The Vanguard Will End Anonymous Posting by January

By the Vanguard Editorial Board

For a number of years the Davis Vanguard has grappled with the issue of anonymous posting. Currently the policy for posting is that individuals have to log in through Facebook. Anonymous posting is possible with the approval of Vanguard staff. Beginning January, 2019, there will no longer be anonymous posting to the Vanguard.

Historically, freedom of the press has fostered vigorous discussions of all kinds. Anonymous speech has been a tradition in the U.S. But it comes at a cost when the civic marketplace of ideas is eroded and participants are driven away by needless personal affronts and scurrilous attacks.

The Board has had several long face-to-face discussions about the policy and came to the conclusion that anonymous posting has more cost than benefit for the Vanguard and the hundreds of Davis residents who visit the site. The number of anonymous  posters is relatively small but we have come to believe they have undue influence on the daily conversations on the Vanguard. This is based on feedback from community members who previously posted but, due to the negative tone of some anonymous posters (and some downright nasty interactions), have stopped participating in the Vanguard discussions. They have told us that although they still read the Vanguard they have chosen to stop posting after negative interactions with anonymous posters.

We believe that eliminating anonymous posting will nudge the tenor of the discussions on the Vanguard in a more positive direction.  This being said, we have no illusions that the negative tone of some postings will magically disappear. Negative comments and personal attacks are part-and-parcel of internet discussions. Just take a look at the comments sections of large urban news sites, national publications, and network news sites. Even the most diligent moderators (like the Vanguard’s) cannot keep up with it sometimes.

The Board and the Vanguard welcome vigorous debate and we anticipate that the Davis community will continue to join in the discussions so that we can improve the lively and deeply important civic life of our city.

The Vanguard Editorial Board is: Robert Canning, Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald, Dillan Horton, Bill Julian, Nathalie Mvondo, Sean Raycraft, Perrin Swanlund, and Tia Will.


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158 thoughts on “The Vanguard Will End Anonymous Posting by January”

  1. Keith O

    Good for you.  It was obvious this was coming with all of the recent attacks on anonymous posters.  It was almost as if it was orchestrated.  Now you can have discussions with like minded liberals and Trump hate without any counter balance.  It will be a boring and uninteresting conversation where everyone thinks alike.

    David, you know as well as I do that most of the attacks come from ‘named’ posters.  What’s going on here is you have a bunch of liberal snowflakes that can’t stand reading any conservative views so therefor they cry to get them silenced.

    1. David Greenwald

      I was actually the last hold out for anonymous posting, but I think it’s interesting that way you have characterized things. First of all, this is a site that is not primarily about liberals and Trump, but local issues and there is plenty of differentiation across posters. Second, I looked at 35 people regularly posting over a two week period and only two were actually conservatives – you and Jeff. We’re supposed to keep anonymous posters for two people? And third, you’ve kind of demonstrated why we want to move away from this: “What’s going on here is you have a bunch of liberal snowflakes that can’t stand reading any conservative views so therefor they cry to get them silenced.” Yes, way to convince me that the board was wrong. There is absolutely no reason you can’t continue posting under your own name – you of all people – the vast majority reading this site won’t know you from Adam. Those who do, already know where you come down on the issues.

      1. Keith O

        David, you know why I post anonymously.  It wasn’t about me as I can take care of myself.  I had a poster dox me when I was forced to use my Facebook accouunt on here, you know that.

        Here’s the email I sent you:

        It’s ironic that I voiced to you my concerns about using FB accounts and on the very first day that I used my FB name on the Vanguard I get a commenter writing this:

        “You are taking a public position on a political blog about freedom of speech defending someone who attracted white supremacy/ Neo Nazi leader Nathan Damingo of Identity Evropa to Davis last night. Please do not be surprised that people are curious about who you are and what you stand for.”
         
        Really?  I air my opinions about free speech and I get this guy feeling he needs to check me out and do Internet searches on me?  Then he somehow ties “Nathan Domingo” attending the event as justification to do so?  I don’t know for sure what he’s insinuating but I do know that I don’t like it.  I had to Google “ Nathan Domingo” to even find out who he is.   This is exactly why conservatives are concerned about putting their info out there in this town.
         
        I know I don’t have my full name on my Facebook account and am I glad for that now but I do expose much of my name there.  You wrote this morning that I can apply FB filters, I already had them in place.  Only my friends are supposed to have access to my info but yet this guy was still able to dig stuff up on me.
         
        I had to think long and hard before I started posting again on the Vanguard using my FB log-in.  The only reason I decided to join was the fact that you stated that only you would ever know the true names of your commenters and would never give those names out to anyone, not even your editorial board.  I think you’re an honorable person and I trust that you will do what you stated and I will hold you to that.

        Then there’s been more recent comments about how anonymous posters should be subject to public scrutiny, not those exact words but something to that affect.  You know that.  Also Jeff has chronicled what happened to him and his business.

         

        1. Keith O

          Also something you probably don’t know, one of your former editorial board members came to my front door one day with a message for me.  We talked for a couple of minutes, it was congenial.  Then a day or two later he emailed me.  I asked him how he had my email and he responded that it went back to the days when he was on the Vanguard editorial board.  He even mentioned my wife’s name.  I still have the emails.

           

        2. Howard P

          Keith… I believe I understand at least some of your main points…

          I have a Facebook account, but very seldom use it (haven’t in the last 5 years)… partly for reasons you cite.  For me, my posts there were ONLY for close family and intimate friends.  My full name resides there.

          David/VG graciously let me have a ‘back-door’ portal, so I didn’t need to do Facebook interface.  He has indicated that he might do so moving forward.  Ask… “seek and you may find, knock, and the door may be open”.

          I met with David recently, and am cognizant of the concerns, and believe him when he says “I was the last holdout”… he does understand (fully, in my case) why I needed a nom de plume, albeit one of my true names, and true initial of another name.  Similar to what I understand was Jeff’s concern…. as he previously expressed it… David was still protecting the seal of confession, as it were… David, Don, and at least one former VG board member know exactly who I am.

          So, David and I agreed on the need for the new policy… yet, when I asked if it was still OK to contact him re: “fact check” stuff off-line, he readily agreed.

          My opinions, under my new persona (real name) will be opinions (and/or, facts) not related to the concerns I had regarding my past/continuing employment… am good with that, except have some lingering concerns that some who “would be trolls” will equate my writing style with the persona that is about to extinguish.  Will cogitate on that.

          I will also observe, that as to “slings and arrows”, many were “pay-back” fouls… any referee (or moderator) knows that the first “foul” is unclear, but the “pay-back foul” is the one that gets ‘whistled’… by “snowflakes” of ANY stripe… liberal/conservative, pro dev/anti dev, are usually the ones who commit the first foul… we pretty much know who the P-A or straight aggressive folk are… and who ‘fire the first shot’ are… I put the folk who over-react and respond to them, often, in kind, in a different class…

          First times I met David, professionally, did not respect nor trust him to present my citable facts… only his own ‘muck-raking’ agenda… think/believe we have both matured since then… right now, we’re both a bit better than “trust, but verify”… we often disagree, but share demonstrable facts.  Good enough for me.

          “The time has come, the Walrus said, to speak of many things”… although somewhat inconvenient, and will weigh on how/when I either post of go off-line with David, I am convinced that (if it is done uniformly!  I stressed this with David!) it is time, for the “good of the order” to implement the change.

          Despite Tia’s concerns about “black/white” or dichotomous (not picking on you, Tia but you make the point well, in this context), it is time to “fish or cut bait”… either real names or not.  The die is cast… real names.

           

           

           

           

           

           

        3. Keith O

          David/VG graciously let me have a ‘back-door’ portal, so I didn’t need to do Facebook interface.  He has indicated that he might do so moving forward.  Ask… “seek and you may find, knock, and the door may be open”.

          So there still will be anonymous posters?  Just like before?  So what has changed?  Are just certain posters going to be allowed this privilege?

        4. Keith O

          we pretty much know who the P-A or straight aggressive folk are… and who ‘fire the first shot’ are…

          Geez Howard, that was in many many cases you.  You can’t just play nicey nice now and change the facts.  In my opinion you did more harm to anonymous posting than any other commenter on here.

        5. Howard P

          Comment noted, Keith O.  You are entitled to your opinion…

          I was usually the second (payback) foul… you are usually the first… along with obvious others…

          You are not P-A… just an “A”

        6. Howard P

          Keith… you appear to be in the “anger”, or “denial” phase… I’m at acceptance… spew on, McDuff, in the time remaining…

          Good way of getting rid of spaghetti that has turned rancid… yeah, a bit still in anger/frustration phase…

        7. Keith O

          No Howard, because I usually had a stance where I didn’t fire back unless I was fired upon first.  Most of the time you initiated the attacks.

          I saw how you treated Ron too.  Maybe he will weigh in.

           

        8. Howard P

          Keith…  as to you and Ron… look back, and if you are person enough (saying “man enough” would probably offend some folk, but, WTH!) to do it, contemplate who took “first shots”… in a battle of ‘history’ of posts, you (and Ron) are truly unarmed/but aggressive… (now that you have brought Ron into it, as I was disinclined to do, but WTH, this is “payback”) Ron is probably the biggest “snowflake” of all!

          Think ’68 Olympics, with a salute to “impotent power” (instead of Black Power)… [you shoot blanks?]

          My last “hurrah”… Howard P is suffering from a fatal disease, and is fully expected to pass on/before New Year’s Eve…

    2. Tia Will

      Keith

      As is often the case, when one decides they know what others know, they are wrong.

      Like David, until this last round, I have been an advocate for anonymous posting. The confluence of two sets of circumstances changed my mind. The first was the potential for harm, as it appears that you and another multi-named and very Frank poster experienced. From this, I drew the opposite conclusion from you two about anonymous posting. The event started when I used my own example to illustrate a point about housing. This prompted some poster to post public data, yes available to all, but aggregated in such a way as to make not only me, but multiple members of my family exposed to identification & unwanted attention & criticisms they had not earned because an anonymous someone did not like my posts. Our moderator promptly pulled it so it was most likely seen by very few. I do not believe this poster would have done this under his/her own name.

      The second factor for me was a series of conversations, some with previous posters and some with potential posters, who said they were not willing to participate, not because of any political factor, but rather because of what they perceive as a nasty tone replete with personal, albeit anonymous, attacks.

      So while you might like to cast this as some attempt to censor political speech, having been at all of these editorial board discussions dating back at least 5 years, I can assure you that is simply not the case.

      1. Howard P

        Your perspective is noted, and pretty much respected.

        Pretty much, as far as the demonstrable fact that, by asking questions along the line of “yes or no, have you stopped beating your spouse”, you are not fully innocent of barbs (often P-A [statements/assertions] in the form of a question) particularly to those likely to react with dissonance with your views… (the payback fouls)… own it.  The truth will set you free…

        In the future, if/when you do that, I may well “call you” on it, with my full name… person to person.

  2. Eric Gelber

    you have a bunch of liberal snowflakes that …

    I’m generally agnostic on the anonymity issue. And I have no problem reading conservative views. But, if the new posting policy has the effect of reducing the generalized or personal attacks (from people with varying political views) that typically begin with childish name-calling, like the above, it will be a positive change.

    1. Keith O

      Eric, I’ve never felt that you had a problem with conservative views.  You would always engage and you and I have had many back and forths.   Sometimes we even agreed with each other.  But come on, can you honestly say that you never slinged any barbs?

      1. Eric Gelber

        Sure I have. And I wouldn’t have whined if an occasional comment of mine had been removed. But it’s not a constant theme of mine to say: “All conservatives … [insert stereotypical slur here]” or to claim those who vehemently oppose a political figure are afflicted with a mental disorder (TDS).

      2. Ken A

        When David wrote: “You seem to believe this move is about ideology – it’s not.” I almost spit out my coffee… Have fun next year with three comments per post where everyone agrees with David and no one sees or talks about anything that is not an actual DNC talking point.

        I’ll sign off now, since Keith knows it but David seems to think everyone with left of center views is pure and nice but I have seen the evil teachers in town that enjoy messing with the kids who come from families with right of center views (and really mess with kids who have parents that are anti-union)…

        1. Keith O

          ’ll sign off now, since Keith knows it but David seems to think everyone with left of center views is pure and nice but I have seen the evil teachers in town that enjoy messing with the kids who come from families with right of center views 

          I’ve posted this on here before and David knows this is why I wanted to be anonymous.  My wife’s profession is a teacher and she asked me to remain anonymous out of fear that she might receive comments or reprecussions from some of her student’s parents or fellow workers.  Not hard to imagine in a very liberal town that votes 85% Democrat.

        2. Craig Ross

          Wow.  I find it highly ironic that someone complains about snowflakes and then melts when the light turns on.  I don’t think most people in this community know or care who you guys are, let alone will track you to your spouse or kids.  Especially if you have common last names.

  3. John Hobbs

    Sounds like your conservative convictions lack courage. As usual David, Don et al miss the point (and it’s a liberal one): Separate has never been equal. Either we all wear the party masks or we show our faces. I hope everyone will continue to post, even  an oxidized oracle like you.

    1. Richard McCann

      Yes, Hamilton and Madison also published anonymously, and Jefferson worked behind the scenes to get others to publish anonymously on his behalf. And all of that vitriol nearly tore the country apart in the 1780s to early 1800s, and led to Hamilton’s death. Paine and Franklin were publishing against a tyrannical government that did not allow or protect open speech which is much different than in the U.S. In China, they need anonymous protection for the same reason. When its citizen vs citizen, the anonymity actually works against civil discourse, in part because those who are anonymous misidentify disagreement with their statements as suppression.

  4. Ron

    John:  “Either we all wear the party masks or we show our faces.”

    I agree with this.

    More importantly, this puts the Vanguard on the same footing/rules as the “other” blog, which (to my knowledge) does not accept developer (or other) advertising dollars. Not sure if it accepts any financial contributions, at all.

  5. John Hobbs

    “need I say more?”

    If you want a piece of the conversation, yes. I have never demurred from nor sought protection for my views in the face of anyone’s post. In fact, I like the heat.

    1. Jeff M

      This is good timing for me because I am starting a new business that actually makes things and hires people (something that the average poster and reader on the Vanguard rarely does… acknowledging some of exceptions like Don Shor and David Greewald) and was really just working with Keith to help the left-leaning audience hear a different view than the stuff in their comfy tribal bubble.

      My other business had contributed a material amount to David’s endeavor in the early years (we have a mission to give back to the communities we serve in addition to the jobs we help produce), but I stopped donating when he first bought into the mistake of eliminating anonymous posting.  This is his second mistake, but it is certainly his to make.  I won’t support a community blog that practices ideological exclusivity and intolerance of views.  Because it is my opinion that eliminates the community benefit I would help support.  Echo chambers don’t need a community blog.

      My work is done here.  And I have some great hope based on the last national elections that the general tide has turned and Coastal and big city liberals have had their divisive Rules for Radicals approach rejected as Trump has used it against them.   At the local level I was advocating for economic development to save the city from itself.  However, I don’t care about that any more.  I am thinking about moving myself and my existing business away from this town, as it continues to degrade.

      I wish you all the best.  Even Hobbs.

      Keith – Let’s play some golf soon!

      1. Keith O

        Hey Jeff, let’s do that.  I’ve been playing more lately and my game is starting to come around.
        I work from home and like to trade stocks from my desk and I always had the DavisVanguard website up on the side.  I used it to pass time in the mornings while I worked.
        I really won’t miss it, especially now that it’s going to be all one-sided liberal speak.  But hey, it’s David’s blog.  He caved to the cryers.
        Honestly though the blog isn’t what it used to be.  It used to be hard hitting and no holds barred.   Now it seems so vanilla.  Gone are the days of things like David going to the pizza “gone” party where he called out the firefighters and the current and future running candidate city council members, even though they were progressives, for attending.  Those days were interesting.
         

        1. Jeff M

          Ok, since it is my friend Mark, I will have to respond.

          A victim-hood culture is one where the victim is so attracted to the warm embrace of victim advocacy, that he never leaves it.   I am leaving, so how is that any indication that I am not opposed to it?

          Non-victims take steps to correct problems.

        2. Howard P

          Yes… let’s look at those who feel “victimized” on this forum… ***, ***** *, *** *, **** *, *** ****, ******** ********^, ****** ******,.etc.

          [self moderated]

      2. Richard McCann

        Jeff M, remember that John Galt was a fictional character in a fantasy book…

        There have been a wide range of opinions expressed on this site by many individuals who have not been hiding behind the curtain of anonymity. I have agreed with you on the need for more economic development in Davis, but your arrogant sense of self importance that has led to derisive name calling has detracted severely from the credibility of your opinions. You are the prime case for demonstrating how anonymity has undermined the civility of public discourse.

        You forget that our Republic almost collapsed in acrimony at its birth due to the torrid personal anonymous attacks in the press and private handbills. We finally managed to get through that, but probably because Burr assassinated Hamilton and everyone realized it had gone too far. We need to learn the same lessons and move on.

        1. Jeff M

          but your arrogant sense of self importance

          First, your lack of self-awareness is so astounding I can only guess that you are young and still in personal development mode.

          Second, your thoughts here identify both a sinister agenda that is also based on a false premise.

          You are the prime case for demonstrating how anonymity has undermined the civility of public discourse.

          Hilarious as you call me arrogant and then make this case.

          But the clear telegraphing here of sinister intent is the obvious expectation that eliminating anonymous posting will then cause the posting-style and content to be more to your liking.  It will not change a thing in the minds of the people that would post.  I posted the same when I used my full name before my place of business was threatened by an angry leftist and his friends, and our lefty governor harmed our business over something I posted as a private citizen (that Gov’ Brown lacked the stones to deal effectively with the CA education union over unfunded pensions… that upset him and he cut us out of a state program… ironically proving he was hypersensitive and lacking of stones).  All it will do is make the people that disagree with your ideas about politics, society, economics, etc… stop talking to you.

          And if you really understood what our founding fathers were concerned about, it was that.  Not that people would disagree and speak passionately about their beliefs and opinions.  The 1776 conventions of the colonies made the Vanguard spats look like love pudding.

          By the way, how does that Anfita mask fit?  I am only guessing that you support their continued malice while in disguise.

        2. Keith O

           but your arrogant sense of self importance that has led to derisive name calling has detracted severely from the credibility of your opinions. 

          Boy o boy, pot, kettle comes to mind.

        3. Richard McCann

          Jeff M, I post many of the same opinions about that you do about development in Davis and about government agencies and their employees, but I don’t do it in a manner that is clearly intended to provoke and anger, and I am willing to apologize if I can see that I’ve gotten out of line. (You can find some of those in these pages.) Your response with a lack of real content other than emotional outrage and allusions to some sort of conspiracy illustrates how your style has driven the Vanguard to this point.

          And I have also pointed out that you make the economic bed that you lie in. If you have chosen the State of California as a key client, then you need to accept the limitations on what you can say if you want to keep them as a customer. It is a consideration that has always been part of civilization. Civilization is about making arrangements that reduces our aggression towards each other and limits our contention for resources. Your comments indicate a desire to drop those limitations, at least for yourself. That’s where the arrogance shows through. You can now make the choice to speak publicly as an identified person with the associated choices that you have to make, or you can slip away.

          I don’t want conservatives to quit talking to me (and I engage them in many forums other than here). I want them to talk in a civil manner using reasoned argumentation. Little of that has been coming from the anonymous posters including you. You demand that we simply accept your unsupported statements as the truth that we all should bow down to.

          BTW, on Antifa, I don’t like that they are anonymous, but I also recognize that since white nationalists (otherwise known as “nativists”) have infiltrated our police forces and allowed those groups to stage intimidating marches, the Antifa has risen as an alternative force to push back against the nativist agenda.  If you want to join us in demanding that all police forces immediately fire all officers who are members of these hate groups, then I also will denounce the Antifa.

        4. Howard P

          You forget that our Republic almost collapsed in acrimony at its birth due to the torrid personal anonymous attacks in the press and private handbills.

          Yes, and due to folk like Franklin and Paine (et al.) who anonymously attacked the British Monarchy and their minions, in the press and private handbills, the Republic was born…  two edged sword… both are correct…

          BTW… most accounts indicate that Burr did not assassinate Hamilton, much less for.

          torrid personal anonymous attacks in the press and private handbills.

          Burr was a traitorous individual… self-aggrandizing, a narcissist… (those who don’t study and learn from history are doomed to repeat it)… Hamilton called him on that, publicly (and Hamilton wasn’t too much different, except for the traitorous part)… most accounts have Hamilton letting Burr kill him, without firing a shot AT Burr… to discredit Burr, and possibly set up a murder charge…

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burr%E2%80%93Hamilton_duel#Hamilton's_intentions

          We’ll never know the facts, of course, but definitely not an assassination as that word is commonly used.

        5. Keith O

          BTW, on Antifa, I don’t like that they are anonymous, but I also recognize that since white nationalists (otherwise known as “nativists”) have infiltrated our police forces and allowed those groups to stage intimidating marches, the Antifa has risen as an alternative force to push back against the nativist agenda.  If you want to join us in demanding that all police forces immediately fire all officers who are members of these hate groups, then I also will denounce the Antifa.

          Are you for real?

        6. Alan Miller

          Antifa has risen as an alternative force to push back against the nativist agenda.  If you want to join us in demanding that all police forces immediately fire all officers who are members of these hate groups, then I also will denounce the Antifa.

          What . . . what?  Since when is denouncing a home-based terrorist group conditional?  Antifia isn’t a reaction to anything . . . they are coward psychopaths with an excuse.

          . . . and did we get a little off-topic on anonymous commenting?

      1. Howard P

        Yes, all anonymous and semi-anonymous posters are just bursting with vitriol on any and all topics they post on… the full name folk never do… got it… just relieving some of my pent-up vitriol, while I still have the chance… thank you for your insightful post, to remind us all…

      2. Keith O

        I respect John Hobbs for coming forward AND I have found that he does not resort to the petty vitriol that the anonymous posters do.

        This comment had me rolling with laughter. You really have no clue do you?  I know you won’t listen to me or any of the other evil anonymous posters but ask the moderator or David about his vitriol.

        I can’t believe some of today’s comments.  It’s like stuff never happened on here.  Just change the story and we’re all supposed to somehow believe it.

      3. Alan Miller

        I respect John Hobbs for coming forward AND I have found that he does not resort to the petty vitriol that the anonymous posters do.

        Um . . . yeah he does.

        . . . and it’s often removed soon after.

        But I do respect that he owns it.

  6. Dianne C Tobias

    I am hopeful the ruling will take this time and am looking forward to more interaction by more posters. It seems the conversations are many back and forths by fewer people.

    1. Tia Will

      Thanks, Dianne for weighing in. I hope stopping anonymous posting, which I was very reluctant to do has the desired effect of bringing in more posters despite the ongoing belief of some that it is intended as political censorship.

  7. Craig Ross

    I do know a lot of people afraid to post on here because of what they see as the anonymous troll mafia.  So it will be interesting to see if comments go down or up.  It might not go in the direction you think.

    1. Keith O

      I do know a lot of people afraid to post on here because of what they see as the anonymous troll mafia

      I don’t think most people in this community know or care who you guys are,

      So supposedly a lot of people are afraid to post here but yet could care who the anonymous posters are?  Which is it?  This is all made up hype in order to silence conservative views on the V.

      anonymous troll mafia

      Another example of name calling from a supposedly unanonymous poster.

      1. Craig Ross

        You imply a contradiction when there is none.  I don’t know who you are and I doubt I much care.  I think most people will operate the same way.  But the presence of anonymous posters has definitely deterred people I know from venturing into the comment section.

        “Another example of name calling…”

        Not at all.  I simply told you what people say about the Vanguard comment section.  I’ve seen that exact phrase used, should have quoted it, would have had it not been posted from my phone.

    1. Howard P

      Two current anonymous posters seem to be supportive of it.

      Clarification… was/am semi-anon… but if I am not counted in your ‘two’, consider me as 3… the time (unfortunately) has come… appropriately, fait accompli… am good with it, even with repercussions as to me.

  8. John Hobbs

    “This is all made up hype in order to silence conservative views on the V.”

    How is your choice to decline to post here “made up hype to silence conservative views…” ?

     

  9. Richard McCann

    Anonymous commenting is a broader problem that even threatens our democracy. Democracy survives because a social consensus arises around a decision. That consensus is held together by social judgments that are based on an individual’s accountability. If an individual feels so strongly about an issue they are willing to risk their social reputation, that indicates to other that their passion in their belief and that they should be heard. That’s why the willingness to go to jail in a protest is so powerful. Anonymity on the Internet allows cowards to voice abhorrent unsubstantiated opinions with no fears of consequences.   
    Thanks to the social accountability, we were able to swing attitudes on race relations and anti-Semitism around 180 degrees in a generation so that overt bigotry in the 1980s brought down a wrath of judgment and almost no one spoke publicly. Sure, subtle racism and bias continued, but it was not continually reinforced by others’ statements. Then int he 1990s anonymous posting began on listservs and bulletin boards (and I was among those posters.) What people said then was shocking, and now it was public with no consequences. This anonymity allowed the alt-Right to find each other and to coalesce (as opposed to the religious right and the libertarians who rose out of the Reagan movement and recognize some social constraints.) Today overt bigotry is back and continues to be viable because people can post their hatred anonymously. The Internet libertarians were wrong that it would unleash an uninformed, rich discussion–instead it allowed too many to vent their deepest hatreds and join other like minded people without fear of social consequences. Anonymity allows people to vent their selfish emotional wishes without any supporting evidence, or revealing why they are so selfish.
    Further, almost none of the anonymous posters add anything of real substance to the commentaries. They express unsubstantiated assertions and opinions as facts, and then in typical Internet troll fashion, either refuse to back down and admit their error, or classically try to change the subject of the debate. On the other hand, the identified posters are most often the providers of sourced documentation that further the discussion. Two identified posters rarely go back and forth in “he said / he said” fashion–they each say their part and leave it that. I think that happens most often because they probably at least have an acquaintance with each other or a mutual friend. It’s that social network reinforcement that keeps democracy alive.
    I’ll go further on another point–The Vanguard has very few women posters anymore. At one point you seemed to have about a third. And none of your active anonymous posters are women. It looks like your posting policy has driven women off your forum. That’s a much more important group to include than any of the viewpoints from the anonymous posters.
    What consequences are your anonymous posters concerned about? If it’s that they might be castigated by friends and family for their views, then allowing them to do so undermines a key foundation of democracy. Even potential economic consequences are not a sufficient justification to spout off on a forum. They can find other venues have their discussions, which just won’t be so public. (Or they can send emails directly to Bob Dunning who apparently will print any opinions he agrees with as unattributed.) Or they can set up their own blog and post anonymously and hope to draw an audience. I suspect many of them may remain as posters even if their shields are pulled away.
    I can think of one situation in which anonymity should be allowed, by a high bureaucrat in a vulnerable position who has valuable information to be shared. However, even that should be limited. There’s an anonymous poster on water issues, “On the Record”, who probably works in the State Water Board who uses his position to spout off on his blog about water issues. He doesn’t contribute much in new information, but rather just uses it to push forward his own agenda. (By the way, he is clearly a socialist or even Marxist.) He’s stepped past the boundary of contributing to the discussion and pontificates on matters beyond his portfolio.
    I think you should be thinking bigger than just how the Vanguard forum is running. Your articles clearly demonstrate that you have a global view (in contrast to Dunning’s parochial ones)–the forum rules should reflect the achieving the broader social goals that you espouse.

    1. Keith O

      Further, almost none of the anonymous posters add anything of real substance to the commentaries. 

      Yes, it’s a proven fact that unanonymous posters only add substance say you only.

      1. Howard P

        Yes, it’s a proven fact that unanonymous posters only add substance say you only.

        Very weird.  No surprise… particularly as to arcane grammar.  And, untrue.  As usual, particularly with no cites…

  10. Keith O

    Anonymous commenting is a broader problem that even threatens our democracy. Democracy survives because a social consensus arises around a decision. That consensus is held together by social judgments that are based on an individual’s accountability. If an individual feels so strongly about an issue they are willing to risk their social reputation, that indicates to other that their passion in their belief and that they should be heard.

    So when David cites anonymous people for his articles shouldn’t they also have the conviction to stand up for their statements and beliefs?

    1. Richard McCann

      Keith O, if you noted, I make an exception for a highly placed official posting anonymously. That same principle applies to protecting key sources with anonymity.

  11. Sharla C.

    I’ve been using only the initial of my last name, but I think my first name is unique enough for people in Davis to know who I am, so this will not be much of a change for me.

     

  12. John Hobbs

    “Yes, it’s a proven fact that unanonymous posters only add substance say you only.”

    Get your missus to help with that reading comprehension problem. That is why some say you don’t contribute anything to the conversation.

    “So when David cites anonymous people for his articles shouldn’t they also have the conviction to stand up for their statements and beliefs?”

    No, readers are certainly able to give whatever weight they deem appropriate to an anonymous source.

    Yes, it’s a proven fact that unanonymous posters only add substance say you only.
    So when David cites anonymous people for his articles shouldn’t they also have the conviction to stand up for their statements and beliefs?

  13. Eric Gelber

    Upon reading the comments here today, I’ve changed my view on whether ending anonymity will raise the level of discourse. I doubt it will. Perhaps the answer is having a moderated comment section to remove the vitriol and trolling before it’s posted. Because of the lack of trust in the even-handedness of anyone associated with the Vanguard, I recommend that moderation be done by a three-member panel, consisting of one member of Antifa, one member of the Alt-Right, and Tom Hanks (voted the most trusted person in America).

    Alternatively (or additionally), after clicking on Post Comment, there should be a 30 minute delay before it is posted to give people a chance to think about their comment and revise or delete it if they realize they’re being an a-hole.

    1. Ron

      “I doubt it will.”

      I doubt it, as well.  I don’t see much difference (overall) regarding the level of vitriol between the “anonymous” or “fully-named” commenters.  I’ve been quite surprised at what some fully-named commenters are willing to post.

      “Perhaps the answer is having a moderated comment section to remove the vitriol and trolling before it’s posted.”

      That’s what the “other” blog does.  (However, I believe they also require full identities.)

      “Because of the lack of trust in the even-handedness of anyone associated with the Vanguard . . .”

      Already an issue, although Don is (normally) reasonably fair when wearing his moderator hat (if not always “timely”), if something is pointed out to him. Actually, I’d run a much “tighter ship” regarding what’s allowed overall (regardless of the identity of the commenter or issue), if it was up to me. (Lately, there has been some improvement in that regard.)

       

    2. Alan Miller

      there should be a 30 minute delay before it is posted to give people a chance to think about their comment and revise or delete it if they realize they’re being an a-hole.

      Try more like a 30 year delay . . .

  14. Ron

    I will miss Jeff  (and of course Keith, on here).  Keith has supported me (e.g., when I’m under attack), more than once.

    Jeff’s posts usually didn’t bother me, because he (usually) spoke in generalities (rather than personal attacks).  And, he did point out what I would call “internally conflicting” arguments, but which he might refer to using different language.  And, he brought a view that was different than the party line, on here.

    When I first started looking at the Vanguard, I enjoyed witnessing the point/counterpoint arguments between Jeff and Tia.  It vaguely reminded me of “Point/Counterpoint”, from the early days of Saturday Night Live.  (With Dan Akroyd beginning his counterpoint with, “Jane, you ignorant sl*t . . .”, before launching into his tirade. Had me laughing every time.)

        1. Ron

          Keith:  I agree, but I’m hoping to stay out of arguments in this article, at least.  🙂

          I think the problem is more related to loose moderation standards, rather than the identities of the commenters.

          I’d suggest that comments go through the moderator first, before allowing them to be posted. But, it sounds like a decision has already been made.

        2. Keith O

          Why Ron, you’re getting kicked out and I doubt you’re going to post under your real name.  Maybe I’m wrong.

          But damnit Ron, you have our little friend posting blatant untruths and you’re just going to sit there and take it?

        3. Ron

          I’m not sure if I’ll continue posting.  To be honest, I’ve been looking for a reason to stop, for some time.  Unlike some, perhaps, I don’t enjoy much about participating on here.  I generally feel a lot worse after doing so. However, I’ve felt compelled to provide my own “counterpoint” regarding development issues, in particular.

          I also don’t particularly want my postings to come up on Internet searches (e.g., if looking for a job, or whatever).

        4. Ron

          Keith:  Just wondering – do you enjoy posting on here?  (I’m guessing that you don’t, but feel compelled to do so – like me.)

          There are some others that seem to enjoy it, more.

        5. Keith O

          Ron, I think for me it’s more about getting the other side of the argument out there.  If it wasn’t for you, I, Jeff, Ken, Jim and a few others this would be a totally one (left)-sided blog and comment section.  I really feel much of the content on here is totally biased and unfair and I just can’t help myself, I have to respond.  As far as enjoyment, not much.  For me it just passes some time while I work at my computer.  I won’t miss it much and my wife will be happy.

          I really don’t think David wants to do this, I feel he was pressured. To think that liberals are supposed to be all about free speech when it’s appearing more and more that they’re trying to stifle speech they don’t agree with.

        6. Ron

          My “significant other” also gets annoyed with my participation.

          My own political views seems to be some kind of “mixture”.  I suspect that most folks don’t fall as neatly into one category or another, as it might seem on here

          Regarding development issues, your views might be more in line with “progressives”, depending upon who is defining that. Then again, others who consider themselves progressives may not see it that way. Perhaps this is an issue which is hard to categorize, one way or another. (My views on this issue also seem pretty similar to Jim’s views.)

          Of course, those with the strongest views (regarding various issues) are probably the ones most likely to gravitate toward blogs.

        7. Howard P

          You’re right Keith, about suppressing free speech … or freedom of the press… POTUS would NEVER do that, by yanking press credentials from “enemies” (only Nixon had an ‘enemies list!’)… with faux videos to justify… yeah… right (double entendre)… gotta love the POTUS “Make America Great Again” theme/mantra… you go, dude!  Keep those un-Americans in line!

          An epiphany… now understanding the wisdom of your posts!

        8. Keith O

          Not so much on politics but Ron you fought the other side of the development story in town.  Good for you, we didn’t always agree but you were always gracious.  I can’t say the same thing about several of the full name commenters on here.  But hey, they spun it like they were victims and David is now giving in to their cries.

           

        9. Keith O

          Oh Howard, you’re so boring and tiresome.  What does this have to do with Trump?  I was talking to Ron anyway, sorry if you felt left out.

          Ron, speaking of things I won’t miss on the Vanguard.

          Take care Ron, since we seem to have picked up some ‘baggage’ I’m done here for tonight.

        10. Ron

          Thanks, Keith.  I guess there’s another month or so to go, before we all (individually) decide whether or not to continue.

          For sure, I’ve learned that there’s some pretty decent people out there, even if they are (gasp) “conservatives”. (Actually, if you step outside of Davis, the Bay Area, or the state, one would also discover that.)

          I’ve also learned that being “liberal” or “progressive” doesn’t always/necessarily translate into being kind, or even fair-minded.

        11. Craig Ross

          I find this discussion odd.  First of all, as we saw from the election – some of the chief opponents of Measure L and thus the Vanguard were named posters – Alan Pryor, Rik Keller, Eric Gelber, Tia Will and some others.  There was a healthy and robust debate even without the involvement of Ron, Keith and Jeff.  The idea that the Vanguard would become an echo chamber is not in line with reality.

          Second, there are a lot of people who might now participate who wouldn’t have before.  Their voices have been stifled by the perception that anything they say was going to be shot down by a group of regulars who are always posting.

          Third, on ideology, Ron and Jeff and maybe Ken (who claims not to be a Republican and a Trump supporter).  That’s what we’re talking about.  I view the ideological debate as a side show as best and off-topic if not diversionary.  I’m not coming on here to debate Republican v. Democrat.  Jeff’s insistence on injecting it into every discussion is as annoying as Rik’s insistence on injecting race into every discussion.

        12. Ron

          Craig:  “Third, on ideology, Ron and Jeff and maybe Ken (who claims not to be a Republican and a Trump supporter).  That’s what we’re talking about.”

          I have no idea what you’re talking about.

        13. Craig Ross

          Several comments suggest that this is an effort to stifle the conservative perspective, we’re talking about two or three people.  Surely there are other conservatives who sometimes post on the Vanguard and who might want to participate under their won names.  I don’t see this as a major issue.

        14. Ron

          Glad that you’re not attacking me, for a change.  🙂

          But, I think the point is that conservatives are in the minority in Davis, and are (personally, and/or their family members) more subject to harassment.  Hence, the use of semi-anonymity.

          Without reviewing all of the comments, I think that Jeff referred to “tyranny of the majority”.

    1. Tia Will

      Ron

      I also will miss the point/counterpoint that Jeff and I used to have. However, that has not been in play for quite some time and if Jeff chooses self-banishment for whatever reason, that is his decision to be respected. It is my hope that losing that aspect will be more than rewarded by an increased number of posters.

      Also of note with regard to a comment of Richard. All of the individuals that I spoke with who favored ending anonymous posting did happen to be women. My sample size is very small of course ( <10) so it will be interesting to see how the new policy plays out.

      1. Keith O

        Tia, what’s head scratching to me is nobody is forced to read anonymous comments.  If they somehow feel threatened, which I don’t get, all they have to do is either click the ignore button or simply just not read anonymous comments.  Poof, their supposed fears are alleviated.  It’s like magic.

        1. Richard McCann

          Keith O, too often the anonymous posters dominate the conversation so much that a reader will lose context if they ignore those comments. Also, why should the reader be forced to ignore an obnoxious poster rather than just banishing that poster? Why is the burden on the passive reader rather than the active poster?

          As for targeting only conservative posters, we also have problems with the no-growth anonymous posters who would consider themselves progressives. You overestimate your individual importance on this issue.

        2. Keith O

          As for targeting only conservative posters, we also have problems with the no-growth anonymous posters who would consider themselves progressives.

          This says so much about what’s actually going on here.  Who’s “we” anyway?  So someone that is no growth should be held to public scrutiny?

        3. Mark West

          “Like I’ve stated, it all comes down to some people can’t stand conservative views and this is the reaction.  Shut them down.”

           

          This has little (if any) to do with ideology and much to do with behavior.

          Mirrors are effective tools, even if one might wish to ignore what they see.

    2. Richard McCann

      Ron, the difference is that Tia would concede points to Jeff (and others). Jeff never conceded on any point. That made reading those exchanges painful. And that is a problem in general with anonymous posters. They feel no need to compromise because there are no consequences to their statements.

        1. Jeff M

          I concede Keith’s point… on any factual, rational, objective and interesting point.

          But the Antifa mask challenge clearly demonstrated a level of hypocrisy and/or double-standard that is indicative of a poster that isn’t debating from a factual, rational or objective basis.

          I also believe in Jonathan Haidt in his great book “The Righteous Mind” that people debate not to change minds, but to win an argument… and that transcendence of that tendency requires speaking to the moral filters of the person being debated with.

          But as Haidt points out this is much more difficult for conservatives as liberals tend to fixate only on the moral filters of fairness and harm.  This causes them to sound irrational to conservatives as they blow past other moral considerations. Conservatives also filter on fairness and harm, but they enjoy a more diverse moral diet… with sanctity, loyalty, authority being added to the list.  So to concede a point to make a liberal feel satisfied, a conservative would have to ignore other moral filters.  That isn’t going to happen.

          For example, a liberal would look at the the illegal immigrant caravan (or fake asylum caravan) from a moral filter of fairness and harm to those people and ignore consideration of sanctity of law, national sovereignty, and basic loyalty to protect people already living in this country from being increasingly impacted by a swelling of the population of more poor and uneducated immigrants.   I can concede that some of the people in that caravan are likely valid asylum seekers and should be considered for being granted asylum by the US.  Liberals seem to be making the point that the existence of that potential unfairness and harm for excluding any people of the caravan is justification for ignoring all other moral considerations.

          So there is this great void that makes it impossible to concede any points on that topic.  So it would be foolish to expect it.

          However, there are other topics where great minds can think alike.  I see a lot of conceding of points on the need for housing in Davis.  I see a lot of conceding points that Davis needs more tax revenue.   I see some increase in the conceding of points that Davis needs to find ways to stop the out of control growth of city employee compensation.  The debate on these topics is less “what” and more “how”.

          But one last point here.  Davis already has plenty of support and back-slapping for left-leaning thinking and ideas.   If a liberal, just open your door and walk outside and you can easily find someone to validate your views.  Debates between liberals and conservatives are generally never going to be reconciled for most topics of politics.  These debates are really just performing the act of persuasion for the moderates watching from the sidelines (of which Davis has few despite the claims of those that claim they are).  Community blogs, like communities, are places where diverse opinions should be allowed to air.   However, is appears that David and his board just want another place to walk outside and be validated by members of their liberal tribe.

  15. Jim Frame

    Though I’m a little late to the party today, I endorse the change to real names.  The interpersonal distance inherent in online forums already entices people to speak more intemperately than they would in person; add the cloak of anonymity and it leads some people even further down the road of incivility, which is rarely productive.

    Requiring real names won’t eliminate the annoying tendencies of those already equipped with abrasive personalities, but it might cause them to dial it back a bit.

  16. Dave Hart

    I’ve noticed on Next Door, where you use your real name and your address is known, that the volume can sometimes go up and get a little heated.  There is generally little interference or moderating that goes on at least in the neighborhoods that I can view.  Some of us try to address that directly without leaving it to moderators and that is a skill that must be developed but it also assumes that we all may run into each other at some point.  That changes the dynamic a little.  It is also a geographically based platform and I feel that tends to make people feel a little more responsible toward each other because they never know when they may run into someone in person.

    One technical aspect of Next Door is that you can go back and edit your post quite indefinitely.   Now some of our friends here might scoff at that as an opportunity for revisionist propaganda, but I have found that if you ponder on something you’ve written and have a change of heart or want to be a kinder, gentler kind of neighbor, you can change what remains in print.  That can be a very instructive, self-educational kind of benefit.  Even guys like Keith and his friends or even Alan Miller might, in time, learn to be less vituperative and more neighborly.  I wish the DV would consider doing that.  After all, what we write about here should not be held up as “evidence in support of the prosecution’s case”.  What we write should be what we want to be heard and considered. We can feel more confident if we can edit ourselves.

    1. Alan Miller

      or even Alan Miller might, in time, learn to be less vituperative and more neighborly.

      When h*ll freezes over and pigs fly.

      I honestly find most people who are self-declared as “nice” and “neighborly” in self-delusion to be the biggest arse-holes around.  There are many examples of this personality type in the Vanguard comment section.  For instance someone who might, for example, gratuitously call out an non-anonymous person by name in a discussion of anonymous posters, and take the opportunity to criticize.  It’s called passive-aggressive, and it is the worst personality type and in my opinion should be considered a form of mental illness.  If only we could get rid of all the passive-aggressive personalities in the Vanguard comment section, then it would truly be a civil place to be.

      1. Mark West

        “If only we could get rid of all the passive-aggressive personalities in the Vanguard comment section, then it would truly be a civil place to be.”

        Who would be left?

      2. Dave Hart

        Alan, first of all, poor attempt at humor on my part when I re-read what I wrote.  We would have to know each other much better for this to work as humor and we’ve never met, so I apologize.  A teaching moment.  This is why I suggested the improvement of being able to edit what is put in writing for a longer period of time than five minutes.  Someone even floated the idea of responses being penned up for 30 minutes which is not a bad idea.  I think what drives a lot of the hardball responses on social media and commenting is a competitive rush to get an opinion out there, I suppose, with the idea to influence or dominate the discussion.  By the end of the day, certainly by the following day, the discussion is shelved and gets very little attention.  Strongly worded, passionate replies drive the number of views to a website and that helps the advertising revenue which funds the thing in the first place.  It’s all sort of built in to work that way.  So a waiting period works against the logic of the system.  Even so, passive-aggressive a**es like me want to be better.  Being called out and considering that we are wrong and doing something about it is all anyone can ask.

        1. Alan Miller

          DH, apology accepted.  I didn’t realize you meant it humorously.  We haven’t alwasys agreed, but that seemed to kind of come out of nowhere.

          I think I may have met you once at a City Council meeting . . . not certain.

          But what holds true is that most — NOT ALL — of the time, when I meet persons from on-line in person, we get on just fine,  usually real nice people.  NOT ALWAYS, one or two exceptions.

          I came to realize I had to apologize to a poster for something I said in this comment section one time.  I crossed a line that wasn’t OK (even for me), and it wasn’t deserved. (Others may think I should apologize for other things – you can start a list if you like – not gonna happen.)

          (Not talking to you DH, below, just talking . . . )

          That is what I don’t understand.  People want this to be civil.  WHY?  Online discussions inherently aren’t.  This is six year olds playing in a sandbox, Pro-wrestling pre-fight boasting, drunk buddies talking-frank at 1:15am at the local bar.  It’s raw.  If you want civil, don’t try to control an inherently uncivil mode.  Go to a civil place.  Expect civility here and you will forever be disappointed (although one can feel really good about one’s self for being so civil by judging others not to be).

  17. John Hobbs

    “kicked off” Keith, for once, own up to the truth: Nobody’s kicking anyone off the blog. You can choose to stay. I nearly fell out of my chair with your I only post to get the other side out there routine. ( you have attacked me endlessly for doing exactly that with police issues.) Now it appears, lacking the integrity to post under your real name, you will blame all of the “others” rather than be accountable for your words.Who’s melting now?

    1. Howard P

      You are correct… we have choices… in the last go-around, you made yours… full name… I made mine… semi-full name…

      I have another choice to make… my internal jury is still out on that… but it will indeed my choice…

      I hate being told how to feel, how to act, how react… but, I also have learned, and support, others who call me to task for what ‘game’ is being played… if I play, I accept the rules… if I cannot accept the rules, I can choose not to play… choice… not forced.

      Posting on the VG is not a 1st amendment right… unlike my right to vote in a government setting, it is a privilege, and a choice by an individual… a pretty much private entity (won’t get into the arcane tax status thingy)… but perhaps like other “groups”… be they social, religious/faith-based, etc.

      Ex.:  Does a fervent atheist have the right to spew anti-religious views in the middle of a religious service?  It is a semi-public place, after all, having exemptions from many taxes…

      The VG is what seems to be a “social contract” not a God (‘god’ for my atheist/agnostic friends)-given right… you can choose to affiliate, or reject, or ignore… if you choose to participate, you need to accept the rules of participation… you can always choose not to participate.

      Will make my choice re:  VG proposed rules (in effect at any given time)… will not, today.  Will, by effective date of the changes.  My right, and my responsibility to choose.  And, when.  I may choose to withdraw, and reserve the ‘right’ to return, but in a manner that respects the ‘real name policy’. (and any other ‘rules of engagement’)  Everyone else has the same options.

      No harm, no foul, here…

       

       

      1. John Hobbs

        Howard, I strongly suspect you would say to my face anything you’ve posted on the V. You are not prone to impertinent hyperbole or pejoratives. Whatever you choose to do, I appreciate your honest and informative posts.

        1. Jeff M

          So you believe that I Jeff M would not say to your face in person or posting with my full name?

          That is hogwash and indicative of your weird and irrational superiority complex.

          In person I would be able to read your body language and paralanguage and thus communication would generally be more accurate, but your are telegraphing the giant sinister mistake in your inference that I or any other anonymous poster would call you less of an a—–e full name or not.

        2. Howard P

          Jeff… what is “paralanguage”, as you use the term?  I get paraplegic, para-olympics, parachute… common usage… but “paralanguage”?  Not a liberal arts major, so don’t understand…

      2. John Hobbs

        “I would be able to read your body language”

        Hope you like Braille.

        You keep making these school yard threats. You’re great at anonymous turd tossing but you’re intellectually disigenuous and morally bankrupt.  You have done nothing but quail about the downtrodden white male since Obama’s election. You are the very things you accuse others of being. Like Don mentioned, your whining is tiresome.

      3. Keith O

        I see yet even more selective memory showing up in the comments.

        There’s a couple of guys on here that should take their show on the road. They’re hilarious. Maybe they could open for some band at cheap night clubs.

        1. Howard P

          Add yourself to the list… can think of several venues where you would “be a hit” (double entrendre intended…)…

          That said, sincerely, best to you and yours…

      4. Jeff M

        Howard: the nonlexical component of communication by speech, for example intonation, pitch and speed of speaking, hesitation noises, gesture, and facial expression… all the stuff we generally don’t get and often misinterpret with written communication. It is something key from my business communications classes and ongoing leadership work to help my employee-teams better perform in a world of email and text communication… where people work from home and remote offices and meet less face-to-face.

        By the way, my comment was directed at something Hobbs posted but his disappeared after I wrote what I wrote. And my paralanguage when I wrote it would have included some steam coming out of my ears.

        1. Jeff M

          Now Ron you should not call me names! 😉

          Maybe that explains my cross-over in that area as I have music and art in my background and also dabble in human psychology.  Geesh… that would send me to therapy finally discovering that I am just an angry liberal in denial.

  18. Alan Miller

    I have long called for an end to anonymous postings.  I very much agree with the “either we all wear party masks, or . . . ” comment.  Many will say things unseen that they would not say seen.

    I looked at an old Vanguard article from before the last policy change.  Clearly there where many more commenters before the change, which was also purported to be to stimulate for participation.  It was a lot more interesting then.

    So will this change in the rules stimulate more participation, or further stifle it?

    Much as I dislike anonymous posting as such, this may be the end of any meaningful discussions.  It is quite unfortunate that all/most of those who are “conservative” leaning are anonymous and threatening to pack up their toys and go home.  With Jeff M, that’s a bit of a joke.  Everyone knows his identity, he hides it like WC Fields hides his nose.

    As for “All it will do is make the people that disagree with your ideas about politics, society, economics, etc… stop talking to you.”  You actually care?  Those aren’t friends.  Good riddance.  I regularly cast the only “opposite vote” at the Pancakes & Politics meetings.  The decent among us remain as friends tho we may disagree politically because we respect each other . . . and those who don’t can go F themselves.  Who needs friends who don’t respect our differences?

    As for KO aka Barack Palin — my favorite poster of all time.  Keeps people on their toes with a subtle undertone of humor.  The excuse to depart I understand — the wife asked.  What are you going to say to that?  But seriously, ask again, KO.  Without your insight/elbow-nudging the comment section has the risk of becoming an echo chamber, or worse yet — two opinions arguing against each other neither of which I can root for.

    I would hate to think I’d end up being the voice of conservatism here, because I ain’t no conservative (despite what some may believe).  [I ain’t no liberal either, and I aint no hollaback girl neither].  I don’t want the job.  So I hope the self-declared conservatives stay.

    And as for all those who have been too scared to post lest some mean conservative criticize their post, cry my an F-ing river, and find me that tiny, tiny violin — a have a concerto to unlease as lead tiny-violin soloist.

    1. Keith O

      Damn, I’m going to miss Alan’s comments.  His truly good writing sprinkled with humor.  I might tune in once in awhile just to read Alan’s posts and to observe the new improved Vanguard where everyone thinks alike (except Alan M) and gets along like two peas in a pod.

        1. Ron

          Thank you, Craig.

          Hope that Keith sticks around, as well.  Regarding amusement, Keith came up with some pretty good embedded images.  One in particular, when Tia challenged anyone to identify someone more “liberal” than she is.

          The periodic humor on here is something that I actually do enjoy. Some are able to engage in it, without also engaging in personal disrespect. (A fine line, at times.)

  19. Keith O

    I was trying to look something up on the Vanguard and in my search I found this comment.

    Now keep in mind Matt Williams used to be a Vanguard Editorial member, so his comment holds weight.

    Matt Williams March 2, 2017 at 11:18 pm
    While I understand your point Keith, the reality is that there is a difference.  For the most part people have been more responsible in what they say.  There is one notable exception, but you never know, responsibility may come to that remote province as well with time.
    My sense in observing the transition from Rusty49 to Carlos Danger to Growth Issue to Barack Palin to Keith O, is that you have always been a responsible poster with a legitimate reason for anonymity.  As a result you don’t see the change, because you are looking at anonymity from the inside out.  On the other hand I’ve always looked at anonymity from the outside in.  It looks very different.
    David’s new policy is another step in the right direction in my opinion.  People like you meet the standard of “direct financial and/or employment reprisals they believe will result from posting using their real name.”  You have always been up front about the employment reason that is the underpinning of your anonymity.  You don’t throw spaghetti against the wall.  Your posting behavior sets an example that I hope all the posters will live up to.  Principle, not propaganda and/or innuendo.
     

  20. Alan Miller

     

    (To the anonymous:)

    I’m so glad we had this time togetherJust to have a laugh, or sing a song.Seems we just got startedand before you know itComes the time we haveto say, ‘So long.’

      1. Jeff M

        Looks like the moderator automatically caused Hobbs to be ignored by me so he would not trigger me.  That is not good, because I like to watch train wrecks reoccur.

        [Moderator: I don’t have that capability.]

      2. Howard P

        Not answering for John Hobbs, but as to “whiners” that’s not where I’d look first…

        Certain anonymous posters (and one/two full name one some to mind… one who no longer posts…)

    1. Jeff M

      (To the tyrannical majority:)

      Oh it seemed like a holy place
      Protected by amazing grace
      And we would sing right out loud
      The things we could not say
      We thought we could change this world
      With words like “love” and “freedom”
      We were part of the lonely crowd
      Inside the Sad Cafe

      Maybe the time has drawn the faces I recall
      But things in this life change very slowly,
      If they ever change at all
      There’s no use in asking why,
      It just turned out that way
      So meet me at midnight baby
      Inside the Sad Cafe.
      Why don’t you meet me at midnight baby,
      Inside the Sad Cafe.

      1. Howard P

        (To the tyrannical majority:)

        Says it all… my take is different… there are “social norms”, are there not?  The VG is essentially a “social media”… not government, a choice to participate, right (wing, or otherwise)?

        Are you opposed to “majority rule”, say, in elections?  Some could reasonably opine that the 2016 election was “tyrannical minority” rule… popular vote vs. electoral college… I believe “it is what it is.”.. yet it is the “red states” who are the most suspected of ‘gerrymandering’… yet, who captured the House (in spite of)?  What group is protesting votes, and want only “election night” votes to count?  Is that a good thing?  A governor candidate who gets to decide what votes “count”, as current Secretary of State?  No conflict of interest there, right?  Certainly not tyrannical.. (yeah, right.)

        “Sic semper tyrannis”… first Republican president to be assassinated (my favorite president, BTW)  had that uttered when JW Booth did the dastardly thing…

        Patrick Henry said, “Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell; and George the Third – [“Treason!” cried the Speaker] – may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it.”..

        Some things change … not.

        Just saying…

         

        1. Jeff M

          I think there are plenty of checks and balances for mitigating minority tyrannical rule in our system.  Where we have gone off the rails is the other check-and-balance need to prevent tyranny of the majority.

          There is a mob.  It is a social networking-powered collection of easily triggered and easily offended people… and those that connect with it for purpose, meaning and money.  It evolved out of the children of the 1960s and follows the dogeared pages of Sail Alinki’s rules for radicals.  The campus culture that evolved (devolved) following the 1968 apogee of radicalism has cranked out millions more radical clones that find tribal comfort belonging to this mob.

          Rank and file liberals may or may not be a part of this, but they are all pretty much complicit in its existence as it serves their political interests well… although there are expected cracks starting to form with examples of BLM and Antifa making them queasy and concerned.

          The collective of all of this (Mob and those that support it) have more of the money today because of changes in the economy along with bonehead (or strategic) economic policy that gave away most of our hard-earned industry to Asia and Mexico.  So the mob collective has leveraged this for attacks against business… threatening the boycott and harass business owners that dare to donate to Republican candidates and causes, and that happen to say a word outside of the Mob’s speech code book allowances.

          A key tool in all of this is social media… without it the Mob would not be able to organize like it does today.   However, the downside from the Mob’s perspective is that their ideological foes also use these tools.  They can also participate on blogs and write letters etc.

          The Mob does not like that and thus they push for rules to eliminate anonymous posting so they can use their Mob power to harass and attack people that challenge their Mob power.  This is the epitome of tyranny of the majority.  A Mob of consumers that can harass and attack business to shut it down just because the Mob does not like the difference of political opinion expressed by some owner or manager.

          Facebook fired an executive recently because the employees (campus crybully Mob members) found out that he donated $10k to a Republican candidate.

          There are plenty of other examples… a brewery owner in Sacramento being destroyed by the Mob because of something he posted on Facebook.

          Tyranny of the majority is alive and well, and removing anonymous posting supports it.  And just wait… the Mob will soon demand that the term “Mob” be added to their list of trigger words that justify destroying the person or business that uses it.

          It all reminds me of 1936 in Germany.

        2. Alan Miller

          It all reminds me of 1936 in Germany.

          Well, that takes Godwin’s Law through the Looking Glass:

          What JM refers to as The Mob makes comparisons of Trump and Hitler.  JM says The Mob reminds him of 1936 Germany.

          We are all Adolph Hitler!

        3. Jeff M

          Yup.  The difference is that Antifa is much larger and both tacitly and explicitly supported by the mainstream left, and white supremacy is pitiful small and not supported by anything mainstream, like Jews in 1936 they are both are used as an excuse for the tyrannical Mob to form and implement their brand of fascism.

          Antifa is part of the Mob.  American white supremacists are part of nothing but themselves.  In terms of which is more dangerous to the country, the Mob gets the big trophy.

        4. Jeff M

          Interesting.  However, I have not heard of any significant Democrat leaders denouncing either BLM or Antifa.  And there are some that outwardly support them.  Some of the VG have indicated their support… or at least their sympathy.

  21. Howard P

    An explanation… as I make the decision whether to ‘come out of the closet’ by using full name, I have factors that other anon or semi anon posters don’t:

    As a semi-retired public employee, folk will have access to pretty much exact amounts of what my public pension is (Transparent CA [based in NV])… and once ‘out on the net’, that info can be used by scammers, identity thieves, etc.  Most non-anon, and anon folk don’t face that… since I’ve been filing Form 700’s since 1985, a lot of my property interests, past and present, spouse’s info, will be even more public than currently… again, most non-anon, and anon folk don’t face that… I currently do part-time work, off and on, for a local agency, and serve on a board for another… most non-anon, and anon folk don’t face that…

    Using full name means that your address, phone #, property tax, etc. is readily available, if someone wants to do (‘investigating’) that… and using that info for whatever purpose they choose…

    VG policy:

    Doxing: Doxing is not permissible. Doxing is defined as: “search for and publish private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the Internet, typically with malicious intent.”  This could be the posting personal but otherwise publicly available information.  We should particularly remove such information when the commenter is posting anonymously.

    I sincerely hope that we can give assurance that this policy will be rigorously enforced, more so than now… it kinda goes to the reason why some have chosen to ask to be semi-anon.

    That said, I believe the change is the right thing to do for the VG… but some of us semi-anons (known to David, Don, others) might find it “a bridge too far”… not concerned about being accountable for our words, person-to-person, but a tad (or more) concerned how others might ‘get into our accounts’…

    John Hobbs nailed it… I’d say the same things I’ve ever said, face to face with anyone I’ve ever responded to… he seems to understand where I come from, as to commenting… but I trust others far less on this site, and the bigger internet… the opposite of “what happens in Vegas (or, Mexico), stays in Vegas (or, Mexico)”… the latter concern is why I may choose to ‘bail’…

    Best to all, but I believe the new policy re:  ‘anonymity’, is a choice that needed to be made… Anonygeddon coming soon…

    1. Howard P

      BTW… for some, I actually “pulled some punches” here (on the VG), that I would not have done “face to face”… you probably know who you are… for the majority (big time) I’d have been the same… semi-anon or “face to face”…

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