When we were letsfixlosal.com we had a nice little city blog. Like any political blog, letsfixlosal actually took sides. We had a number of people post their opinions in both top posts and in comments, and generally if the blog took a side is was the side that was most transparent to the citizens.
Then, through multiple elections, more money was thrown into the electoral process in Los Alamitos and there came this “other side”. The “other side” lied. A lot. They misinformed the public, not with opinions, but with many numerous published lies-as-fact that they distributed to every home in the city. And, letsfixlosal exposed them. With original reporting we exposed the lies. We traced the money and found the source, and exposed that as well.
Then, someone attempted to take the little blog for Los Al out with multiple attacks and hacks at the website. So an Internet professional in Los Al came in, fixed it up. and agreed to help “manage and keep the site running”. That was me (JM).
Part of the problem with technology is that the “other side” wasn’t happy just spending thousands of dollars spreading lies, they just couldn’t deal with someone out there exposing their lies and doing it for the pennies on the dollar that they were spending. This meant that they had to do something about the little blog.
One of the first things they did was attempt to use the comments section to “mess the blog up”. These were the creation of hate filled comments, somthing we ask people not to do on the blog. At first we warned them. Then Dave felt that if he just removed the hate filled portions it would be okay (I explained to him that doing that was NOT a good idea, either the entire post stayed, or it comes down for violating his terms of service, but no editing posts.).
Then something interesting happened. We started to see an increase of fake e-mail addresses and anonymizer IP’s in the comments. Now, the only people that see the e-mail addresses are the admins, but seeing hate filled posts with anon IPs and fake e-mails is a red flag. The first change we made was to set up a new system that would require the poster to approve their comments when they first post. This should have put a bar of entry up as I figured the hate filled posts would stop when we made it more difficult for the posters to post them without at least exposing to the Admin’s who they really were.
But technology leaps forward and the hate posters found out about anonymizer e-mail systems to go with the IP anonymizers. So, let’s make it clear. Here are the terms of service. If you use a fake or anonymized e-mail address to post a comment, or if you use an IP anonymizer to post a comment, that comment WILL be taken down. You don’t have to use your real name on a post, but the admins will not allow people to attack others on the blog from anonymity.
Those are really the key “terms and conditions of use” for posting comments here. You can use a handle to the public, but the Admins want to know who you are. We still hope that you will follow Dave’s sage advice “As always, your perspective and reporting, diplomatically expressed, is welcome.”, but this being a political blog we will give a little leeway and will continue to post warnings or send you “warnings” when we feel the “diplomatically” was not followed.