• Mr. Cobler,

    It rings hollow when you say you removed posts in this thread because someone complained. I respectfully submit that you use that as the excuse, not the reason for removing the posts.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:32 a.m.

  • Exresident,

    Sorry, no offense intended. We try to be fair to all. Perhaps we shouldn't have deleted any comments on this thread, but a poster complained and they were off-topic. Moderating any online forum is an imprecise effort, at best.

    October 27, 2009 at 8:27 a.m.

  • Well, I see some of my post's have been deleted that were up all day. I guess that itchy trigger finger was looking to hit the delete button again or you passed an ex post facto rule that brought it down. Anyway, I guess I should count myself lucky any of my posts meet the stringent standards of the moving target policy in regards to posting online.

    October 26, 2009 at 10:40 p.m.

  • Speechfree,

    I appreciate your concern for civility and your biblical reference. We do our best to combat the inflammatory comments. I encourage all to report such comments when you see them. We rely on the community to help police the site and seek out the pearls amid the swine.

    October 26, 2009 at 9:29 p.m.

  • The use of inflammatory terms seems common place. When placing a topic for consideration the comments stemmed more to me as a person rather then wholes in my position statement. I think that the VA should insist on civility. Concrete thinking also an issue. When my attempts at satire or heck sarcasms were taken at face value I have to admit I deferred to Matthew 7:6.

    October 26, 2009 at 9:18 p.m.

  • Chatty,
    I agree with that many blogs or articles drift off-topic. We tend to let that go until such time as someone complains, as happened in this case, or until the conversation goes so far afield that the original point is drowned out, as also happened here.

    October 26, 2009 at 8:38 p.m.

  • I appreciate the blogs and comments on the Advocate--they serve many positive purposes. I don't think I have read a blog on-line (I don't watch television, I read blogs) where the comments did NOT go off topic--I think that is the natural evolution of a conversation.

    And, isn't that what "news" does? It influences people to talk--to have conversations and to communicate. These exchanges lead people into forming relationships--and while some may result in dislike, many result positively in empathy, friendship, and community.

    I do not think that it is logical to delete comments that seem "off-topic". If I had to defend my comment, I think I could easily show how it related to the topic at hand. Without going into specifics, I would show how expounding upon a point, or on an enlightening moment, is completely germain to the original comment and discussion. Also, asking questions about an issue is never wrong. (I won't go into my other lecture on the disservice that occurs when people, who have questions, are shut-down--or deleted, in this case).

    I think that the bottom line for me is that if one of my comments is deleted, I want to be the one who chose to delete it.

    October 26, 2009 at 8:27 p.m.

  • Sandwich,
    I hope you do give it a try and write letters again.

    October 26, 2009 at 7:16 p.m.

  • That's throwing....

    October 26, 2009 at 5:21 p.m.

  • Matt,

    I too had problems with letters. When Dan was here there was not much problem. He knew I was just not throughing things out there. People said they like my letters. Even the history ones.

    When he left the new head dog wanted every sentence document and proved, etc, etc, if it had a right leaning. I said that there seemed to be no problem with all the left "opinions", which there were many of. I just gave up, no use when the one guy holds the ball.

    I get many who want me to start back, maybe one of these days.

    October 26, 2009 at 5:21 p.m.

  • Matt you should know that the VA does not want to get on the city's "bad" side...Just think if that were to happen...

    October 26, 2009 at 3:38 p.m.

  • Let me try to get help us get back on topic here, which is how to make the online Advocate experience better. I had a teacher who used to use that candy and nuts quote as well, and he also liked to say to us "if you can't run with the big dogs, to stay on the porch." It is amazing how similar things are there in Kansas to things down here in South Texas.

    But back to how to make the online Advocate better, as I have said previously, maybe giving that delete button a rest would help a tad. I know it's good to be king, but seriously, that delete button can at times be equivalent to turning off someone's microphone who is making points and getting the crowd excited.

    My teacher taught us to "Never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel and paper by the ton." I suppose the modern day equivalent would be don't argue online with someone who controls the delete button.

    I still want to know who is telling the truth about property valuations and I want to know who to go see about finding that out?

    October 26, 2009 at 3:06 p.m.

  • Matt,
    My conversation was directed at Zorro, not you. That's the problem with veering off-topic. We'll start deleting those off-topic comments now to stay consistent with moderating. If you want to discuss appraisal districts and UHV, I hope you'll set up another blog or find a suitable article for that.
    And I do need to get to other duties, so I'll be signing off for a while.

    October 26, 2009 at 2:35 p.m.

  • Zorro,
    As my teacher used to say, "If 'ifs' and 'buts' were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas." I've about covered this topic.

    And you're right, RU, we should be deleting all of these off-topic comments. My hope was we'd eventually get back on topic. Maybe my teacher had a funny rhyme for false hope.

    October 26, 2009 at 2:12 p.m.

  • Chris,

    I was not aware of the video until today. It seemed to me that the City Manager was carefully choosing his words in addressing his property valuation. It almost looked like someone who might be giving a deposition. I merely ask, if what Matt Ocker alleges is correct, and if the City Manager was responding to that allegation and subsequently mislead or otherwise tried to obfuscate by his answer, is that not fair game?

    October 26, 2009 at 2:03 p.m.

  • Zorro,
    You may call it being afraid. I prefer to describe it as being responsible. As a Kansas native, I appreciate your use of separating the wheat from the chaff.

    I classify it as chaff for someone to speculate on the intentions of another based on whether they appear flustered or upset. Such conjecture borders on being irresponsible and ugly.

    I know the city manager only via the roles we each have in the community, but I do think everyone deserves to be treated with common decency and respect.

    October 26, 2009 at 1:51 p.m.

  • In regards to how you can make the online Advocate better, I humbly submit that many very good leads for good general interest news stories are laid on the table in these forums. Of course you have to separate the wheat from the chafe, but seriously, you come across like you are afraid when someone really rocks the boat in here. Libel and slander aside, some compelling statements have been made that should be easily verified as to their veracity.

    October 26, 2009 at 1:26 p.m.

  • I'll have to jump in here and encourage everyone to take this appraisal discussion to another blog or article. This is all veering off topic from my original post.

    October 26, 2009 at 12:52 p.m.

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    October 26, 2009 at 11:46 a.m.

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    October 26, 2009 at 11:43 a.m.

  • vox vox

    This comment was removed by the user.

    October 26, 2009 at 11:42 a.m.

  • This comment was removed by the user.

    October 26, 2009 at 11:01 a.m.

  • vox vox

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    October 26, 2009 at 10:44 a.m.

  • This comment was removed by the user.

    October 26, 2009 at 10:10 a.m.

  • Matt,

    I like both beer and coffee, although not necessarily in the same setting. I'd be happy to have either in the White House, but I don't think I'm likely to have much sway with any president.

    October 26, 2009 at 9:53 a.m.

  • Matt be careful, remember that these folks are dug in like ticks on a dog. Old and unable to change. Rather it be pride or arrogance. Just my opinion...

    October 26, 2009 at 9:49 a.m.

  • Matt,

    I'd add that you could post the video on the site and let it speak for itself without the colorful language.

    In terms of the letter, I can't speak for the entire editorial board about what revisions you might make, but I'd encourage you to think about softening the language. I just watched the video again because of your comments. If I were describing what I saw, I'd say it was a misunderstanding, but those are my words and not yours.

    October 26, 2009 at 8:41 a.m.

  • Matt,

    I think we'll have to agree to disagree about this one. The key point here is we don't allow name-calling. If we allow you to call someone a liar or something like that, then we'd have to permit that person to respond by calling you another name. We choose not to go down that road.

    If you want to try to craft your letter differently, we'd be happy to reconsider the submission.

    October 26, 2009 at 8:29 a.m.

  • Melvin/Inez,

    I don't recall the details of why the DPS didn't charge the other driver, but I also am not aware of any reason why that should have happened. If you spoke with an editor at the paper already about this paper, perhaps you have the answer. Feel free to call me if you'd like to discuss more. My office number is 574-1271.

    October 25, 2009 at 9:22 p.m.

  • Dewitt and Matt,

    If we didn't think his comment measured up as a signed letter to the editor, why would we allow it here? Again, we don't think that letter/comment fit our standards for civil discourse. When you start calling people liars, you're treading on thin ice.

    October 25, 2009 at 9:18 p.m.

  • there wasn't a reason in the story a year later about why he wasn't charged, some one getting killed in an accident by someone falling to sleep and nothing being done is kind of a funny situation. what did dps discover with the 3d study niothing was said about that, i was told my one of your editors that the officer wouldn't call her bacvk. sorry excuse as far as i'm concered. thanks

    October 25, 2009 at 7:45 p.m.

  • Chris, I'm perplexed at why Matt Ockers comment was deleted from this blog. I’m glad that I did have the opportunity to read it, and watch the video link he provided. I feel as though his message was needed to retort the prior comment that you made in reference to the matter. The comment you posted clearly deserved a retort from Mr. Ocker. Isn’t this what the Victoria Ad Blog is all about? Why would any one want to put a effort into a wealthy debate only to have it stricken down. Do any of us have the constitutional right to our freedom of speech, or is that unheard of with the Victoria Advocate.
    Here is your earlier comment;
    "We focused our discussion on the credibility of online journalism and received many good questions and suggestions to consider as we move forward. The next steps are to decide how we might improve our Web site.."
    I agree with your statement. However it seems as though you don't feel the same way. Where is the credibility in your (Victoria advocate) censorship, when there was nothing in Mr. Ocker's post that was out of favorable decorum? As a Victoria citizen and tax payer, I feel it is important for such information, like that which he has provided, to be brought to the table for all readers. He has a wealth of knowledge to share with all of us. I have not seen anywhere where his has bestowed community information that hasn’t been backed by straight forward facts. Are there people out there that are afraid of what he will educate the people on? The best way a slave owner could keep his slaves a bay and under his control was to never allow them to have any form of education or information which might liberate them. Is This what we, the majority of tax paying, Victoria advocate reading citizens seeing happening here on this blog? I hope not.

    October 25, 2009 at 1:02 p.m.

  • Is that you, Melvin? Annie's death surely was a tragedy that touched so many. I don't recall why the driver wasn't charged, but we did follow up on that story, if not quickly enough to suit you.

    I was moved by how much the Advocate rallied around Annie's daughter. I hope she's doing well. What a sad, sad story.

    October 25, 2009 at 11:32 a.m.

  • yes mr, cobbler is that why there was no followup on little annies wreck, that killed her until a year later. no follow up on th 3d video that dps did after closing the loop. and the best question unanswered or even asked. "why wasn't there a ticket issued to the driver of the other car?" that struck little annies' car. WHY?

    October 25, 2009 at 11:22 a.m.

  • Inez,

    I don't know about the condition of the person injured. After the initial coverage, we don't routinely follow up on the various injury accidents in our region unless the crash results in criminal charges or is unusual in some other way. We also try to respect the victim and family's wishes. They may not want additional coverage.

    Matt, I'll ask our court reporter about the gun seizure. You're right that we should follow up on such a cases, although we usually wait until a plea deal or trial or charges are dropped.

    On your question about your two letters, I can't speak to the reasoning of a previous editor. On your letter about the city manager, I don't recall all of the specifics, but the bottom line, I believe, was Tim and the rest of the editorial board didn't think you had made your case to justify such strong language.

    October 24, 2009 at 4:59 p.m.

  • mr. cobler, there was a young man injured seriously in a motorcycle accident about 3 months ago around nursery, on a country road by the name of jermeny definbaugh(sp) he was lifeflighted to corpus, there has never been a followup story on his condition. i saw where they held a benefit for him at the harley shop in victoria. whats the reason for no follow up stories, on certain things.

    October 24, 2009 at 4:06 p.m.

  • Matt, we publish all signed letters to the editor received unless they contain a serious problem such as factual errors or libel. When we don't publish a letter, our procedure is to let the author know why.
    I don't know if or why that didn't happen in the two instances you cite. I encourage you to contact Community Conversation Editor Tim Delaney to discuss.

    Interesting reference to Francis Moore. I had to look that one up.

    To all, thank you for the conversation. I'm about to go have lunch with my son and take him to a soccer game, though, so please be patient if I don't respond for quite a while after this.

    October 24, 2009 at 12:41 p.m.

  • I don't have the list here at home, but it's about five or six. That's not counting those commercial spammers we ban. People are banned only after repeated violations with no desire shown to behave otherwise. Occasonially, we immediately ban a user for a serious violation such as posting a racial slur.

    October 24, 2009 at 12:27 p.m.

  • Chris. You mentioned banned users. Approximately, how many users have been banned from commenting on the on-line VA website? Thanks.

    October 24, 2009 at 12:08 p.m.

  • We try to focus any ban on an individual account, not a shared computer. Unfortunately, some banned users make that a challenge for us because they sneak back onto the site using a new identity. In these cases, we might ban a computer.

    October 24, 2009 at 11:50 a.m.