The Silence Is Deafening!
Monday, January 21st, was a milestone date. In addition to being the day set aside this year to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this year, it's also the day that our local newspaper of record, the Daily Pilot, implemented a registration process for those readers wishing to post comments on it's blog.
"GAPS" STRUCK DUMB(ER)
From that date forward the atmosphere on the Daily Pilot blog changed - for the better, in my humble opinion. All of a sudden things have gotten very calm. In recent months many of the comment threads on the blog have been akin to a school yard screaming match, with folks I referred to as GAPs (gutless anonymous posters) trying to shout down those folks interested in expanding the debate on many important issues.
The management of the Daily Pilot did not require those wishing to post comments to use their own names - anonymous pen names were acceptable. What they did do, however, was require information similar to that required when submitting letters to the editor for publication in the print edition so the identity of the poster could be verified by the editors. Apparently, those who had flooded the blog with comments defaming other commentors and derailing the debate don't have sufficient strength of character to let their identity be known, if only by the editors who provide them with the forum.
BACK UNDER THEIR ROCKS
As I predicted, most of those scurrilous characters have disappeared, choosing to slither back under their respective rocks instead of registering so they can continue to post comments. Their unwillingness to be identified with their comments - at least by the editors - says much for the validity of their views and their true intentions.
MR. U. KNOW-WHO SULKS
One guy, the self-named Mr. U. Know-Who, has long been suspected of being the author of many, if not most, of the more offensive posts on the Daily Pilot blog. It is widely suspected that he posted using several pen names on the same comment thread, thereby giving the impression to readers that his views were widely held. The imposition of a registration requirement has caused him to not only cease posting comments, but to sit in the corner, pouting and whining about it on his own blog. Apparently, despite the fact that he has a prodigious intellect, he's unwilling to be associated with his more pernicious views. Considering the nature of his own blog entries and the hundreds of essays he's written on far, far right-wing web sites, this is an almost inexplicable irony. He has consistently spouted that he writes to be read when folks criticized his racist essays. I guess that doesn't really apply - yet another misuse of the "truth" (one of the many pen names he's used over the past many months).
EDITORS ROLL THE DICE
The management of the Daily Pilot rolled the dice when they made the decision to require registration before posting a comment. The free-for-all that existed before this requirement generated lots of hits on their blog - and hits translate into potential ad revenue. This may have been a tough choice in these days of shaky financial conditions for most of the print media. Their options were 1) do nothing and permit the electronic school yard taunting and screeching to continue or, 2) implement the registration requirement knowing it would screen out the cowards and bullies - whose childish taunts provoked hits on the blog. The guy mentioned above gloated about that in one of his blog entries, implying that his "contributions" would be missed as sources of revenue for the Pilot. He might be right - the statistics his corruption of the blog created may be missed, but his self-serving manipulation of the blog will not.
THE RIGHT CHOICE
We here at A Bubbling Cauldron think the editors of the Daily Pilot made the right choice. We think the Daily Pilot blog is a wonderful venue for expanding the debate of important issues in our communities. We also think it had been corrupted by those folks who appeared to have only the criticism of others and the disruption of civil discourse as their goals. We hope the editors will hold firm on their resolve to have the blog comments be, in fact, an expansion of issues and not return to the days when the blog was a virtual electronic grafitti-filled wall.
ADIOS, MENSA MAN
As far as that guy who sulks in the corner is concerned, his "contribution" was obvious to those of us who recognize his "style". He's a really smart fella who is wasting his prodigious talent with his venom-filled, racist rants. The predominant theme of his drivel has been, "If it ain't white, it ain't right." To him I say, "Adios, Mensa Man - find another venue for your hate."