Dealing with the anonybully

I see this issue coming up again, or maybe it never left, perhaps it just went into remission. But a few local blogs are commenting on the topic, so I thought I would throw my 2 cents back in.

I know some people seem to love the idea of anarchy, but really it doesn’t work well in real life, nor does it work well in online blogs/forums. Like in our nation, rules followed, make for a civil and productive environment, and, well, breaking rules create the opposite; an uncivil and unproductive environment.  The example I used in a previous post is gone now, but was actually in the Herald comments.  It’s certainly not the norm, but it also certainly ain’t unheard of either.

Stu thought he was being funny, instead he was just being a totally moronic d**k head with s**t for brains. Go f**k yourself you ignorant c***ks**ker.

Well was that an anonybully or “godallf**kingmighty” himself??

I believe it is incumbent upon all blogs to have some form of comment moderation to help foster a civil environment that all guests may enjoy. I don’t and never have squelched any comment based on someone’s opinion because frankly, why even allow comments if you are going to censor other opinions? I do moderate comments with invalid email addresses, excessive links, and foul language as determined by me. I justify this with the commonsense we have developed using our phones.

There is caller ID, opt out lists and rules for selling over the phone, so why not follow the same concept online? You’d be ok hanging up on anyone who called your house to spew foul language and threats to your family members, so why publish those type of comments for family members to read. Radio stations have a call screener and delays to deal with off topic rants and below standard language, so why worry about censoring the same in online forums?

Keep a civil environment; give the known bully and the anonybully the same big HANG UP!

Original Anonybully Post from March ’07

I’m just a few days away from the anniversary of Wally Wonders Why. In this last year there has been a sort of explosion of online forums/blogs in the area. In the past we had a few mostly liberal blogs and a mix of mostly non-interactive websites. The big explosion of online opinions came when both KGMI and the Bellingham Herald began accepting public comment, KGMI on what they call a Blog and the Herald in the form of attached comments.

With the big explosion came the visibility of one of bloggings biggest pitfalls; Rude AnonyBullys. Rude in every sense of the word. Bad language, personal attacks against the blog managers, personal attacks against other writers, off topic rants, agitators, you name it, it is there. And most of this is done from the safety of anonymity. People can feel pretty bold when they are anonymous and I think that many people would write things in these online forums that they would never say in person, or at least I hope so. Curious that so many anonybullys were attacking Debbie Chavez, yet seemed to either shut up or back off when Dillon Honcoop wrote a post. Perhaps there was the tiniest inkling of maybe I’m not that anonymous and maybe I’ll get my butt kicked like when I was in grade school.

I’m not exactly sure how each of these guys are dealing with the junk. KGMI took their site down for a short time because of the personal attacks while the Herald seems to just let thing go. I don’t know exactly how much editing is going on behind the scene or what if any rules they follow. The end result seems to be an ever so slightly more civil tone, a bit less off topic comments.

Another more dangerous pitfall is how those with an agenda work the media including the various forms of blogs. The Liberal Left in this area is pretty well connected using online and traditional media. There is a huge array of “peace” community blogs, listers and forums, with more on the way. Most if not all of their events are covered on radio and in papers, their opinion dominates the Herald’s letters to the editors. In fact the Herald at one point even had a clinic for the Democrats in letter writing.

Most of the area formulates their opinion from the media they read; the Herald and KGMI. It’s high ground in the battle for public opinion. The Bellingham’s anti-US left has the high ground with reinforcements on the way. Check out these helpful hint for driving anti-US public opinion.

You should correspond with visitors to this forum, the frustrating situation of their troops in Iraq…You should invent stories about American soldiers you have personally known (as classmates… or members in a club who played baseball and tennis with you) who were drafted to Iraq and then committed suicide while in service by hanging or shooting themselves…”

Your concern should be introducing topics which… will cause frustration and anger towards their government…, which will… render them hostile to Bush… and his Republican Party and make them feel they must vote to bring the troops back from Iraq as soon as possible.”

Sounds like the anti-US left is really targeting blogs and forums. What is really sad about this is how much this sounds like what the left is doing when in fact those are from an Islamist website instructing Mujahideen in creating anti war sentiments.

I hope that in the next year the problems with anonybullys shakes out and we can have some type of civil online forum for discussion and local issue information. Neither the Herald nor KGMI does much in the way of investigation on local issues and the Herald seems to also lack balance in its selection of national scope article. In Bellingham and the County it seems to be those who scream the loudest that define what the public wants.

“Here we are 38 years later and I’m still talking and yelling about peace,” Bornemann (Bellingham City Council member) said. “It seems ridiculous. … We need to step up our actions. We need to increase the noise.” Bellingham Herald

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