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Threads completely deleted concerning Israel

Original post made by Boaz, Greater Miranda, on Jun 28, 2007

In the last couple of days, two threads started by Jag Singh have been completely removed from this forum.
is there a new policy in effect that any threads dealing with Israel/Middle East will be deleted by the editors?

Comments (7)

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Posted by Bill Johnson
publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Jun 28, 2007 at 2:33 pm

Bill Johnson is a registered user.

There are a few reasons for these deletions.

We are intentionally giving topics pertaining to the Mid-East a rest for awhile, because recent postings on Mid-East issues quickly degenerated into name-calling and disrespectful dialogue that we do not wish to host on our site. This is unfortunate, because events in the Mid-East deserve thoughtful discussion and we would like to offer local residents a forum for that. There are clearly people who view these topics as opportunities to inflame others, and the deletion of these comments then propagate more inflammatory comments.

We will allow new posts on Mid-East issues to remain on the site if they appear designed to start a NEW and thoughtful discussion. I'm certain some will view this as censorship or the manipulation of the viewpoints allowed, but the behavior of some posters has made it necessary for us to assert more control over these topics than others. We will not, however, allow a previously discussed topic to be resurrected by virtue of a new post, as someone attempted to do recently regarding the sinking of the USS Liberty.

The other reason some recent Mid-East postings have been deleted is that we will generally not allow posts that do nothing but post a link to another site. This is not the purpose of Town Square, and it allows a poster to use third-party content to, in many cases, inflame others. The whole idea behind Town Square is to encourage dialogue among the residents of Palo Alto. When a person posts nothing but a link to a video or an article on another site, it too often provokes instead of triggering a meaningful dialogue.

Finally, links to Wall Street Journal articles are of no use unless someone subscribes to the Journal's online service. Several recent posts have done nothing but link to what amounts to a dead-end first paragraph of a Journal article.

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Posted by Boaz
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jun 28, 2007 at 2:37 pm

Okay, Bill, Thanks for your response. i understand where you are coming from and I agree that there are people who use the topic of Israel/Middle east to post very inflammatory stuff.
I, as you can tell, tend to respond with comments favorable to Israel and have received the types of responses you wantto avoid--I also may have crossed over the line attimes also.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2007 at 7:02 pm

Thank you. Excellent decision.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2007 at 7:34 am

Great plan, frankly.

Thanks for the Wall Street Journal clue. That is "my bad". I thought they were public links for a few days, THEN went into subscription mode ( online).

Hmm, I was trying to follow what I thought you wanted for copyright laws..So, how do I bring some of these ( in my opinion) extremely thoughtful editorials for discussion ( real discussion) into this public realm. Should I just wholesale copy it into a post, but make sure it is all fully attributed?

Or, is the only recourse to try to paraphrase the best I can some of the great ideas/perspectives? And, of course, attribute the thoughts to the right person/publication?


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2007 at 9:19 am


How about posting some statistics on the comments you have removed? Surely the database manager behind this forum can find all those which you have editted and those which you have removed. Then sort on the posters names and also sort on the topics. How about some data on the offending topics and posters?

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 30, 2007 at 12:18 pm

With all due respect, I am extremely disappointed with the Weekly's attempt to censor such topics. While, I agree that the tone of such responses has been unduly harsh, such issues as the Middle East need to be discussed. If the corporate media had not been so subservient, it is very possible that precious US and Iraq lives could have been saved. One final point on the sinking of the USS Liberty, it would appear that the attack was deliberate and not a case of mistaken identity. I quote President Johnson, "I don't care if the ship sinks, I am not going to embarrass an ally." If this is not newsworthy, then the media can longer claim to be a watchdog of government misdeeds, but is only seving a few powerful interest groups.

Like this comment
Posted by Avoid Dante's Hell
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 5, 2007 at 9:01 am

Anonymous: Until we can learn to state facts with less judgemental opinion, these topics will remain offline. ie "if the corporate media had not been so subservient" implies that the media actually SUPPORTED going into Iraq, which in my opinion it did not, and in my opinion it did all it could to obfuscate and distort what was being said to the contrary.

But, when you start talking opinions, it is easy to descend into Dante's hell. So, we need to stick to facts, and not post repetitive threads. THEN we can actually talk.

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