Monday, April 09, 2007

Gutter Scum Hits The Daily Pilot


Yesterday, Easter Sunday, provided an interesting, ironic sequel to my posting on that day. Early Sunday morning one - maybe two - people who can best be described in the immortal words of Yosemite Sam as pusillanimous polecats, managed to slip a couple of foul comment posts past the editors of the Daily Pilot. I suspect the editors were not looking for objectionable material in the pen names of the contributors, but were on the alert for bad language, innuendo and foul statements in the comments submitted. So, the contributors of these two putrid submissions took advantage of that focus and slipped their vile entries past the editors, who dutifully approved the postings, which sat there online for all to view for 24 hours before they were finally removed.

No, I'm not going to tell you what they said. That would just give these pukes more space. Suffice it to say that the names they contrived would usually be seen scratched on toilet stalls or heard on late night HBO comedy specials.

In my view, this is a very large problem for the Daily Pilot management. On one hand, their willingness to permit the posting of very divergent viewpoints as comments in their online version demonstrates that they truly want to provide a forum so the debate of important issues can be facilitated in nearly real time. In concept, this a great idea. We have seen some truly insightful comments offered on a variety of issues over the past couple of months.

On the other hand, the abuse by those who choose to use this excellent forum as a venue for, as my pal, Byron de Arakal so cleverly put recently, booger-throwing, diminish the debate. Now, in this most recent event of abuse, the effluent in question came from the other end of the alimentary canal and is completely unacceptable in any kind of civilized discourse. It demonstrates that some folks with the intellectual capacity of a Neanderthal are happy simply to disrupt a debate instead of contributing their views.

We've all known these kinds of folks in our lives. Sometimes they manifested themselves as playground bullies, who were content to steal the ball so other children couldn't play with it instead of getting in the game themselves. Those thugs grew, at least physically, into adults who are ill-equipped to rationally discuss an issue, so they try to drag the debate down into the gutter, where they attempt to shout-down their opponents instead of trying to convince them of the validity of their views. It's all bullying.

In my view, the management of the Daily Pilot needs to tighten the reins on their process and require a method of identification - at least to them - of those who wish to publish comments. They do that with letters to the editor, so their standards shouldn't be loosened just because the comments are online. If they don't do that, their credibility is at risk.

Those of us who already identify ourselves online won't have a problem with such a requirement. I suspect, however, that some of those anonymous cowards who hide behind the bushes and spit venom might be reluctant to participate if they knew someone would know their identity. Based on my read of most of those kinds of comments, and especially this most recent pair, the loss of their participation would be inconsequential and would probably enhance the debate by their absence. Who knows, maybe one or two of them might conjure up enough fortitude to actually use their own names and participate openly. I doubt it - it's not their style.

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Andrew Dorian said...

Geoff - I saw the names for the comments and...arggg...I agree with you...there I said it!

There is no place for this, especially on a site that we all know young adults are reading.

4/09/2007 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Andrew, see - that wasn't hard, was it? Seriously, I'm glad that you agree with me on this one. We have plenty of areas in which we can debate and disagree. Thanks for the comment.

4/09/2007 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dickson said...

I must have been asleep! What were they?

4/09/2007 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Sorry, I'm not going to re-publish them here and compound the problem.

4/09/2007 03:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob Dickson said...

Geoff, I understand.

4/09/2007 05:22:00 PM  
Anonymous dvs said...

Geoff,

As you know I have been lobbying the Daily Pilot on this issue for some time. I believe that people will be more civilized when at least the editors of the Pilot know who they are and can verify their identities, even if the posting authors wish to remain anonymous to the general public.

I am glad I was involved in my family's Easter traditions and missed the posts.

4/10/2007 09:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Andrew Dorian said...

Your “pal” just posted a bugger on the Pilot blog; I know it was disguised with asterisks but the intent was there. Nice!

4/10/2007 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Andrew,

I just read it. I also read his blog entry today, which is an expanded version of the Pilot blog entry. I'm having a tough time following your point. I guarantee you that the editors at the Pilot are more attentive than they were on Sunday!! Is it your view that the editors of the Daily Pilot should now edit "intent"? Puh-leeze! You're grasping just because you don't get along with him. I understand why you would direct that comment here, but you really should be aiming it his way if you have a problem with what he wrote. You and I have enough trouble keeping our respective views sorted out without trying to place me in the middle of your little feud with Byron.

4/10/2007 09:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Dorian said...

I am not placing you in the middle; I used your words from this entry to state my case. The comment quoted with the asterisks is no different then what was put into the Pilot postings earlier this week. If you choose not to agree then fine, but it seems hypocritical. I understand if you want to back one of your own but fair is fair and he wrote just what you are complaining about in this article, which I totally agree with. Anyhow, I don’t know Byron, I don’t even think his comment on the Pilot is worth a reply since he chose to stoop so low, he wants to make his point he should do it using other ways.

4/11/2007 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Andrew,

If you don't like the way Byron makes a point please tell him, not me. In my opinion, his use of that particular phrase - with or without the asterisks - was a clever way to accurately describe the circumstances. It was figurative use of a term described in Dictionary.com as follows: to slap someone with an open hand, especially in an attempt to put them in their place or cause humiliation. Byron's use of that phrase in the context of his essay was precise and on point. This is hardly the same as the "names" used in the Daily Pilot comments posts that I mentioned in my piece - not even close.

Would I use the phrase as Byron did? Probably not. I'm not clever enough to pull it off! Byron's use of that particular phrase was right on the money. It probably caused every reader to rock back when they read it, but it made the point accurately and with gusto.

If you were offended by what you read, tell the author. He's my friend, but I don't pretend to speak for him.

4/11/2007 09:23:00 AM  
Anonymous zenofobe said...

wassup w/Dixon just speaking out of turn, not even asking for the floor, when the floor has been given to another council member? talk about rude! just butt in "I want to talk" rather than the appropriate "Mr. Mayor". Get some manners! putting her next to Foley who continually shakes her head "no" when someone else is speaking makes for quite a sideshow. Please come up with some nicknames for them! You already did the "jester", "jailor", and "barnacle" for the majority and "i'm a realtor" for the planning guy you don't like. Did you run out of ideas?(bobblehead for foley is all i can think of)

4/11/2007 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Anonymous zenofobe, are you referring to a specific meeting or in the general breakdown in decorum, which I have noticed recently, too? I think both sides abuse this situation. It looks like our young jailer/mayor is too busy making notes about who wants to speak when to pay much attention. At the last meeting there was a comment made about a system of lights to identify which council member wished to speak. I've seen other governmental bodies use similar systems. It makes for a more orderly process. I won't attempt to defend Dixon - but I expect she felt "out of the loop" because the Mayor's back was turned to her much of the time. The "light" system should resolve these issues. Eric is also a violator, as he grunts and groans as people speak. Many times he steps on the mayor's lip as he tries to get his piece spoken.

About the nicknames, "bobblehead" is already taken. I used that to describe Mansoor and Leece during the campaign forums. They would sit on the dais and nod, sometimes in unison, when one or the other of them was speaking. It was obviously contrived and pretty darn comical. I never did say I didn't like Jim ("I'm a realtor here in town") Fisler. It's just that he found it necessary to identify himself as such almost anytime he opened his mouth. I kind of expected him to begin passing out grocery pads and/or business cards. I doubt I'll ever run out of ideas for little terms of endearment for our favorite players. Just ask "Your Neighbor" - it's too darn much fun! As always, thanks for writing.

4/11/2007 10:33:00 PM  

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