What’s good for the goose is good for the gander."

Being faux-anonymous* would normally cause me to be silent but when I saw Mary Eaton’s comment on her post, I had to speak up.

I think that her main point is correct.    A person needs to identify themselves before making a comment on the Daily News.       I feel that would keep the bad behavior down to a minimum and be more instructive for fellow readers of the online edition.    

It is really a case of common sense AND decency.       It’s also a case that if you are going to make an opinion, give us reasons why we should agree with you.     Don’t drivel on with raw emotion or personal attacks.    Even when I name-call on my blog, I tightly define the meaning.     When I take a stance, I give you facts and figures to support it.        

I mean the worse thing I have ever seen was watching two or more talking heads on CNN or FOX shouting at each other.         There is no edification for an onlooker to take from the conversation.     The best thing to do is get the remote and change the channel.       Every debate seen should be an opportunity for instruction to those who are onlookers.       Anything else is a waste of time.

And contrary to some, you can post your opinions on my blog and you may have a position that is opposite of mine but I may post it but I’ll make the final decision if you are to be ‘aired’.     Forget it if you are grandstanding, being abusive or wasting everyone’s time.

-P. Preservationist

* A third of the city knows who I am.     All you have to do is become involved in historic preservation and you will soon find out.

About P. Preservationist

Dedicated to the Enrichment & Preservation of Newburyport
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2 Responses to What’s good for the goose is good for the gander."

  1. SDS says:


    Your comparison to the talking-heads on cable news is appropriate, they get attention by yelling and saying outrageous things. much like the commentators on the News website, it is attention they seek. and the ability to feel that they are correct and everyone else is an idiot. Of course the talking-heads also get paid for it and we all know that saying outrageous things makes for better ratings.

    The side note to this though is that by posting anonymous outrageous statements they are also undercutting their message. One can have a very reasonable idea and even present it well, but when one resorts to comparing a person to Hitler in the last sentence, they immediately remove any credibility they have in the eyes of most readers. (google Godwin’s Law, a funny and true look at how as the # of posts increase, eventually Hitler’s name will come up)

    It is true that requiring names has a tendency to make a discussion more civil. Even in standard business emails two people sometimes will get off topic and fall into a deep hole when a face-to-face meeting will quickly sort out the issues without the hard-feelings. Conversing via electronic means allows people to miss subtle cues and context and often causes hard feelings on the other side.

    But the million dollar question, really it is, we could start a company if we can figure out how to do this, is HOW? Unless you expect the Daily News to follow the method they use for printing letters (they independently confirm the persons identity via a telephone call and physical address, or at least that is the standard the industry uses) how could they possibly do this? I can register any email address with any name. How could they possibly then make this connection to an actual person without putting such a large barrier in place that the #’s of comments would be reduced to a minimal amount. Even putting the requirement that people register for a Disqus account before posting had the effect of reducing the # of commentators to a small group of vocal people. One has to really want to post to go through the hassle. Many people that have a thought about one subject and want to make a quick post on their thoughts get to the register screen and decide they have something better to do with their time. It also continues to allow the ability for people to post as another, and given the technology it could be impossible to track down this imposter.

    The Daily News, like all websites that allow third-party comments, is largely protected from liability (although they did use this as the reason for requiring commentators to register, they of course don’t really want controversy that might hurt their print publication). The Common Decency Act makes a very clear distinction between letters they print versus online comments. All they need to do is have a method to remove a post if there is a problem with it (libel or misrepresentation).

    So although the goal is desirable, it is beyond our reach. And one could argue that it should continue that way.

    “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain

  2. On a political scale of interest, this is high and important to discuss in our free society. Councilor Herzog has a fantastic case against Mary Eaton and my opinion. (http://ariherzog.com/councilblog/in-support-of-online-pseudonymity/) He brings up some very well placed and well-reasoned points in support of anonymity which of course, I used, when I started P. Preservationist.

    I feel that both sides have valid points.

    It would really be interesting and so against the character of our Daily Snooze, if the standards for online comment were applied to the opinion page.


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