Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Get Real

The SJ-R just doesn’t get the internet! They want to go all positive for a day in their on-line comments section:

So, in celebration of the holiday spirit, here's the plan: For one day -- Wednesday -- sj-r.com will host the first-ever "Peace and Goodwill Reader Comments Day."

From 7 a.m. Wednesday through 7 a.m. Thursday, the only comments that will make it onto the site will be ones that follow that old saying from mom: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

That means no being critical, cynical, sarcastic, whiney or otherwise Scrooge-ish. We'll still allow some debate on the issues, but you're going to need to be really, really nice to each other.

How absurd! That’s like having a no-eating day at a restaurant or a no-tackling NFL game. That’s just not natural. Silly newpaper.


JeromeProphet said...

Maybe if it's a success they can try to implement this ban on cynicism on a year round basis?

They already appear to do so at the editorial level anyway, so why not?

Oop, I'm just being sarcastic - naughty boy - I won't be getting anything from Santa this year.

Ahh the SJ-R, always a source of amusement.


Rich Miller said...

Apparently it's an over-reaction to their extreme frustration. I can understand their feelings. For a brief time, I was a comment-free blog because I couldn't deal with the nutballs. Their problem is they don't pre-screen the racists, drive-by-lunatics, rumor-mongers, etc., so they have to wade through a lot of junk every day.

The comments they do approve are still appallingly negative, and after talking with them I got a good understanding of their predicament. They're in danger of becoming the biggest joke in Springfield because of their comment section. I faced the same predicament a couple of years ago, so I clamped down hard and things are much better now.

A stand-down day isn't bad in and of itself if it makes people think before they post. But the SJ-R desperately needs some new technology and they also need to not be so afraid of banning idiots and morons. I've banned plenty. It's a good feeling.

Rich Miller said...

Also, the SJ-R's moderator needs to get actively involved and post occasional warnings in the comment section. It seems to work for me.

Anonymous said...

Rich, I would love to be able to do that. Unfortunately, we are not officially empowered to do so, and I'm not sure if the powers that be would appreciate it if we did.

Sometimes when a comment gets killed, we'll get some comments like, "It looks like the sj-r comment nazi is back" or "I dare you to post this one, sj-r" from some wiseacre commenters.

I tend to be fairly permissive in what comments I allow. But I also don't hesitate to kill comments that go too far. Some people get all butt-hurt if they get one killed. If we could sort of warn folks when the envelope is being pushed too far, that might take care of some problems.

They should also require e-mail addresses in order to leave comments. That way, a repeat offender can just be banned.

Anonymous said...

My, my.

Quite a discussion.

Censorship, censorship. Quite an advocation.

I don't get that many nutcases. I've deleted just one comment due to content (language).

The problem is when does the urge to censor start to drift into ideological grounds?

SJ-R isn't a big joke because of their comments section, it's a refreshing encounter w/the community - nuts, and all.

SJ-R is a big joke, because they've never been able to handle the real community w/o trying to repackage it in their own image.

SJ-R like most MSM will need to decide if they want to go the way of the dinosaurs, or if they want to allow the freedom that is expected of the New Media (the real blogging community).


Rich Miller said...

Censorship is a governmental action. The SJ-R has a right to delete items from its OWN WEBSITE that it finds objectionable.

I deal with dozens, sometimes hundreds of comments a day and, frankly, I get tired of the weirdos. So, I have no qualms about deleting those comments.

The motto is: My blog, my rules. Don't like them? Get your own blog. They're free.

The SJ-R doesn't publish every letter to the editor it receives, it shouldn't be expected to allow every moron in the world to post comments onto its website.

Anonymous said...


I believe we'd both agree that censorship can be conducted by anyone, or any organization, as it isn't and activity limited to government organizations.

For example I'm censoring myself right now. I do so everyday when dealing with clients - all day long - watching each, and every word - for legal, regulatory, and compliance reasons - as well as for social reasons.

I do it when I get home in the evening, and talk with my spouse, and child.

I censor myself when I write my blog, and comment on other's blogs.

We all practice censorship on ourselves, and being a parent I've tried to impose a degree of censorship on my daughter (moral instruction is part of parenting).

It's not whether SJ-R has a right to censor, or not, that I'm contesting. They have that right, and so do you.

I'm concerned about policy.

I want to know why material is being censored.

There should be a clear policy stated on their comments section, and there should be some periodic review of such censorship activity by someone higher up with SJ-R to make sure it isn't being abused.

In fact why not create a bin (online) where people can go to see all the censored post - just to keep an eye on it, if that's what people want? That way, there'd be the moderated SJ-R, and a wild west SJ-R mode to choose from.

As for my criticism of SJ-R for being too isolated, too corporate main stream - I stand by it.

SJ-R can take a little anarchy right now. There's a revolution in communication taking place right now (or so we have been told by Time Magazine Person of the Year issue), and SJ-R like any newspaper needs to find a means of staying relevant, staying connected to what will soon replace print media.

Turning their comments forum into a boring, controlled replication of their letters to the editor section won't help.


Anonymous said...

There are some nasty loonies out there and the SJ-R does need to filter them out. I think they would be better off requiring commenters to register with a valid, confirmed email address and post under a username. I'm planning to do that with my blog soon. The username wouldn't have to say who they really are but it would allow banning and some level of accountability for a persons comments. A lot of these cowards wouldn't make the same comments if it wasn't anonymous. Right now I'm thinking of my cyber-stalker who works for the county who still keeps posting harassing comments about me to my blog and to the SJ-R comment board in the past.
Another issue; usernames will prevent impersonators.