Major Changes Coming to the Vanguard: End of Anonymity

Microphone

It is the end of an era.  After much discussion and consideration, the Vanguard has decided that effective 4 pm on Thursday, December 22, 2016, we will change our comment system.  We have decided to go to Facebook logins for most users (with some exceptions that I will lay out shortly).

Anonymous posting has long been a heated topic of conversation, both on the pages of the Vanguard as well as in the community.  This was not a decision that was made lightly.  It seems the issue has come up at least once a year for a long time.

In the last three or four months, the Vanguard editorial board has had three discussions on the comment policy.  Our belief is that the perception of allowing anonymous posters and the overall belief by many that they will be attacked by anonymous posters have become a barrier to the growth of the Vanguard.

We reached out to well over 100 people who cited the allowance of anonymous posters  as THE chief reason for their lack of participation in the discussions and, in some cases, they reduced readership of the Vanguard as a whole.

A recent comment on Nextdoor illustrates the dilemma: “The Davis Vanguard is the place to go for hardball politics, local real estate development or other big topics. I highly recommend it, but since people on the Vanguard are not required to use their real names, it can get a bit rough.”

My observation has always been that people can be just as nasty under their own name, but the perception of being attacked personally, without a chance to respond to someone in kind, is a deterrent to participation.

There have been several articles in the last six months, where named authors were attacked by anonymous posters to the point where they will not be participating any longer.

It has been clear to me for some time that we needed to change things.  Change is scary and it can be uncertain.

Back in 2009, after a particularly tumultuous election for the Measure P – Wildhorse Ranch Project – the climate on the Vanguard was far worse.  Based on that, we made some major changes.  First, we required registration for people to post comments.  Prior to that some people were registered, but many simply entered a name and often the same person would post under many different names in the same thread.

By requiring registration, we saw a brief drop off in comments, but they quickly rebounded.

At that time as well, we added Don Shor as a volunteer but full-time moderator.  That dramatically improved the tone on the Vanguard, but it has not solved the problems.

We now have 5 to 10 times more readers than we did back in 2009, and the Vanguard is much more prominent than it was back then.

There are concerns that Facebook registrations will kill the comment section and thus readership.  Some have cited the Enterprise change to Facebook registration as that which wiped out much of their discussion.

However, I believe this is a change we must do, even if it decreases readership in the short term.

We are not completely eliminating all anonymous posters – as I will explain in a moment.

On Thursday at 4 pm, everyone will need to log on through a Facebook account.  This is an effort to ensure that people register under their real and, while there are workarounds for their doing so through a Facebook account, it will be fairly transparent.

However, there are people who have a legitimate reason to remain anonymous – their business may be threatened, they may need to act as a whistleblower, etc.

We have a system to allow them to remain anonymous.  They will have to petition the Vanguard.  They will have to provide the following in writing: (1) Their name, (2) a valid email address, (3) a valid phone number and (4) the reason why need to remain anonymous.

It is our intent that this will be a small number of people only.  We will keep confidential their identity and information, but that information will be known to the Vanguard.

Anonymous posters will be moderated much more stringently than people posting through their Facebook profile and we will have very strict rules about multi-registration (although, despite views to the contrary, the number of multi-registrations with the Vanguard are fairly limited).

All petitions should be submitted to: info@davisvanguard.org and they will be reviewed and processed expeditiously.

Anyone requiring technical assistance for setting up a Facebook Account or logging into the new system can do so by contacting me at the same address.

It is our hope that this will improve the user experience and, from my conversations in the community, this is a change that will be embraced by many who are not participating now.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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116 thoughts on “Major Changes Coming to the Vanguard: End of Anonymity”

  1. Paul Thober

    I applaud the Vanguard for this change except for the Facebook log in requirement. I would much prefer to continue as I have, using my name and existing Vanguard registration and not have the discussion here tied to my Facebook account.

    1. Jim Frame

      I would much prefer to … not have the discussion here tied to my Facebook account

       

      If I understand the process correctly, the tie to a FB account is one-way, in that the Vanguard would be using FB’s servers to authenticate the login.  FB would have the ability — though likely not the interest — to access what you post on the Vanguard (all of which is public anyway) because it would be aware of your Vanguard account.  I don’t *think* FB would have access to your Vanguard profile data, but I’m a little hazy on that matter.  The Vanguard wouldn’t gain access to your FB account, nor would any of its readers.  The Vanguard would simply be subcontracting authentication to FB, in effect saying to FB “This user says he owns an account on FB under this name, is that true?”

      If I’m mistaken, I hope someone will correct what I’ve presented.

       

  2. Grok

    While I am sure there are aspects of this that are not perfect, I am also sure this is a positive step in the right direction of the Vanguard, and practically speaking about as good as can be done at this time.

  3. JosephBiello

    I think this is wise and applaud the editorial board for making this decision – Davis is still a small community and we have to live together, disagreements and all.    Anyone can get wound up and cause a disagreement to devolve into personal attacks – it’s harder to do when your name is out there.  It is also more likely that one will walk back bad comments such comments when one’s name is out there.

    As we saw in recent comments on the Enterprise, FB commenters can register false accounts and act as trolls, too.  I, too, would like to use my Vanguard registration to continue posting in my name.     In a small city like Davis, is there some better way we can verify identity of commenters?

    With hopes for greater civility in the New Year.

    JAB

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      We could do it – I hadn’t thought of it. But you could apply to continue to use your current log in and post under your own name as well.

  4. Frankly

    This is a capitalist move wrapped in a “moral” argument.  I support the former and reject the latter.

    I think it comes with some risk though.  If the readership has increased, then it is very likely that it has done so because of the possible entertainment value some reader find in the spirited commentary that will likely disappear to be replaced by more typical Davis group think.

    In fact, I do hear from quite a few people that tell me they like to read the commentary because it is a good fight.

    But I also get that there are people out there that don’t like to fight, or that get too agitated with direct challenges to their strongly-held beliefs.

    You can see how this Facebook connection works going to the Huffington Post… where the majority of the posters are vitriolic lefties.

    Only time will tell if this is the right move.

    1. Dave Hart

      You may believe this or not, Frankly, that while I have been a staunch opponent of anonymity on the VG since 2007, I have actually changed by mind somewhat since the T*** election.  It is precisely because of particularly vitriolic and scary rhetoric by gloating T*** supporters, that I began to reconsider that posting on the VG anonymously might be of value to the community.  When such deep hostility to liberal thought and institutions is bottled up, it might explode physically as it did at T*** rallies and yes, even in St. Louis, MO.  On the other hand, words do matter.  Words can sometimes paint us into a corner and prevent open minded objectivity or allowing for being wrong or worse, from seeing a solution.  So, I’m okay with an end to anonymity, but along with it comes a responsibility to speak up regardless of where one sits on the ideological scale.  Don’t quit on us, Frankly, et. al.

      1. hpierce

        Some of us truly can’t, if we put our full name “out there”… not without serious ramifications… just not worth it.

        Don’t think there is a local equivalent of “snopes”… good luck, all… best wishes for the coming year…

  5. Dave Hart

    Yes to the criticism of using FacePlant for log-ins.  If the whole point is to verify a person’s actual identity, any number of criteria should work especially for those of us who have long labored under our actual names.

    One question that I would appreciate hearing a detailed answer to regarding anonymity:  Does a person who is granted anonymous posting enjoy that status for certain topics or is it to be granted globally?  For example, I totally agree with anonymity for a city employee who is posting about city policy.  But why should that same individual enjoy anonymity for posting about an article on a social issue like race or maybe the old “Volleyball-Gate” issue?  If it is case-by-case I’m fine with it, but all of us can make a case for total anonymity if we are individually fearful enough of our fellow citizens.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      As I mentioned above, I think people currently posting under their own names can continue under the old log in system.

      In terms of anonymity, I think in general we are going to allow one log in. Hadn’t given your point that much thought however.

    2. Paul Thober

      It is my opinion that anonymity should only be granted on an individual post basis with justification provided by the poster to the Vanguard in each instance.

      1. hpierce

        Clarification… is your thought as each “individual post”… every instance where an anonomous someone posts?  That is what you appear to say.

        Concept is OK.  Not sure the website can handle that… we’ll have to hear from David.

        1. Paul Thober

          What I meant to say is that each and every individual post submitted where the poster requests anonymity that poster should justify to the vanguard why that post should be anonymous. It should be stringent or it will just be more of the same.

    3. Matt Williams

      My personal opinions on point-by-point anonymity are that it has two significant drawbacks.

      First, it is cumbersome (“high overhead”) to implement, and will likely mean that by the time the Editorial Board gets a chance to review and act on a “pointed” request for anonymity the eventual response under the “granted” pseudonym will no longer be timely.

      Second, as I personally found out when I posted under a pseudonym during the Measure I election timeframe, an individual’s posting style is often a dead giveaway.  Barack Palin and Mark West very quickly discerned that John Baldry sounded distinctly like Matt Williams.  That means that the shield of de jure point-by-point anonymity will de facto become no shield at all.

      The second problem can be somewhat mitigated by assigning generic pseudonyms to the approved point-by-point requests . . . for example Anonymous Poster #1,  Anonymous Poster #2, Anonymous Poster #3, etc.

      Unfortunately, I don’t see any way around the first problem.  Point-By-Point requests will be cumbersome, high maintenance, and untimely.

      1. Barack Palin

        John Baldry?

        LOL, I never knew that one.  I knew of “Practical” and possibly “Peabody” because I knew you were fond of that cartoon but John Baldry I didn’t know about.

        Matt, we had our disagreements over the years but I always enjoyed conversing with you.  I’m gone as of tomorrow, I’ll leave the blog to all of the liberals to come on here and agree with each other.

        Matt, but tell me honestly, was I right about Peabody?

        1. JosephBiello

          BP – I hope you don’t leave and I don’t understand the fear you have of not being anonymous.  I sometimes agree with you and sometimes disagree, but honestly would like you to stay.

           

           

        2. Matt Williams

          No, Peabody was/is someone else . . . a member of the fairer sex.  I have my suspicions who she is, and am flattered that you think that she and I are one and the same.  Ironically, over the course of many years you may have voted for both of us in different elections.  The willingness to be public servants may be the link that caused you to believe she and I were one and the same.

          Regarding the screen name Practical, that was created in July 2012 and was called what it was because it was a “practical” voice regarding water issues in a time when all kinds of shite was being thrown up against the wall.  When the water issues died down, the penduluum swung from practical to the other end of the spectrum, specifically “don’t try and lay no boogie woogie on the king of rock and roll” John Baldry.”  It was an inside joke … and a bad one at that.

          Your sentiments about our interactions are returned in kind.  With that said, don’t let your interaction let you get rusty.

      2. Tia Will

        Hi Matt

        will likely mean that by the time the Editorial Board gets a chance to review and act on a “pointed” request for anonymity the eventual response under the “granted” pseudonym will no longer be timely.”

        This one will not apply as we have agreed that David will make the decision, not hold off for editorial board approval.

  6. hpierce

    Well, I understand…

    I may try for “asylum”… but the criteria only appears to exempt those in business, “whistle-blowers”  (assumed to be those who are exposing corruption, injustice, but not ‘fact-checkers’)… the “etc.” clause appears to be vague/arbitrary…  but, it is well within the purview of the VG… I respect that.  But, am pretty sure I won’t pass the new litmus test.

    It’s David’s blog and he can control as he wants to… (yes, there is an allusion to a Leslie Gore hit song)

    I willingly would provide the four “id’s”… pretty sure the VG already has that.

    I don’t do “facebook” (with exceptions) … am disinclined to start, except to keep up with close friends and family.

    G’bye as of 4 P tomorrow, and G’day… I can already hear cheering in the background…

    I have what I consider valid reasons for anonymity… y’all will just have to deal with fact-checking by others… I have at least two folk who post by their names, who might be willing to be “filters” for my fact-checking and post them under the ‘new world order’… my opinions can keep to myself… no problemo.

    Best to all…

      1. South of Davis

        David wrote:

        > I would encourage you to apply

        I also hope that hpierce applies (and I know others that do).

        P.S. to David everyone I know logs on to the Vanguard to read comments from people like me and hpierce (not Jerry and Marina who post under their own names)…

        1. hpierce

          Thank you for the thought… am seeking the counsel, wisdom of others who know me, who post under their own names, to advise… best to you and yours in this season…

        2. hpierce

          Got the counsel… will think it thru… we’ll see…

          The “have to go thru facebook” hurdle, not sure I want to jump… am concerned about links to family and friends…

          Dad ran low hurdles… track… I was X-country… effort, but less likely to get injured…

      2. hpierce

        Might not be a good idea… if part of the purpose is to avoid “trolls”, some posters have already identified me as a “troll”… it would be self-defeating to give me asylum… build the damn wall…

        1. hpierce

          Yes, BP, that is exactly why I do not currently plan to apply… the “thin, opening wedge”… the camels’s nose in the tent… etc., etc., etc.

          Your response is quite childish… I want what “????” gets…. no context as to why situations may differ… I can say that until tomorrow afternoon…

          I actually support the move, in theory… but am undecided how to respond…

        2. hpierce

          BP … your 11:35 post reinforces my opinion that you are being childish…  you may well have reasons as valid as mine, but to link your ’cause’ to mine, is childish, at best… please grow up.

          My reasons may or not be justified in the VG opinion (if I apply)… but to link your ‘outcome’ to mine?  Really?  “Petty” is the most charitable word I can come up with for that twisted (if any) logic.

          Moderator… feel free to cleanse my comment as “off-topic”…

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          From the article; “Anonymous posters will be moderated much more stringently than people posting through their Facebook profile and we will have very strict rules about multi-registration

    1. South of Davis

      It’s not my Blog but I would not be trying to copy the Enterprise that is losing readers and rarely has more than three comments on an article.

      P.S. I can’t wait to see the “Barack Palin” Facebook page…

  7. Sam

    Davis is a small town and my personal views do not align with about 90% of the population. I am unable to risk hurting my business and groups that I support by giving out my name, even if it is to the editorial staff that might know me and/or do business with me.

    Good luck David.

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      And I’m sorry about that.  It was a difficult decision which is why we took months but we felt this was in the best interest of the Vanguard and the community.

    2. Tia Will

      Hi Sam,

      Davis is a small town and my personal views do not align with about 90% of the population”

      I am such an outlier that my personal views do not align with about 100% of the population of Davis. So I am wondering, what is it that you believe that you would be “risking” by stating your views plainly?

      For example, have you ever had your person, family or business threatened because of a publicly expressed view.  I do not know your personal view and thus feel very comfortable in just putting this out there as an honest question.

      I am struggling to understand something that I seem to be seeing recently from some who have been celebrating the outcome of the national election. There has been a fair amount of derision of what I see as legitimate concerns of some minorities and those who have been either directly or indirectly targeted by our president elect. And yet, some of these posters seem to fear exposure of their identity just from posting on the Vanguard.  I am wondering if anyone other than me sees irony in deriding the fears of others, while espousing one’s own as legitimate ?

       

      1. Sam

        So I am wondering, what is it that you believe that you would be “risking” by stating your views plainly?

        I have been open about my feelings of the DTA leadership and I have young children. I do not want anything negative to happen to them because of my personal views. That is one example.

         

      2. South of Davis

        Tia wrote:

        > I am such an outlier that my personal views do not

        > align with about 100% of the population of Davis

        I’m sure that Tim might think Twinkies soaked in clam juice tastes good so she feels safe saying that her views don’t align with 100% of the population, but I’m pretty sure that 90% of her views align with 90% of the people in Davis.

        > So I am wondering, what is it that you believe that you

        > would be “risking” by stating your views plainly?

        Try and think how a transgender black atheist with a Hillary bumper sticker on his Prius would feel in a 99% white Mississippi Bible Belt town where 90% of the people voted for Trump would feel.  That is how straight white Christian conservatives feel in Davis (where no one is stupid enough to put a Trump sticker on his pickup).  Just like (unfortunately) things would be rough for the kids of the transgender atheist in Mississippi things are (unfortunately) rough for the kids of any white Conservative Christian stupid enough to “come out of the closet” here in Davis…

        1. Frankly

          No way I would put a Trump sticker on my truck in this town.  Are you kidding?  Especially after this election where so called “civilized” liberals have sanctioned violence against Trump supporters.

          So David’s real name is Billy Bob Jones, and he lives in central Texas where Trump was elected by the majority and he has a rainbow sticker on his car window and a Hillary Kaine 2016 bumper sticker on his brand new Prius that he keeps parked in his driveway.

          In my experience, his car would be much LESS likely to be harmed than would a conservative’s car in Davis with a Christian fish in the window and a Trump Pence 2016 sticker on the bumper.

      3. Frankly

        I am such an outlier that my personal views do not align with about 100% of the population of Davis.

        Tia – you owe me a glass of whiskey because this made me laugh so hard I knocked over my glass.

        1. Tia Will

          Hi Frankly

          I am more than happy to buy you that glass of whiskey.

          But before you get too snockered about the idea that my ideas are out of line with 100% of Davis citizens, ask yourself how many people of any political persuasion you know that honestly favor all of the following :

          1. Open borders ( based on the concept that we are part of the world, the world is not owned by us).

          2. Both education and medical care provided for all in the same way that military protection is provided for all.

          3. A UBI

          4. Incarceration only for those who are violent, with all others managed in home or by monitor or community service specifically directed towards there action.

          I could go on, but really how many people do you think would really agree with me ?

    1. hpierce

      Good clarification… yet, if someone is new to town, and/or creates a new Facebook account (when they didn’t have one previously), how do you know if it is “fake” or not?  Just curious, not meant as a criticism…

      1. David Greenwald Post author

        There is no foolproof method. Just as you can come to council and give a fake name, this was the best way to get real names we could come up with.

  8. MidCentury

    I believe this policy will be the end of casual but concerned and informed readers offering fresh perspectives on important issues and we’ll just read the same half dozen people posting what we could have guessed they were going to write in the first place. I don’t post often so I won’t be missed, but just so you know…I’m outa here.

    1. hpierce

      Good point, but just like the new administration, let’s see how it plays out… in both cases, decisions were made, let’s just see how it plays out.   Changes can always be made, if warranted…

  9. hpierce

    David… would an application for “asylum” be kept confidential?  By you and the Board?  Or might you folk ‘wikileaks’ it?  I get, and support your apparent goals, but if the ‘exception’ details get out there, might compromise the whole idea of  ‘application’….

    Meant as a very serious, very honest question…

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      As a reporter, we have to keep confidences otherwise we lose our sources. I would keep any applications strictly confidential. My board has indicated to me that they don’t want to know the identities of people who have applied. I take this very seriously.

      1. Barack Palin

        Good to know.  I’ve disclosed several times my reason for posting anonymously on here.  My wife is a teacher in town that’s 85% liberal and has asked me not to post under my name to avoid any possible backlash at her job because I’m a conservative.

        Would that qualify David in order to keep BarackPalin alive?

        1. Matt Williams

          BP, if I were still on the Vanguard Editorial Board rather than granting your request I would suggest to you that you do the same thing as others have done here, register with real and verifiable information and use only your first name as your screen name.  Your wife would have no risk of blowback because there would be no discernible link between your first name and her first name.  There is a discernible link between your last names (I assume).

          JMHO

          For the record, I did shorten the “John Baldry” registration name to just “John” during the latter part of the period when that pseudonym was active.

        2. Barack Palin

          I’ll think about it Matt, but my wife says I spend too much time on here anyway so this makes for a good excuse to break off.

          Come on, I’ve got to know about Peabody.

           

        3. Frankly

          I’ll think about it Matt, but my wife says I spend too much time on here anyway so this makes for a good excuse to break off.

          Me too BP.  Maybe time for more golf…  you play golf?

          That tends to be a game that more conservative people play for some reason. Liberals tend to ride bikes. I like to ride bikes too, but it is too hard to keep my cigar lit.

      2. hpierce

        Thank you for that, David… will put my trust in that… a “leaner”, but my instincts/gut tells me to trust… will go with my gut, and apply, but not today…

  10. Jerry Waszczuk

    By reading the above comments and  suggestions it looks like some folks getting paranoid . Maybe it is not a good idea with “real name ”  to log in and is  a great  possibility that  Vanguard will became sanctuary city  with a few  “miau miau ” participants instead of  the aggressive “Amazon River ” with lot  piranhas waiting for something to eat and fight for food with no left over.

      1. Jerry Waszczuk

        BP

        Myself , I don’t care . I always affirm my posts anywhere  by my real e-mail or my real name and I always sign my letter . If somebody likes to know who  Jerry Waszczuk  is  than be my guest . I have nothing to hide.  Hackers, FBI , KGB , NSA and other spies  knows who is important to hack and spy on  and why.  Of course you have to vigilant and understand that the internet beside the free flow of information is also  the tool for many to commit the crime and make other people life miserable .

        1. hpierce

          Jerry… may not agree with you on many things, but once you more fully shared your background, you gave me a good perspective about the spelling/grammar thing… I respect that.

          I do suggest you work on the spelling/grammar thing, so that you may be more effective… meant as a friendly assessment… in the meantime… best to you and yours in this holiday season, and best to you and yours in the coming year…

  11. Roberta Millstein

    I am pleased to see this, and I think that the Vanguard has come up with a good compromise here by having some, but more limited, provisions for anonymity. I hope that this encourages a wider variety of participation from Davis’s citizens, so that we are not bombarded by insults from the same anonymous posters over and over, which has reduced the utility of the site. I will probably ask to continue using my login, as I do not wish to associate my account with Facebook. I think enough of you know who I am in real life to know that I am a real person using my real name.  🙂

    1. hpierce

      No problem, Roberta… but there are some of us who post anonymously, who have facts to share, who if those who don’t like those facts, will pressure their employers to terminate their employment… real.  Yet, we are completely comfortable with disclosing to the VG all our background… as long as it stays there, in confidence.

      And yes, we also have strong opinions on ‘non-factual’ matters… a voice to be “silenced”… perhaps appropriately so… I’ll not judge.

      I usually ‘attack’ folk on faux “facts” or faux arguments… looks like I’m history… and history is boring/irrevelent, right?

      Oh, am a real person, too… but a “newbie”… only been in Davis for 44 years…

       

      1. Roberta Millstein

        Too bad that the bad behavior of a few spoiled it for everyone else. Sounds to me as though those who behave well and who have good reason will still be able to be anonymous.

         

  12. Napoleon Pig IV

    David owns the Vanguard, has done a good job with it so far. Obviously, he can do whatever he pleases with his creation and property.

    However, I have no interest in participating in or supporting facebook, and for this and more important philosophical reasons, I will not take part in this happy forum going forward.

    So, good bye and good luck to my fellow denizens of the Davis pasture. I’ll simply rollick in the mud and eat my slop, in silence, as I observe the shenanigans of other pigs and sheep – and the far more sinister critters lurking just beyond the barbed wire fence.

    Oink!

      1. Napoleon Pig IV

        It will be good to see you out and about in the real world.

        Here’s to hoping a wayward bat doesn’t infect one of the sheep inside the barbed wire with rabies – or some other virus that affects clarity of thinking.

      2. quielo

        The interesting part is that there will no 1-1 correlation between the old names and the new. If someone were to change styles it would be possible to be new-new instead of new-old.

         

         

    1. hpierce

      As a fan of Orwell, and his keen interest in American history (how many Brits have used the battle of the Cowpens (South Carolina) as a metaphor?).  Particularly when the Brits had their lunch handed to them that day!) [the movie “The Patriot” was somewhat loosely based on that]

      Have yet to make my final call as to how I proceed… but, NP IV, best wishes to you and yours in this holiday season, and for all of 2017… God bless… take care…

  13. hpierce

    Connection issue… will ask again…

    David ok to use real “middle names” or have to use names that can be searched on-line to find address, phone #’s, etc.?

      1. hpierce

        Nah… with a response like that, will probably choose to fade away… leave this venue to you…

        Your wisdom and public service I cannot match… cannot think of how I could be as “real” as you are…

        I apologize, all, for being unreal these years… my bad…

        1. Jerry Waszczuk

          hpierce

          This was not about your posting  under  the nick name or you writing by  using your real name . I don’t care about it  . I like to see you on Vanguard and to read you posts. You are smart guy .It was about your “miau miau ” questions. Come on . You are not an an immigrant which just landed in  the United States from  the Third World country village.

           

  14. Paul Thober

    All the PA’s (Posters Anonymous) wringing their hands (figuratively speaking) about posting under their real names and the jeopardy they will subject themselves to makes me want to say something snarky about fragile snowflakes and safe spaces, but I will refrain because I’m just not that kind person. ; )

  15. Ron

    I’ll probably use this as an opportunity to say goodbye, at least for awhile.  Lately, I’ve let myself be dragged into some rather negative, unproductive, and time-consuming interactions.  (Not limited to those who don’t identify themselves.) I’ll probably still be a reader, regardless.

    It hasn’t all been negative, and I have learned more about various issues (including from commenters that I don’t necessarily agree with).  And, I’ll miss some of the extended debates between Tia and Frankly (assuming that Frankly isn’t planning to comment, anymore).  (Reading those debates is one of the first things that drew me into the Vanguard.) I’ll also miss Barack Palin’s posting of well-timed images.

    Overall, I can’t help but think that there’s happier, more productive ways to spend time (for everyone).

    Regarding the Vanguard itself, I’m wondering if this decision will reduce comments and debate, resulting in less relevance (and a less accurate “gauge” of the community’s interests), going forward.

    In any case, Merry Christmas to all.  (Yes – even I sometimes use that “controversial term”.)  🙂

    1. Barack Palin

      Overall, I can’t help but think that there’s happier, more productive ways to spend time (for everyone).
      Regarding the Vanguard itself, I’m wondering if this decision will reduce comments and debate, resulting in less relevance (and a less accurate “gauge” of the community’s interests), going forward.

      Well said Ron.  We agreed with each other on MRIC and disagreed on Russell Fields but we always kept it civil.  It was always nice conversing with you as you were always pleasant unlike some of the other jerks on here.  I too can think of more productive ways to spend my time other than on the V.  We’ll leave the blog to all liberals so they can come on here and agree with each other without fear of having different opinions thrown their way.  Let’s not kid ourselves, it wasn’t conservatives that were complaining about the anonymous comments on here.  David is capitulating to the liberal complainers in town.  This is akin to the UCD snowflakes trying to shut down Milo Yiannopolous on campus.
      After 4pm tomorrow this site will be one big liberal Trump bash blog.

      1. South of Davis

        BP wrote:

        > David is capitulating to the liberal complainers in town.

        With so many Universities shutting down free speech and creating “safe spaces” with the support of the left it makes sense that David wants to create a “safe space” for his friends where they never read anything that challenges them to look at the world differently (even views from a guy just slightly to the right of them who voted for Obama and didn’t vote for Trump).

        It is sad that BOTH people on the far right and far left despise people with views different from their own so much that they will do what they can to make life hard for not just the person who has views they dislike but the person’s children.  The right wing bible thumpers in the south will F with the children of an atheist the same way the left wing liberals in Davis will F with the children of a guy that tells them non believers are going to H E Double L…

      2. Ron

        Thanks, Barack Palin.

        I’ve always considered myself more liberal than conservative, but I’m generally not threatened by counter-arguments.  (Perhaps that’s why I can appreciate your intended humor.  I even find some of Trump’s humor amusing – when others might simply be appalled.)

        Overall, views regarding the issue that I care most about (growth/development) may not always be predictable, between those who are more liberal, vs. conservative.

        Some of my most unpleasant experiences on the Vanguard have been with those who fully identify themselves.  From my experience, it’s the actual comments (not necessarily related to the identity, vs. anonymity of the commenter) that are sometimes unpleasant.

        On another note, I’ve always wondered how you selected your online name.  (Two opposing names and hairstyles, in the accompanying photo.)

  16. Tia Will

    Greetings all,

    As a member of the DV editorial board, and as the “minority report” on this issue I just want to express a couple of thoughts.

    To those who are choosing to remain, or who are now going to participate since you feel safer without the treat of anonymous personal attack, I welcome your ongoing comments and hope that the conversation will remain rich and full with all points of view represented since this is a major goal of the Vanguard.

    To those who are leaving because of any kind of “fear” whether that is of economic harm, or social harm either to yourself or your family members, I am sad to see you go. I am concerned about the loss of distinct minority opinion voices. I would  ask those of you who are leaving to take a moment to reflect on the fears that are driving you away from commenting, and ask yourself whether these may not be the same kinds of fears that many of us are now feeling if we have Mexican or Muslim family members, or if we have a tenuous hold on access to health care. Please bear in mind that direct threats have been made, and many of us cannot do something as simple as not commenting on a small city blog. So when you go to criticize someone else’s fears as “unrealistic” or “hysterical”, please think about why you are no longer commenting.

    To all I wish a happy holiday season and many good conversations !

    1. Biddlin

      “I would  ask those of you who are leaving to take a moment to reflect on the fears that are driving you away from commenting…”

      Fear is not why some will fail to “register” and return for comment.

      There is no point in commenting when the arbitrary hand of immoderation wipes your comment.

  17. Tia Will

    Hi Paul,

    As someone who tries and frequently fails …. I think that we might all have better conversations if we spent more time considering that just maybe the other persons point of view has some validity rather than using snark ( of a personal nature) as opposed to humor, or worse yet name calling to make our points.

  18. hpierce

    With the limited window of time, will point out …

    Don, David and Matt know who I am… have for years… hell, Matt has my phone #!  I know the VG does, as I was called for a fund raiser a few years back.

    Have shared my e-mail address with some here…

    Matt suggests using only a first name… don’t think that meets the new policy… at least as I read it.

    This will be interesting.

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