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I like a joke as much or more than the next guy. (Ask my co-workers about my bad puns. :) The problem you've encountered is that you have focused a lot of your comments on one particular poster. I understand watch-builders can be annoying, but my advice is to ignore them. Stick to the subject at hand and not the poorly constructed post. Some like to poke a virtual stick into the forum just to get a reaction. People who are ignored receive a powerful message.
For our part, we'll keep trying to use a light touch on moderating. We're not looking for reasons to delete posts.
Thanks for the kind words. I would add that 95 percent of the people posting on the site are doing so respectfully and properly. We're really talking about the 5 percent (or less) who need to be reigned in from time to time.
You make a valid point. Unfortunately, you and Sailor have become well-known adversaries, sparring regularly on the site. In some respects, I'd be in favor of just letting you two go at it without intervening. However, I'm not sure our other readers would want to see comment threads veer so off topic.
I'm not sure how to resolve you standoff with Sailor. How about if the two of you agree not to report each other's comments as violations? Even better, how about if you both agree to debate the issues and not go after the person? Jokes about sailing and fishing and the like can be interpreted as personal attacks, although I'm all for humor.
I've seen where some posts needed to be deleted because of profanity and extreme personal attacks. I've been to many other forums, and this one is by far one of the most decent- even when things get heated. And in my opinion, it's because the administrators put time in to make sure that profanity and extreme personal attacks are deleted. I realize it's not easy to keep this site as civil as it is, so thanks VA. I don't know what the particular event was that brought up this topic, but as Mr. Cobler said, everyone is not going to be pleased by the policy here.Some people have can differ as to what is a personal attack or not. In the end, it's up to the VA, as they run the site.
LBB: Your comments are appreciated. I'll try to do better. If you'll remember the diaper pic was in an item "guess what this is" and no guess was needed. I hope you never have too many of the challenges some others do. Some things are about LIFE....My aim is to give readers a few chuckles at my own expense. If that's repulsive to the other readers I would appreciate their speaking up.
ROBERTTX: Thanks for your comments as well. As one who has a problem with UNVERIFIED "urban legends" or two year old, or older, forwarded emails. my diligence in this area has slipped.; If I didn't think some of the posts of forwarded emails didn't express my feelings, or could possibly stir up readers' comments (many are posted only for that reason..to see who'll squawk about 'em).they wouldn't be there.
Is there ever a possiblity that a person could be critical of another person's comment without calling the poster a name or making veiled threats against him/her? If so, then we might have a debate. A debate is two opposing views on the same subject. It has absolutely nothing to do with wanting everyone to support only one side of the argument. However, name calling, threats, etc., etc., etc. have no place in a debate and only shows a level of ignorance and lack of education. Have you ever truly been to a debate? I mean a real debate? Not a political debate. Maybe we've watched too many of these and think that is the norm by which we should conduct a debate. I'm saying that if we all just practiced a little class there'd be no need for posts to be removed.
LBB, I think you may have missed my point entirely. I have an opinion. You have an opinion. A debate is sharing opposing views (kinda like looking at both sides of something). Nowhere is there room, in my very honest opinion, for name calling because you didn't like what a poster said. If it doesn't stay on topic, ignore it. To feed fuel to the fire is to bring yourself down to the same level. And that, my friend, is my opinion.
This is just my opinion, but I would like nothing better than to go to a forum and have an honest debate about an issue with intelligent people. However, there doesn't seem to be much chance of that in Victoria or Corpus Christi or Austin or Houston or San Antonio. If posters can't dazzle you with intelligence, then I guess the feeling is to blind you with bullshit so you don't see the lack of intelligence in the post. Seems that only a few people who post on the Advocate forums really, really have any interest in looking at both sides of an issue. Because of the anonymity the need to put others down seems to increase on a forum. To me, calling names and running other people down shows sooooo much immaturity and lack of self confidence. In other words, the person can't hold his/her own in an intelligent debate so resorts to other means to grab some attention. I just kinda think that if there were no rebuttal to an ignorant display of name calling and disparagement, those people would finally exit the forum venue and go somewhere else to boost their egos. Like I said, just my opinion. Oh, yeah. You don't really have to blog in the Advocate. If you don't like the parameters, go post a blog on MySpace.
Point taken. We have contacted some bloggers in the past and asked them to cut down on their frequency. You can use the comment feature in your post to continue the conversation without posting new headlines and cluttering the forums.
In terms of misinformation, the online ideal is that other users will correct such misstatements of fact.
Little Blue Book,
I don't mean to avoid the question. We've covered it at length in a variety of ways, as the various posts I linked suggest. The digital world is different. The answers aren't simple or short.
Here's a stab at a short answer: People posting online are the publishers of their own comments. With a letter to the editor, the newspaper is the publisher, even though the letter writer is certainly accountable for it, too. Almost all newspapers require letters to be signed and verified.
For better or worse, the editor is not the gatekeeper of online information. We will delete personal attacks and other destructive comments after the fact, but that's mainly to help the majority of our readers create the community they want. Legally, you're liable for what you post. Everyone should keep that in mind.
A reader-submitted article is just another version of a blog or an article comment or a Seen on the Scene photo. At their core they're all user-contributed material. They also are unverified. Letters are signed and verified. You didn't ask this question, but I would put more faith in a signed letter to the editor. Do anonymous submissions have value? I think they can, but that's the grand experiment we've all been witnessing in the Internet labratory.
limiting bloggers to one blog per day would be nice
some people simply repost chain emails spreading misinformation