Vanguard Comment Policy Comments

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coffee-computerEditor’s note: Below is the Vanguard Comment policy as adopted on August 20, 2014 by the Vanguard Editorial Board.  Some readers requested space to make comments and raise issues on either the policy or enforcement of the policy.  The Vanguard Editorial Board is scheduled to review the policy this summer, but can take these comments under advisement.

GUIDELINES TO GOVERN COMMENTERS

THE DAVIS VANGUARD
Davis, California

Adopted by The Vanguard’s Editorial Board on August 20, 2014.

The Davis Vanguard Editorial Board (Editorial Board) has adopted the following Guidelines to Govern Commenters. The standards are intended to provide guidance to commenters and to guide the actions of The Vanguard’s Content Moderator, who is designated by the Editorial Board.

The primary intent of these guidelines is to ensure an inclusive, civil tone that will encourage greater participation in the community dialogue fostered by The Vanguard. The Editorial Board seeks to ensure that all readers of the Vanguard are respected and comfortable sharing their views. The Editorial Board recognizes that some limitations on comments may help to limit the extent to which anyone is discouraged from engaging in dialogue based on the comments of others.

To carry out the intent of the Editorial Board as discussed above, the Content Moderator will apply – using her or his discretion – the guidelines below.

A. CONTENT THAT MAY BE REMOVED

  1. Off Topic Commenting. Comments that do not pertain to the topic of the main post will be removed by the moderator. For example, a comment on a national issue may be removed if it does not make a clear connection to the local issue. Comments that add to the context and history of a post will generally be allowed, so long as they add to the overall discuss of an issue.

    The Content Moderator will need to exercise some level of subjectivity in deciding if a comment is “off topic.” The inferred intent of the commenter may be the deciding factor. Comments that appear to use the comments section of a article to make a point unrelated to the article, will be removed. On the other hand, good faith efforts to explain the connection of a comment to the article and that contribute a perspective related to the main post, may be allowed.

  2. Insults Directed at a Commenter or Contributor. Directly calling someone a name that is or could be construed as derogatory will be removed by the moderator. When the Content Moderator removes a post for this reason, they will leave a note as to why with “[Moderator]” in front of their comment or edit.
  3. Hate Speech. Comments that constitute hateful speech will be removed. Hate speech is speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of race, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.
  4. Debating Moderator Practices. An article’s comments section won’t be used to debate these guidelines or a decision of the Content Moderator. Concern about the removal of a comment should be addressed in an email to the Content Moderator. The moderator will keep confidential all email exchanges related to disagreements, and the identities of those raising concerns.

B. CONTENT DISCOURAGED (or “FOR SELF-RESTRICTION”)

  1. Racist, Sexist and Homophobic Comments. Comments that may fall into these areas by commenters, but that do not violate an area of Section A, will not be removed. While offensive, the Editorial Board believes responses that are, or may be considered, racist, sexist or homophobic are best handled by self-regulation or the civil responses of others.
  2. Generic Insults. Pejorative references to any general class of people are strongly discouraged. The Editorial Board asks commenters to understand that general insults discourage the participation of others. They contribute to a negative tone and strongly suggest disrespect for the views of others. In some cases, general insults oversimplify the positions of others, which is detrimental to informed and respectful debate. General insults that are provocative are especially discouraged.

    Examples of general insults would be referring to those who disagree with a commenter as: selfish, extremist, anti-growth, no-growth, open space extremists, reactionary, change-averse, no-growth NIMBY farmland moat people, moochers, looters and entitled population.

C. ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

  • Content Moderator Participation in Discussions. The Content Moderator is encouraged to participate in discussion equal to all others. She or he will separate their roles as commenter and Content Moderator.
  • Review of Content Moderator Decisions. Concerns about Comment Moderator decisions should be addressed to the Editor of The Vanguard. A response will be provided to the complaining party. The Editor may consult the Editorial Board on these issues.
  • Review of these Guidelines. The Editorial Board will periodically review and update these guidelines at its discretion.
  • Reader Complaints and Comments. We welcome your comments. Comments for the Editorial Board or the Editor may be send to: info@davisvanguard.com.

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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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130 thoughts on “Vanguard Comment Policy Comments”

  1. Barack Palin

    Recently I was moderated for using the term “crybullies” when referring to student activists:

    Generic Insults. Pejorative references to any general class of people are strongly discouraged. The Editorial Board asks commenters to understand that general insults discourage the participation of others. They contribute to a negative tone and strongly suggest disrespect for the views of others. In some cases, general insults oversimplify the positions of others, which is detrimental to informed and respectful debate. General insults that are provocative are especially discouraged.

    Yet someone else described them as “terrorists” without being moderated, is the term crybullies worse than terrorists?  Later a poster who disagreed with a few of the commenters used the term “trolls”.  I reported the comment and pointed out that if the term I used was pejorative why not the term trolls?  I was told that the V didn’t discuss comment policy on the thread.

    I have no problem with the Vanguard Comment Policy.  I do often have a problem with how it’s implemented.  It seems some commenters have their feet held to the fire while others get a free rein.

    If the term “crybullies” is pejorative then why also not terms like racists, fascists, right wing nuts, left wing lunatics, etc.  This is the problem, it comes down to someone’s personal opinion of which terms aren’t allowed and how can that be implemented fairly across the board without partisanship?

    I see off topic comments with conservative politicians being bad mouthed without it being moderated.  I will often report the comment or actually post below the comment and ask why the remark isn’t being moderated.  Sometimes it gets remedied and other times not.  I’ve found that if I just respond with a likewise comment about a Democrat politician that it gets taken care of quickly.

    Another problem I see is often the same posters are allowed to take comments off topic and not a peep is heard.  But when other posters do the same they get jumped almost immediately.  Why is that?

    The term “moderation” is derived from the word “moderate”.

    In politics and religion, a moderate is an individual who is not extreme, partisan, nor radical

    I think this definition doesn’t apply to the V as I sometimes feel the moderation is partisan.  All I ask is that the same rules apply to all.

    1. Biddlin

      Funny, the only partisan moderation I see is a hometown preference. The report button is useless.

      I favour wide open discussion, no autopsy, no foul, but maybe some folks feelings are too tender, even for insults on the internet. Remarkably our European cousins seem to be able to have quite heated repartee, face to face in cafes and pubs, without any physical or psychological harm to one another, as long as it isn’t about football…

  2. Tia Will

    BP

    Although I have no direct connection to how day to day moderation is conducted, I agree with you on the following points and have also included some exceptions to your perspective.

    1. I do not believe that there is a substantial pejorative difference between using the word “cry bullies” and using the word “terrorists”. Both should be avoided as unnecessarily provocative.

    2. I do believe that we should all be avoiding pejorative labelling of a partisan nature. I would favor equal handling of the name calling as I find it is not the optimal means for promoting a civil conversation which is my overarching goal for the Vanguard. I believe it is most productive when we discuss the merits of the idea being expressed rather than negatively labelling the author of the post. While far from perfect in this regard, I do try, and appreciate the efforts of others to do the same.

    3. Just as I slip up from time to time in my adherence to my above preference, I do not expect perfection from our volunteer moderator. I think that your perception of being unduly targeted may be somewhat skewed by our human tendency to notice what we perceive of as “unfairness” when it affects us personally, but overlook it when it is happening to others. Because I post often, I feel that I am frequently called out in some fashion, either warned or actually pulled for being off topic, but I fully recognize that I frequently just gloss over the moderator pulls that happen to others using the “out of sight, out of mind” mindset. When my posts are sanctioned in some manner…..I usually fully deserved it.

  3. hpierce

    My biggest issues are the plethora of adjectives strung together for apparently no other reason than to vent and/or incite.

    A couple of illustrations… I don’t think a group of students rudely interrupting a guest speaker’s talk, without brandishing a weapon, and then leaving peacefully after they believed they “made their point” can rightfully be labelled “terrorists”… Timothy McVeigh, the couple in San Bernadino, yeah, the adjective arguably fits.

    “Crybullies”… what does that even mean?  Passive-aggressive behavior?  This word, like many are amusing once, perhaps even once a year, but beyond that seems to tell me that the ‘user’ is vocabulary challenged.

    The stringing together of adjectives (sometimes internally contradictory) every other sentence or paragraph, is like those folk who feel a need to say the “F” (or variations thereof) word every other “eff-ing ” sentence, as it is actually “effing” contributing to the “eff-ing” conversation, when they know it will no effect on the fascist a-holes, or the crypto-communist lefties… well, I hope you see my point…

    1. Alan Miller

      “Crybullies”… what does that even mean?

      It’s colloquial of course:  roughly it means someone who uses their perceived victim status as a platform for manipulation of outcome via whining and guilt laid upon those with perceived privilege identity syndrome.

      This differs from a standard bully who uses physical violence or the threat thereof to manipulate outcome.

       

  4. Frankly

    There are terms packed with meaning and that are used in context of their meaning, and then there are just insults… the worst of those just being general personal insults… and generally completely out of context for the topic at hand.   For example, one poster on this blog cannot seem to control himself insulting other posters he disagrees with as racist, misogynist, xenophobic and ignorant.  These personal insults have no place on a blog.  This difference is profound but isn’t seemingly well understood, nor well supported by the VG comment policy.  And hence the policy is enforced in a way that sometimes seems inconsistent.

    For example…

    Examples of general insults would be referring to those who disagree with a commenter as: selfish, extremist, anti-growth, no-growth, open space extremists, reactionary, change-averse, no-growth NIMBY farmland moat people, moochers, looters and entitled population.

    Of course this is primarily directed at me.  And while I agree with the VG in that a policy of self-moderation is needed and beneficial (and that I sometimes go overboard in my irritation with some other posters I am debating… while other times I am just being provocative to get the conversation rolling), most of the terms above are useful in meaning and adding context and color to points that would otherwise be impossible to address.

    The terms “moocher”, “looter” and “producer”… combined with “worker” have all been sufficiently defined in Ayn Rand’s writing.  They are not pejoratives.  They are in fact well-thought-out labels for the common actors in all industrialized societies.

    Looters are those people in power that believe they have the right to take money, property, and liberty from one citizen and give it to another.  They will use force, coercion, public ridicule, fiat, resolution, litigation, or other means to achieve their taking.  Looters believe they have a philosophical or moral obligation to take from one party and give to the other party.  Their goal is equality of outcome, not equality of opportunity.

    Moochers are the recipients of the spoils taken by the Looters.  Moochers may initially not like the fact that they are receiving something they have not earned, but at some point the move from being grateful to expecting such handouts.  At this point, they become Moochers.  Since Moochers can vote like any other citizen, they are prone to be “bought” by the Looters.  Not all recipients of government help are Moochers, as some people experience true emergencies that are outside their control.  These individuals, if they are not Moochers, will find the fastest way to return to self sufficiency.

    Producers are business owners and other productive citizens who work for their living.  They earn what they have through the use of their body and mind.  Producers are typically motivated by their desire to (a) meet their own personal needs using their own abilities, or (b) use their abilities to the fullest because it brings them enjoyment or personal fulfillment.  Only a small portion of people in the U.S. are Producers since to be one requires taking risk and superior talents.

    Workers are responsible citizens that are self sufficient.  They don’t want or ask for help from the state.  While they don’t create jobs, Worker contribute significantly to the economy.  Producers create opportunities for Workers, while Workers allow Producers to produce.

    I would argue, and have argued, that some workers are producers and other are not.  But the point here is that we should not censor out terms with meaning that are used in context of the topic at hand.  Because the entire point of a blog is to express opinions related to the point at hand.  Blogs are supposed to be a point-counter-point… not a Kumbaya song where everyone sings along while frog-marching to the same ideology.

    And the term “crybully” is another well-defined and useful term.  It came from an OpEd in the WSJ from Roger Kimball (http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-rise-of-the-college-crybullies-1447458587).  The subtitle reads:
    “The status of victim has been weaponized at campuses across the nation, but there is at least one encouraging sign.”
    Kimball does a great job defending the rightful purpose and usefulness of this term.  For example, he reminds us of Melissa Click, a feminist communications teacher at Mizzou, shouts for “muscle” to help her eject a reporter.

    Of course this term is going to cause a strong reaction in some people.  And if I may, generally the people that are going to react the most strongly are likely people behaving in ways that makes them part of the group of crybullies.  So censoring a term like this would be a form of bias.  The more useful response would be to come up with an actual intellectual explanation for why this term is wrong… what is being missed in the analysis.

    In closing,  I think we need to:

    – make sure there is no profanity;

    – make sure that everything posted is directed at the topic at hand… even if it is indirectly connected.

    – and lastly, and MOST importantly, I think we should just stick with making sure there are no personal attacks/insults.

    Blogs are not meant to be “safe places” for those with strong sensitivities, but there is a line of reasonable civility that needs to be held.

    1. Biddlin

      ” For example, one poster on this blog cannot seem to control himself insulting other posters he disagrees with as racist, misogynist, xenophobic and ignorant. ”

      Noonan v. Staples not withstanding, truth is widely held as an absolute defense against defamation.

    2. Don Shor

      The terms “moocher”, “looter” and “producer”… combined with “worker” have all been sufficiently defined in Ayn Rand’s writing. They are not pejoratives.

      They are pejoratives. No question about that. They are intended as pejoratives and are always used as such. Any suggestion otherwise is simply disingenuous.

      1. Frankly

        Nope.  Wrong.

        By the way… I don’t these things in the VG rules.

        Pejoratives Used Frequently by the Left
        Redneck
        Bankster
        Angry white male
        Bible-thumper
        Conservatives cling to their guns and religion
        Member of the good ol’ boys club
        Greedy capitalist
        Women-hater or Biddlin’s favorite: misogynist
        Racist
        Xenophobe
        Republicrat
        Foxnoise
        Troll

        1. Don Shor

          There is no context or usage of “looters” or “moochers” which is not derogatory. You would never use the terms to describe someone in a positive or neutral sense. The only usage is derogatory. They are
          always pejorative. I find it surreal that you are trying to argue otherwise.

        2. Frankly

          Hypersensitivy does not make the case for defining a word or phrase as a pejoritive.

          I could write:

          People that tend to think that we should take more money from those that earn it and give it to those that don’t based on THEIR assessment of need.

          People that have been trained by the access to government entitlements to believe that this is normal and natural and hence develop long-term dependence on government entitlements and vote for people that pomise to keep up the entitlements.

          But then that would be a stupid waste of ink.

           

        3. Tia Will

          Frankly

          I agree with you. And do not believe that these terms are any more useful than are:

          Looter/moocher/ bleeding heart liberal/ hypersensitive/ nanny state/ selfish/ atheist/godless ( when used as the antithesis of “Bible thumper”), baby killer/ victim mentality…..

          Both sides do this. And I am sure that you are aware that I do not sanction this from either side. The point for me is to attempt to self monitor my own behavior, not to control yours beyond calling out what I see. It is Don’s job to moderate and I believe in communicating with him by email when I believe that he is in error and would hope that you all would do the same.

        4. Alan Miller

          My view is that people are less likely to participate in a place where people are referred by pejorative names.

          As opposed to being personally attacked?

        5. Biddlin

          Geez, you must hang with a pretty hateful crowd. There are a couple I’ve never heard/read and only a couple that I use, and which stand, usually, on the words of the poster to whom I’m responding. I find some people are their own worst enemy when they  shoot from the hip, repeatedly wounding themselves in the foot.  I do like Foxnoise and Bankster, though, …………….

        6. Frankly

          Frankly: My view is that people are less likely to participate in a place where people are referred by pejorative names.

          I think you might have a challenge with balance here.  For example, you don’t like Dunning and his colorful style… yet there are many that do like that style.

          I think you might end up with a very sterile blog if you go too far.

          Yes, I know there are people that bristle and tune out when they read stuff they don’t like.  The difference here is that everyone can post their opposing views.  I stopped getting the Bee because I was tired of the left-biased reporting.  But there I had no voice.  In fact I was actually told by the editor at one point that he would never publish an op ed with my right-leaning bias.  But a blog is a place where people have a voice.  So to make the case that people will not participate… well you have to decide what type of people you want to participate.  If you want a “safe place” then you will lose other types of commenters.

          Go read the blog comments on the NYT, the WSJ and the Huffington Post.  It is not a place for the easily offended.  Those people should just stick to the articles.

          If I were you I would tread very lightly on the “prerogatives”, and focus on deleting anything that is a personal insult.

        7. wdf1

          Frankly:  Troll

          Trolling refers to being provocative for no other reason than to be provocative, usually a hostile or inflammatory way.  It refers to a behavior, not a political ideology. A troll is someone who behaves in this way.

    3. wdf1

      The problem with your terminology (moochers, looters, producers) is the us vs. them orientation.  Those who agree with the philosophy align themselves as virtuous (“producers”).  Those who don’t are deemed not virtuous.  There is little point in arguing the merits of the philosophy, because if one disagrees, one is unvirtuous, therefore not worth regarding.  It is an ad hominem argument.

      If you look at Rand’s life, you can see how there are big holes in her arguments.  She never raised kids, rarely seemed to think about being responsible for future generations, and you can see how it is reflected in her philosophy.  To say that altruism, forgiveness, and compassion are expressions of selfishness misses the bigger point. They are biological impulses that are necessary for the survival of the species.

      1. Frankly

        Give me a break wdf1.  Us vs. them is a halmark of the left ideology and the Democrat’s political strategy.  It i the main rule in the Rules for Radicals playbook.  I am really irritated with this inference that those aligned more with leftist idology are above the fray and more righteous in their use of cutting speech.  Lefties tend to deliver their snark and cuts in more nuanced and indirect methods.  Righties tend to be direct.  You want to make all that direct stuff go away primarily because it gives your political ilk the upper hand.  In fact, that is most of what political correctness is about… and a big reason that Trump might be your next president.

        However, the terms I use are NOT us verses them in anything other than constrasting ideas and beliefs.

        Think of it this way.  If the term looter or moocher feels derogatory… then it is probably justified.  But it certainly not meant as derogatory when I use them.

        1. wdf1

          You’ve proved my point.

          Frankly: Think of it this way.  If the term looter or moocher feels derogatory… then it is probably justified.

          And it excuses you from having to dig deeper to defend your point of view, because you have dismissed the person making the argument as inferior.  The structure of your framing goes this way:  There enlightened people (like me, presumably, also called “producers” in your terms) and there are idiots (who generally don’t agree with me, called “looters” and “moochers” in your terms).  If you don’t agree with me and my terminology, then you are probably an idiot.  I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is.  Too bad you can’t see the truth.  End of discussion.

          You ignored the substance of my criticism.  Are you capable of responding, substantively?

          If you look at Rand’s life, you can see how there are big holes in her arguments.  She never raised kids, rarely seemed to think about being responsible for future generations, and you can see how it is reflected in her philosophy.  To say that altruism, forgiveness, and compassion are expressions of selfishness misses the bigger point. They are biological impulses that are necessary for the survival of the species.

        2. Biddlin

          Thanks for reminding me of this primer. Alinsky advocated finding an external antagonist to turn into a common enemy for the community, say a local politician or agency that you can point to as being a detriment to community well being. While Alinsky wrote for future counter-culture community organizers, his concepts have been widely embraced by business, political parties, schools and congregational institutions. Perhaps you should read some of the sources you so loosely quote. Excerpt from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals

          Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.
          “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.
          Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.
          Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.
          Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
          A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.
          “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news.
          “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.
          “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.
          “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.” It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.
          “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.
          “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.
          Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

        3. Frankly

          “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” President George W. Bush, Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People.  September 20, 2001

          I think this was a mistake made by GWB.   However, the response was actually indicative of hypersensitivity combined with left political opportunism.  Bush was referring to foreign contries in the war on terror.  The political left made it into a divisive political comment.  GWB was always clear that he welcomed debate and differing ideas from both sides of the political and idological aisle.  Then he would point out that he is the ultimate decider.  That is actually a halmark of conservatism… welcome the debate of ideas then make a decision and move on to the next thing.

        4. wdf1

          Frankly:  wdf1 — Name one often quoted historical figure that was perfect.

          What’s your point?  That I should go light on Ayn Rand’s ideas because she’s human or not perfect?  Or do you want me to go  light on raising criticisms on your ideas because you’re human and not perfect?

        5. Frankly

          I am far from perfect.  Neither was Marx, FDR and JFK… three historical figures I am guessing you would value more than Rand.  Don’t go soft… but please don’t try to discredit the person to discredit the ideas.  Stick to a debate of the ideas.  You don’t have to be perfect to have useful ideas.

          Rand was certainly odd… for example, her ideas on sexuality were out there.

          But most great thinkers have odd traits.

          Rand did have a lot of experience with collectivism in her time in Russia and the USSR.   She was able to juxtapose that historical experience with her present experience in the US and she developed a pretty clear understanding of the destructive forces that would kill the great American project.

          The primary actor owning those destructive forces is the looter.

          The company I work for, in the 28 years it has existed, has helped small business in California create or retain over 26,000 jobs since inception.  My predecessor and founder (one the brightest people I know) was a self-professed bleeding heart liberal that also convinced our board of directors to give away 85% of our net excess to charities.  That was a choice.  Interesting enough when I took over and suggested that instead of charities we focused on investing in economic development that would allow us to help create more jobs, the board was all in.  For one, it was/is our strength… what we know how to do.  For two, it was already altruistic enough.  And it was/is much, much more difficult to do than is just giving money away to charities.

          Some of the board members have commented since that they miss the rush of good feelings they got giving money away.  Certainly good things were funded by that money, but clearly it was largely driven by those good feelings it generated.  And that is a selfish pursuit.  Not that there is anything wrong with this.  My predecessor earned that money and had a right to give it away as long as the board supported it.

          But looters are those that take it by force to give away as they see fit to benefit from the good feelings.   It is this that is the root of the main reason countries like the US would fail.  Tocqueville saw it.  Rand saw it.  I see it.  Trump sees it.  Many people see it.  I don’t think you see it.

           

           

        6. wdf1

          Frankly:  Don’t go soft… but please don’t try to discredit the person to discredit the ideas.  Stick to a debate of the ideas.  You don’t have to be perfect to have useful ideas.

          My criticism is the way that she devalues altruism.  I don’t think of her not raising kids as a criticism of her as a person, just offering a possible explanation for what I see is a real blind spot in her thinking.  If she had had the responsibility of raising kids, maybe she would have been more reflective… or maybe still, she wouldn’t have been a great parent. No way to know.

          Even among adults I know who choose not to raise a family, I have known them to take a genuine interest in the welfare of younger members of their extended family and/or in the welfare of other children and youth to where they give of their time and material wealth, expecting nothing material in return.

          More later…

        7. Mark West

          Frankly:  “I think this was a mistake made by GWB.   However, the response was actually indicative of hypersensitivity combined with left political opportunism.”

          You misunderstood, Frankly.  I was agreeing with you.  I can’t think of anyone who did more to get President Obama elected then George W, so I have assumed that he was a Democrat at heart.

        8. Frankly

          Got it.  I agree with you Mark.  It was GWB’s personality and style, terrorism, the wars against terrorism, Katrina and the Great Recession that all contributed to the election of Barack Obama and the sweep of the GOP in both houses of Congress in the 2008 election.  Much of that he owned, some of that was just his bad luck in timing.

          You look at Romney’s “47 percent” comment, GWB’s “you are either with us or against us”, “I have political capital and I am going to spend it” comments… and Barack Obama’s “I will bring both sides to the table”… and then ramming Obamacare down our throats after cutting out the Republicans… the “I am the President”, “I have a pen and a phone”, “Those conservatives sure like their guns and religion”, “they didn’t build that”, “Mitt Romney killed that woman who lost her insurance”, “the wealthy are not paying their fair share”, “republicans want dirty air and dirty water”,… and lastly and most importantly is his constant and tireless work to make sure that all the class, race, gender and sexual orientation wedge issue wars are kept heated up in a huge “us vs. them” drama as if he is always campaigning and never the President of all… just his liberal base.

          But then Obama doesn’t own any of that responsibility… it is just those angry racist Republicans treating him unfairly.

          I was not a fan of Bill Clinton after he told his baldfaced lie on national television.  But I was actually not too disappointed with him before that.  He had an ability to rise above politics to some degree and make more voters from the other Party feel like he was their President too.

          And now look at the options for President… no hope for any of them leading from the center and being uniting rather than dividing.

        9. wdf1

          Frankly:  But looters are those that take it by force to give away as they see fit to benefit from the good feelings.   It is this that is the root of the main reason countries like the US would fail.  Tocqueville saw it.  Rand saw it.  I see it.  Trump sees it.  Many people see it.  I don’t think you see it.

          Do you read the National Review?  It seems that they have a different narrative surrounding Trump, and they approve of your terminology.

          One way to take the temperature of the Republican Party’s ongoing tumult this election cycle is to consult The National Review, the conservative magazine founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley. The magazine has been so opposed to Donald Trump that it pitched its entire January issue against his candidacy. A number of right-leaning luminaries contributed, warning primary voters that the reality TV mogul’s continued rise could doom the conservative project writ large.

          The magazine’s warnings have clearly gone unheeded by much of the Republican rank and file. But the Review is still at it. Earlier this month, it published an incendiary essay by Kevin Williamson, one of its most reliably provocative writers, titled “Chaos in the Family, Chaos in the State: The White Working Class’s Dysfunction.”

          In it, Williamson rails at white working-class voters for, in his telling, mooching off the government as their families collapse into disarray and drug addiction. He says their attraction to Trump is driven by an undue sense of grievance:

          “[It is a lie] that the white working class that finds itself attracted to Trump has been victimized by outside forces. It hasn’t. The white middle class may like the idea of Trump as a giant pulsing humanoid middle finger held up in the face of the Cathedral, they may sing hymns to Trump the destroyer and whisper darkly about “globalists” and — odious, stupid term — “the Establishment,” but nobody did this to them. They failed themselves. … If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy — which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog — you will come to an awful realization. … The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die.”

          Their communities deserve to die. Yikes.  source

    4. Barack Palin

      Thanks Frankly for the backup.  I see we have some snarky comments from the usual suspects, ignore them.

      It would be nice to also hear the opinions of TBD, Anon, Gunrock and other conservative leaning posters.  There’s not many left as it seems most of the them have decided not to post on here anymore for whatever their reasons.

      1. wdf1

        BP:  Thanks Frankly for the backup.  I see we have some snarky comments from the usual suspects, ignore them.

        Which means, don’t engage the arguments, they’re idiots.  It is an implied ad hominem.  Are you capable of defending your position without disparaging the person challenging them, or saying, “ignore them”?  It would be interesting to see what you come up with.

        1. Barack Palin

          Another poster who knows what you implied to say instead of what you actually said.  Have you read some of the comments?  Did you not find a few of them snarky?

      2. Tia Will

        BP

        ignore them.”

        It is hard to avoid the fact that these are your actual words. Ignoring those who disagree with you is just another means of refusing to deal with the ideas being expressed.

      3. David Greenwald Post author

        All three of those people have posted in the last week.  I think there are people who post for a period of time, take time off and return.  Some of them come back with new monikers.

    5. Napoleon Pig IV

      I think Frankly makes excellent points, backed up by good examples and explanations.

      Whether or not “moocher” or “looter” is pejorative might be important to some. Frankly, I don’t care. And, I don’t think it matters when those or similar terms are applied to public officials and public policies – as opposed to being applied to other posters.

      The VG policies refer to behavior toward authors and posters, but leave entirely to the discretion of the moderator what terminology can be used to describe, praise, insult, or critique public figures. Thus, the door is open to selective enforcement (speaking of bad public policy!).

      I think the VG has every right to impose whatever moderation policy it chooses, rational and clear or not. However, I also think excessive moderation limits how interesting the overall blog is and will reduce participation by both posters and readers.

      The same is true of killing interesting but “off topic” drifts in an active debate. It is very subjective and, I think, generally over done.

      Calm, dispassionate, factual discussion is important – and also often boring and non-persuasive. Thus the long-term survival of the writings of great satirists like Ambrose Bierce, Jonathan Swift, George Orwell, or more recently the writers of South Park – or much further back Chaucer and Aristophanes. Insults can be funny and instructive and contribute to understanding – Mark Twain or Shakespeare, anyone?

      I suggest that the moderators’ pens be used very rarely. Deleting commercial advertising and obscene personal insults and outright libel, might be in order, but otherwise – chill. Oink!

      1. Mark West

        “I suggest that the moderators’ pens be used very rarely. Deleting commercial advertising and obscene personal insults and outright libel, might be in order, but otherwise – chill.”

        I believe this gets to the meat of the issue.  The problem is not the policy, but the way that policy has been implemented by the Moderator (and Editorial Board). Following NP IV’s advice would go a long way towards addressing the concerns.

        1. Tia Will

          Following NP IV’s advice would go a long way towards addressing the concerns.”

          It would go a long way towards addressing these concerns. However, it would go against the concerns expressed by others who prefer a less aggressive tone to the discussions.

        2. Mark West

          “However, it would go against the concerns expressed by others who prefer a less aggressive tone to the discussions.”

          One of the problems that was not addressed by David the last time around was the aggressive posting behavior of the Moderator and two Editorial Board members (one now a former EB member). Combined, the three often accounted for the vast majority (70-80%) of the words posted in the comments section on a topic, drowning out the discussion with their repetitive posts.  To their credit, two of the three have changed their posting behavior. The third has not.

        3. Matt Williams

          Mark, thank you for the complement, but as the former EB member you’ve referenced, I think you are giving me more credit than I deserve.  When the Vanguard posts a topic that I care a lot about, I’m going to dive in with both in-depth discussion and (often) frequent discussion.  There just haven’t been as many of those topics of late.  So I seem to be better behaved than I really am.  8>)

        4. hpierce

          Actually, Frankly you should ‘apply’, unless you have previously, and gotten “black-balled” [wow I just did two questionable words, separated only by a hyphen!]

      2. Barack Palin

        The VG policies refer to behavior toward authors and posters, but leave entirely to the discretion of the moderator what terminology can be used to describe, praise, insult, or critique public figures. Thus, the door is open to selective enforcement (speaking of bad public policy!).I think the VG has every right to impose whatever moderation policy it chooses

        I totally agree as long as the rules are enforced equally to all participants.

         

        1. hpierce

          I somewhat disagree, in that in almost all human endeavors, judgment is involved, and “equal” is a judgment call… ‘math’ might be one exception… but I understand your point, which I think is actually “disproportional”… disproportional rules are either wrong, or should be ‘disclosed’ [the ‘transparency’ thing]…

      3. David Greenwald Post author

        A few things as I can post from 35,000 feet over Texas…

        First, the reason we limit off-topic comments, is that a lot of times topics veer way off course and in a presidential election turning everything into a presidential debate limits the purpose of the Vanguard as a forum for local issues.

        Second, from 2006 to 2009, the Vanguard had no registration requirements and little moderation. However, during the Measure P campaign, things got very ugly. Long time commenters were run off. Insults flew. People were randomly posting under different names in the same article. So we had to put rules on to restore a measure of civility. The Vanguard still has a reputation is a rough place, but I think we are much more tame than most other popular sites with commenters.

        I prefer and Don prefers to keep a light hand. And sometimes we don’t catch the first person to transgress, sometimes it’s like a basketball game where we don’t catch the first foul, but the response, but that’s not an effort to shut down one side, rather it’s an effort to thwart any further movement away from the topic at hand or the breakdown of civility.

        1. Napoleon Pig IV

          David,

          Your historical perspective is helpful. I wasn’t around in the 2006 to 2009 period, and I can see how you had a real problem to deal with. I don’t back away from the views I expressed above, but I do better understand how things came to be as they are.

          I also think Tia has made some valid points on this thread, and I appreciate the value of civilized, respectful discourse. That is one reason that I distinguished between comments targeting other posters versus commentary on public officials.

          I try (and I think mostly succeed) to avoid insulting people who disagree with me, but I have no such qualms about public figures I loathe, disrespect, or consider to be “moochers” or “looters” – terms I haven’t used before but find quite compelling!

      4. Tia Will

        Napleon

        However, I also think excessive moderation limits how interesting the overall blog is and will reduce participation by both posters and readers.”

        I agree with you. But as a member of the editorial board that drafted this moderation policy, I would like to point out that there were some participants who expressed the opinion that they chose not to participate specifically because of what they saw as the coarse and/or hostile tone of some of the participants. It is walking a very narrow line attempting to cater to the preferences of those who prefer a gentler, more collegial tone vs those whose preferences if for a more rambunctious, free ranging conversation in order to maximize participation.

         

    6. wdf1

      Frankly:  The terms “moocher”, “looter” and “producer”… combined with “worker” have all been sufficiently defined in Ayn Rand’s writing.  They are not pejoratives.  They are in fact well-thought-out labels for the common actors in all industrialized societies.

      It seems that Paul Ryan, one-time Ayn Rand aficionado, has parted ways with your line of thinking.  Or maybe become hypersensitive?

      AP, 23 March 2016:

      Ryan took the opportunity Wednesday to voice regrets about his own previous contributions to divisive political discourse in the country, saying that in the past he referred to people as “makers” or as “takers” but subsequently rethought that perspective.

      “I realized I was wrong. ‘Takers’ wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, just trying to take care of her family,” Ryan said. “And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong.”  source

      Maybe he’s given up on a reality of duality?

  5. Tia Will

    Frankly

    While I agree with much of your post, I find one assertion simply laughable. That is the idea that “looters and moochers” are not pejorative terms. Having read the novels of Ayn Rand several times I am well aware as you probably are that she did not respect or honor groups that she defined as you have posted. These words are not used as neutral terms as you seem to imply, but rather as groups that are vilified from the perspective of a true believer in objectivism.

    1. Frankly

      Rand’s primary bad actor in her writing is the looter.  The actor moocher is really a byproduct of the process of looting.  Without looting there would be much less mooching and more producing.

      You too seem to be getting onboard with this dislike of looter-ism.   It has caused our city’s budget problems and opened the door for making a case for all the growth and development you dislike.

  6. David Greenwald Post author

    In terms of off-topic discussions, we could have a weekly off-topic space where people can have a more free flowing discussion, maybe on a Saturday.  My only concern is that it not detract from the discussions on more local issues.  Thoughts?

    1. KSmith

      I think this would be a good idea. I kind of miss the old “Forums” section, where there was a place for more free-flowing/off-topic discussions.

      I’m not sure to what extent that eroded participation from the main posts, though. It seemed to me like the bulk of the comments still went to the local topics.

    2. Napoleon Pig IV

      I think that’s an interesting idea. There doesn’t seem to be any downside, and you could always kill it in the future if it gets beyond bounds you are comfortable with.

  7. Tia Will

    we could have a weekly off-topic space where people can have a more free flowing discussion, maybe on a Saturday.”

    I like this idea. I know that, as unlikely as it may seem, I have frequently self deleted an issue or comment that I thought had relevance to a local issue but on further reflection felt that it was likely to side track the discussion. It would be nice to have a designated space to throw out these peripheral thoughts without having to either write an article or piggy back on to an existing article hoping to not totally derail it.

  8. hpierce

    How words get “perverted”, and then there is a move to change the meaning of the word… a “looter” is a perfect description of one of those who used the SF earthquake and fire to freely steal anything left behind by the evacuees (the martial law permitted that looters be shot… no trial, no jury)… in Ferguson, during the nights of un-rest, many stores had their windows smashed ‘to show the anger and frustration re: the death of a young man’… yeah, right… based on the film clips, almost all the stores sold electronic consumer products, although some liquor stores got hit too… those were, literally, looters.

  9. Alan Miller

    I sort of prompted this discussion, though did not ask for it.  I made an obtuse request to an anonymoid that a joint note be sent to the Vanguard editorial board about one aspect of comments.  Rehashing comment policy seemed a fruitless effort.

    After reading this discussion, it’s as worthless as I thought it would be.

    You’re all a bunch of insufferable F-ing F-ers.

  10. Barack Palin

    I think what’s very telling here is the commenters that don’t seem to have a problem with the current process happen to be liberal leaning posters.

    Reminds me of the left leaning mainstream media, liberals deny that’s the case and never see a problem with that either.

    1. South of Davis

      BP wrote:

      > I think what’s very telling here is the commenters that don’t seem to have

      > a problem with the current process happen to be liberal leaning posters.

      David has a liberal blog and I wish he would just update his comment policy to say something like “any comments that bother liberals on the far left will be removed, but feel free to pile on and say anything negative about someone even slightly right of center”.  I don’t watch Fox News, but it is just as painful to read David trying to say he is “fair and balanced” as is is for me to read that the far right network that does almost nothing but broadcast GOP talking points is “fair and balanced”…

        1. Matt Williams

          The question you asked really doesn’t generate the insight you are looking for.  You should have asked, “How often do the two of you reach agreement over what to edit or delete or admonish?”

          From my tenure on the Editorial Board, I would say that the answer to that question is “Pretty much never.”

           

          1. Don Shor

            “How often do the two of you reach agreement over what to edit or delete or admonish?”

            We don’t discuss it.

    2. Dave Hart

      BP, the reason many “liberals” might not have a problem is the same reason as reflected in the national Presidential primary campaigns.  Notice the difference in tone between the Republican and the Democratic presidential debates?  Golly, wonder what’s going on here?

       

      1. Barack Palin

        You have noticed the left trying to shut down conservative speech at rallies and the debates so your GOP presidential race is good reference.

        1. Tia Will

          BP

          You have noticed the left trying to shut down conservative speech”

          I have also noticed Trump supporters physically removing and at times physically attacking protestors, some moving peacefully towards the exits, at his rallies.

          Like I said, I see this kind of behavior on both sides of the political/ideologic divide.

    3. South of Davis

      BP wrote:

      > Reminds me of the left leaning mainstream media, liberals deny that’s

      > the case and never see a problem with that either.

      Just like most on the right say that Fox is “fair and balanced”…

    1. Frankly

      We are talking about those with the power to censor.  Don’t you think they should work hard to eliminate their implicit bias in what they select to censor or not?

      1. Tia Will

        Frankly

         Don’t you think they should work hard to eliminate their implicit bias in what they select to censor or not?”

        You may be limiting the conversation to those with the ability to censor, but I am not. I believe that it is the responsibility of everyone to try to eliminate their intrinsic bias. However, we see many who despite all evidence to the contrary claim that implicit bias does not exist.

        And maybe my response sounds a little to you like the “Black Lives Matter”/ “All Lives Matter” debate. The issue frequently looks different to those who feel that they are being “oppressed”. In this case those who feel that there is a liberal bias against them. So the question is, are conservatives being discriminated against by the Vanguard moderator ?  Or are they merely displaying a “victim mentality” in what is really a “post bias” milieu ?

        1. Barack Palin

          Maybe instead of dismissing the concerns of what obviously is viewed as a problem by many of the commenters and being that you had a hand in instituting the Comment Policy you should be looking at ways to make it more fair and equitable for all Vanguard readers.

        2. Frankly

          We are talking about political and ideological bias.  Implicit bias does not materially exist as it relates to racism.  There are racists, and then there are just people that assess people for how they act, what they wear, how they talk, what they do.

           

           

        3. Frankly

          Your latter category is implicit bias using another word to describe it

          So then if you saw a guy with a white sheet over his head and talking with a thick southern accent would it be explicit bias or implicit bias that caused you to consider he is at high risk for behaving badly or dangerously?

    2. hpierce

      both sids of the Ideologic divide

      Another good pun, if you meant an abbreviation for “serious ideological divides syndrome”, and/or “sudden intellectual dysfunction syndrome”…  or, might have been an inadvertent typo…  despite some Freudian method training, will assume it’s a ‘typo’, which we’ve all done [at least many of us] on occasion…

  11. Dave Hart

    I sort of agree with our regular cast of anonymous posters that moderating can make the whole thing boring.  That’s why I suggest, whenever this topic comes up, that you do away with anonymity and require people to post under their own names.  I declare you would have to do less “moderating”.   You mistakenly believe the quality of comments is enhanced with this policy but I take the opinions of people posting under their own names with more seriousness and respect.

    1. Tia Will

      Dave

      “…that you do away with anonymity and require people to post under their own names.”

      I suspect ( but do not know) that if we were to do this, the comments section would be not just boring, but nearly non existent. I believe that there are a significant number of folks who if they could not post anonymously, would not post at all. Whether this would enhance or destroy the goal of the Vanguard as a space for conversation about local issues is a matter for speculation and I am not sure that David would be open to this gamble.

      Perhaps a limited trial as a test case ?  We could run some articles as name only posting and others under the current policy and compare, kind of like a controlled version of the “forums” idea and see what shakes out.

      1. Barack Palin

        What’s to stop anyone from creating a fake Joe Schmo name and using an alternate email address?  What I have more of a problem with is commenters using multiple accounts and then backing up their opinions with posts from well ‘themselves’.

        1. Barack Palin

          Currently the V has no rules against one person having multiple aliases.

          Also, what if a couple both want their own separate accounts using one IP address?

           

           

        2. Biddlin

          “what if a couple both want their own separate accounts using one IP address?”

          From your avatar, I assumed you were one!

          Usually that is handled by an admin or moderator by email during the registration process.

        3. Matt Williams

          BP said . . . “What I have more of a problem with is commenters using multiple accounts and then backing up their opinions with posts from well ‘themselves’.”

          BP, over the years you and I have had a fair amount of dialogue about this issue, and I understand the principle you are getting at.  And in the interests of full disclosure (as you know) during the Measure I campaign I changed my Matt Williams screen name to another name, and did my posting about Measure I under that name. However, in my own case, and in the cases of other posters who have had multiple screen names, the incidents of the kind of Smothers Brothers posting you describe have been few and (very) far between.  Multiple accounts certainly exist.  Medwoman converted to Tia Will, and over the years you have changed your screen name from Rusty to Growth Izzue to Barack Palin, but those changes have been wholesale, not partial.

          With the above said, can you give me an example of the kind of “talking to themselves” activity you believe goes on.  For a while I suspected that CalAg and Eileen Samitz were one and the same person, but over time the posting evidence simply didn’t support my suspicion.  I am now wholly convinced they are not the same person.  Bottom-line, I just don’t see what you are describing happening.

          Can you help me out?

           

        4. Barack Palin

          Matt, I’ve never had two aliases at the same time.

          It’s obvious who’s posting on here under multiple aliases but I will not out them.

          I’ll bet you know too.

          1. Don Shor

            There are not presently any Vanguard participants posting under two aliases that I’m aware of, and I think I would know.

        5. Barack Palin

          There are not presently any Vanguard participants posting under two aliases that I’m aware of, and I think I would know.

          The key words are “that I’m aware of”.  You have no way of knowing if someone has multiple IP addresses.  For instance, home Internet and a phone contract with a different company or someone posting from home and then posting from work.  So I think you have no way of really knowing.

          1. Don Shor

            Actually, I do have a way of knowing if someone has multiple IP addresses and I read every post so I’m familiar with the styles of the regular posters. It’s really not an issue right now.

        6. Biddlin

          That’s funny, I’ve been Biddlin since 1973. I’ve had no other stage name or avatar.  If most of my musical cohorts heard my christened name, they’d think of a studio bass player from Nashville.(That’s why I changed it.)

        7. Barack Palin

          Actually, I do have a way of knowing if someone has multiple IP addresses

          So explain how you would absolutely know when considering my examples.

           

        8. Matt Williams

          BP said … “Matt, I’ve never had two aliases at the same time.

          It’s obvious who’s posting on here under multiple aliases but I will not out them.

          I’ll bet you know too.”

          We are in agreement, you haven’t posted under multiple aliases simultaneously.  As I said, you have “changed your screen name,” as did I.

          With that said, and as I said in my comment above, the only possibility I had on my radar is no longer a possibility in my opinion.

          I don’t want you to specifically “out” anyone . . . but with that said, is it your belief that  the number of such dual-personality examples backing up their opinions with posts from well ‘themselves’  is one, two, three, or more than three?

      2. hpierce

        Tia… to be clear, if I had to post under my own name, I would not post at all… particularly on ‘factual matters’… there are practical reasons… I probably could post on opinions, in my own name, but then I’d have two personas… equally hated by some, it seems…

        1. Tia Will

          hpierce

          And your post of 9:32 is precisely why, when the subject has arisen in the past, I have consistently come to the conclusion that we should allow anonymous posting.

          However, I am a bit unclear about what those “practical reasons” might be. Are we talking loss of business ?  Loss of job ?  Possible adverse effects on colleagues or family members which was a previous concern of mine? Although I need not have worried as my kids turned out to be staunch supporters of my right to speak out as I please even on personal subjects.

  12. Eileen Samitz

    For the record, I am not Cal Ag and I don’t know who it is. So Matt, yes your conclusion is correct.  Also, I do not have enough time on my hands to do two sets of postings. Posting once under my own name takes long enough to do.

  13. Tia Will

    P

     you should be looking at ways to make it more fair and equitable for all Vanguard readers.”

    And maybe there are two points that you seem to keep disregarding.

    1. I do not see “many” posters objecting to the current moderation standards. I see one to two posters who do this from time to time, and only one poster who seems to be relatively fixated on the issue. That does not meet my definition of “many”.

    2. We simply do not have a way to measure whether the moderation is “fair” or not. It may be that numerically more outlying comments are made by individuals of a particular ideologic bent, it may be that the moderator does have some implicit bias, or it may be that the numbers are closer than those who are concerned believe that they are. Without numbers of comments deleted or edited to count, we only have subjective impressions to go on. If you have actual data on number of moderated comments by ideologic tendency of poster, then we would have evidence on which to base a conclusion about the “fairness” of the policy as currently applied and if it truly is unfair, we could attempt to remedy that.

    1. Barack Palin

       I do not see “many” posters objecting to the current moderation standards.

      I disagree.  There aren’t really that many regular commenters on the Vanguard so if you scroll up you will see five or six that aired their grievances with the process and about the same number who seemed okay with it.

    1. Mark West

      I think the interesting data would be how many past posters no longer participate in the conversation. My general impression is that the number of regular unique posters has dropped since the policy was implemented, but I would be happy to be proven wrong.

        1. hpierce

          meant as a friendly comment, not a criticism… believe the word you intended was “causality”… almost exactly the same letters [arranged differently], usually a huge difference in meaning…

      1. hpierce

        Or, it could be no relation to the policy… some people “move on” (pick your level) due to location, frustration with responses to their posts, other priorities, maturity (or lack thereof), etc.

        I have no data, one way or the other… but not sure how important that [more data] would be…

    2. Barack Palin

      Tia Will, since you like medical references here’s one for you:

      If you had 50% of hospital patients airing grievances about some practice in your hospital would you write that off as it’s just an ‘equal split in opinion’?

      1. Biddlin

        But it isn’t even close to half of those who post, much less half of the readership. it’s a couple of folks who have been butthurt since the 08 election.

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