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Grant Gallicho August 12, 2006 - 10:42am
Consider it in full effect here, dotCommonwealers.
Spoken like a true restorationist, these are my blocks and you'll play with them the way I say to. Heady stuff for a Catholic women, so much power
This isn't about power, but about keeping the discourse civil. Anonymous trolls ruin a blog.
I wholly agree that AW is on target. Three cheers!
Learn a word a day. I thought trolls were something out of Tolkien. But now that I know what blog trolls are, yes, I agree AW has the right idea about them.
Blogs can set whatever rules they want to and need to in order to insure civility of discussion. I am surprised that Commonweal would condone and adopt the moniker "troll," however, since it does not fit with the Commonweal ethos, as I have known it. Sometimes there are good reasons why people post anonymously, and such posters can be civil and contribute to the discussion. If Commonweal does not want anonymous posting then why not just come out and say it , rather than endorsing the Welborn doctrine in a backhanded way?
What is backhanded about this endorsement, and what is wrong with the term "troll"? It came into this kind of use in the 80s, and doesn't refer to characters out of folklore, but to those who go trolling, as in fishing, for reactions.
What I thought was backhanded was not coming out directly and saying that anonymous posting is not welcome at dotCommonweal. I appreciate your honesty in saying that this was the intention of your post endorsing the Welborn doctrine. I can live with that.
Interesting. Sometime back, I posted a negative opinion (being "respectful" here) on Amy's site about the AB of St. Louis, an opinion, I might add, shared by many Catholics familiar with this guy. A few days later, Amy removed my comment and apologized to her readers for its appearance. A few months later, as I recall, Amy posted a negative comment that included a choice "potty word" on the matter at hand. I e-mailed her, suggesting that we leave mothers of annoying folks out of the discussion. I don't recall getting a reply. A clerical friend recently described the typical blogsite as a "hot medium." My experience certainly supports his observation.(Sorry, I don't remember when Amy's choice language appeared or when I contacted her. It happened, though. Perhaps we shouldn't be too quick to judge others' comments.)
Joe:If you could remind me of the content of your post, I'd appreciate it. I'm not in the habit of removing comments unless they might potentially result in my blog being held liable for your comment. That is a real concern for bloggers. The line is between what can be substantiated and what cannot. When the whole Deal Hudson escapade came out, I blogged on that frequently and forcefully, I hope. But I had to keep a close eye on comments because I was being inundated with comments that were like "Yeah, my friend was at Fordham, and she said that Hudson did X...." My blog can't be a place for people to post accusations and rumors. It just can't - nor should any blog. And even if something is more than a rumor, if it is unsubstantiated, it's problematic. I don't have the resources to follow up on news tips, and I can't just let things sit there without evidence.One of the ponts I didn't make clear in my post is one that people really need to remember, aside from the liability question. If someone posts with a fake name, I have no problem with that. The problem is a false or non-existent email. Why is this a problem? Because it leaves me no way to contact a commentor. I can't email someone and say, "Hey, cool it." or "I'm going to warn you about the tinge of anti-Semitism I see in your postings - that's not welcome here." And so on. Do you see what a problem that is? And strictly speaking, a "troll" in my mind is someone who has one drum to beat and enters every thread beating that drum, trying to pull whatever conversation is going on in the direction of his pet cause. Again, if someone is in the habit of doing that, and has left a legit email, we can talk about it. But if it's "Joe Shmoe" whose email is "nothtistime.nomail.com" - they have no rights, and will probably get deleted, then banned.So that was really the point. My blog hosts wild and divergent conversations about all sorts of topics. Archbishop Burke actually has quite a few doubters - we won't go so far as to say detractors - but doubters in our comments boxes. His actions re/the Polish parish produced quite intense conversations with viewpoints on all sides. I apologize, Joe, if I deleted a comment of yours that I shouldn't have. Sometimes what also happens is that an initial comment is really bad, then others step in to answer it, and in order for the whole thread to make any sort of sense, I have to delete not only the jerky post, but those that respond to it.
Amy,My comment, which appeared on a thread about the St. Stanislaus Kostka controversy if I remember, characterized the AB as an "a#*" (a 4-letter word may have been appended). It remained on your site, I recall, for a weekend before it was removed. At the time, you apologized to your readership for not seeing the comment and removing it earlier. This episode occurred within the past 12 months.A few months later, you used a popular three-letter acronym, if I recall, about someone's (or some group's) characterization of Opus Dei. I was surprised to see it, but I chuckled because I realized (and realize) that no one is perfect. I sent you an e-mail acknowledging your right to your feelings and to your expression of your feelings. I did suggest, however (and I confess --- somewhat tongue-in-cheek) that we should not insert any reference to loose mothers into our response to someone else's news article/opinion piece. I wish I could provide more specifics here, but I let the matter drop at the time. I never heard from you after my e-mail. I am not a journalist or writer so I am not familiar with the law in these areas. Regarding the AB, I first learned about the controversy via CBS News (to this date, our diocesan paper has never carried a story on this episode). I acquired later information from various news and blog sources including yours. Given my antipathy toward the AB and the fact he is a public figure whose actions provoked a nationwide outcry, I figured at the time (of your post in question) that I would share my view of this man. Anyway, thank you for sharing your concerns as a blogsite "producer." Please be assured that I see this specific tidbit of blog history as "past-tense" and hold no hard feelings. I think you have a most interesting site that I enjoy visiting from time to time.I do think my theology friend was quite apt in his description of blogsites. As to where to draw the line between appropriate and inappropriate expressions of anger (and I am not referring to "the law" here), I must defer to you folks who maintain blogsites. On this latter point, I'm glad I don't :) !!!
Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
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