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Keep 'em anonymous!!
May 25, 2009 - John Stack
Recently the ADE ran a poll on if the ADE should remove certain comment sections. Most of the posters to this poll, like me, responded that the comments should most certainly stay. I like to read the comments nearly as much as the story itself. I read a lot of on-line articles, and its always disappointing when there is no comment section.
Some posters though tried to degrade the the writers for the papers. Saying they often had no clue, etc.. etc.. I don't believe this. Especially in our neck of the woods, writers have to cover all types of stories, and its hard to know the ins and outs of all stories. I've gotten quoted in this paper and other when I have given talks to towns boards and such. Often what is said seems to me to be taken out of context or wasn't my real point. But, I don't expect the writer to know what I know. I expect to know more than most people there, that is why I am the one talking. But, I read the stories to find out the facts of what happened. The comments are for where prople fill in the missing info. My favorite kinds are when a person in the story is bemoaning his assessment. The Board of Assessment Review (which is May26th! in most towns) won't lower their property etc etc. Then a commenter will say 'this guy has a 2 million dollar house on Lake Placid! He/she wants it lowered to 1 million! - and its listed for sale at $8.5 million! (true - it was in this paper)
But, one area that people seemed to be split on was the anonimity of it all. At first, I was worried that it was my name and my picture and my opinions out there (I don't think I'll be running for office!). I was also warned by Peter Crowley about 'mean commentators'. In the whole time I've been writing, there has been spirited discussion, a lot contrary to my beliefs - but I have enjoyed all of it. Most of he time, people aren't going to comment unless they either feel REAL strongly, or just plain disagree. But, I think a real lot of it would be muted if everyone else had to post who they were. I have found that what I write, and what I mean, can mean something totally different to many different people. But, if everyone had to raise their hands and say 'I, Jeff Spicoli, I live at 10 Ridgemont Drive and I have an application in at the APA to build a controversial new retail building. But, what I want to say is that I think Commissioner Pete Grannis really overstepped his bounds when he.etc etc' This person may have a real comment that would be of help to other people. But, finding out this person has a pending application at the APA might really change the attitude to his opinion. Is he saying it because he's trying to get back at the commisioner? Does he think he might get the project approved because he thinks the APA is afraid he would claim they are being arbitrary and capricious? Is he lying to hurt the commissioner? Anonymously, he can bring something up. And, being said on a blog doesn't exactly have the same weight as if Peter Crowley wrote an editorial on the subject.
I do like that people need to sign in with real names (for the paper) but use a pen name while writing. Although I'm sure there are many who could abuse this, I believe the vast majority don't.
Personnally, I have knowledge of certain things in the community that I would never print under my own name. Certain topics I have been asked to be very cautious with because of my job. I really do like the comments, and I actually prefer the anonimity of it.
If you read the Press -Republican, they have a Speakout section. Now that is a waste of paper if you ask me. Most of it seems to be people complaining about topics no one knows about. Most are so general as to be totally useless. This past week, there was a guy who has lived in Moores for 40 years. He was talking about the dirty kids in town and the dregs hanging out. What did that exactly accomplish? I liek to read comments on things I am interested in. I don't read sewing blogs, or Trekkie Blogs or lawn mowing blogs. I really only want to know about and read comments about topics that interest me.
Finally, in the split season of the Pine Street Pool League,your truly was able to win the singles title by a first place in the first half, and a tie for second in the second half. John6 had a good season, winnign the second half because of a scratch on the 8 which would have left a 3 way tie with Tenacious T, myself and John6. My friend who is the analyst for Chevastac consulting kept hitting them hard, and no English and finished agian somewhere below the Mendoza line.
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