Many news organizations have made the decision to remove the comments section from below articles posted online. It's time for The Frederick News-Post to do the same.

What value does it add to our community to allow cowards to post uninformed, malicious, and sometimes repugnant comments under the shroud of anonymity afforded by internet usernames? Not all of the comments are offensive. But many of the comments below Frederick News-Post articles misrepresent the people of Frederick as squabbling children, and they normalize malignant, hateful thinking in our community. We're better than that.

Ban the comments section. If these "brave" people have something to say, then let them write letters to the editor and sign their names, like adults. Failing that, let's require commenters to use their real names when creating accounts, and force them to stand by their remarks publicly.

(118) comments

Daniel Goodhue

Hi All,

I'm genuinely glad to see that my letter has generated so much thoughtful discussion about both this community of commenters as well as free speech. (None of you know me, so let me just emphasize that I'm being sincere.)

I want to respond to several of the criticisms made of my LTE.

1 - "No anonymity ever?" People are citing the Supreme Court in defense of anonymous speech, and giving examples of important uses of anonymous speech like the Federalist Papers and anonymous whistleblowers. This would all be relevant if I had argued that people should never speak anonymously and that Americans shouldn't have that right. But that's not what I said. I merely argued that the comments section of the FNP either shouldn't be anonymous or shouldn't exist at all. People should absolutely have the right to express their views anonymously, but that right should be exercised rarely, when it's truly needed. For example, it would be hard to blame anyone for deciding to guard their anonymity when criticizing Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition. The Federalist papers and anonymous whistleblowers are also good examples.

But when discussing the local issues of the day that matter to the people of Frederick county, do you really need to do so anonymously? If you have a serious point to make in good faith, why not sign your name to it? Using your name demonstrates courage and commitment---traits that can be infectious, winning others over to your point of view. Moreover, it is sometimes important for people to make a public commitment to an unpopular position precisely because it is perceived to be unpopular. By speaking up and saying, "I, Alex Smith, believe x y z," you demonstrate that the view is a little less unpopular than people thought, and show others who share your view that they aren't alone. If you do it anonymously it won't have the same effect, unless the idea is so dangerous that people understand why you didn't reveal yourself.

2 - "Anonymity = Truth" Several of you are arguing that the benefit of anonymity is that you find out what people really think. Perhaps this is true sometimes. On the other hand, there is a real danger of people using anonymity to say things they don't actually believe in service of ulterior motives. For example, imagine someone supports cause X, and they get on here and say heinous things in opposition to cause X, just to rally more support to their cause. Or they speak in support of cause Y, not because they believe in it, but because it helps them achieve cause X.

But even if anonymity does result in truth some of the time, it also sometimes results in something else that my LTE addressed: nasty flame throwing. Which brings me to my next point.

3 - "The word 'coward', and other strong language is insulting/Anonymity isn't cowardly" It's a bit ironic really I managed to insult some people, since part of the reason I am arguing for de-anonymizing this space is in the hope that it would become a little more civil. I cherish debate, and while I prefer it to be civil, I also know that it can't always be, and that's fine. But some people on here are pretty low and mean in how they treat others. I stress the word "SOME"! It wasn't my intention to claim that commenting anonymously is inherently cowardly. What I said is that it's cowardly to treat other people terribly under cover of anonymity. Some people get on here and flame other people to try to get a rise out of them I guess, or maybe to blow off steam about some other problems in their lives. Well, that's a nasty way to treat other people, and those of you who do it aren't even doing it to people's faces, you're just an anonymous username adding a little extra grief to someone else's day. So yeah, "coward" is a strong word, but I think it's accurate in those cases, and I think that if people had to sign their names, they wouldn't do it as much, if at all.

4 - "Anonymity = Safety" First, the US in 2020 is safer than it has ever been despite our deep partisan divide (look up the numbers, seriously). But second, have we become so safety obsessed that we can't even comment under articles in the local newspaper with our real names? If you're worried your comment is going to offend people, maybe you should wonder why. Is it nasty and abusive? Then don't make it! Is it politically controversial? If so, then is it important enough for you to stick your neck out? If it's important enough to risk a little, then do it and sign your name. If not, don't.

That said, at least one person claims to have been harassed in the past, and another mentions the problem of their employer frowning on public comments. These are potentially serious issues, though the details matter. At the same time, I find it hard to believe that anyone has had their pet killed over an FNP comment/LTE.

5 - "Using real names would be useless anyway" I'm not arguing that people should have to use their names so that when they annoy someone, they can be called up and told off. I'm arguing that people should have to use their names so they'll be less likely to write abusive comments in the first place.

6 - "This idea is unworkable, it can't be enforced" This is a real issue, but a separate one. Would it be hard to ensure that no one ever games the system and uses a fake name? Yes. But even if FNP just tells commenters that they are required to use their real names, and they did a minor check to keep people honest, that would probably lead to the vast majority using real names. For example, the online system could be set up so that when people subscribe, their billing names are automatically used as their usernames. Or people can choose how their name appears, but an FNP intern can check that it lines up with their subscription info before they are allowed to post comments. But again, this is a separate issue from deciding whether commenters should use their real names.

Well that's it. I don't think the FNP is going to take my advice anytime soon, so for those of you who love your anonymity, I'm sure you've already won. But I do implore you to consider how much more impact you could have by standing by your opinions publicly.

public-redux

“ so for those of you who love your anonymity, I'm sure you've already won.”

I think our anonymity is a victory for you too. I find it odd that you don’t understand that.

“But I do implore you to consider how much more impact you could have by standing by your opinions publicly.”

And I suggest that your ideas might well carry more weight if you posted them anonymously. Why don’t you try it?

threecents

Dan, I like this forum the way it is, though I would like violators of the FNP's behavior code to be permanently banned. I would not participate at all if I had to provide my name. One reason is that I would probably lose my job.

mrnatural1

Agreed threecents. That's why I began my comment below with:

"While I share the author's frustration with, "...malicious, and sometimes repugnant comments...", I strongly disagree with his solution, for several reasons..."

The way to deal with 'malicious, and sometimes repugnant comments' is to enforce the rules. Delete the offending comments -- ban the commenter if necessary. There is absolutely no need to demand that commenters provide their full name; address and phone number (both easy to find with a name). That would be a sure-fire way to all but kill the comment section.

Under no circumstances should trolls be able to shut down entire threads. Thankfully, it doesn't happen very often, but there have been cases where the moderators deleted all comments under an article rather than banning the few trolls. When that happens it is frustrating to the majority of commenters who 'play by the rules' and have invested time posting.

Almost everyone wants the comment section to be a place to express ideas and discuss issues in a civilized manner. From time to time I've reported posts that were clearly against the FNP's rules. They had nothing to do with me. I figure it's probably more effective when the person doing the reporting is not involved. Still, quite often those posts remained up.

des21

Why would you lose your job?

public-redux

Dear FNP Powers That Be,

Thank you for keeping online comments anonymous. Personally, I don’t care about being able to post anonymously. I could easily refrain from posting. But a steady diet of reading comments from only non-anonymous commenters sounds dull as a butter knife. My visits to your website would likely decrease dramatically.

Keep up the good work!

your adoring public

mrnatural1

On Jun 16, 2020 @ 6:33pm, public-redux wrote:

"You always seemed sensible to me and you sensibly attempted to avoid my question. So I’ll ask again. Do you regard yourself as cowardly, per the LTE author and commenter jsk, for using a pseudonym?"

~

public,

One of many problems with the software behind this comment section is that there is no "quote" function -- which even the most basic forums have.

I saw your other post but thought it was directed at someone else. Without a 'quote' feature it is is very important to address comments to a specific individual.

To answer your question -- no, of course I do not regard myself as "cowardly" for using a pseudonym -- but how else would you expect a person to respond to that question? [wink]

As I mentioned, I used to frequently submit LTEs, back when there was only the print edition of the FNP. My wife and I got tired of the threatening, harassing phone calls, so I stopped.

Life really is too short. It seems like just last year I was in college, and now I'll be eligible for SS benefits in about 3 years. I just want our remaining time to be as pleasant and stress-free as possible. Little, if any, of what we discuss here is worth alienating acquaintances, friends, family, and neighbors. It certainly isn't worth dealing with an unhinged lunatic who decides to "teach us a lesson" by poisoning our dog, torching our house, etc.

Is that more extreme stuff likely to happen? No, but why take the chance? What's the point? It's not as if when someone posts using their real name suddenly everyone takes notice and carefully considers their position! ("You know when public originally said that I ignored him, but now that he's using his real name, I see that I've been wrong my entire life. Thanks [public's real name]!")

This would clearly never happen, but for sake of discussion, if I was assured that if I would post about a given topic using my real name, a federal law would be passed codifying my position on some controversial subject I care deeply about, then of course I'd do it. Clearly that's preposterous.

The only difference between using one's real name and a pseudonym is that the former invites a lot of unwanted drama and hassle -- or worse.

public-redux

My comment was directed to veritas.

mrnatural1

Never mind!

AT least my comment is still relevant.

mrnatural1

Before "never mind" in my previous post I had "Gilda Radner, SNL" in angle brackets -- I forgot that anything in angle brackets is deleted...

mrnatural1

Another concern with requiring that commenters use their real name is that people could post using someone else's name -- and it would be assumed to be that person.

As it is, most people use pseudonyms, and most names that appear to be 'real' are usually fake, so it is unlikely that a comment by "Steve Miller" would be attributed to an actual Steve Miller.

public-redux

I wonder if the folk who get hot-n-bothered about pseudonyms also fret about voter fraud. Seems counterintuitive on one level but entirely plausible on another.

Also, this is the 100th comment, which would be entirely unremarkable if humans had evolved with 8 fingers instead of 10.

mamlukman

Let's say your neighbors Betsy and Bill are big Trump supporters. Lawn signs, the whole bit. But you have never talked politics, and they are good neighbors. If you write an anti-Trump comment and sign your actual name, you are jeopardizing your good relationship with Betsy and Bill. And as someone else said, who is going to guarantee that your "real name" is, in fact, your real name?

MD1756

While your at it how about banning face coverings at protests. If people cannot comment on newspaper pieces anonymously, why should protestors be allowed to be anonymous? Same principles apply right?

MD1756

I wonder how that would have worked for those who wrote and published the federalist and anti-federalists essays.

awteam2000

Isn’t online usernames nothing more then juvenile expression of “alter egos” feelings of champion? Anonymous feelings of expression of their place in our society. Maybe an efforts only to express their view without being persecuted. Expressing views or not held in the majority of commenters. Or simply trying to make a difference, fight for the underdog reached back to help other up the hill. Or maybe in fear of others, pushing back, fighting for their perceptions, feeling theyare losing their advantage if others need a hand. Maybe oppression is a god thing? What ever, it’s all democratic.

Anonymous in our culture has always been seen as heroes, not cowardly.

Superman, Batman, Fantastic for X-men, Spider-Man, Caption America “Hold on!” As kid, you all worshipped and admired these guys living anonymously. They all where anonymous. And so was the villain, the “Joker”. Anonymous comes as bad guys and good guys. As a mature adult you need to make that decision as to whether the comment is good, bad or simply ugly.

“Some of you are saying. “Writing under a fake name is a form of lying. It’s cowardly and the tactic of bullies and trolls. We need to make people use their real names online to ensure civility and trust.” Indeed, whenever a new controversy about cyberbullying or anonymous rumors arises, a frequently offered “solution” is to ban anonymous comments and insist that people use real names. But this approach focuses on the wrong issue and creates a false dichotomy, (a false division) presenting the choices as either fully identified, real names or untraceable anonymity.”

“Instead, we should focus on how to design for keeping online discourse civil and constructive. And this involves supporting the middle ground, pseudonymous identities, which can provide both accountability and privacy.”

Meanwhile, I would think one should be able to distinguish trolls (obnoxious, crazy, insulting rants) from objective opinions (logical but argumentative) one that you may or may not agree with.

Hey sometimes a little anonymous “name calling” not out of hand, spices up things.

public-redux

It looks like the majority of people in this community favor anonymity. Now that doesn’t mean much to me but I know at least some people said in the comments in recent years that community majorities should rule on Issues such as same sex marriage and prayer in public schools. I wonder if such folk agree that it should apply here as well.

jsklinelga

public

" A majority of people in this community.." By that do you mean the small handful of people who comment in this section. Have you ever considered why the comment section has such a small following in such a large community. If there was more accountability more reasoned comments may follow. It seems a shame that the highly opinionated people in this section fear writing out their opinions for the wider public audience ie Letters to the Editor.

I must say I agree with the letter writer. I believe only once was I in a situation where my political views affected my job. Being an Obama supporter teaching in a highly conservative organization. But I do not think that ever stopped me from expressing my opinions. When asked how I was going to handle teaching a Green Construction course in front of a group of conservative business owners my answer was simple. At the beginning of class I was going to walk over and hug a tree.

public-redux

No, I mean the hundreds of thousands of people in this area who have never complained about anonymity. Why do you imagine that people who haven’t expressed any opinion at all agree with you?

“It seems a shame...fear...”. Assumes facts not in evidence.

Do you regard veritas as cowardly?

public-redux

And I did mean to congratulate you on recognizing yourself. So, whether the majority to which I referred is the commentariat or the hundreds of thousands of people in the community, do you agree that the majority should hold sway on this issue because it is the majority?

mrnatural1

While I share the author's frustration with, "...malicious, and sometimes repugnant comments...", I strongly disagree with his solution, for several reasons, but first I'd like to address a few comments he made:

1) Most people realize that the anonymous commenters only represent a *segment* of FredCo residents. Some of them ARE "squabbling children". They exist everywhere.

2) The only way to "normalize malignant, hateful thinking" is if the majority of people are susceptible to it. I believe most citizens of FredCo are secure in their beliefs, and intelligent enough to not be influenced by some comments after an article in the FNP.

3) The author's name-calling -- referring to anonymous writers as 'cowards' and "brave" (in quotes) does nothing to advance his argument.

4) Suggesting that everyone be forced to "...write letters to the editor and sign their names, like adults" (another insult) is disingenuous. Very few LTEs actually get published. The comment section after articles is a way for people to express their opinion and have it published in 'real-time' -- not days later, if ever.

We all know the potential downsides of anonymity, let's consider the advantages:

* You, your family, and your pets remain alive. Your house does not get burned down. You do not get violently attacked. Your car does not get vandalized. Seriously, it doesn't take much to set some people off. There is no point in asking for trouble.

* Anonymity = TRUTH. Anonymous posters tend to say what they really think/feel. People who are using their real name are often trying to flatter someone; humble brag; say what they think people want to hear and/or what puts them in the best light, etc. In short, public comments by people who identify themselves are often 'less than genuine' virtue signalling. It's more important to know what people really think.

* The recent bigoted and racist comments actually HELP the protesters and BLM, by showing that discrimination is clearly still a problem.

* Without anonymity there would be very few whistle-blowers. For example, after the train wreck on the Metro Red Line in June, 2009, a coworker (who is a "close personal friend") gave the FNP hard evidence (directly from Metro's intranet) that the wreck did not have to happen -- that 'Central Control' had been intermittently receiving a "false occupancy" indication for almost 24 hours ahead of time and did nothing. The information was important enough that the FNP made an exception to their rule regarding anonymous sources. Had they not made that exception, that info would not have been published.

* Without anonymity many sources for news stories would not talk. How often do we read, "A high-ranking White House employee reports..."; or "a source inside [pick a large corporation or gov't agency] who wishes to remain anonymous says...". Anonymity is CRITICAL to all of us remaining informed.

I've actually thought about using my real name here, however my wife and I have been harassed in the past after LTEs I had written were published here in the FNP.

For now, I figure that everyone knows that "Mr. Natural" is an actual person who lives in FredCo. Either that or I am a Russian spy with way too much time on my hands. Some people know my identity, and that's fine -- but I'd just as soon not become the target of a mentally unstable person.

Signed,

Joe Anonymoso

KellyAlzan

Mr Natural owned a nursery / farm market on hansonville road and I believe was a Vietnam veteran. I’ve made up my mind that’s who you are :)

mrnatural1

[cool]

I know the place you're referring to, but nope, that ain't me.

Very few people guess the origin of the name "Mr. Natural". [wink]

TomWheatley

The original Mr. Natural was Adam, right? :)

gabrielshorn2013

I always thought he was the guy from Zig-Zag rolling papers, or the comic strip.

DickD

And I thought he was the editor.

KellyAlzan

My frustration isn’t identity by any means. My frustration is the lack of moderating. The lack of consistency in moderating. The deletion of posts that get reported simply because the person reporting doesn’t like the post.

Administration needs to moderate. And they need to review the reported posts before deleting.

DickD

Even if you are a Russian spy, that was good. Lol

mrnatural1

спасибо товарищ. [whistling]

francesca_easa

Interesting points Mr. Natural. Signed using my real name.

veritas

I am veritas. I am truth. [beam][rolleyes]

public-redux

And do you regard yourself as cowardly? [wink]

veritas

I regard myself as sensible. The leftist mob is on the march across and throughout the country and this intolerant horde is not content to simply to debate what it considers apostates and non-believers. Instead, they seek ruination of any and all dissenters to their "cause." Ergo... I am veritas!

mrnatural1

Veritas,

Every group/tribe has it's fanatics. That's why it's prudent to remain anonymous when discussing hot-button issues -- regardless of which side one is on.

That said, there are places where I post using my real name -- like Amazon (for reviews). It's unlikely that a fanboy of some product that I give a poor review to will come after me or my family. [wink]

public-redux

You always seemed sensible to me and you sensibly attempted to avoid my question. So I’ll ask again. Do you regard yourself as cowardly, per the LTE author and commenter jsk, for using a pseudonym?

des21

Isn't it frustrating Pub when people don't do what you ask them to do in an anonymous forum? How rude![unsure]

public-redux

Not so much, des. A response wasn’t needed for my point to be made. Besides, veritas is sensible enough to understand that while the question was addressed to him/her, it was directed elsewhere.

KellyAlzan

How is using a screen name here any different than police using “B26” as their raisin call name?

Or any different than the screen names that many of the FNP commenters use on their e-harmony account?

phydeaux994

How do we know if people using their “real” name are using a fake “real” name?? How would anyone know??

KellyAlzan

Exactly.

mrnatural1

Excellent question phydeaux!

Also, let's say a newspaper, forum, social media platform, etc, demands that anyone who wants to post must first provide 2 forms of ID; an original birth certificate; SS#; and pass a MSP background check.

So what? Other than being reasonably certain the poster is using their real name, why does it matter? Chances are we do not know the person and will never meet them.

I fail to see any real need to know a commenter's real name. As you suggested, a "real" name could be fake and we'd never know.

What is important are thoughts, ideas, and opinions -- not the identity of the source.

The only time a person's true identity might prove useful is if they are a local politician or a celebrity -- then using their real name would give their statement(s) more impact.

OICLife

I want to thank FNP for proving a point that has been at the heart of several discussions about the both state of and the future of 'free' speech in the USA. Clearly 'free' speech is and will increasingly be democracy by way of eligibility, or plainly: the democracy of subscription.

But to the notion of cowardice by way of anonymous: I would rather experience original thoughts, notions, designs, and questions coming for someone unknown, rather than endure the name of piety pretending to power. As a subscriber - I do look forward to reading my neighbours thoughts. What's that snappy maxim about democracy? "Freedom is not free." -

public-redux

“Iwould rather experience original thoughts, notions, designs, and questions coming for someone unknown, rather than endure the name of piety pretending to power.”

Gosh, it is almost like you think ideas should be considered on their merits. [beam]

hayduke2

Well said!

mrnatural1

[thumbup] OIC

Dwasserba

That would be fine. I have commented periodically that my screen name is my name. Deb Wasserbach and PS "Deborah" means "bee."

DickD

FNP can certainly change it. Have you ever wondered why they don't? Cowards post here? How about those who don't. And those that don't like to be called out for making untruthful statements, they should look in the mirror.

Dwasserba

There is an information-added aspect at times regardless of whether the name is fake.

jsklinelga

DickD

Cowards may be a bit harsh and I used it it my post. But Daniel has a point. I have often seen you, public,aw, phy, etc, excoriate folks like Jim Deveruax or others, including myself, when they publish a letter. To me this seems a bit scampish if not cowardly. I would feel differently if you expressed your opinion to the full public, name included. by writing a letter to the editor. I doubt you have noticed but if a person in this section writes a letter, even if I disagree with them, I feel it is right to commend them on the courage of their convictions.

There have been some good points. Gabe and Greg F feels that it protects a person from public disclosure or retribution. A valid argument but then why should the public letters include the names. Letters that have a far wider audience.

Amillary cites a Supreme Court case protecting free speech through anonymity. Also a valid argument but it could also be applied to the public letters. ( I am certain the founding fathers considered anonymity when declaring rebellion against Great Britain. But that would have undermined the credibility and significance of the statement and their conviction is celebrated every July 4th.)

Des says shake it off. Also valid. But he is familiar with the section. I have a good friend who is very passionate about assisted suicide and feels that the laws need to be changed. She is a progressive for sure. Well educated and the letter she wrote reflected that. But after reading the comments she was horrified and has not written another letter.

That limits free and open dialogue.

shiftless88

jsk; why do you write letters to the editor anyway? Because you have an opinion that you want everyone to know? If you write a LTE and do not want to see the backlash, then don't look. Easy Peasy. I have a job that makes name disclosure tricky, but if you start engaging in honest dialogue I am happy to share my name with you (as I have with others on this page).

jsklinelga

shiftless88

I'll respond since you have stressed that I do not respond. But consider this. Is my response to you addressing the letter's contents. Too often we leave the discussion concerning the points of the letter and engage in personal conversations and opinions that have nothing to do with the letter. That is why I do not respond often and engage in off topic dialogue. I like many others respect the writer's points. But this is a free and open comment section so if I do not respond to someone that should be my free choice.

Greg F

Same, Shiftless...should an employers find out who's writing what, some employers will sack you and let you be the one to try to win a wrongful termination lawsuit. Some on here would purposefully take names and pass them on to others who would want to cause harm.

shiftless88

jsk; of course you are not obligated to respond but when you do not engage appropriate, relevant but difficult questions posed and instead spend your time complaining about how mean some commentators are, then you look less than well intentioned.

public-redux

“I have often seen you, public,aw, phy, etc, excoriate folks like Jim Deveruax or others, including myself, when they publish a letter.”

Speaking for myself, I excoriate ideas, not people. Furthermore, you have probably noticed that I have sometimes praised Mr. Devereaux when he refrains from arguing that his religious views should be the basis for public policies. And I’m pleased to say that he seems to be doing that less often.

DickD

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

And don't consider yourself the "Lone Ranger ", Jim. .I have certainly been called out at times. Your problem is that you think everyone is going to agree with you no matter what you say. The world doesn't work that way Jim.

Blueline

The nom de plume has been used for centuries - Ben Franklin used them often in his writings. I personally find most comments entertaining, but I agree that the FNP has standards for the comments that should be adhered to, as a few times comments can denigrate into personal attacks which should not be tolerated.

mrnatural1

Agreed Blueline.

When people express concerns about "anonymity", what they often are really upset about are rude/sexist/racist/ statements and personal attacks posted anonymously. Those can and should be deleted.

While we're on the subject, something that is very frustrating is when the moderator deletes and entire thread/comment section because of one or two trolls.

Luckily that does not happen often. No doubt being a moderator is difficult, but when possible it would be preferable to just ban the troll(s).

armillary

The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that the right to anonymous free speech is protected by the First Amendment. A frequently cited 1995 Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission reads:

"Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority". . . . "It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation" . . . "at the hand of an intolerant society."

DickD

Thanks, ar, that is enlightening.

KellyAlzan

Something big going on on golden mile right now. DEA and fcpd. About 12 units. Just rolled in.

KellyAlzan

The Masters Pharmacy, get a FNP Photographer now

KellyAlzan

DEA is still there

sevenstones1000

THis is not your Nextdoor Neighborhood account.

KellyAlzan

LOL

Just trying to get a photographer dispatched

Dwasserba

citydesk@fredericknewspost.com

gabrielshorn2013

Try this, it's much faster: 301-662-1177

Thewheelone

I would prefer that the FNP strictly enforce the name calling policy. Do it once and the writer is banned. I also would like to be able to hide certain people's posts like on the WAPO comments section. Simply click on the name of the person who leaves the comment and you have the option to not see his or her posts.

TomWheatley

But then who would be left on here? :) I do use my real name and appear to be very much in the minority.

KellyAlzan

That’s fine. But can never be too cautious, we live in a crazed society

mrnatural1

Both *excellent* suggestions Thewheelone! [thumbup][thumbup]

sevenstones1000

The racism in Frederick is deep and widespread. It comes out in the comments here because that is the real Frederick that people want to pretend is gone.

Greg F

Yep.....I belong to a certain hunting group site...and there are some anonymous users in that group that would make the KKK blush from their hate filled vile language. I recognize some of the language here that is quite similarly disgusting as is on there....and that site people will actively gang up on those who oppose their racist rants.

phydeaux994

They do that here too Greg. I call them the BTT(BullyTagTeam). Probably some of the same people. And then they scream bloody murder if you call them a Racist.

KR999

[yawn]

phydeaux994

I always get the yawn from you CD, when you have no possible retort. 😷

KR999

No fido, you get the yawn because your redundant posts are b o r I n g.

mrnatural1

Needless to say, that is clearly wrong, and against the FNP's rules for their comment section.

Anyone who posts racist statements should be banned.

mrnatural1

Exactly right sevenstones1000! That's one reason that anonymity is so critically important.

KellyAlzan

Totally agree with the squabbling children analogy. So much so, I find it interesting that this letter comes after I started persistently making mention that last week.

Some commenters sole narrative is to squabble and they don’t hide it. Others try to use justifications such as “you lie and I need to set you straight”, when no, you’re really harassing.

The comments do have some value. Some examples are the railroad bridge over 75 in Monrovia - lacks adequate signage coming north on 75 from 355. It was me that not only discovered there is no signage announcing HEIGHT restrictions, but I also documented it via video and uploaded onto YouTube. And made the deficiency known on the FNP.

The downtown hotel, Peter Samuel (as well as others) have done an outstanding job of getting word outs about all the truthful and accurate negative aspects of the plans for the hotel.

The bridge to nowhere. The truth exposed via the FNP comments.

The FNP reporters thinking Mt Pleasant is part of Walkersville. Reporters corrected via the comments.

Ba’Lane young. I whole heartedly believe it was the FNP comments that got Ba’Lane booted from political office.

User names are a must to protect the safety and well being of the commenters and the commenters families. No two ways about it. Exposing rogue political figures, who might retaliate, is dangerous yet important work.

KellyAlzan

Last week I made mention of how I’m sure the mean spirited comments have got to be keeping people from purchasing subscriptions

mrnatural1

Kelly,

I have to wonder how many subscriptions the FNP has lost due to mean comments below articles. Maybe some, but there are also plenty of people who subscribe specifically so that they can comment themselves.

Overall, the comment section keeps subscribers engaged.

gabrielshorn2013

Hmmm, "you lie and I need to set you straight”, I'll assume you're referring to me plumbum, but the quote is "You lie, I reply". Fact is, we agree in many issues, and I have given you a [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] many times. Apparently you don't recall it. However, you seem to have a personal vendetta against the Sheriff, and time after time after time have posted innuendo, hearsay, half-truths, and yes, lies. Those are what I call you on to provide verifiable substantiation, which is never provided. You have a responsibility on this forum to provide truthful and accurate comments. It is not a grinding stone for your axe.

KellyAlzan

My post is not you specific, gabbs. It’s a general summarization involving about 3 to 5 people.

Your above response prices You really need to start training yourself that you can read something you don’t agree with and keep scrolling.

This thinks about obsessing about always being right needs to end. And that joes for everyone.

KR999

"This thinks about obsessing about always being right needs to end. And that joes for everyone." ???????????

phydeaux994

I think that most people are commenting here to express opinions that they believe are “right”. I’ve never seen you back off of your opinions CD. What would you have us do? Compromise? Vote on each issue to reach a consensus? I comment here because I am Opinionated and this is a great place to express them and to let off a little steam. I have no expectation of changing anyone’s mind. We basically argue about everything over and over using the same words. “ILLEGAL IS ILLEGAL” is my favorite. To actually take anything seriously here when the arguing is done, is folly. Peace.✌️

des21

I don't think many posters have much else going on in their lives and this gives them some way to imagine they belong to a community of smart, like-minded individuals. Much of it is sophomoric and sometimes even mean-spirited but oh well. Some people need that i guess. I'm attacked often and often chastised for fighting back (which always amazes me) but I've been called worse by better people. If you want to engage in the public forum cowards and haters are going to do what they do. The rest of us show our own tolerance and love by tolerating their misbehavior. Shrug, not a big deal.

gabrielshorn2013

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] des!

Dwasserba

[thumbup]There are people who give "thumbs down" to videos of babies, puppies and kittens. No one controls the reactions of others.

jsklinelga

Daniel

I could not agree more. I remember how shocked I was when I wrote a letter to the editor, viewed it online, and saw a long string of negative and insulting comments. After a little study I realized that it was only a handful of anonymous posters, re-posting multiple times, and responding with other regulars to bolster their their myopic view. I often wonder how many people do not submit letters because of the comment section.

If you are a regular you have witnessed how conservative comments are deleted in an unequal proportion compared to progressive comments. You could actually tell, like clockwork, when the afternoon editor started their shift.

The 64,000 dollar question is: Does the FNP encourage this for a reason? It certainly protects the cowardly. and allows them to attack others, unabated. It creates a safe space for the weak hearted.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup] jsklinelga

Dwasserba

Hmm. I was more disconcerted by in-person encounters with strangers after more than a few letters were published. I never read comments or responded when it was my letter. Commenting is an option of buying a subscription. Misunderstanding myattempt at humor misinterpreting my motives and confronting me when I'm identified randomly....welp Feels different.

KellyAlzan

QUOTE:

Misunderstanding myattempt at humor misinterpreting my motives and confronting me when I'm identified randomly....welp Feels different.

Ain’t that the truth!

Many here simply do not know humor. Misery loves company! I’ve written funny stuff, and I’ve purposely used cutesie ways to spell, and it never fails, there’s always someone who can see humor. Especially with the spelling! They stop what they’re doing to school us!

And the misinterpreting motives. That’s everyday for me. Really folks, life isn’t that bad, not all of us are down and gloomy

shiftless88

Kelly, we know you are trying to be funny. No offense but it's just not that funny.

gabrielshorn2013

JSK, if it were only that simple. There are commenters on this forum that think it is ok to dox, or publish private information about people. One even justifies the practice because the information, such as home address, may be found in the public record, or other records that they, due to the nature of their job, have access to. That should never be allowed to happen, and that persons access to this forum should have been suspended, pronto. Others may work for companies that do not allow posting personal opinions on social media that may reflect on the company. Yes, it happens. My "handle" is a derivation of my real name.

Greg F

Gabe..that’s exactly why real names shouldn’t be required...a subscription to a paper is an anonymous decision and the right to privacy should rule over outing people’s private data that can lead to stalking or worse for differing opinions and someone in here with an agenda to publish a commenter’s info. I see no problem limiting comments to paid subscribers. That’s as far as I’d go.

gabrielshorn2013

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] Greg

bosco

Gotta agree with you on this one, GregF. Too many crazies out there. [thumbup][ninja]

mrnatural1

Absolutely Greg, that's one of the main reasons anonymity is so crucial. [thumbup]

public-redux

Gabe, These and other explanations have been made before. For some reason, the anti-pseudonym folk never have a substantive response to them. Perhaps they don’t have one.

mrnatural1

Good observation public.

Some people have had one or more bad experiences with anonymous posters/commenters. For example, a family member had a book published several years ago, and an anonymous reviewer on Amazon slammed his book, and criticised him as well. It was really nasty, and seemed both personal and unnecessarily harsh. In any case, to this day, this family member has a knee-jerk reaction to anonymity.

When the subject came up recently I asked, "So what if you knew this troll's name? Then what? Why would it matter?" Amazon made the decision to leave the "review" up -- and that wasn't going to change. So what good would it do to have the reviewer's name? So you could email them or call them and cuss them out?

Anyway, I'm sure at least some of the anti-pseudonym folk are coming from the same place.

I get it. I've been in that position myself. Most people have. But the advantages of anonymity far outweigh the negatives, and knowing a person's name rarely does any good anyway.

bosco

"The 64,000 dollar question is: Does the FNP encourage this for a reason?"......advertising revenue, clicks, views, whatever you choose to call it. Follow the money! [ninja]

shiftless88

I often wonder why you drop in, post your comments, never respond to follow-up questions, and then spend the rest of the time complaining about the process. Here is the deal; you do not try to engage in a good-faith discussion so you will never be a part of such a discussion. I bet half your posts are about how horrible we all are.

KellyAlzan

It can be hard to engage In good discussion . I’ve shared a lot of knowledge of immigration and of deportation, only to be disrespected and mocked.

About 45 days ago I shared info about I-9 audits. As we were audited. Only to be harassed.

So it’s not easy to converse civilly here.

phydeaux994

👍👍👍 shiftless

knahs25

I agree - either end these hurtful vicious comments or require the individual’s name/city be published with them

Greg F

Must be republicans that want to out those who disagree with them...like Trump. Name then persecute.

Greg F

Make it paid subscription only. No more freeloaders. That would cut most out.

jwhamann

Only paid subscription holders can comment on here. Jeesh.

hayduke2

Not sure about that. I believe the FNP opened up the online version to folks for a limited time due to the pandemic. When they did, a lot of new posts started to show.

gabrielshorn2013

They shut that down hay. It's only subscribers now that can comment.

hayduke2

Thanks for the update gabe...

DickD

It is paid prescription only.

Dwasserba

Yes my doctor insists on it but there are side effects

DickD

My bad. That was funny Deb

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup] knahs25

Greg F

Why...so you can stalk them outside of the venue? No thanks.

phydeaux994

That is what the LTE’s are, your opinion, name, and town. I will agree with jsk on that. I also started with LTE’s when we moved here in October of 2008, writing in support of Barack Obama for President. WHOA!! I learned real fast that Barack Obama was not popular here and neither was I. I retreated to anonymity real fast.

gabrielshorn2013

Agreed phy [thumbup]

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. No vulgar, racist, sexist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, not personal attacks or ad hominem criticisms.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Be civil. Don't threaten. Don't lie. Don't bait. Don't degrade others.
No trolling. Stay on topic.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
No deceptive names. Apparently misleading usernames are not allowed.
Say it once. No repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link for abusive posts.

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