of my comment, why did you cut and paste only a fragment of my sentence rather than showing my entire sentence, hmmmm? I guess that you did that because quoting the entire sentence wouldn't make your case look all that good. For the record, here is the sentence in its entirety:

“Trying to pretend that the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election is all a politically motivated "nothing burger" may play well in Breitbart-land, but out here in the real world it just shows everyone how out of touch you are with reality and the views of most Americans:"

BTW, in view of Bannon's recent statements about the “treasonous" actions of Kushner and others concerning their meetings with Russians, the claim that the Russia investigation is a “nothing burger" is even more laughable than ever.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jan 4, 2018 at 6:36 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

The Embarcadero Media Group has a greater interest in identifying those that use, abuse and hack this forum that are not registered. Embarcadero Media Group have worked with law enforcement to arrest hackers on this site.

 +   2 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Jan 4, 2018 at 7:20 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

... geez, and it started off so well.

Under my idea of a tighter 'personal attacks' standard, comments 4-7 would be gone. And Malcolm, this kind of exchange is all you've done under that moniker. The fish may take the bait, but the fisher puts it out there. Keep it up* and you may be asked to find another stream.

* meaning additional off-topic commentary, including but not limited to protestations of innocence, windy attempts at defense, and butwhatabouts of every stripe.

Further, in case there's any doubt, any comment that contains Both relevance And personal attackage gets tossed. No loopholes.

 +   5 people like this
Posted by Karl Aitken, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Jan 4, 2018 at 8:46 am

Yes this is my real name - I don't think I need to register (and enter my name is some database that is probably sold off to others) to make comments.

My comment on this blog - Raucous Caucus is starting out 2018 with a bang. Very entertaining. I hope Tom continues to provide his opinions openly so I can see both sides of the issues facing our country and community.

Open mindedness is good for the brain cells.....

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Scott Hale, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 4, 2018 at 2:29 pm

Scott Hale is a registered user.

How many users here were on Prodigy, GEnie, AOL etc? I'm guessing not many. On all of those if you strayed off thread or topic your note was yanked; and that was that. It is really easy to get your drivel in, if you attempt to stick to the topic.

And yes, I was a charter member of all those (now gone) services.....

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jan 4, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

You debate, counter point, commentators on your blog and or align with commentators on your blog.

The people you exchange with for the most part is anonymous. Because they are anonymous, your participation is redundant.

The anonymous participant, unidentified, spews whatever to the delight of himself, regardless your point.

Back to topic:
Apparently, by way of this blog you are signaling that you have reins, can and will use them.

Will this rediscovered authority enhance, improve your blog?
I believe it will.

Will it refocus your blog to what represents debate?
Possibly, however given caucus is intended to have a meet to define the issues, it likely will be raucous.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Jan 4, 2018 at 8:35 pm

Jake Waters is a registered user.


It's your blog. I don't agree on anything you write, because I find you unbalanced and unfair. You use your blog to hit the Trump administration, but you never really addressed the failures of Obama. Again, it's your blog, and you and your twin Sam get to critize all those who don't agree with you. Ok. But let's be honest: you get the hits on your site because of your your blowhard rhetoric and you see that as validation. Sad.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a blogger,
on Jan 5, 2018 at 8:41 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Okay, so seven further comments removed for irrelevance to the blog topic, which is not "factoids that reveal less than is claimed."

On-point comments retained.

Solicitation of more on-point comments renewed.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a blogger,
on Jan 5, 2018 at 11:12 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Three comments transferred to new blog, where they are on-topic.

These comments are for this blog's subject matter.

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