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Original post made by DT, Meadow Park, on Apr 25, 2013

As soon as topic is interesting, important, or drawing relevant comments eg. Bullying, The school district, rankings, etc. some person at Palo Alto Online decides that this topic is ......what do they decide?...that they have to restrict this topic because it is relevant, interesting to a lot of people, drawing a lot of comments - of all stripes, is something other than the banal cat stuck in the tree topics that no one reads or can usefully contribute to or affects large numbers of people.

Can Palo Alto ONLINE please publish their own criteria for when and why they do this to a topic?

Comments (7)

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Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Apr 25, 2013 at 9:23 pm

TD - I think this is an excellent question! This question was raised in various ways, various threads. I am in total agreement that anything specifying personal details of kids or others should be removed (better not posted). Other then that - I do not understand. I happened to see several comments which were removed later, where I could not figure out the reason of removal. On the other hand - some other very offensive and racist comments were left untouched. Seems to me that it would make sense that an anonymous poster would not take a counter comment "personally".
I think it is good, and even important to know what is "out there" - including racism etc.

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Posted by Eileen 1
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 25, 2013 at 9:57 pm

I have just read the Palo Alto Online Terms of Use, and there is no explaination as to why a thread gets closed to all but registered users. I would very much appreciate knowing the criteria that is used to determine when a thread will be closed down to people who are not registered users.

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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 26, 2013 at 12:07 am

Palo Alto Online has refused to be answerable or professional about its censoring behavior. It has also not realized and reacted to the fact that whatever it is, they do not even enforce it quickly, equally or consistently ... which is why people are angry and asking in the first place.

I think this is really nasty as it can really make innocent good citizens mad who just come here to discussion things with their fellow Palo Altans.

Problems usually start when someone is is rude or condescending in an comment, yet the inciting comment is rarely recognized as the problem and deleted or edited, and the perpetrator never held responsible.

Probably the easiest example of this are the constant out of the blue attacks on political liberals irrelevantly and pointlessly, yet these comments are very rarely acted on ... and almost never without making several complaints.

I think it's time that Palo Alto Online starts committing to serving everyone here and not foisting some unfair partisan censorship on it's participants. Either censor professionally, fast and consistent, or leave the commentary open. Enough of these stretching the terms of use to be useful to whomever is editor for the day.

How about PAO? Can we look for more responsible and serious management of the Town Square Forum?

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Posted by jake
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 26, 2013 at 7:00 am

Online is not FREE. It always has agenda in mind..

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 26, 2013 at 8:19 am

I agree that many times the editing on this forum makes no sense. Sometimes it is very biased and certain members of the community are " protected" from criticism by the editors. Jake is right, the weekly has an agenda --- too make as much money as possible while stroking the egos of the powers that be in palo alto.
If you are unhappy with this do not donate to the weekly. Also contact the advertisers and let them know how you fell. Also you can tell them that you will not be doing business with them because they advertise with the weekly.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 26, 2013 at 8:46 am

I've had a couple of my posts partially censored in the past. I didn't like it but that's the PAO's prerogative. Life does go on.

The way I look at it is that this site belongs to the PA Weekly, a private entity. They pay the bills, they can do what they want. And the idea that there are huge profits in running a newspaper is simply laughable.

If it is that big of a deal, then why not start your own online community forum and host at your expense?

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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Ditto to Crescent Park Dad.

I value the comment section as highlighting the community issues where feelings run strong or controversial. Some news items get a flood and others a trickle. I often find the comments informative, and sometimes they even effect a shift in my own viewpoint.

I wouldn't want to see what this site would become if there were no oversight by staff. And I'm sure they don't wish to spend their energy quibbling over whether or not they're adhering to some set of published comment guidelines that could not possibly foresee every course a thread here could take.

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