Grinding to a halt

bizwally1.jpgWhen reading the Bellingham Herald online, I might go to the comments to share my perspective or opinion on the subject article or letter. When I hit “publish” I know that my view has entered the mix along with others views. At their best, comments add value through balance and perspective. And I won’t comment, on comments at their worst; it’s been beaten to death already. Overall I think the Herald online comments are a net positive influence on our community. However, my participation will be grinding to a halt.

I haven’t commented much at the Herald blogs due entirely to a simple and stupid, clock issue at the Herald. I do most of my news perusing and blog writing in the morning, just before work. However, any comment I post during that time will bear a time stamp in their RSS feed that would indicate I was commenting during my work time, so I don’t comment. I subscribe to 20 or so feeds and theirs seems to be the only one with a problem. It’s not really a big deal, just annoying.

Why I am going to stop commenting on the online Herald articles and letters has to do with character/reputation assassination. The example on the right is from the comments for a letter to the editor titled Says U.S. Congress went along with lie.

  • 10:03 am I published my comment on the letter.
  • 10:07 am I corrected my spelling.
  • 10:15 am someone identified as Leykiss101, who may or may not be the same person as Leykis101 had a colorful comment on my comment.
  • 10:17 am someone identified as Wally responded as if they were me. believed my comment to have been

This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced the name switcheroo, but hopefully it is the last time.

People who know me, know my character, and would think something is funky if they read the blue highlighted language. So while this really doesn’t have an effect on my character, it does have an effect on my reputation. People who don’t know me have only my reputation to go on and if they believe this is my comment then the reputation assassin was successful.

Use of a simple registration system could very easily avoid this situation. I emphasize use, because at one time I did register with the Herald but can’t remember ever being required to log in. It gives me a headache to speculate why they don’t use the system. manpower? apathy? pot stirring?

So why doesn’t the Herald take management of their online venues more serious? Don’t know and don’t really care, but until the problems are solved I won’t be commenting on stories and letters at the Herald online. I will still comment on them here at Wally Wonders Why, just not there.


11 Responses to “Grinding to a halt”

  1. wally says:

    I also look forward to reading and participating in the myriad of new sites as well as some of the now older sites. I do think the Herald has a role in the community as the news and information gatherers, but if they want to host discussions then they will need to be a little better hosts. If not people will start going to someone else’s party.

    I have been reading your site and will continue. I’m not a political junky, so I really enjoy information and thoughts you have.

  2. The “strategy” being the use of personal attacks and posting comments under someone else’s name to cause them embarassment.

  3. Comments at their worse: beaten to death, yes. But unfortunately it needed to be done.

    It’s a strategy that’s being effectively used to drive individuals with diverse opinions away from the paper.

    I don’t enjoy having people use my name without my permission either. But I don’t know how to stop them from doing it, that is, short of not participating on the Herald blogs at all.

    I’m looking forward to particpating at Bellingham Bloggers and Wrinkle brain’s new site.

  4. wally says:

    Sam, I don’t see any future posts this morning, but there isn’t anything new happening this morning to look at so I’ll let you know.

    And thanks for the feed back from the rest of you. I do hope the paper can get their online commenting under control. I would much rather discuss an original article or letter than spend time at anyone’s blog commenting on a comment on an original work. And it looks like the advertising is on the main pages, rather than the blog, so it would seem in the paper’s best interest to have us spend more time there. If they fixed the problem today I’d love to tell Dean what my favorites movies were in 2007.


  5. WrinkleBrain says:

    Nah, keep commenting Wally. You’re a man of integrity, so I don’t care much what the timestamp says. When you’re at work, you’re at work.

    Carry on, sir.

  6. Sam Taylor says:

    Wally, I sent you an e-mail, but I’ll post it here, too. I think that we fixed the time stamp issue. I noticed it earlier this week (actually, my wife did, because she noticed that I had posted something but it said I had posted it in the FUTURE). I asked to have it fixed and I believe it is now.

    But please let me know.

  7. I agree it needs some type of moderation and not just people screaming at each other. It is very frustrating.

  8. Mark says:

    I used to comment at the Herald web site (matter of fact that’s how I found your site). Without any moderation or regulations in place, it just turns into a free for all.

    I actually emailed the Herald awhile back about their comment feature. I asked if they were gonna get any forums or stuff like that.

    “We do plan real blogs, forums and better-functioning story comments sometime this summer, starting with registration that should launch this week. As part of McClatchy Corp., we sometimes have to wait for a solution to be found that meets the needs of dozens of papers, rather than something we could do quickly.”

    Thats was awhile ago and they haven’t done much to improve anything…

  9. I like Bellingham Bloggers. It is probably going to be a great website.
    I can’t play at their house anymore, though…Their mom says I’m a bad influence…like Mark Twain or Poor Richard…
    I still don’t know if it is an anonymity Issue or a civility Issue.
    Definately check out the site. It has some potential.

  10. Chris Renoud says:

    Bellingham Bloggers might be a better option for you Wally. We will be up an running soon at

  11. I never paid much attention to their time stamp before. It is off by quite a bit.
    Not just hours, but minutes too.