Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Blog ponders the anonymous comment

With comments at an all time low, but viewership still relatively high  'The Blog' has decided to remove the anonymous comment option.  There has been much discussion here in the past as to whether the option to post anonymously is good or bad with the argument mostly split between ID posters and anonymous posters. Realizing many good comments have been made by anonymous', but also hearing from ID posters that they think the playing field is uneven and that they will no longer comment because of it, going forward the option to post anonymously will no longer be an option


Anonymous said...

"the playing field is uneven and that they will no longer comment because of it"

With anonymous the playing field actually was even, people chose to post their name or not. This move makes no sense. Comments are at an all-time low because there aren't any regular column posters.

93 New Posts in 2011
64 New Posts in 2012
20 New Posts for the first six months of 2013...

There is your problem. As the owner of the blog if you want to see more participation you need to seek out and support more regular columnists. Cutting out anonymous commentators will not solve your problem.

Anonymous said...

John, it is the day after a stunning provincial election and you post about changing a policy on the blog?


Please find someone who is engaged in politics to continue the blog. If your heart is not in it give the blog to repete, griffin, pringle or someone else who is still engaged.

Naomi Yamamoto wins by 1,227 votes, down from 2,534 vote spread in '09

Jane Thornthwaite won by 4,300 votes, down from 7,214 in '09

Ralph Sultan won by 9,587 votes, down from a 12,001 spread in '09

Will the 80 year old Ralph Sultan, holder of the safest BC Liberal seat in the Province, graciously thank the Premier who finally put him in cabinet by offering his seat to her?

Other topics?

Craig looked dominant... What happened?

Despite a full campaign by both Jaime Webbe and Brian Wilson they were both beat by a green party candidate who didn't actually run a campaign?


Anonymous said...

How many of Craig's votes were from Liberals to get him off Council.. that is the interesting question. Overall, the winner was the least disliked by the majority.

Anonymous said...

I take it you're sort of a 'half-empty' kind of person.

I'm sure there were a lot of people who were genuinely happy to vote for Naomi Yamamoto.

Griffin said...

I have to agree with the sentiments expressed about this blog. People are not posting under their own names for a myriad of reasons. I know of a least one Councillor who post anonymously, as does Mike Little but he always puts his initials at the end. Others perhaps have information that should get out there, but do not want it shown as coming from them.

I have to say that the number of postings is down dramatically...while the number of INTERESTING postings is almost non-existent.

Lively, interesting exchanges will always result from a posting that is timely, controversial or has broad implications.

So, John, if you do not have the time or the contacts to revitalize it, then yes, give it to somebody else to manage.

Anonymous said...

John, I think that you are being misled by someone or a very few folks that have chosen to post their names.

Not having Anon comments will be the final nail in the coffin.

The Anons are an interesting and diverse group that have kept this site going.

No one is forced to post under their own name, it is a choice - albeit - in my opinion unnecessary one - as what is posted is of interest, not the ID of the poster.

Numerous interesting subjects with a free wheeling discussion open to all was the winning format on this blog. I predict that abandoning that format will kill the majority of interest. After all, if you want a club of ID'd posters just email each other.

Anonymous said...

I notice that the candidates in NVS have not changed their websites since the election -- except Jaime Webbe. Impressive woman.

Anonymous said...

What's the deal on a Liberal MLA "stepping aside" so Christie can be elected in a by-election?

On Global News tonight Ralph Sultan and Jane Thornthwaite were suggested as people who should move over for Christie.

It's my understanding that there is no pension for MLAs until they serve 6 years. That would leave Jane out as far as that goes.

Anybody know any history and just how tough the BC Libs can/could be in asking an elected MLA to step down. Or could the Party force them to step down?

Anonymous said...

I think it's all contrived. Christie knew she wasn't going to be in her riding during the campaign. Eby would step it up!

I think some Liberal MLA out there was extraordinarily pushed from behind the scenes and will now "step aside" for the good of the Party.

Griffin said...

They are only choosing those two ridings, IMO, because of the large win margin. There is no way that Jane would step aside unless they offered her something that was substantially more lucrative than an MLA's salary, and I really don't think she's qualified for anything. And I mean anything--except being a dietician. As for Ralph Sultan, with all due respect, at 80 years of age, is there anything he could reasonably manage that would command a similar salary, without
sending him to an earlier than anticipated retirement? He's the Energizer Bunny at the moment, but corporate life would probably be a little over-taxing.

I think they need to find another sacrificial lamb!

Anonymous said...

You missed my point. There is a sacrificial lamb, we just don't know who it is yet.

Griffin said...

I don't think I did, just commenting on the two who were put forth by the media. Ralph made it again tonight, Jane didn't. There may be other younger people who would relish the chance at a plum job for a Crown corporation, say, rather than having to re-apply for their job every four years. It'll be interesting, that's for sure.

George Pringle said...

1. The anon thing is solved you only a google password is required since anyone can create an anon identify. Pick something like nvan van poli guy and we can see a which anon is which and it stops the "person" who responds to themselves. The municipal employee or Councillor(s) who consistently posts to protect anon posting would be able to be IDed when they posting from work computers.

2. Christy has 50 choices. Not a new MLA or even like Jane prior to their six years and a min pension. It has to be a safe seat to ensure she wins it. Although with a strong majority, someone like Jane could be given an appointment that pays more than an MLA.

Sha cannot force someone out. There is really no choice. Ralph or Jane are the best bets to step down but it has to be done respectively not like when Pamela Martin tried to parachute in.

The North Shore would also have a premier for the next dozen years or more.

Anonymous said...

Wow George. I watched the ongoing personal slagging between you and Sue and that was reason enough not to have named posters.

Anyway, in that exchange you came off as the less nutty.

As I support Anon postings and I'm not employed outside the home and I'm posting from my home computer (not from work as is your goofy allegation) I might have to revise my opinion. Can you say conspiracy theory?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of conspiracy theory: Today's Province newspaper:

Why didn’t the right people win?

As an active NDP campaigner in North Vancouver-Seymour and as a resident of B.C., I find the election results very disturbing.

What part did the incorrect polling results play in voter turnout? Perhaps NDP supporters didn’t feel the need to vote since their party was supposedly so far ahead. The wrong people voted for the wrong people again! We must pursue electoral reform.

Wendy Qureshi, North Vancouver

Anonymous said...

Now that George and Wendy have posted with their names, watch and see if there are personal shots taken at them. If they had just stayed anonymous then the shots would be at their posts not them personally.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, I find it strange that John is now referring to himself as 'The Blog'. :)

"'The Blog' has decided to remove the anonymous comment option."

Griffin said...

Iwas really surprised that the Province printed her letter because it makes absolutely no sense at all. If Wendy ever runs for politics again, that weathervane commercial showing Adrian Dix would be just right for her. I think she has supported almost every party. In a federal election, not sure if it was the last one, she was supporting the Conservatives, and how she says she is an active NDP campaigner. It creates a bit of a credibility problem.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time knows that Wendy is anything but consistent.

Getting rid of anon posters is a mistake. They've provided some of the most worthwhile comment/editorial on this blog. There will always be the abusive posters, but they're easy to ignore. Besides, it's always good to know that there are some real wing-nuts out there walking the streets. Keeps me on my toes.

John Sharpe said...

Anon 10:04,

I have tried to "seek out and support more regular columnists" to no avail. No one seems to be interested.

And Anon 11:37,

I think I'm engaged. Although maybe not in your estimation. Being involved in an election campaign for the past year and a one half I believe qualifies me. That's not the problem. Sometimes I am short of time with a full time job. The problem is I am basically the only one who posts main topics with limited time.

Also there is no question that my heart is in to the blog. We're all lucky we have it.

It is mostly all anonymous comments and I'm not sure that's right. And if George's suggestion is right then maybe that's the way to go.

I would like to discuss further with Mr. George Pringle.

George Pringle said...

It's easy, John.

1. Set up a GMail account. Whatever name you use shows as your Google handle.

2. Set the blog to accept comments from registered Google accounts only.

3. People like the one anon guy who has posted many times today to make it look like his opinion has a lot of support has one account to use. Anon people would still be anon as they could pick an name like John Smith 444 but they would have to set up multiple google to fake support or set up an argument with themselves.

Anonymous said...

How is that in any way NOT anonymous? ALl your doing is creating an unnecessary step for people to post. And as for your quip about 'one anon guy', George, you're wrong on that count. I for one have only posted twice in this thread, while I count 14 anonymous postings. We don't all feel the need to publicize our names. If you want your name known, I'm sure you have your motives but that's your business.

Jeff M said...

Interesting thread. I have never posted to this site but do occasionally look at it to see what might be flaming up. I would never post to it while Anon's have a free ticket to spew. I don't have a problem with someone posting under a pseudonym, as long as each name is unique and reasonable controls are in place to limit multiple ID's for individual users.

Anonymous said...

Once again George is wrong. I also have posted only once on this thread on the Anon topic. He is beginning to look loopier - maybe Sue had a point.

I think that the blog (as it is a "political blog") should somewhat reflect how politics work in the bigger picture.

Those that have political aspirations (George, Wendy etc.) go ahead and post your names. It is a good thing (or not) that we can observe your candid thoughts for future consideration at the polls.

Those that are highly politically involved like active party executive and supporters, public committee members post their names if they feel like it.

The rest of us are anonymous exactly as our votes are. We have no obligation to come up with a "handle" to suit those that like to have their names up in lights.

As far as "spewing". There has been far more of that by certain folks with their names on their posts than there has by the Anons.

This blog would have died without the interesting Anon input over the years.

Anonymous said...

I think George's point was that since we are all called anonymous it is impossible to determine how many of us there are.

I just happen to believe that you can have a debate about ideas without the need for the distraction of who is the poster.

As easy as it is George to set up a pseudonym, I don't support requiring it because eventually all of the pseudonyms are figured out and then it is too easy to back track all of that persons comments. Sometimes I take extreme positions (not personal attacks) to spark debate but if I were 'held accountable' as though those were my real views it would be...problematic.

John Sharpe said...

Anon 8:32,

An "unnecessary step" only one time I believe. Once you've set it up I don't think there would be any more steps.

Anon 4:26,

"There has been far more of that by certain folks with their names on their posts than there has by the Anons."

That is totally an opinion.

Throughout the lifetime of the blog I believe the scales tip to the ID comments as being more constructive and insightful. However I wouldn't say that for recently. It makes me wonder if everyone was ID'd whether it the field wouldn't be a little more even. After all you can say what ever the 'h' as an anon with little accountability. We used to have many good ID commentors here and perhaps they just got tired of being criticized or judged by completely faceless, unaccountable sources.

The goal is to improve the Blog, that is all. Will ID only make a difference? It might be worth a try.

John Sharpe said...

Anon 6:42,

So what, devil's advocate , but not really your view? As an ID poster my views better be my views so shouldn't they be with an anon? Did I mention level playing field?

John Sharpe said...

George, Any chance you might contact me through the Blog email on the main page?

Toni Bolton said...

John, could you post this as a separate thread? Off-topic for this:

Anonymous said...

I have commented on at least half of the topics since Barry started the blog.

If you lock out anonymous posters,
I may still read it from time to time, but I will not comment any more.

John Sharpe said...

Not locking out as decribed by George. Please see his solution above, this thread.

John Sharpe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

John, with George's solution the posters are still anonymous. Sure, they may have a 'handle', but they would still be anonymous. As mentioned several times, the only people who seem to need to post their identities are those with political aspirations. I think the rest of us re quite happy not having name recognition. It's not like this blog is a public hearing, so why require a name? Let it be the way it has operated and let people speak. I'd wager that the decline in use is because you aren't actively posting topics for discussion. Saying that no one else is stepping up to post is a bit of a cop-out. It's your blog and no one else's. If you want it to thrive, you're going to need to become more active and post topics of interest to the whole North Vancouver, not just the District.

Anonymous said...

Published in tomorrow's Province:

Just a bad campaign

Wendy Qureshi’s letter regarding electoral reform is typical NDP thinking— lose the election so it must be the process. Did she ever consider that her leader just plainly lost because he was not clear on his position and simply ran a bad campaign?

Wayne Rand, Port Moody

Anonymous said...

Agree with points of Anons 11:04 and 9:33.

Additionally it really is a bit much to choose to post your name and then complain that people criticize you by name. If you are really looking for simple solutions just don't post your name and then we have a level playing field.

As far as ID'd posters being insightful and constructive let's recall some of the Blog highlights:

- Ernie told us that the US was only in Afghanistan to protect their oil interests. Afghanistan has no oil.

- Wendy went into far too much detail of Ernie's private affairs. Terribly bad judgement.

- John publicly announced that he was going away during the Olympics thereby advising any and all folks with potentially bad intent.

- Lyle told us that the firemen receive a payout for their accumulated sick time at retirement. They don't.

- Sue spewed unflattering comments regarding immigrants.

- George makes unsubstantiated claims that the civic staff are sitting at their computers responding to his every comment. Get over yourself.

So, all in all, I'll take the Anon comments and urge those with an ID to post as Anons if they are sensitive to response.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 10:08

Just who in Hell gives you the right to be judge and jury regarding this blog?? What are your credentials? And I would really like you to prove your point about Ernie. Show us the evidence.

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn"t one remain anonymous, think we are being
criticiized for one"s freedom of speech!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:24AM, I think you are over reacting a tad. Anon 10:08AM's post was very civil and was pointing out highlights of the past. Why are you so invested in what Ernie did or didn't say (I can certainly guess)? Why do you feel the need to react to one person's valid points with such anger?

George Pringle said...

Sole Anon is posting all the angry and abusive comments in a vain attempt to protect his method of abuse.

As to a comparison to a secret ballot, it is not voting but a letter to the editor where you have to comment with a real name and location not even a handle people would have using a google ID.

But I doubt this blog recovers to it's traffic of the first few years. There are three other blogs that are city based and one all North Van with this one had a monopoly before. The damage has been done and potential posters are somewhere else.

Griffin said...

Anyone want to bet that Anon 10:24 is Wendy Q...? It sure sounds like her (confrontational) style.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet you're right, Griffin. WQ all the way.
Sorry George, but do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound? We get it, you want name recognition, although I really can't see why. Some of us want to express our opinions without having the angry, crazy people knowing who we are. I'm not one to stoop to name-calling or incoherent ranting. I want to voice my opinions about local politics and development. I don't need to be abusive to do that. I try to be respectful and present my thoughts in a coherent and well thought out manner. Please tell me what is wrong with that. What is wrong with me wanting to protect my privacy? I've no interest in running for public office, so my name is immaterial.

Anonymous said...

I just checked this blog out for the first time in a few days. My letters are here. They are available on the Province website. People are criticizing me for comments I didn't make. I don't believe the mentality of this blog will change.

Anonymous said...

Hey George!

Those damn civic staff have been posting opinions on Saturdays and Sundays - just think of the overtime they must be racking up while sitting in their comfortable offices on their free computers at our expense!! My God, if an Anon expresses an opinion on Monday they'll be getting triple overtime for going in on a holiday.

This outrage cannot go on. You've just got to ID 'em and bring them to justice.

On the other hand, perhaps those posting might just be ordinary citizens freely expressing their opinion. Nah - that's way too far out. Better rein them in and control 'em before this gets right out of hand.

Barry Rueger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barry Rueger said...

Bravo John. Given the increasingly nasty nature of politics in this province, and the way that has been reflected sometimes on this forum, it's long overdue to ask people to own up to their comments.

Hopefully this will encourage a lot more thinking before posting.

Who knows? Maybe people will even learn how to stay on topic.

Griffin said...

Barry, I think there are very few posters who get nasty and hide behind an anonymous identity. In that instance, John has the power to delete their comments. All he has to do is exercise that authority.

Anonymous said...

Quite right, Giffin. The Anon "nasty" comment myth is just that.

The ID'd posters are as guilty of inappropriate comments as anyone else and both can be edited as necessary.

One wonders if the ID'd posters like the sense of control by insisting that everyone else do as they require.

The beginnings of the budding controlling politician.

It seems pretty consistent that some ID'd posters want everyone ID'd and the Anons could care less about the ID's.

A suggestion.

Leave this site for free and open discussion as in the past and open a parallel site that requires a formal ID.

The ID'd people can post away to their hearts content with each other on the "ID required" site. They can choose to post on the free and inclusive site - or not.

George, Barry or any other ID'd poster's opinion is no more valid, insightful or even correct than any of the Anons so if they choose not to post it really doesn't diminish the discussion between the rest of the participants.

Let freedom ring.

Mocrael said...

It would be interesting to be able to know who loves to spar with me about "mountain biking politics" on this board, if I chose to post on the topic "again".

But anyone can sign up for blogger under an assumed "anonymous" name, again. Not sure if this will make any difference, John.

I agree with Griffin. If the posters get nasty, target another poster but not the topic on hand, then you do have the authority to delete those posts. On the other hand, if the poster is not anonymous, they can be asked to remove an offensive post. That is the power of an Administrator of any blog.

Lyle Craver said...

Just because you post under your own name doesn't make you a 'budding politician' - I post under my own name as I think it gives what I say more credibility than something said by an anonymous. And I'm more than happy to discuss my views in person - sometimes I convince other people, sometimes I am convinced by them.

And you know what? That's exactly as it should be!