Nov. elections and this Forum Palo Alto Issues, posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 21, 2007 at 10:40 am
The elections in the coming November are going to be different in one important (I think) way. We now have a new medium, namely this Forum. This Forum is fast becoming a way for people to get their opinions established, both for themselves as they read others' ideas, and for influencing others.
The Weekly did a survey sometime ago which all users had to utilise in order to get into the Forum and whereas some have admitted that they gave erroneous information, the Weekly should have some idea of how many use this Forum and how quickly it is growing. The use if multi-names, particularly in different categories and the fact that many of us obviously check in multiple times a day, show that trying to quantify the numbers is difficult, but the volume of entries each day is obviously growing and probably will continue to do so through the election period. The population have become aware of this gradually, but something like an election and any hot topic can bring new users in extremely quickly once they become aware. It is getting easier to use particularly now that the codes have been removed from the bottom of the submit page.
This new medium is important for candidates also. True, it can be argued that a great deal of false information could be given and there is no guarantee that each poster is who he says he is, e.g. a particular candidate, but inasfaras this Forum is being used as a tool by those interested in school issues, planning issues, advertising issues, etc. it is obviously a medium that has to be taken seriously. The fact that we can ask questions of candidates and half expect them to at least read the comments even if they do not answer or blog themselves, shows that for those of us who use it, it is an important means of keeping up to date.
It would be interesting to discover how both the Weekly and the candidates themselves evolve this medium and how, when the election is over, this Forum has been a means to the end of getting the successful candidates elected. I know that rumors can spread quickly here, but also useful information can be passed on much quicker than by newspapers and letters to the editors alone. In this tech age, this Forum in particular, and blogs over the internet in general, will prove to be the divider between success and downfall of political candidates. The Weekly is very much better than many other blog forums for weeding out undesirable libel, but it needs to get its policies out and consistent. The candidates need to at least acknowledge they read and take not of what is being said here.
Lastly, as we know that more people are gradually getting into the habit of reading this Forum on even an occasional basis, we really should put more thought into what oversight is needed, if any.
Posted by poltical junkie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 21, 2007 at 6:02 pm
There are one or two people who post very often under different names. They try to give the impression that many people agree with them. I think lots of people by now know who they are, but it is very misleading and insoluble as long as the Weekly allows anonymity. Who wants to argue with a phantom.
You mention this in passing but it is a very real problem. Newbies don't get it. At least people should be limited to once a day. maybe twice.
Posted by political junkie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 23, 2007 at 2:03 pm
I wouldn't mind registering under one name as Resident suggests. Sounds like a good idea. I'd be interested in any opinions on the subject by blog/forum experts.
There is one serial poster recognizable by his tirades against active citizens. Since he writes under many names, public spirited citizens might think there are a lot of people who hate them. On the contrary, I admire the people who take the time to become informed and who speak up for our community. May they live long and prosper!
Posted by political junkie, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 23, 2007 at 3:05 pm
Unless ... what?
If you read a number of threads, it becomes obvious. People have only a limited ability to change their personality. Even professional actors are recognizable as the person they are if they aren't wearing masks and disguises.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 23, 2007 at 5:02 pm
The idea of registering to post on one name only is interesting. Whereas I do think that the multiple "parent" has become a joke, I can understand why many find that joining in this one "parent" is useful. As someone who has used different parent names, e.g. Paly parent, JLS parent, etc. when it has seemed useful to the comment, it is an added bonus to the anonymity. At times it is useful to put a further description, but the anonymity is good because your kids do not get identified which is really more important than the poster themself.
If we are talking about school issues, "parent" is a good description, but if we are talking about a different Palo Alto issue then "resident" seems a good alternative.
Perhaps, we could register different names for different categories so that could add to the greater anonymity. For example, if someone who is posting a great deal in the schools and kids section then started using the same name for the more political outside Palo Alto issues, or again for the housing Palo Alto issues, then it can be thought that this person may know a lot about schools, but has no idea about politics, or housing, or whatever. Having a differend nom de plume for each category makes sense to me.