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Letter: Make online commenters own their statements

M onitor columnist Katy Burns makes several good points in her Nov. 10 column on the torment and unpleasantness caused by the “Wrath of the cyber bullies.” It is hard to have a civil conversation on any issue with anonymous yahoos spouting nonsense and insults.

One way that websites such as the Monitor’s could help curb cyber-bullying is to insist that people who post comments online use their real names. Just like in the letters-to-the-editor column, real names should be attached to comments.

Writers should have the courage to own their statements. If a writer is reluctant to attach his or her real name to a comment, that should be a telling indication to both the writer and any potential reader.

The Monitor and other responsible websites should reject anonymous or fake name comments. Yes, the occasional made-up name comment could slip through. But I expect this policy would reduce online bullying and out-of-line remarks.

Many of us have had our full of internet trolls. Let’s encourage real discussions between real people.



Legacy Comments31

Reply to Bruce below; You said: "Many months ago, before this site was revamped, and when it was possible to see whose posts were rejected for rules violations, 2 of the current Carp Per Diems were far and away the leaders, with several times more deleted posts than any others--always for name-calling." Not true..I believe "Honest Abe", a very liberal commenter, held that title. And the best part was, he usually got the most votes, before his comments were taken down.

The usual suspects are being less than honest about their own behavior on this site. If they really believe what they are writing, and regard themselves (as at least one does) as victims of "bullying and name-calling", they are deluding themselves. They certainly aren't bothering to read their own posts (but who can blame them, as often as not?). Many months ago, before this site was revamped, and when it was possible to see whose posts were rejected for rules violations, 2 of the current Carp Per Diems were far and away the leaders, with several times more deleted posts than any others--always for name-calling. They've since toned it down enough to get by the censors, but still demonstrate a propensity to choose their own facts to support their opinions. Often they like to lead with some choice label: "liar", and "Alinsky tactic" have long been favorites. The labels are pasted on without much factual support or explanation, because they invariably treat the truthfulness of all their claims as self-evident, when the best that can be said of most of them is that they possess Stephen Colbert's "truthiness".

it is priceless that the above statement comes from the chief refuted extreme globull warming alarmist. Bruce is always touting the socialist progressive line and daily uses the Saul Alinsky attack and demean form of discourse

Although "choosing their own facts to support their opinions" is not something I agree is a tactic which many of us employ, it is the same thing that you do when you cite things from progressive sites. Alinsky tactics are fair game, progressives execute these with precision. An example of that is your post above. Stephen Colbert is an entertainer and comedian, he takes views opposite his own and turns them into a parody. Clever and "truthy".

The Monitor gets the ID of everyone who is authorized to post on the site in advance. It knows who is posting. They can also terminate the ability of anyone to post. They also provide a "report" button that will highlight offensive posts to management. That is sufficient in my opinion.

Agreed but the point of those complaining is that they want to end debate and end diversity of opinion based on an opportunity to shame people who post their names into being silent. Your post is right on the mark.

Rep. Watrous - As you can see from the quality of the replys, there is very good reason that people don't attach their names to their posts. I wouldn't either out of embarrassment.

No, it would be out of fear of attacks on their person, discrimination by others for a person simply expressing their opinion about a subject. Many people feel things that they are afraid to publicly state out of people shaming them through political correctness. An example might be talking about self responsibility turns into demonization of that person as "extreme", "selfish", etc.

I dont find anything uncivil about any of these comments Rick...why do you?

You will not receive an intellectual honest reply.

Rep. RICK WATROUS is just another democrat trying to stifle FREE SPEECH

So far it appears that none of the commenters to my letter are using their full or real names, preferring to remain hidden. That is disappointing, as it makes civil conversations unlikely. Perhaps the Monitor should follow the example of the Union Leader (hardly a leftist publication) and insist that commenters identify themselves with their full name. According to the UL comment policy: “Accounts using fake or incomplete names are suspended regardless of the quality of posts.”

Mr. Watrous, I am sure that you would love to take names and excoriate and attempt to shame people in public calling them all of the popular metaphors: "greedy", "selfish", "racist", "xenophobe" in order to silence them, that is what progressives do on this site. If you read the few posts by progressives or "leftists" as you call them, they are amongst the most uncivil conversations on this site. You referred to posters and many of the constituents that you represent as "trolls". I find that repugnant coming from a public representative. My guess is that many of your constituents feel the can you represent people whom you loathe? Please enlighten us?

Sorry rwatrous, but you are not addressing any of the Libs on here. My guess is that many of them would be very reluctant to use their real names. I suggest you take a poll and see how many on the left are willing to use their real names. The lefties who go after the same folks on this forum with name calling and assumptions about them come to mind. Do you think they would be willing to give out their names? Ask them. If all agree then it is a good idea.

I guess I am one of the few who do use their real information. I hold no shame in any of my posts, and I think that many do not because some might be inclined to let them know in person what idiots they are. Seriously there are some people here that post that seem to have lost touch with reality with the effluvia that comes out. I think it would serve to squelch some of the BS. if people know who you are, and you are responsible for what you say, you will say things with a bit more care and respect.

Yes, seems like Rep. Watrous and Katy Burns are the only ones call folks names. As noted, that seems to be a very common Democrat pastime. I also don't think that an elected official should be calling his constituents "trolls" and "bullies."

That is because the truth hurts, they know the truth and they don't want to face it so they categorize people, place them in a box and dismiss them.

So I might agree with you if I had not experienced a wrath of snail mail, even some email and some harassing phone calls when I have commented, blogged or written a letter to a publication. I view myself as a traditional moderate. I believe is a woman's right to choose so long as she pays for it and not the taxpayer. I am not a dealth penalty advocate (although in a couple of instances I would have supported it) but I feel like a life sentence in a 4X6 cell is deserved for the most heinous criminals. But when I receive a threatening letter or a person comes up to me in a department store or an old classmate comes up and says: "what are you doing, so many people are so angry at you" all because I expressed an opinion which they do not agree with......I will say that your idea is a bad one. Now there is no doubt that these people doing this kind of thing to me anyway, are not conservatives or Republicans. In fact, probably most of them are hard Left or Democrats and most probably think that when Katy Burns writes her views that she is so correct. Mr. Watrous, what you suggest is simply and excuse to quiet those who would be railed against by progressives for daring to be politically incorrect. If you read many of the posters here, there are as many smarmy remarks by liberals as they are conservatives. If we are to have a forum which allows people to Rick Watrous was not a legislator and if he wrote something controversial, an employer might discriminate against him because they don't agree with his politics. Would that be a good thing? I had that happen right here in NH with a company (I had an inside source) which would not even grant me an interview (although I was ultimately qualified for the position) because of what they had read in the Monitor that I had written. So you suggestion, although principled would not add to this forum, it would kill the forum. The only reason for real names being used would be to 1) expose the person and publicy have them scorned for not being politically correct or 2) to shut people up in a publication which reports the news in a certain way or with a certain political bent. Bottom line is that the only way any of us who do not agree with the Monitor can flush out any balance is to comment in hopes that people will realize that there are two sides to every story. Personally, I have experienced discrimination because of what I consider traditional american views and have even lost a couple of friends due to politics. You think that is going to stimulate debate? I think you know that it will quell debate and give one side a leg up and allow posters to just validate their own views. The one thing that keeps the Monitor alive IMO is this forum and local news coverage (the only coverage without much bias).

Lets start at the top. Lets make the President of the United States own their statements. Lets face it we have been lied to a awful lot lately by Barack Obama. You can keep your doctor if you like them, period was a huge lie. Millions of people are losing their doctor. You can keep your healthcare plan if you liked it, period was a huge lie. Millions of people are losing their healthcare plans that they like. The attack on Benghazi was because of an youtube video was a lie. Four people died including an ambassador. The Affordable in ACA is a lie. Raising the debt ceiling won't raise the debt is a big lie. Why don't we start and hold our democrat president accountable for a change and not have a double standard.?

Let's not change the subject, "Van." This letter isn't about the President or the ACA. It is about online commenters standing behind their own words with their real names. --Rick Watrous

Rick, Katy Burn's article was about ObamaKare and your letter was about being held accountable for your words and not hiding behind anything. Obama hides behind the liberal media and Obama's words should be held accountable. Of course you won't hold him accountable.

Van, if someone puts themselves out there, they take the heat. Watrous wants no one on his side to take the heat so now the mantra is "trolls" which Wikipedia defines as anyone who upsets another person with online commenting. Well there are about 5 people I get upset with daily on here,.....they must be trolls, right?

Come on, Itsa, if you're going to claim to quote Wikipedia, at least make an honest attempt. Here's what Wikipedia actually says about trolls: "In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally[3][4] or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[5] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[6]"

Basically what we have here is bullying, but the bullies are the folks who like to play games with words, meanings etc. You know who you are. A tactic to divert discussion of anything negative about this administration. Is President Obama dishonest or is he staying uninformed so any problems cannot come back to him. That gives him the opportunity to blame others because he did not know about it. Seems as though everything that crops up is a surprise to him, he did not know about the IRS, Benghazi, Spying and now what is in the ACA. The list keeps growing in regards to what he did not know. What happens when he does not know about security? Whatever it is dishonesty or being uninformed, both are not good, and as we have seen lead to problems. We expect our Presidents to know what is going on plain and simple. This President has admitted on many occasions that he does not like micro managing his team. That has been proven by how involved he gets with anything. Does not meet with heads of depts. often, prefers to be out there on the campaign trail, and does not like anybody disagreeing with him. For me, the job of President is too big for him. That is how I see it. He refuses to take direction from the folks who know about issues, he surrounds himself with folks who agree with him, and as a result he does not have a terrific team backing him up. With that scenario, mistakes will happen . And we need to address the hypocrisy we have here also. Dems cannot try and stop any free speech because they disagree with it. They used that free speech on Bush, Palin, Bachman, religious folks, etc. And at times it was vile. So it is very hypocritical to put forth the idea that only the right use bad rhetoric. Ignoring the mistakes of your favorite pol will have damaging affects on all of us. Sadly that is what you are doing,

You don't think that when posters on here attack people and call them Carp Per Diem's that is provoking people into an emotional response? I was provoked when you said that a persons ability to pay more for insurance was a reason to pay more. This definition is something new thought up through political correctness.

Not how it works Van. As we know this President always gets a pass on everything. He has the media and his admirers covering for him. Not sure why this President is not held accountable, but he is not. My guess is that if President Obama was held accountable, it would be an admittance by the Left that they elected the wrong person for the job. So they will defend him no matter what he does, who it impacts, and how far he divides us.

Your letter was about being held accountable and not hiding behind anything. Katy column was about ObamaKare. We need to hold Obama accountable.

This isn't about Obama. Do you believe commenters should back up their words with their real names? What's your full name?

The mantra of the day is "trolls" but let's be honest, you don't like their comments so you want to squelch them. It is obvious. Katy is about as offensive and inflammatory as a news paper columnist can get. Short on facts and long on ideology. But that is OK, it is a progressive commenting so they should be allowed to do so, correct?

The Left believes that if you disagree with them you must be one of the following. Racist, greedy, mean or just plain stupid. Now the left disagreed with Bush, but that was okay. They disagreed with his policies and the name calling reached vile levels. Now if you folks on the left are allowed to disagree with an administration, why are the folks on the right not allowed to do so? President Obama has had the advantage of media support. So much so, they make sure his bad policies are not reported. So much for honest news. Every since President Obama got elected, the Left has been trying to shut down free speech for those that disagree with them. That is a fact. And sadly this president has encouraged it. He made sure right out of the gate that folks got the message that race was a tool they could use to shut down folks that disagreed with him. He had no business getting involved in the case where the Professor was arrested. He also had no business getting involved in the Martin case. By doing that he gave the message that race is a tool Dems should use to shut down opposition. Then he went after business, and started the fair share tactic. Then the Tea party was zeroed in on. He has made sure that folks are pitted against each other. That to me, is not what a President should do. He should not be the President of just the folks who support him politically.

The truth be told, all of the tactics used by Watrous, Burns and several posters on the Left are straight out of Saul Alinsky's, Rules For Radicals!

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