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Letter: Detoxify the website, please

I very rarely agree with Jeff Jacoby, the Boston Globe’s “house conservative” columnist, but his Jan. 1 column is thought-provoking. I especially agree with his final point.

I rarely comment online on stories in the Concord Monitor because the anonymous posters are so tedious. Here’s Jacoby’s take:

“Why do media outlets tolerate the pollution of their websites with poisonous comments from anonymous posters? Feedback from readers is a fine thing, and a rollicking comment section can greatly enrich the experience of following the news. But editors enforce standards of taste and tone when they publish letters to the editor. They should be similarly concerned about the taste and tone of the comment forums they provide. As public discourse grows ever more bitter, here, at least, is one way that news sites can refuse to enable the ugliness.”



Legacy Comments77

Humongous national news on the disastrous devastating jobs numbers and this tainted rag chooses NOT to print even a squeak. That is massive proof of this leftist rags lack of any journalistic integrity.

I couldn't agree more: time to detoxify the website comments by having the editor enforce the same standards of taste and tone as when actual letters are published. The comments have become so uncivil (not to mention repetitive) that they drive many people away. I welcome the efforts of the Comment Moderator to try to hold posters accountable. I also believe that requiring real names, as in the letter section, would make for less toxic posts.

another democrat that wants to eliminate freedom of speech - no surprise

I have presented probably a dozen times the world wide acclaimed Gini Coefficient numbers that absolutely destroys the premises of the inequality debate. 100% of the times those posts have been deleted. That is the CM readers dont know about.

Was the Gini Coefficient info among the 34 comments you submitted Jan. 4? Or the 25 - so far - you've submitted today. When readers try to hijack the site by spamming us with repetitive comments, we cut them off for the day after 12 submissions.

when you don't post any replys - you get more submissions - shame on you for your censorship - go ahead and print the 12 so I at least know what you have censored

Here are links to stories with the 12 comments of yours we've posted today. /// /// /// /// /// /// These 5 links, coupled with this story, contain 24 of your comments from today and earlier that weren't "censored."

Good point to Sail, you never know how many time someone has posted but Bruce posted many, many comments on the same point over and over and over again.

I suggest that the CM is insincere or disingenuous: Proof...... 1/3 (25 of 80)of the comments regarding the minimum wage are by Whack-a-mole Bruce Currie with his Bruce Excuse of the minute. In the Antarctic letter 5 of the 13 posts are by Whack-a-mole. His filibustering length, excuse of the day, is legendary, easily challenged and proves his debate is vacant,

Mr. Currie WROTE the minimum wage letter for which you and a handful of others are criticizing him. Surely he has a right to post separate responses to the separate attacks. Should you ever write a letter to the editor, you'll get the same opportunity. Though you'll have to go further than "Sail" with your signature on the letter.

Well the last 3 letters I had published the moderator never posted my responses. So you must be a new moderator. I thank you for not being biased.

You left out a pertinent fact: You submitted the letters under your real name and then tried to agree with the letter writer using your online alias.

Incorrect, I tried to defend myself on four letters using my online alias. Then I tried to sign up for an account with my real name and that was not allowed. I then emailed and asked why and no one responded. Now when someone like Mr. Currie responds to those criticizing him, is he "attacking" or just challenging. I would prefer the word "challenging". But thanks for your inference although it is not exactly true that I "agreed" with it. It does seem as if you have a bias now, however. But thanks.

It is astonishing that the CM does now allow anybody to respond to "attacks" . Not allowing debate is foreign to the whole concept of a discussion forum. Post 11 of 12 on 1/8/14

34 posts in one day!? That's probably more than all other posts combined on some days.

The series of posts and exchanges above with Sail and Itsa are interesting, to say the least. For as long as I've been on this site, they've been strutting around like bullies, full of bluster and sometimes unpleasant. It seems as though their intent (34 posts in 1 day from Sail!) has been to try to hijack the site ( I don't think hijack is too strong a word here), bombarding letters and posts with their opinions on topics, with the intent to drive off other opinions. In economics, there is Gresham's Law" --the idea that "bad money" drives out good. This has seemed to me to be an Internet equivalent. On this thread, they both come across as self-righteous and unapologetic, the one for what amounts to 'spamming', the other for sneakily trying to post comments about his letter under his alias. It would be interesting to hear some thoughts from some of the other regulars.

Since you brought it up....I don't know why you would think this 'proves' anything you've claimed about inequality. It makes a mockery of your claim, which is probably why whatever information you posted on the Gini numbers left out some critical information--any context in which to put the numbers to make a fair comparison. Here you go: "The United States doesn't come out of this comparison looking great. It's ranked 44th out of 86 countries, well below every other developed society measured. It's one spot below Nigeria, which has some of the worst political corruption in the world and in 2012 saw nationwide protests over perceived income inequality. The United States' Palma ratio ranks it just beneath Nigeria but above Russia and Turkey -- all countries that have experienced heavy political unrest in recent years.The data offer a reminder that the United States might enjoy greater economic equality than much of the world, but it is at the bottom end of the developed world."

a reply to Bruce: FORBES facts prove your hand picked skewed data WRONG: Most readers desire Honest numbers and they will find them at highly acclaimed FORBES. FORBES also provides direct links to all the data. Readers looking for a TRUTHFUL debate will read the following: - When Bruce provides numbers Readers need to look behind the Bruce spoof to the see the data. He does not account for the over $$$ 2 Trillion in the USA treasury annual transfer payments.

Your link is not to a Forbes news piece, but instead to their op-ed site. It's one writer's opinion. So they're not necessarily "honest numbers".

Refute 1 single fact

I'll do two. His claim that half of the unemployment rate is due to the generosity of unemployment benefits is not supported by other studies. While it is seems likely that unemployment insurance can be a disincentive for finding a job, the effect is small in other studies. One study for Brookings found the effect of unemployment insurance to be 2 to 6 tenths of a percent--not 50%. Another study, by the CBO, noted that ANY effect of unemployment insurance as a disincentive was more than made up the entrance of new job seekers not eligible for unemployment benefits. Also, in the real world: both Greece and Spain cut their unemployment benefits, but the unemployment rate did not fall, it increased. Second, his claim regarding the difference between families at the 2 ends of the spectrum and their "lifestyle choices" confuses cause and effect. He strongly implies that poverty is due to making a "choice" to be a single parent, when the causality is at least as likely to run the other way: poverty and economic stress make marriage and stable partnerships more likely to fail. Divorce and single parenthood are as much a consequence of financial distress and joblessness as a cause.

I may have to come back. I see some of the Usual Suspects are strutting about like Bantam Roosters.

Please do my friend!

Seconded. You're missed here.

I'm not even a subscriber. Yet, I'm moderated -- AGAIN!! (LOL!!)

Did anyone besides me actually read Jacobys column???

Somehow, my initial post on this letter has "disappeared." I wonder "Why?" I simply said that at THIS newspaper, the moderator is more like a censor. If the posted opinion does not conform to this newspaper's Editorial Board's political views or standards of political correctness, the poster is subject to much stricter scrutiny. For example, why did my original comment on this letter disappear? Does anyone REALLY think my comment will stay up until tomorrow?

It might be nice if first comments up stayed first, but I think your comment still is here--look below.

John you are correct in your observations, very seldom do comments even stay on point. I know that I have been guilty of the same but I chose to do away with my anonymous screen name but I can see why some would require the facade for "protection" although I know not from what. It would be nice to see a spirited debate without the name calling but it would be easier to get Rep. Boehner to dance cheek to cheek with Rep. Pelosi.

Let me explain this again.........if you post with your name, it could open a can of worms with potential employers, neighbors, etc. I write letters to the Monitor but I would not want my name used here. People discriminate and YES progressives discriminate. A company ran an ad a few years ago and I applied for the job. Someone working there told me when they got my resume' they threw it in the trash and laughed, saying, "Oh, that is _________, I can't stand his conservative politics, never work here" Yes, you would like to see that happen so that you can try to shame people or drive them into silence. Not surprising.

It's no surprise to see those posters responsible for most of the snark and name-calling claiming to be victims here. Long-time readers of this site will know exactly what I'm referring to. When challenged on the facts, their response was predictably a resort to personal attack and/or snarkiness. I think they've cleaned up their act under moderation. But I make no apologies for coining the phrase "Carp Per Diem", which I think accurately describes such posts and their frequency. Posts that do nothing but complain (carp), and do so relying on distortions of fact or half-truths are regular fare here--sometimes seemingly in response to whatever crusade Fox News is touting, for example the alleged "war on Christmas". Sometimes the posts get into murkier water--using the "Obama as the Joker" avatar on the old site, or an avatar quoting approvingly from an anti-immigrant and racist website. Or to cite a recent example--in the posts responding to my letter on the minimum wage, my comment that our distribution of income resembles Mexico's, while those of Germany, France, and most of the other advanced democracies had not skewed to the same extent, drew this response from GWTW: "now if those countries bordered Mexico...hmmmm…" Enough said.

So Bruce, you are not snarky, name call or use liberal sources to back up your statements here? I have seen many libs on this forum avoid the topic and name call. When you ask them to answer the question, they name call even more. You do respond to the topic. Usually with links to liberal sights. And some could make the argument that your constant posts on global warming could be considered carping and half truths. Lets be honest here. And what party decided that if someone disagreed with President Obama's policies, it was okay to label them racists? Some could state because the President is black, he should not be judged on his decisions while being president. That seems to be how many on the left feel. At least, that is the way it appears.

I wasn't aware that facts had a partisan basis. Either the planet is warming, or it isn't--there are facts to answer that. Does the CO2 from fossil fuels contribute to that warming? Climate scientists--the experts who should know-- are in agreement--to the extent that 97 % think, based on the evidence, that global warming has a human footprint. That's also a fact. Has income distribution in the U.S. become less equal over the last 40 years? That's a fact also--the data is sold and unequivocal. Where people may differ in is attribution, but there is no disputing its existence--except on this website it seems. There are also marked differences in wealth and income between the U.S. and other advanced democracies--that is also a fact--albeit a complicated one. On this site, both climate change and wealth distribution are topics marked by an absence of fact, but plenty of opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion--but not their own facts.

It may or may not be warming. 97%, there is still 3% who do not agree. Income is not "distributed", it is earned. I don't care about Euro lifestyles or wealth distribution, they have many other issues that we don't have here. You are entitled to a manipulative reading of facts but not claiming that they are absolute and that your facts are 100% correct. P.S. - This is an "opinion" forum, not a "gotcha with these cherry picked facts" forum.

Forbes FACTS: "study found that between 1993 and 2009, the Gini value actually fell from .395 to .388 — meaning that inequality has actually declined in recent years. " the Gini coeficient is in line with Britain, India & Japan.

That decline would be due to the recession, and a relative decline in wealth of the 1% during those years, rather than a fairer distribution to the 99% By your numbers it's a decline in inequality of 7/1000s--not very significant on the face of it. Data going up to 2012, which covers the recovery, would show the number has gone up again. See my post above for context on the Gini numbers.

Rabbit, why do you assume that just because someone uses a liberal site as a source that they are automatically wrong? A bit presumptuous isn't it. As to disagreeing with Obama and racism. That is just foolish and should rightly be dismissed. It comes down to credentials, I don't believe any 1st term Congressman is qualified to be president. I didn't think Obama was and I will feel the same if those are the only qualifications that the next bunch have in 2016. The problem with Obama is not that he was a democrat but that he is a poor leader. Unfortunately he came to power in a time that needed a strong leader who could get things done. The only thing that has grown under Obama is partisanship. Quite frankly the only reason he was reelected was that Romney had such limited appeal. We need strong leadership, be it GOP or Democratic, the operative word is STRONG.

May I ask what you think I meant by that statement? It must be too murky for me to understand..or maybe I should have said..what if one of those advanced democracies bordered the US???

No.the onus is on you--it's your statement. Words do have meaning.

Evidently Bruce Tillie's words do not have meaning? Both GWTW and I have no clue why she called it racist. Asking for a clarification seems to be fair. Or are Libs not required to explain their statements? I think that is a fair question.

it is a waste of time trying to have serious talks with the left. They make up ridiculous numbers and accredit them to incorrect sources. How could you possibly work out anything with people that shamelessly do this? It's like trying to have a meaningful discussion about what type of cheese the moon is made of, fraudulent on it's initial premise."

Unintentionally? ironic post of the thread/day/week: "...They make up ridiculous numbed and accredit them to incorrect sources...."

Here is some snark & name calling for you Bruce: Try becoming informed. Greek Chorus of right wing dittoheads. Name callers, off topic rants and strawmen. Isolated facts out of context. Your reply contains not a whit of substansive response. Guess who uses these phrases in their replies.

In THIS newspaper, the moderator is more like a censor. If the poster's POV isn't liberal, progressive or is one of the Democratic Party's talking points, said poster, and his posts, are subject to a more rigid standard than someone who is politically correct or whose comments are in accord with this newspaper's Editorial Board.

That was Jacobys first point..."News organizations should be candid about their biases, and drop the pretense that they don’t take sides."....And the Monitor should say such in the comment rules.

Nonsense. The Monitor has a liberal stance on its editorial page. That's exactly what frosts conservatives and has given this site its Greek Chorus of right wing dittoheads--that the paper dares have the temerity to take stands on the issues contrary to what they hear in the echo chamber of Faux/Rushbo/Grok/Newsmax/Breitbart/WSJ that they inhabit. Conservatives are given ample opportunities to state their case here and in the letters column. What they don't like and frequently can't handle is being challenged on the 'facts' they hold dear. That's when they resort to name-calling, straw men, and off-topic rants.

Au contraire, bubbeleh. Liberal/progressive/socialist commenters in this forum get all manner of breaks. Conservatives like me and those who take positions contrary to those espoused by the Monitor's Editorial Board (or are not politically correct) are subject to much stricter, sometimes arbitrary, standards. This is why I seldom comment in this forum. I prefer the NY Times. It's much more open and tolerant of opposing viewpoints. Heck, one of my more conservative comments today was even a NYTimes "Pick!" I can't imagine that happening in the liberal echo chamber that is this forum.

So you say. Can you cite examples of "those stricter, sometimes arbitrary, standards" that conservatives labor under here? Just for starters, by volume, and thanks to the yeoman-like work of the Carp Per Diems, I'd say the conservative comments outnumber the progressive ones here on a daily basis.

Not really, I would say it about even. It runs in waves. We hear from you about every other week and then you are gone for days and I am generally the same (too busy). We have Sail, myself, van (quit the forum), GWTW (occasional), RabbitNH, Fearless (once in a while). On the other side we have gsecm, gdn1, bruce_currie, Veritas, and a few others whose handles are too numerous to mention. I'd say it is pretty balanced.

Actually, Bruce, what frosts conservatives is that we don't get the same latitude that liberals like you get. I have cited facts in well-reasoned arguments and have had my posts removed and been on moderation. It's not just my opinion that the Monitor's Editorial Board wants a liberal echo chamber; giving the impression that all readers agree with this newspapers POV. Just because we are silenced, muzzled or otherwise denied the same pulpit of which you take advantage, doesn't mean you are either right or have prevailed in the argument. It just means that censorship is alive and well in Concord, NH.

Sorry, but I'm not buying the victimhood. I've had posts deleted--sometimes unfairly in my mind, but with hindsight I could see how the moderator(s) thought I'd bent/ broken the rules. This should be a site for vigorous debate and "well-reasoned arguments"; posting with those qualities should have no problem being posted.

Bruce, you are not unfairly moderated, you have much more of a free reign than most people commenting here. I am not sure where that come from but it is obvious to 2/3 of the posters here.

I didnt write the article in question. 'Greek Chorus of right wing dittoheads'..namecalling? Isn't what the letter writer is complaining about?

Good point, GWTW, here are some others: "echo chamber of Faux/Rushbo/Grok/Newsmax/Breitbart/WSJ that they inhabit", "Carp Per Diems", "tea baggers", I could go on but it is not worth it!

100% CORRECT - and the liberal progressive socialists that post here see the absence of a debate as a signal they won the debate. It is far worse for the left to be uninformed than it is for the left to be misinformed. We post here daily to fix the lefts daily misinformation...the CM moderator chooses to leave them uninformed. My favorite is a frequent poster actually believes the USA is a democracy.

Sail, I will ask again, isn't the notion that the left as you call it needs to be corrected by the right a bit presumptuous? I must have missed the stone tablets that define the right as being the side of truth, justice and the American way. This pretext is plain wrong, the fact is that neither liberals or conservatives, are right, right lies at the point where both sides compromise. You know the whole democratic process. BTW in politics there has and never will be anything 100% correct.

There is nothing wrong with getting all the information out there GCarson. If folks are going to post half truths, then it is fine to correct those half truths. That is what the media does. They write a story and leave out important facts to push their agenda. The folks on the left follow the lead of the media. To the point of editing videos and out and out falsehoods. Why are folks not asking why the media wants you to be uninformed in regards to President Obama? The simple answer is that they thought he was going to be amazing because of all the promises he made. he even convinced some folks he was a centralist. Folks wanted a minority President, his experience was not important. They want health reform also, the details, cost and the affects it will have on the economy are not important.

Quite frankly it has nothing to do with wanting a minority President. I truly believe that the GOP didn't want to win and thus gave us McCain/Palin. Because the one's in the know understood how bad things were going to get and didn't want the heat. His re-election surprised me, but again look who we were handed as an opponent. You are correct about getting accurate information. In general if a posted link contains the word "blog" that is a big red flag for me. You need to combine pieces from both sides of an argument to try and find the truth, but I guarantee that one will never get the truth just reading what they want to hear.

There were no decent candidates running against Obama. They all had issues, mostly the fact that all of them were too extreme. Some of them had the brains, but for the most part, Reps have no personality. They come across as stern old time school principals.. Romney could have done the job, and had the ability to reach across the aisle as he did in MA. He was stiff and came across as the preppy rich guy out of touch with the everyday Joe. I think he was sincere though, and had the chops to do okay with the economic issues. McCain & Palin were an embarrassment. Never been a McCain fan, and Palin was thrown into the Lion's den with no clue. We need a centralist, most folks are centralists. That is the only way to have balance. trouble is both parties are off the links with their radical agendas. That is why we are in the mess we are in. Things had to be done, but too much was done for too long, and that to me extended the recession.

Had John Huntsman, made it through for the Republican nominee, I would have voted for him. Unfortunately, he worked for Obama as an ambassador so as far as the conservative crazies were concerned, he was 'damaged" goods. Too bad the far right crazies had too much influence in the republican primaries. Most of my friends and family would have voted for him also and I feel he would have been elected. But that is what happens when zealots rule the primaries. You get nominal candidates like Mitt Romney to be the Republican candidate for president.

I liked Huntsman also. For some reason he got lost in the shuffle. I do not think that Romney was nominal. He is smart and savy. He had stiff personality issues. He did a good job in MA in my opinion considering he was up against all Libs. I also believe that Romney was sincere. He got run over by the media, and I do not know if it is his Mormon upbringing or what, he could not be nasty enough to fight back. Huntsman was a great candidate as far as being centralist. But voters require pizzaz it seems. That is why they elected Obama. In the msarts category Newt beat them all. He just had too much baggage and sleaze.

Huntsman got trashed by the ultra conservative zealots from the right. He couldn't get past the primaries because these zealots thought he was "tainted goods" because he served as an ambassador for Obama plain and simple. Romney in my opinion was never sincere. The majority of the ACA was taken from the Program Mitt instituted in Massachusetts. He trashed most of his own program to please the conservative zealots. That in my book makes him not sincere. Plus having been part of a company that got bonuses for putting people out of work didn't help either.

Huntsman was a good man but too moderate. When a Republican is considered he must "moderate" but Democrats seldom if ever "moderate" as if they are the mainstream point of view in this country, which is untrue. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi never compromise, Chuck Schumer won't compromise. A Democrats view of compromise is the other person extending their hand to the Left. But if people chose Barack Obama over Mitt Romney because Huntsman was not the candidate, that is pretty self destructive and silly,

Well, well, don't remember hearing this before the election.

AU CONTRAIRE GCarson. The Constitution is 100% correct and is indeed etched in stone tablets. It is the Progressive Populist socialist democrats that treat the Constitution as if it is etched in sand.

If you are referring to me, Sail, you are right. The US is not a democracy as long as there is an assault on voter's rights and billionaire brothers can buy whole state legislatures.

Tillie - the OPINION pages are perfect for you as FACTS prove you wrong

Tit for tat, Sail, since you also post on the OPINION page. At least I don't have to post 34 times to get my point across.

Can we remember this the next time George Soros, a Greek national, starts throwing HIS money around in our political process. I have no interest in the American economy mirroring the Greek economy.

George Soros is Hungarian and now an American citizen. He is partly responsible for the changing of Hungary from communism to a capitalist country without violence. He was penniless after the war and became a self made billionaire and did not inherit oil holdings from his father. So have no fear of a Greek economy. And remember you can not tell a person by their Greek sounding name.

Tillie is obviously referring to Al Gore who inherited his Occidental Petroleum position from his father..... How ironic - Post #4 0f 12- 1/8

It was a discussion of George Soros vs the Koch brothers. Sail, Surely there is something in the world you don't need to voice an OPINION on.

Also if a "lefty" had the basic FACTS wrong about Soros as this "righty" poster did, certain posters here would be harping on it for days. They go nuts if a word is spelled wrong.

Wow, you mean you right wingers say even worse things about Obama and liberals that don't make it through?

once you get past the initial vitriol, there are some good discussions here. There are however some that are much more caustic than others, and line by line removed. However, I suspect that a newspaper, which respects and expect the freedom of expression, to some degree, they must allow discussion that doesn't fit their norm to persist. Posting of random NH RSA's that has no resemblance other than English text, telling people they have no right to speak their mind, the incessant rambling of who is right/wrong... as much as we don't like it, they have as much to speak their mind as the rest of us expect. If it is particularly offensive, flag it for mod removal (it's the report button), ignore it and don't fan the flames. But for heavens sake people, we don't live in a police state. People can, do and should speak their minds honestly, and let them be little.

Well, John, anonymous posters want to remain anonymous because they want to remain anonymous for their own protection. Employers have access to all sorts of public information and they certainly can discriminate against a person because of their politics. It happened to me. If you work for the state, it is pretty much obvious that no matter what you do online (post during work hours) or expressing your views about the state employment situation, you are protected and pretty much won't have to worry about your employer being aggravated by your comments. The SEA and SEIU seems to have an alliance with outlets like the Monitor. To another point, people want to read what validates their own views in the press. 85% of the Monitor news leans to the Left, 75% of the readers I can guess think that way. What a forum does is allow people to challenge those things which they find skewed or dishonest. The divide that you speak of is real, it is in public view in everyday life, newspapers and press outlets should never censor opinion or access to alternative views. Online forums like that at the Monitor is tame compared to things I read in the Boston Globe, Washington Post and even in Time Magazine. I think what you are asking for is for people to just be silent because your world view is the only one that you are interested in.

I agree...being told to choke on it, stuff it, get accused of being a racist, being paid to comment, or my favorite.."carp per diem" getting old. I believe every word a conservative utters here in the comment section is parsed...not so for the liberals. That should change...although, I dont believe it would make any difference, as I believe the people who parse the comments would not find them offensive.

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