Monday, November 20, 2006
I'm all for free speech. That's a tenet of true journalism, no? First Amendment rights, freedom of the press, all that good stuff. And that's what makes this blogging thing pretty cool. You can bat around ideas on just about any subject with folks worldwide. Whether they agree or disagree, pledge complete support or come with a healthy dose of skepticism, a good conversation is almost always ready to be had.
What I won't tolerate (and what many other news blogs prohibit) are comments that are vulgar, obscene or derogatory in nature. Check the Washington Post and the St. Petersburg Times. They have similar policies.
To our anonymous friend in Louisville, Kentucky, your comments were a bit amusing at first, but now I'm just plain annoyed. Repeatedly posting profane and demeaning comments are, in fact, a form of harassment, and trust me, I've learned a little bit about online harassment.
What bothers me more is that you're more than likely a fellow (or aspiring) journalist. Our blog caters to a very specific niche audience, and few outside that demographic read it. Conversely, many inside that demographic do, on all levels of the industry food chain. While professionals have used this space to have professional discussions about professional issues, your comments are rather, well... unprofessional. Which makes our other readers uncomfortable, and reflects poorly on your judgment as a journalist.
As a caution, don't assume that posting anonymously on the Internet protects identities. With technology that's more than capable of tracking a user's every move online, that veil of mystery you may think you're hiding behind is really just a figment of your e-magination. Just ask Michael Hiltzik, who resigned after this incident reported in the Washington Post:
The Los Angeles Times suspended the blog of one of its top columnists last night, saying he violated the paper's policy by posting derogatory comments under an assumed name.All I'm saying, anonymous friend in Louisville, is that you should refrain from posting any more disruptive comments on this blog. Because, if nothing else, it's not that hard to figure out who you are.
The paper said in an online editor's note that Michael Hiltzik, a Pulitzer Prize winner who writes the Golden State column, had admitted posting remarks on both his Times blog and on other Web sites under names other than his own....
When commenters on Frey's Web site criticized Hiltzik, an examination by Frey of the Internet addresses involved showed it was the Times writer who responded in remarks posted under the name "Mikekoshi."
Ya smell me? continue...