May 13, 2010

Fight back against anonymous slurs

For a long time, I've listened to politicians and other community leaders gripe about the idiocy of many of the anonymous comments that appear on this blog and at the end of news stories on the Press website.
The comments, which often sound like they were written by illiterates, tend to recast everything written on this blog (and others) and in the paper in the most negative possible light. They grab hold of something in a story and race along with it to some incredible conclusions.
Take, for instance, the piece that reporter Jackie Majerus wrote for today's paper in which developer Don Monti gives a glimpse of his timeline and plans for the former mall property downtown. It's a solid story with some insight into the deal that may remain secret at least until Monday's Bristol Downtown Development Corp. meeting. (If anyone who has a copy wants to send it my way, we can hasten the end of the secrecy.)
But what gets me is that the comments to Majerus' story are mostly outlandish nonsense. They're busy trashing the idea of a boutique hotel downtown, apparently oblivious to the reality that the hotel would be part of a gigantic redevelopment of the site. It wouldn't cater to the bums on Summer Street. It would cater to people who don't go downtown now. And if the project doesn't get them downtown, there won't be a hotel. That's just common sense, folks - something entirely lacking in most of the comments.
My concern, though, is that the people in Bristol who know better -- city officials, chamber leaders, business barons and so on -- just read this drivel, shake their heads and move on. They need to understand that the future is being shaped right now. They need to engage the doubters and make their case for a different outlook.
I'm not saying the doubters are wrong. The backers of the project can sound pollyannish all too frequently. But when the only debate is a one-sided slam from anonymous pinheads, people who don't understand what they read and don't grasp the obvious, the skewed conversation online quickly becomes the common wisdom.
The real stupidity is to leave the field entirely to people who can't spell, don't identify themselves and don't see a future for Bristol. Those who think otherwise had better suit up and play the damn game. You can't win if you're only on the sidelines griping.
*******
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Outlandish nonsense! Outlandish nonsense! Outlandish nonsense!

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I know that you do not control it, but if the Press was a little more "cooperative" in publishing Letters to the Editor, maybe a few more people might go that way.

Steve Collins said...

I didn't even know there was a problem with publishing letters to the editor.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
The Press has NEVER been interested in publishing Letters to the Editor or corrections or information from a non-Barnes point of view.

Steve Collins said...

10:21 -- That's utterly absurd.

Anonymous said...

Steve this a great piece on what you are saying!!!

http://hartfordadvocate.com/featured-news/commenters-just-need-some-discipline

patti ewen said...

When someone signs "Anonymous", do YOU know that person's identity?
Is it possible to have a policy of publishing only signed comments?

Steve Collins said...

It is not possible to require people to give their names. We have no way to verify identities.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the city leaders should be a little more proactive, not in touting themselves, but in promoting Bristol.

Anonymous said...

11:50, The City leaders are busy promoting Bristol. It's the anonymous pinheads who constantly tout their stupidity by attacking and insulting our leaders' every move.

Anonymous said...

Really, there's nothing that can be done to rein in some of the "outlandish nonsense" that gets posted on this blog? I find that hard to believe. Truly, Steve could just prohibit any posting. He could probably do something less restrictive that would have similar effect. It won't happen, though, because the tabloid-style, trainwreck comments that get published here are what keep people coming back to the blog, to read and to create smutty posts of their own.

I'm not saying that I've always been above the fray. I'm no Polly Anna. But let's call a spade a spade, friends (or not), and admit what's really going on here. This is a place where you can throw mud with no real fear of getting caught. If there was no mud throwing, if commentators risked getting caught saying something naughty, then this blog would languish and die. The blog is the way that it is because it gets traffic from the lowest common denominator. (And traffic from bad eggs is better than no traffic at all).

If I were a politician or other community leader, I would not post comments here for three reasons. One: it is fruitless and vain to argue with morons. Two: I strongly suspect that the readership and commentary on this blog is conducted by only a limited number of people, many of whom I would never talk to or engage with in the real world (if ever they had the courage to slink their scaly selves out of the scummy back alleys that I imagine they hang out in and expose themselves to the harsh light of day). Three: I would not want to lend blog commentators any credibility by engaging in the fray.

I do, however, suspect that Steve is not correct when he states that "city officials, chamber leaders, business barons and so on...shake their heads and move on." My guess is that plenty of those characters post comments anonymously.

u no? said...

maybe some of you posters should take the reccomendation and stop putting posts on this site which only demean our city.

Steve Collins said...

1:08 -- I'm not just talking about the blog comments. I think that failing to counter the ones on the Press website is an even bigger mistake.
For what it's worth, this site gets about 1,000 page impressions a day and somewhere in the vicinity of 400 unique visitors daily. I suspect a pretty good chunk of them are involved in local government.
And, yes, I could delete more comments. But I don't want to be a censor. Besides, they'd just move elsewhere, like gnats attracted to the light.

Anonymous said...

12:11

Examples, please.

How many, and who, were at the OM show, the Exchange club show, the Chamber sessions with state candidates, Eggs and Issues, the ACE awards, the United Way Awards.

When was the the last time a city official promoted our schools(good, getting better), spoke out about the good people in Bristol.

Granted, they are somewhat busy, but they asked for the job.
Seems all they want is the glory.

Anonymous said...

Patti Ewen rocks :)

10:06 - have you also written, in the past, "hickory nuts, hickory nuts, hickory nuts!"? because that's just really funny.

Anonymous said...

3:22 PM, And if our politicians were to attend all of these functions and speak out about "the good people of Bristol," you'd probably be the first one in line screaming that they should be working and not out and about getting all the "glory."

Some people are never satisfied. You are definitely one of them.

Anonymous said...

To 3:42,
No, never did write "hickory nuts, hickory nuts, hickory nuts!"
But I wish I did.
And yeah, Patti is wonderful.

Anonymous said...

"The real stupidity is to leave the field entirely to people who can't spell, don't identify themselves and don't see a future for Bristol."

I agree with you Steve. The people who back the downtown plan really are stupid.

Anonymous said...

1:08 P.M. Well said.

Steve, you know that you like to start trouble...like a good newspaper man...Selling papers is your #1 priority! What he/she said, what the other responded, what he/she said in response to that coment again, etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

4:27

But you will never know, because this group is too busy taking care of themselves.

I LOVE THIS TOWN said...

8:11 PM: Your comment proves who's really stupid.

NOT mine said...

The withholding of an identity allows people to speak truthfully w/o fear of being assaulted by the city 'leadership' and/or their enforcers .

The leaders SHOULD carefully read and study the postings in this blog to see exactly what the people truly think .

Maybe then there would be a chance to save the once proud and prosperous city of Bristol.

Ulysses S. Grant said...

Balderdash and kumquat I say! Google-me-timberlakes, and bring it on, you hounding, litigious, greedy dogs of Bidensnitch! I await my day before a jury of my internet anonymous peers! O, rue the day, fair blogger boy, when thou are called to defend your alleged freedoms at the expense of the rest of us unwashed, unspellchecked, unhostable blogging masses!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE THIS TOWN said...

"8:11 PM: Your comment proves who's really stupid."

Glad to see you agree with me.

Anonymous said...

If you have to be nice on here you'll ruin the playground of these nasty republicans. AWWWWWWWW

Anonymous said...

Maybe the paper doesn't want to publish stupid comments and maybe they don't want to get in the middle of a dumb pissin match!Ever think of that? Probably not. You really need something to do.

Anonymous said...

6:27 PM, You've proved it yet again!

Tim Gamache said...

Not Mine: The "withholding of identity" also allows for the poster to make totally unsubstanciated and baseless accusations of not only elected officials,but of private citizens as well.One of the basic tenets of our judicial system is the right of the accused to face his/her accuser.Tell me how that is possible when the accuser signs as "anonymous?"Do you seriously believe these sort of anonymous attacks were what our forefathers envisioned when they wrote the Bill of Rights and our Constitution?It's time to look at the world in a realistic manner and not just how you singularly think it should be.
Nobody accepts responsibility anymore.Too many of us choose to occupy this "moral safehouse" where everyone is wrong or "does it" so NO ONE is to blame.
I guess I was raised a little differently.We we taught you took responsibility for your own actions/words.
In closing,I guess I'm simply saying there is no justification for making unsubstanciated or baseless accusations and signing as anonymous and therefore giving the accused no recourse or oppurtunity to face his/her accuser.

Anonymous said...

politicians should NOT make their decissions based on the comments posted on blogs. Most of the time is the same people repeating themselves or them posting with another name. I know, I have done it and so other political friends.

Anonymous said...

4:28 I guess you think you and your friends on this blog are the people. You are a joker to think that all your kind are the people!

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. [1952]
"Adlai Stevenson" So true.......

NOT mine... a.k.a. Incumbent OUT !!! said...

Tim Gamache said...

there is no justification for making unsubstanciated or baseless accusations and signing as anonymous and therefore giving the accused no recourse or oppurtunity to face his/her accuser.

May 15, 2010 2:08 PM

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I guess you must think there should have been a sign-up sheet in Boston Harbor so the oppressors would be able to locate and "chat" with those responsible for throwing the tea in the harbor .

Anonymous said...

Can't argue with gutless ,faceless hatemongers.