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Temporary changes to Talkabout

Today, for the first time, we are changing the way posts are approved on Talkabout. At least through Election Day, we will be approving all new topics and comments before they appear live on our site.

That means you can expect some delay – sometimes as little as a few minutes, sometimes as long as a few hours – before your post appears on hmbreview.com. And if we deem it inappropriate, you won’t see it at all.

We’re sorry. This is something we have successfully avoided for eight full years of operating the Coastside’s most active Web forum. (In 2009, we decided not to allow new topics dealing with any election-related topics in the last couple weeks before the polls closed and we did so for similar reasons.) We think it’s important that you have a place to interact with others on a variety of important local topics and we think that works best in real time. We would much rather allow your posts to appear immediately.

Sadly, that isn’t possible at the moment. A small handful of users have hijacked our forum – your forum – over the last several days. There have been scurrilous, unsubstantiated, anonymous charges against your neighbors. One poster created a log-in in order to pretend to be someone else. There has been more heat than light. In short, the upcoming elections have made a handful of people nuts and that insanity has played out on Talkabout. It simply isn’t fair to allow commenters to continue this nonsense.

So go ahead and post as usual. It will go into a holding queue until the publisher or myself has time to approve it. If it doesn’t eventually appear, it’s because some part of it didn’t meet our standards for decorum or appropriateness. You are free to ask us about those decisions via email, but understand that we have other work to do. We won’t debate these decisions ad nausem.

If you want your post to go through be fair, be polite and be constructive. For other tips, see my previous blogs on the subject of decorum on Talkabout here:

Web Link

and here:

Web Link

Thanks for understanding and we hope to return to our previous protocol soon.


Comments

I can understand the need for the change and it's reasonable.

One minor point of clarification, if I may.

If a member posts to an existing topic, is that new post going to be reviewed or does the new review rule only apply to a new topic and initial post?

TIA


It applies to all comments on existing topics, new topics -- everything.


Clay,

Thanks for the clarification.

I can vouch that Clay is correct based on how my test message appeared to be handled on my end.

Happy election season.


Unfortunate.

Normally, if there is any such thing, this move by Clay (and Bill) would likely catch a little heat ... from me, among others. In this case, however, I don't see that there is any other reasonable alternative. The only other rather obvious alternative might be to nix TA until the cancerous rhetoric no longer "serves" the purposes of those very few that have once again messed it all up for the rest. Well, if there is any good news in this, it is that we will no longer have to deal with the anonymous flame throwers out to misdirect away from our very real issues, which is what should be discussed, at the expense of losing their trash and slander.

This did not have to happen. What's more, this move speaks directly to the extent of the polarized political environment here where some continually and repeatedly assault others when we should all be assaulting the issues we face and our future. It's a very sorry and telling move that the folks that run this sandbox obviously feel necessary just continue TA.

Out of a town of 11,000+, 6500 of which are registered to vote, only 7 individuals stepped up to be heard and counted. One has since stepped aside, leaving 6 candidates.

Hopefully this move by Clay (et al) will guide discussion to the issues we face and the views of all the candidates on these issues.

That this move was needed is a terrible commentary that lays in the laps of a very few. How about, now that they will be gone through the election, we all now have discussions that will benefit us all, through education and dialog, on our issues.

Lousy move Clay, but I won't miss the garbage. Thanks, I think.


I have no problem with this change, since any possible censoring simply moves from being after-the-fact to prior. One of my posts was just deleted, I assume because I quoted a really nasty comment towards me and that post that I was replying to was deleted at the same time.

I am not alone though in feeling that this problem is encouraged by TA's allowing anonymous posting. Coastsider.com largely avoided this by requiring registration under real names when things started to devolve there. TA went the other direction, changing to allowing anonymous in order to get some traffic away from Coastsider.com, which of course worked quite well towards that goal, but we see the miserable consequence. I always posted under my real name on Coastsider. I would still like TA to switch back to requiring real name registrations, perhaps with some special arrangement for occasional, i.e., rare, moderated anonymous postings for things which need to be said but could cause harm to the source, primarily whistleblowing by government employees. The anonymous moderated poster's names should still be required to be known to the moderators.

But Clay, after rereading your linked older references, it seems to me that you have been allowing many posts which are clear violations. One poster in particular who recently switched anonymous names violates one of your rules (constructive, no nastiness) in EVERY post, yet you allow him to continue. And why do you allow people to hijack other names with impunity? And why do you allow things like "wankazoo", clearly making fun of another popular poster? All seemingly a violation of your published rules.


Finally. Thank you.

But never forget that you created this mess yourselves.


I'm glad for these changes and join watchdog in asking that new users be required to register with distinctly unique login names.


What Now Pitching Said

100% Accurate

Should be permanent moving forward


This isn't surprising to me at all. I reiterate what I know is unpopular with some TA users: real names=more civil discourse. If you want to post as a watchdog or someone else, start a blog. One of the reasons that Nextdoor has taken off here in town is the requirement that real names and addresses be provided. You can disagree but be civil. I know this must be a drain/strain on staff but I applaud the Review for trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Kudos again to George who posts as himself, asks questions, gives background and then lets folks decide for themselves. We may not agree all the time - but I do appreciate the information and perspective you provide.


>>You can disagree but be civil.<<

I completely agree, but unfortunately those people who cannot currently control themselves will continue to not control themselves. I've already posted on that point recently.

Who here would like a bully to single them out as a "racist" in public for saying you're against open borders or amnesty for 30 million people? If you like the looks of a project, you're "just a mouthpiece for the developer?" No? Well that's what people are up against.

That's why not many of those using their real names routinely express anything significant or controversial to the discussions. This latest topic of calling for civility is a passing side note, and who could be against "civility" anyway? It's easy to use your real name on this issue and brings out the lurkers. Nothing wrong with that, per se, and it's always good to have more people involved.

Many kudos to Jim Larimar, Fdrouillard and David Eblovi who bravely post their real names repeatedly. John Gruver, Tim Pond do sometimes. JustinStockman does but typically sticks to safe subjects (although I envision him stepping forth more and leading the way). Many of us know who George is although he doesn't use his full name.

My hat is off to these people, but especially FD, who continues to post sometimes wildly unpopular and controversial opinions in the face of being outed by someone who continues to remain anonymous himself.

IMO, if real names were required to be shown this forum would become very boring very quickly.


Kendal Flint,

Clay and Bill have dealt with this issue, until after the election. The consensus appears to be everyone supports their temporary change. I don't see where suggesting watchdog leave is very civil, which undermines your claim that named posters are more civil than anonymous posters. A courtesy on most forums to other participants is putting one's submissions on the most relevant topic. There are two other topics that deal with proposals for future changes to TA:

Web Link

and

Web Link


>>real names=more civil discourse.<<

And yet, those who post under real names are consistently the least civil.

Tough to explain.

-


"The consensus appears to be everyone supports their temporary change." I have no idea where you get your consensus, but it is polar opposite of the consensus I would be any part of. I'm sure I just misunderstood your position.

To be crystal clear: the move to severely curtail, and thereby disrupt TA was a calculated move by one or more Council supporters that think nothing of slandering others with no basis in fact, but rather for the sole purpose of silencing a valuable resource for us all along with all the contributors within that resource (TA). We have seen none of it since the disruption and we have seen nothing from the incumbents on it, demonstrating to us all that they not only don't discourage slimy campaign tactics, they embrace slimy tactics. Their silence has been deafening. This shutdown of our community resource was a calculated move, a move with malicious intent to harm others (our neighbors!) and shut down opposition. It was done with malice and forethought.

The worst part? It appears some accept it!

"Today, for the first time, we are changing the way posts are approved on Talkabout." Clay's opening line. Further along, Clay states: "We’re sorry. This is something we have successfully avoided for eight full years of operating the Coastside’s most active Web forum."

So telling, so calculated; such a damning commentary to those very few that once again have found a way to avoid accountability, avoid the issues altogether and a clear move in the incumbents attempts to silence all opposition making their narrative the only one out there.

And some just accept it? Mind bending, really. That anyone can even think about accepting such a direct attack on our very system of civic participation is more than I can handle.

The real issue isn't anonymity. The real argument isn't the benefits or drawdowns of anonymity.

The real issue is the effective silencing of opposing views and our ability to discuss them openly. The real issue is are we just going to lay down and accept it?


Clay's soap box, his rules.

If you prefer different rules, you can always create your own soap box.

Everybody wins!


Maybe alternative blogs will pop up. My favorite scenerio is something like The Almanac online on the Peninsula. The set up is very user friendly and people can alert the publisher/editor when they see something inappropriate.


You miss the point entirely, francis.

I hope everyone else gets it though (at least those registered to vote in HMB) because it is a serious issue and laid out right here for all to see.

The subversion of opposition, the subversion of discussion are hallmarks of some societies. There are names for that sort of thing; none of which has the word democracy in sight.

Many, if not most folks are too busy with a little thing called life to get all wrapped around and up in our local political issues. When it is time to vote, many seek information to better educate themselves on local issues that they have just been too busy to get into. TA provides a piece to that issue discussion puzzle and the free flow, the free and spontaneous exchange of information, dialog, ideas, and comments which are helpful to many.

One or two people have taken that from us to silence the opposition, thereby controlling the narrative. The rub, of course, is that this town has a population larger than the myopic views of a handful of classless people.

To knowingly force the Review to make a drastic choice, taking away TA altogether or severely restricting it as the choices the Review is left with is a very sorry commentary on us all.

And it all comes down to less than a handful of cowards stomping their feet at the checkout stand because Mommy won’t let them get the candy bar they want. Our entire community suffers as a direct result.

Tactics like this are obvious and unwelcome. Either a candidate wins on the issues or s/he doesn’t; but to intentionally take the discussion off the table is shameful and hurtful to all. We saw this same effort during the Fire Board Recall, from what appears to be the same few.

I can only hope that voters see it for what it is and that we send a(nother) clear message, another vote of No Confidence, another 65%-35% slamming of the perpetrators and their ilk.


"To be crystal clear: the move to severely curtail, and thereby disrupt TA was a calculated move by one or more Council supporters..."

Easily one of the most ridiculous posts I have ever seen.

Your proof?


How about we include the entire sentence, NP, for the sake of full disclosure. We wouldn't want the reader to be misinformed with only partial quotes, now would we?

"To be crystal clear: the move to severely curtail, and thereby disrupt TA was a calculated move by one or more Council supporters that think nothing of slandering others with no basis in fact, but rather for the sole purpose of silencing a valuable resource for us all along with all the contributors within that resource (TA)."

What you have managed to do, NP, in your zeal to misdirect and criticize others again is provide us with some interesting irony. How so?

NP has just performed the very same action that the top attorney for the Coastal Commission did, right here in HMB, that provided the 2000 City Council all they needed to unanimously deny the Yamagiwa applicant's appeal. What you have done, NP , is drop the last part of a complete thought, pulling out what you feel suits your needs while leaving the rest - all to accomplish a goal, I would think. There must be some purpose to your constant condescending tone.

That is exactly what provided the basis for the 2000 Council's unanimous decision; the Commission's attorney did what you just did. He dropped the last part of the wetland definition, saying it didn't apply. That slight of hand, for lack of a better term, was very costly all the way around. You weren't too happy with that, were you. You didn't like it when you were on the receiving end, did you?

Support who you like, NP, but we've heard it all from you before and know what to expect.

You do see the irony, don't you NP?


"Easily one of the most ridiculous posts I have ever seen."

That's because you apparently don't read your own posts.


"To be crystal clear: the move to severely curtail, and thereby disrupt TA was a calculated move by one or more Council supporters that think nothing of slandering others with no basis in fact, but rather for the sole purpose of silencing a valuable resource for us all along with all the contributors within that resource (TA)."

Where is you proof that any "one or more Council supporters" has anything to do with the changes made?

That better?


George,

You can for sure opt out of the consensus I claimed existed.

To me, speaking for no others: I don't view this as a conspiracy to deny certain elements of the community a forum. But, then again maybe I'm naïve and view things through rose colored glasses. I see these sort of pranks all over the internet even on the big news agencies. In my view Bill and Clay did the right thing in pre-filtering submissions. Sure, it slows things down (here I am responding to you a few messages down). But, we can all cope.


"Where is you proof that any "one or more Council supporters" has anything to do with the changes made?" Nice try.

I don't see any need to provide you with that information and supporting documentation. Nothing constructive will come from that.

The regulators, on the other hand, do seem to have an interest and they can do something productive with the information and supporting documentation.

I'm surprised that you would attempt such a cheap angle, particularly as well as you know me. You, more than most, know that I do my homework and further, that I have no problem with sharing; but in this particular case, I'd prefer to share with those that can actually take action.

I'm sure you understand, and as always, wishing you a great day.

Stay tuned.....


You always operate from information George, and do your homework. That much I know.

Besides taxpayer, you are the only one that comes close to weaving a story based on actual factual information here. JCU tries but he only usually has information that can be found using Google.

But these comments are a cheap threat. If you have the "goods," by all means do what you have to do. But to put out unsupported innuendo without laying out the evidence is not going to cut it. And you are better than that.


It isn’t enough that the Review’s administration felt the need to, quoting Clay: "Today, for the first time, we are changing the way posts are approved on Talkabout." Clay's opening line. Further along, Clay states: "We’re sorry. This is something we have successfully avoided for eight full years of operating the Coastside’s most active Web forum."

That leaves Clay, with all else he has to do, babysitting. We’ve seen the complete disruption of TA as a result, no doubt putting a smile on the face of the slanderous anon poster baselessly attacking opposition candidates - mission accomplished. Congratulations.

But what happens when Clay takes a much needed break and Bill has to take over the babysitting? Well, we are getting a very good look at that now. Posts submitted after roughly 8 PM don’t go up until sometime the next day, some 12 or more hours later. Right now, for example, the most recent comment was made (not posted, but submitted) over 22 hours ago! It was the same yesterday too. Gotta love the active, free flow dialog that we have here now.

And all because (likely) one person went rogue, personally attacking others instead of dealing with the issues and facts on the ground. Seems the issues and facts thereof aren’t very flattering for the incumbents, so from that POV, need to be eliminated from discussion. We saw the same attempts during the successful Fire Board with all three recallees, Mike Alifano, MacKintosh and Riddell getting the boot bigtime (65%-35% defeat). The antics appear the same, only worse this time, which makes one look for the common denominator...which is painfully obvious; and that person or persons walk away clean, rewarded for their slanderous efforts.

I have to admit, it seems Bill is less interested in TA than Clay, although I’m sure right now neither would give 2 cents for it all.

It is a shame that as adults, a very few can’t seem to act like it, appearing to conspire with and certainly doing the ‘dirty work’ for the incumbents. It appears that by eliminating opposition dialog, the incumbents are narrowing the narrative so that all we hear and see is, by their design, is their views. And Clay and Bill both are now tasked with additional work as a direct result.

News happens 24/7/365. The news business is a tough business in many respects and is never-ending, always demanding; but does that mean that Clay and Bill and all the others at the Review are suppose to actually work 24/7/365? Tell you what; anyone that thinks so should try it themselves. Look what we have allowed to happen, and once again at a cost to us all.

Democracy at its best. And to think, we actually have the nerve to demand transparency. What fools.


"It is a shame that as adults, a very few can’t seem to act like it, appearing to conspire with and certainly doing the ‘dirty work’ for the incumbents. It appears that by eliminating opposition dialog, the incumbents are narrowing the narrative so that all we hear and see is, by their design, is their views. And Clay and Bill both are now tasked with additional work as a direct result."

Conversely, it is a shame that as adults, the challengers and a few of their cohorts doing their "dirty work," could not raise their dialog high enough to cause this to happen. They know who they are, and why this transpired. The "good guy" sheen wore off real quick.

The invective, slander and nastiness is gone. What is the problem?


“The invective, slander and nastiness is gone.” Almost, but along with that so is the free flow exchange of honest discussion, dialog about the many issues we have, are and possibly will face. When that is taken away, as it has been here, it eliminates choices for some and restricts the narrative - at the expense of everyone.

Communication is a wonderful thing. When taken, it immediately brings thoughts of a loss of a piece of our freedoms. As mentioned before, Putin would be proud.

“What is the problem?” If you honestly can’t see it, then not only would that help explain your constant nagging, avoiding the facts of issues and replacing them with confrontational and generally personal rhetoric, but it would also demonstrate your own bliss in ignorance.

Why is it, NP, that you seem to have difficulty reasonably and rationally communicating with others? How do you resolve issues in your world without communicating? What kind of world is it that you embrace that cuts off opposing views, then relishes the results?

Just the fact that we are having this back and forth provides yet one more example of the choices those you favor have made, misdirecting the narrative from the issues we face to personal dribble, such as you consistently offer.

I asked you before, and I’ll try again once more: can you replace your condescending personal banter with dialog on City issues? OR, are you just stuck in that emotional quagmire of thinking you’re better than everyone else and that you know best?

Maybe you should have placed your name on the ballot.

PS: if you can honestly read this entire thread from top to bottom and still ask “What is the problem?”, then the answer to your question is obvious.


Hey all, happy Election Day.

We're going to take a one-day break from electioneering here on Talkabout. I think voters have had ample chance to hear from candidates and their supporters on Talkabout this election season.

So let's give it a break today. I'll be deleting comments posted recently or throughout the day that deal with election issues. Come tomorrow, you are free to start again.

And we'll be thinking about going back to the immediate post protocol.

One more day. Thank you.


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