The Town Square

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A followup on commenting on Blogit

First of all, thanks to everyone who's helped clarify why it's important for people to behave reasonably on Blogit. Education about this issue is critical, and it's important for people to hear it from others with different perspectives and experiences, not just us.

Since it seems to be confusing to some people, I'd like to reiterate that we want people to express their opinions, and, yes, disagreement. It would be pretty boring if Blogit was all the same. However, the goal should be to allow as much freedom of expression as possible, by as many people as possible, not only those who are the rudest and most vicious.

The concern is with actions such as people deliberately and repeatedly leaving comments on someone's blog to "flame" them (i.e. make insulting criticisms or remarks to incite anger). The purpose of such verbal abuse is to try to intimidate the writer into not expressing their opinions, and it can easily escalate into a "blog war".

Even in off-Blogit life, there are limits on freedom of speech. For example, if someone uses "fighting words", it can help influence whether their attacker is convicted.

Maybe an example will help. Say 'Joe' reads a blog written by 'Jill'. If Joe posts a comment to that blog saying "Jill, I completely disagree with what you said", that's very different from him saying "Jill, you're a stupid idiot".

Calling Jill names isn't going to make her want to discuss Joe's opinions, but it will make her think twice about writing again (the goal of the abuser) or call Joe names in return, and pretty soon, it's just going to be a name-calling competition. If that kind of censorship-by-intimidation or fighting is what you're looking for, Blogit isn't the place for you.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to ask people to alert us to offensive comments by clicking the "report" link next to the comment. Please note that we review every comment that is reported before taking action. Since we don't monitor Blogit, if you don't report it, we probably won't see it.

When reviewing a comment, we try to consider the context and the combination of comments, not just an individual comment. It's actually far more likely for a comment to be deleted by the blog owner -- which is their privilege -- than by us.

In response to some concerns/suggestions on the original blog entry:

metalrat, please do report similar comments so we can address them. It doesn't make any difference to us whether they're religious or non-religious -- as in off-Blogit life, it's about the behavior of that individual, not that of the entire group. You can confirm this for yourself from people who've been on Blogit a long time.

kooka_lives, as I described above, comments are always reviewed before being deleted (although this doesn't mean everyone's going to agree with every decision we make). And, we wouldn't currently consider a negative blog title related to a political party a violation, since you can choose not to watch that "channel". I think it's pretty obvious there's a big difference between that and deliberately going to someone's blog to flame them.

Regarding your request that we evaluate the reporter as well, we do consider that, and will continue doing so.

gapcohen and FineYoungSinger, I understand your concern about posting the link on the home page. We initially tried to deal with the issue privately (see the email in the original blog entry), which is how we've always done things before. Once a few days went by and it felt like misstatements were being made to the point that it could actually disrupt the site, it seemed useful to try full disclosure, which is something people have asked us to do before, and post the link for 24 hours so people were aware of it.

That isn't our preferred avenue, so we will continue to try to handle the issue privately whenever it's possible to do so, and otherwise make the information available in a designated spot instead. If you have any further input, please let us know. (And gapcohen, I'm sorry to hear that you experienced negative comments. If it happens again, please let us know about them so we can take action.)

Xeno-x, thanks for the input on considering issuing a warning first. We'll definitely do that whenever possible.

I think we'll have to disagree on the name-calling. There's a big difference between say, calling a public figure a name, and flaming another Blogit member on their blog as I described at the top of this blog entry.

I'm not sure why you feel you "cannot make comments on others posts" without name-calling. Ironically, why not express your opinion as you have done in these comments (i.e. without name-calling)?

Maryka77, as much as I wish I could agree with you, sadly, not everyone "means no harm". If we truly were to make Blogit a pure anarchy where the only "rule" was survival of the "fittest", soon, only the rudest and most vicious would remain, and only they would be left to speak. As in off-Blogit life, shouldn't we want everyone to be able to express themselves, not just a select few?

-Robert

[Edited to add info on lack of monitoring and on the consequences of verbal abuse]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ths website is pretty lenient, considering it is not free.

Other sites are less tolerant and still have brisk and intelligent discourse. I think it does not advance the site.

This site has paying members, and when one complains about being harassed, other members tell them to stand up for themselves? That's like having a drunk come out of the bar into a restaurant and start picking on you, and the employees let it go on and on. It's in the rules, it isn't a public place (it is paid for, has a membership, it's private) and we don't have to listen to or read this stuff, or have our friends or cohorts put upon.

I say if you want to play rough, go find a free free-for-all, or Second Life, or something and leave off the interpersonal stuff.

And if you get a comeuppance from the blogmeisters, then start rumours about what happened to get people standing up for you, when your name pops out it's not like it is unexpected. I've advocated a rogues' list for years.

Where would George Carlin come down?

in this controversy over Zenmom's comments.

You know where.

I remember the Smothers Brothers and their fight against CBS censorship.  They may have lost, bit they paved the way for more open expressions, such as Norman Lear's "All in the Family" and Archie Bunker.

I have complained just once -- actually twice.  The first time was against a blogger who, had this been a public forum outside of Blogit, would have been guilty of libel, could have been prosecuted.

The second was in the same vein, although it seems nothing was done about it.

 Name calling is part of public discourse -- it is not restricted under normal circumstances.  Sometimes the victim enacts retribution by calling names also.

I, and several of my peers who think alike, have been called names -- have been typified as making senseless statements and more by some of these same people who now object to ZenMom's actions, which are not that very much different.

If we cannot then make comments on others posts, then I guess we will have to post an opposing viewpoint.  I h ave, referring to the post with which I have disagreed; but have received objections from the poster -- and Blogit has also received such objections.

Freedom of speech is not a one way street.  Remember when it was -- that was called the "Dark Ages", and for good reason.  Only one explanation of spirituality and the Universe was accepted, with dissenters being dealt with by various unsavory means.

Thank God we are free to question.  Else we would be subject to the views of a few.


Hawthorne Would Have A Field Day

As much as I dislike what ZenMom wrote in these comments that you've posted here, I dislike more your slapping a red letter on her chest by posting her comments here and encouraging everyone to read them with a big yellow link in the home page.

If she broke the rules of the site, enough said.  Why turn it into a witch hunt?

People in this forum need to get a life, including the Blogit Staff.

 

In defense of the woman who said 'godbot', you owe us all an apology!

 Dear Blogit and fellow 'Blogiteers',

Personally, I just want to write and illustrate my poetry  - but this is too important right now so I am coming out of my poetry cocoon to put in my two cents worth on censorship.

In defense of the  woman who said 'Godbot' (a clever word I'd never heard before), your censorship may be causing all of us to be even more candid and certainly myself .
Actions are one thing, WORDS  another - this is about self expression and dialogue between humans using words  - letters of the alphabet.  You made a dialogue impossible for all of us because of this action of censorship - you cut off the supply of word oxygen for everyone.

I use Blogit to express myself in writing and other art forms, and to have an audience of other writers. If someone likes or doesn't like what I say, they can call me names and tell me their opinions. I don't care.  I'm a grown-up. I expect to deal with it or take my pencils and  and go home. 

Of course, no one who writes on Blogit (as is true of life in general), is the supreme authority on anything. That is why, just like in conversation, many voices should be heard (or in this case, read). Humans learn this way. AND, equally important, no one is immune from hearing how their beliefs and words affect others.

There are consequences to expressing your self. So 'if you can't take the heat, (whoops, I mean "words"), then get out of the writing stratosphere'.  The policy here should be: 'Say what you want, deal with the consequences, say what you want...deal...say again...deal again ..and be prepared to be criticized, praised, encouraged (and maybe severely) with WORDS.  

Why not? Isn't that better than being ignored - which is what often happens to those who only want to talk and never seem to listen.

This is not a high school English class, a police precinct or a nursery school.  Is not Blogit an art and learning forum, a vast arena where hopefully 'grown-ups' converse?   It appears that Blogit does not want anyone to 'deal with' consequences engendered by diverse opinion.  Some people unfortunately don't even realize others have other experience of life and different opinions. All the voices need to speak. There are angry ones, funny ones, pathetic ones, opinionated ones, profound ones, stupid and intelligent ones - I could go on and on.  It' s a study in humanity and spiritual growth. Usually you can tell who you are listening to after a few sentences.  I say teach them , learn from them , observe them, contemplate them, dialogue with them, or ignore them until they grow up, but don't relegate them to tatteling children who need to be defended from WORDS or 'monsters' who need their words controlled.  Self expression is not just about being heard - it is about being reacted to as well. This is how we humans learn.

Anyone who writes on Blogit, whether profoundly or ignorantly, beautifully or stupidly, maturely or immaturely has to know, as I do right now, that people will agree or disagree and probably tell you so.  So bring on the response  - even if  I 'write' an opinion about you and say a word you don't like or find 'offensive', heaven forbid. I mean you no harm - except a little enlightenment, which I know can hurt a bit if you only like to talk - and maybe  I will learn something from you and I will even change my mind in the process.

Please reconsider this action and further actions of this nature.
  It is really disappointing to writers to see this happen, you know. We are all just trying to be heard and taken seriously in all our states of writing maturity and experience. No one was served well by your action.

 Thanks for listening. I await your response and especially your apology to your writers on Blogit.

M. K. Horton

Blogit Staff

I have been here almost four years. I have seen people come and go. I have seen many Blogit wars. I feel that people should write about what they want. I do not feel that name calling for anyone who does not believe the same as you do about anything is conducive to an enjoyable, entertaining or valuable place to write. It is hurtful and a hinderance to one's ability to write easily when called vile and vulgar names. I appreciate when one disagrees with me and tells me how or why. That is a far cry from the filth that is supposed to pass as decent communication. Thank you for taking a stand on this issue.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A note on commenting on Blogit (with ZenMom as an example)

All,

Since a couple of people have asked us to consider this, we're changing our procedures related to policy violations, effective immediately. That's because some people use misstatements about what we said or did to drive up their popularity, get clicks and earn money.

Although we will continue to keep the identity of the person who reported the policy violation private, we may talk publicly about what actions we took. We'll be updating the Blogit help pages accordingly.

We're posting this to help people understand why we -- very seldom -- have to delete comments or stop someone commenting for a period of time. Here's the truth:

In brief, the problem isn't with free speech, it's with ZenMom personally attacking a number of members and/or their beliefs, and deliberately going to those members' blogs to do so. In other words, picking a fight with another member.

This kind of behavior is known as "flaming" (making insulting criticisms or remarks to incite anger) and can quickly lead to a "blog war".

ZenMom's comments were reported by several people, after which we reviewed and then deleted them.

After 5 of them were deleted, the automated system (described in this News post) turned off ZenMom's commenting privileges for a "cooling off" period of 24 hours, as it does for anyone who has had 5 deleted. ZenMom had full access to all other Blogit privileges and features, including posting blog entries, reading, email, etc.

When ZenMom asked us for details, I sent the enclosed response. I'm also enclosing the most recently deleted comments.

I'd like to believe that people at Blogit would like everyone writing on Blogit, whether they're religious or not, to be able to post about their beliefs without personal ridicule or persecution. Since Blogit employees come from very different ethnic and religious (and not-so-religious) backgrounds, this is something that's dear to our hearts.

Perhaps I'm wrong. Let's see.

-Robert

P.S. Most web sites, from Amazon to YouTube (I can't think of one that starts with Z at the moment), have ways of reporting/filtering inappropriate comments. Blogit isn't unusual. However, as usual, if you have suggestions on improving the system or the email below, let us know.

The email

ZenMom,

Expressing different perspectives is a good thing, and welcome on Blogit. It can help people understand other people's beliefs and reasons, learn tolerance, and perhaps even change their minds.

However, doing things like calling a Blogit member names like "godbot" and phrases like "dumber than a hockey puck", telling them "that would make YOUR god an asshole" and describing their statements as "drivel... based on ignorance and fear", that's really not helpful.

If you disagree with someone, feel free to say it -- just without attacking them personally or calling them names. Or, don't read them.

Blogit is a relatively peaceful part of the online world. Please help us keep it that way. There's a link to the Blogit Conduct Policy on the bottom of every Blogit page -- here it is:

http://www.blogit.com/Blogs/Policies/Conduct.aspx

Sincerely,

Robert
The Blogit Policy Team
http://www.blogit.com/

The comments

Re: RedStatesMan - why don't we tell people here the truth?

"dumber than a hockey puck"..."incapable of intelligent dialog"..........these are perfect descriptions of the godbots, (i.e. onwingsofcrazy (that one surpasses all others in ignorance). The verbal garbage they create would fill a million landfills.


Re: ZenMom - I know I'm going to be sorry for ever sticking my nose in here

I saw it in my family yesterday. They really are brainwashed. We had a luncheon for an Aunt who turned 80...all my cousins were there. They talked about the first communion's that they were having for the kids. I just sat there. Then they talked about how they think it is a good idea that the Catholic Church changed the "rules" so kids wait until they are in high school before making their "confession". ( that's when you get to sit in a small dark closet w/ a priest and tell him your sins.) I jokingly said "that's cause the priests like their boy toys a little older.....more fun to assfuck molest a teenager.........then hit 'em up for some weed." Room went silent. (And, I didn't say this in front of the AUNTS.....just the cousins who are all pretty much MY age). Of course I had so say..."c'mon guys...i'm just kidding". I gotta admit........that was fun. 


So, why does your kind and loving god permit this? Why are so many mistaken? Because they cannot think for themselves......they spew the same bs over and over w/ out asking themselves if it MAKES SENSE. Look at this picture........put another several MILLION just like it side by side. So, these are god's children? If this were true.......that would make YOUR god an asshole evil. 


Re: Re: The Wind _onwingsoflove

wings. Try to stay on point here, just for a second. You are WRONG.........INCORRECT. Scientists CAN prove everything they say about the wind. I repeat, the CAN CAN CAN CAN prove it.

Seriously, I am wondering (as did gomedome)..........exactly how far did you get in your formal education? And, in what state/city did you obtain said education? (This could help me understand (just a little) the basis of your beliefs.)


gd - Did you find yourself breathing deeply and shaking your head when you read that comment? Yeah, me too. Thanks for jumping into this conversation. I think you were as kind as you could be in your comment to wings. I am certain that NOTHING anyone says will EVER open the mind of such godbots. The are on auto-pilot.


Re: ZenMom - I always wonder who they think they are talking to?

It's interesting. The person I mentioned in my post..........the one whose son has leukemia....she's swears god has answered her prayers since her son was originally diagnosed when he was 15 and he's 19 now. (He has suffered UNBELIEVABLY but, they don't blame their god for THAT) And yes, now he is terminal......I want to SCREAM "but, you didn't ask god for your son to suffer for years THEN die.........you asked your god for a cure." Of course, I would NEVER say that out loud. She's barely hanging on as it is. And, THAT'S what her PRAYERS do for her......they help her HANG ON.............and I understand that.


Re: Re: Hey believer, I hate to break it to you but...

touchy, aren't we? My thoughts are based on reason and science...unlike your drivel which, is based on ignorance and fear.

You can look it up......do a little research. No, the bible is not reliable for this.....


[Edit: added "with another member" and description of "flaming"]

Saturday, May 9, 2009

inserting

i am trying to figure out how to insert a song that is not on utube, anyone know how?

 

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Wait a minute, I am great!"

I still write, and write. I just haven't posted anything on here, for a month or two or three. Maybe because I realized that I don't need anybody's opinion on what they think of what I write about or what and how I live. I guess people can be so low in self esteem in how good they really are. So I think over and over again to myself, like "Wait a minute, I am great!" Isn't that amazing! Thnx everybody! Much luck and Much Love Everybody!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New to this website!

Hello, I'm new to this website, just wanted to stop by and leave a comment, and see if anyone responds. Right now I'm working on writing my book, "The Gate Keeper Chronicles", I'm curious to see what people might think about it, and if they see any need for improvement. I wonder love to hear what you all think.

- Nataliya Maize

 


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