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Progress on cleaning up the postings here?

Original post made by Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2007

Hi Mr. Thorwaldson,

I am just wondering about the progress that you are making in cleaning up this forum? I saw a lot of good ideas to help make it better...forcing one name per person, making us register so you can block anyone from a thread, letting us "grade" each poster's name so we can block his/her comments if we know their style is disgusting etc.

Also, are you planning to publish a clear and concise set of rules so that posters know what is acceptable and what isn't? I have to say, I have seen valid and reasonable posts ( in my opinion) deleted, and literal expressions of what to do with someone's head left online. So, this is confusing.

I am really fed up with trying to have an actual exchange of information from people who have great thoughts and sites, only to have to dig through the "piled high and deep" stuff.It seems the threads get hijacked very rapidly.


Comments (23)

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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 6, 2007 at 2:00 pm

Resident--I had a question about one of your ides:

"letting us "grade" each poster's name so we can block his/her comments if we know their style is disgusting etc."

I am not familiar with this--does this mean blocking the person's posts from showing up on your computer or blocking him from posting at all?
i can see if it is the latter, how it can be abused.
Thanks and i like your ideas, btw.

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Posted by just thinking
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 6, 2007 at 3:42 pm

The identification aspect is interesting from "Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood". If the label were any more generic, it would be a bar code.

The anonymous nature of a posting sight is half of what drives it. True, it would be nice to track and censor dangerous thoughts, but if Hitler had gotten more atention earlier on, WW II and its horrors way have been avoided. Instead, too many blew him off as a crackpot.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2007 at 3:53 pm

The most telling reason why we should remain anonymous is shown when a poster on a different thread stated that if he could he would stop his kids playing with another posters's kids.

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Posted by no no no
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2007 at 3:53 pm

Please, just thinking, let's not devolve so early in this thread to bringing up Hitler.

Back to the issue at hand, posting a clear set of easily-followed rules besides the "feels like deletable material to me" rule many are complaining about seems like a good idea. On the other hand, these threads get out of hand so quickly that I can imagine the editors are hard-pressed to keep up at all.

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Posted by just thinking
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 6, 2007 at 4:09 pm

I was responding to the registration and id issue AND using that tagging of undesirable people to prevent postings that may not conform to a preset body of rules of approved thinking.
I was now invoking Hitler as the judge of the common good he later was allowed to be, but a one with bad ideas that, had more people heard them, more may have been done to stop him.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2007 at 6:03 pm

Yes, I think you are right about the dangers of simply preventing postings. I have had the same thought, if there had been an internet in 1930 could a certain person have risen to power as he did?

It seemed like a good thought ( blocking posts) at the time because i was responding to a particularly disgusting thread I had just read with some odious name calling and vulgarity, combined with spine chilling remarks pertaining to a particular religion.

On the other hand, preventing postings is a bad idea. I actually think such thoughts should be viewed, even if anonymous, just to remind us they still exist. Sort of like smallpox, we think it is eradicated, but it isn't.

As for the "grading", I don't know enough about it. I had read on ANOTHER thread a post which said there were some online sites that allow "grades" of various monikers, and that then you could somehow skip over the posters you would rather not waste time on. I would love it if I could even block them out of MY reading experience, and just focus on the productive posters, but I don't know if that is possible.

I think it was Jay who had mentionned the idea of registering so that all the posters had ONE name, anonymous or not, then always posted under THAT name.

I definitely support being able to maintain anonymity. I have read some pretty scary, threatening stuff here. I started out posting my name, but got over that in a hurry!

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Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 6, 2007 at 8:04 pm

Resident -- I think I just got slimed by reading the same horrifying post you did. Is it on the Scooter Libby thread? Seriously, that is one the editors should trip over themselves rushing to delete. I don't think anyone would disagree that, whatever the line, "Excuse Me" unquestionably crosses it. Yuck.

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Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jun 6, 2007 at 9:18 pm

Dear Editors: Thank you for cleaning up that appalling post.

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Posted by SkepticAl
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 7, 2007 at 12:45 am

Count me among those that favor more moderation and control around here. The web has no shortage of places that are without constraint, most I've seen are nearly worthless. I used to read and post on the board of another PA publication, but stopped a long time ago. It's a wasteland now. And based on what I've seen this week, this forum is moving in the wrong direction.

Okay - I admit I haven't always been the best net-izen. It's hard to refrain sometimes when a certain tone or attack is directed at you personally, and in one case yesterday, someone posted using my name to attack me. Still, on balance, I've tried to participate in this forum thoughtfully and with an open mind, (and only rarely an alias other than this one). It's interesting to engage in an actual debate with certain users (like recently, Jim, Draw the Line). But when the trolls come out, that's annoying. A log-in system might introduce a useful speed bump to keep people from changing names every minute or every thread, and might help us distinguish between "Parent" "another parent," "concerned parent," "very concerned parent" and "another very concerned parent." ;-)

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Posted by bruce
a resident of University South
on Jun 7, 2007 at 9:12 am

The first thing a dictator does is censor the free press.

Unfortunately if one posted his/her name, there are enough certifiable nut cases who might seek out that person's home and damage it. Or even attack them physically - witness assassinations in our own country.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2007 at 3:58 pm

Skeptical Al: Yes, you and the ones you mentionned and Walter and a few others are really interesting to read. I learn a lot.

But, I have to agree, trying to work through the slime is getting more and more difficult.

Bruce: Nobody said we have to use REAL names, just register ONE name, whatever it is, and hopefully have some type of grading system even for us, personally, to know if we want to read a particular name, would slow the spread of slime.

Yes, Natasha, it was the "Libby" post.

It doesn't have to be Jay who answers at PA Online, does anybody have an idea what is up?

I would gladly even look at one ( tasteful) ad per thread to pay for the work if we could control it a bit.

Like this comment
Posted by Hello?
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 8, 2007 at 7:53 am


What about cleaning up those filthy racist remarks about Arabs toward the end of the Scooter Libby thread?

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Posted by Draw the Line
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 8, 2007 at 8:41 am

Wow, I just went to the Scooter thread, and saw that somebody had posted under my name AFTER I had posted my post. Of course, it was deleted.

We really need a way to limit each of us to one name so others can't hijack our names.

We really need to have a definition of "racist" ( and defamatory, and inflammatory etc) on this Town Talk. I find it completely confusing that some are deemed "racist" and others aren't, and there is definitely a pattern of tolerance ( or lack of ) in the posts chosen for deletion.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 8, 2007 at 11:56 am

It is not racist to make reference to commonly known behavior of Arab populations. After all, Western folk routinely criticize and even joke about their own religions and societies. A free society is no place for a cloistered soul. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen of freedom.

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Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2007 at 12:02 pm

To further Walter's point about freedoms in this country,

How about what is going on in France where it is now illegal to wear the clothes or jewellery that show what religion you belong to, e.g. headscarves, crosses, turbans, etc.

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Posted by Peter
a resident of Southgate
on Jun 8, 2007 at 2:12 pm

Bystander, a clarification. The French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools bans wearing conspicuous religious symbols in French public (i.e. government-operated) primary and secondary schools. The law is an amendment to the French Code of Education that expands principles founded in existing French law, especially the constitutional requirement of laïcité: the separation of state and religious activities.

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Posted by Draw
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 8, 2007 at 2:16 pm

Re: France.

France is forbidding the show of ANY religious garb or symbols in schools. Such symbols had become for some, unfortunately, a type of "gang" clothing in schools, resulting in gang-like violence. So, like many public schools here, France decided to forbid anything which might incite "gang-like" behavior in the schools.

It is unfortunate it has gotten to this point in France, in what used to be a uniformly tolerant society. But, when one segment becomes belligerently intolerant, there are consequences, and everyone loses.
This is not forbidden outside of schools, of course.

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Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2007 at 2:22 pm

Peter and Draw

Thanks for the clarification. I meant to say about schools, but I was under the impression that it was for all public employees as well, in other words the street cleaners, mail deliverers, teachers, civil servants, etc.

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Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 8, 2007 at 5:37 pm

bruce expresses the idea that we shouldn't stand up and be counted when we post because some thug might take revenge on our person or property.

When I begin to have such thoughts, I quickly rid them when I think of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. They stood tall even though they knew they would be hung and their property destroyed if the British caught them. Their courage was remarkable and an inspiration.

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Posted by Draw The Line
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 9, 2007 at 10:40 am

Somebody stop the madness. This isn't really me.
I am being held hostage. My identity is at stake.
Who am I? What's real? Help!

Like this comment
Posted by Draw the Line
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 9, 2007 at 2:33 pm

For anyone who cares, that last post with my name is not from me.

I will no longer post under that name until there is a way to limit it to one person.

Like this comment
Posted by A resident
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2007 at 6:11 am

Wow, there are some up tight folks reading these postings.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Jordan Middle School

on Jun 6, 2017 at 12:06 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

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