Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wanting more...

So, like yesterday, I'm still wanting for inspiration. I can't decide if it's because I'm in this strange place or because I'm ready for this whole election thing to just be over.

Anyway, as of press time, Patuxent Publishing hasn't released its endorsements. Since I probably won't be back on until much later today, check out the other blogs for the latest news.

Aside from that, I don't have much. Sure there are a few stories in the Examiner and Sun that I could write about, but I'd be stepping on others' toes (or straining to write contrarian rebuttals). Wordbones, however, has an interesting post about changes to downtown...Ellicott City.

I do want to say that I strongly disagree with David Keelan's decision to expose the true identity of a commenter he doesn't like, and one with whom I disagree (and am frustrated by) regularly. Regardless of how you feel about her, David's decision sets an ugly precedent. Commenters can be held to different standards depending on their views and the threat of tracing identities through IP address (which are available for all to see by looking at the Site Meter reports -- see bottom of the page) looms over all. Such things help stifle diverse debate and might prevent many worthy commenters from participating.

6 comments:

David W. Keelan said...

I respectfully disagree.

Additionally, I have never said that I didn't like Mary Smith. I never implied it either. I have expressed frustration with her, but even then I invited her to coffee.

I never threatened to expose her or any one else via an IP address. That was a delusion brought up by someone else, and as you know it is impossible to do based on an ip address alone. I am not a vicious person.

Did I bait Mary. Yes. Did she bite yes. Was it fair. Yes. If I could expose the people who are spreading rumors and innuendo about Gansler and O'Malley I would gladly do that as well. I think O'Malley and Gansler would agree with me on that point.

Believe me I tried very hard to find out who was behind the anonymous Gansler web site. I am just not smart enough or knowledgable enough to crack that code.

If one is going to spread vicious conjecture then I think they should do it publicly and not hide behind anonymity. A person hiding behind anonymity so they can make defamatory comments stifles debate and is not a first amendment issue.

The First Amendment doesn't allow Americans to shout "fire" in a crowded theater unless the theater really is on fire.

The accused deserves to face their accuser. a la www.therealchris.com

The students at Yale Law School recently discussed this on a blog.

I agree with the bloggers conclusion, I paraphrase a bit. "It is nearly impossible to debate with an anonymous commenter. Only when knowing your debator is it possible to discuss the merits of somone's claim. Civil discourse, common courtesy, and basic integrity demand no less."

Respectfully.

Hayduke said...

David,

I also completely agree with your thoughts (and those of the Yalies) on anonymity as they relate to discourse. But the vast majority of commenters on your blog are also anonymous, yet little concern is shown when they hide behind an assumed nickname.

In fact, you say:
If one is going to spread vicious conjecture then I think they should do it publicly and not hide behind anonymity. A person hiding behind anonymity so they can make defamatory comments stifles debate and is not a first amendment issue.

Why do you not call out your commenters who say such things about Ken Ulman or Courtney Watson or O'Malley or whichever Democrat happens to be in the crosshairs at the moment? Certainly, one can point to any number of comments about Democrats that are objectively the same as Mary's ("Queen Tax"; Ulman's youthful indescretions; Ulman getting his jobs solely because of family connections, etc.), but they appear subjectively different because of your political sensistivities.

And I never said you threatened to out anyone, you did. You outed Mary, and now the threat of something similarlooms over all commenters. I also know that it's hard to identify someone solely on their IP address, but it only takes a few bits more of information to make a connection. Honestly, I'm surprised you haven't been able to ID others (I'm thinking of a few folks in particular) who view your blog.

And this has nothing to do with websites put up by campaigns. Mary is a private citizen and choose anonymity for a reason -- there are many valid, justifiable reasons why one would remain anonymous, by the way. Even if you knew who she was, it's a matter of respect to keep that information private unless she gives you the OK.

Hayduke said...

I don't mean to imply that it's our repsonsiblity to ensure our commenters have good manners. We live in a civilized society and I would expect as much from my neighbors. That said, we are responsible for the tones of our blogs, which get reflected in the comments section. In some respects, Mary's statements are a reflection of the tone of your blog. The stronger one side pulls, the stronger the other side will pull back.

David W. Keelan said...

I should add. I do moderate the comments of some contributers. I tried doing that with Mary and got 5 comments from her in less than 30 minutes complaining about it (yesterday). I let them all through.

Their are others I moderate.

Bubba is insulting not defamatory. I agreed then and I still do. Ken's high school years are off limits.

You know as well as I that I can't identify anyone on this blog unless they honestly identify themselves. It is impossible to figure out who they were.

My guess was an educated guess.

b.santos said...

I don't want to break up this discussion here, but I love the "toes" link. Dude, it cracked me up.

Anonymous said...

"It is nearly impossible to debate with an anonymous commenter. Only when knowing your debator is it possible to discuss the merits of somone's claim. Civil discourse, common courtesy, and basic integrity demand no less."

Baloney. Ideas and policies can certainly be debated without familiarity of the parties to the discussion. If that weren't the case, think how few would find interest in reading and commenting on blogs.

So, the Yalies opinion on the necessity of debaters knowing one another (is blogging and commenting really debate or is it discussion?) shouldn't be used as part of a rationalization for disclosing the identity of a participant in the discussion, if that's what happened.

If that is what happened, to me it seems like a violation of trust in how the blog was understood to be used. Not having directly read what occurred, I can only guess. If the discussions there are that confrontational, I probably won't.