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Almanac refines its Terms of Use

Original post made by Peter Carpenter on Jul 2, 2014

The Almanac has now publicly declared that "Posters are allowed to post anonymously on this forum, and the comment on a public official seemed fair, not an attack."

So from now on anonymous posters can say whatever they want about any public official without concern for the consequences and any public official who objects to such attacks will be censored.

This is a sad day for public officials who can now be freely attacked without having the ability to either protest or respond.

Comments (12)

Posted by Mike Keenly, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 2, 2014 at 9:52 pm

I think it's probably time that posters on any subject are required to log-in and use their real name, not a screen name. More civility will be brought to the discussions. Those who don't want to participate in this way will vanish, as they should.


Posted by be gone, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jul 3, 2014 at 6:10 am

Or buy a can of Troll-Be-Gone?

Ahem cough (frosty) cough

;)


Posted by Grammar Police, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 6:42 am

Is "Its", not "It's." Please fix title.

Also, just about every other news organization in this country, including the New York Times and Washington Post allow anonymous posters to write comments.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 3, 2014 at 6:51 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Of the largest 137 U.S. newspapers — those with daily circulation above 50,000 — nearly 49 percent ban anonymous commenting, according to Arthur Santana, assistant communications professor at the University of Houston. Nearly 42 percent allow anonymity, while 9 percent do not have comments at all."

from "Web sites try to clean up cesspool of online comments" in the Washington Post.

Web Link


The New York Times require that ALL posters to be registered:
"We ask you to complete the simple NYTimes.com registration process to ensure that you are a "real" person and that you accept our terms and conditions. The registration process serves to facilitate the development of our online community, and ensure that members take responsibility for their writings."

Note "ensure that members take responsibility for their writings."

Hopefully such wisdom will trickle down.


Posted by Grammar Police, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 7:14 am

New York Times requires all posters to be registered but the vast, vast majority do not use their real names. Most don't even post their real city. Washington Post has had anonymous posters for years and it's been working out fine.

Also, most sites and blogs use Disqus commenting system these days. The vast majority of commenters on Disqus are anonymous. Mercury News uses the Disqus system and it is working out just fine.

Also, on sites like USA Today which allows allow only Facebook commenting, posters are routinely attacked on their own Facebook page by strangers who disagree with their comments. In fact, if you look at the comments under a USA Today story, there are too many mean-spirited comments about other people's looks, weight, race and so on.



Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 3, 2014 at 7:18 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" In fact, if you look at the comments under a USA Today story, there are too many mean-spirited comments about other people's looks, weight, race and so on. "

Which simply proves the point that anonymity creates "a cesspool of online comments".

" Popular Science, the 141-year-old science and technology magazine, stopped allowing comments of any kind on its news articles in September."
"Because "comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories," LaBarre wrote."

Note - "grotesque reflection"


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 3, 2014 at 7:33 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Washington Post's TOS:

"To register for certain Services, you will create login credentials by providing an email address to us and by selecting a username and password. You also provide us certain information during the registration process, which you agree to keep accurate and updated. Each login is for a single user only."

And, as noted above, "Of the largest 137 U.S. newspapers — those with daily circulation above 50,000 — nearly 49 percent ban anonymous commenting".


Posted by Holly L., a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 3, 2014 at 7:36 am

Holly L. is a registered user.

No, Mr. Carpenter. On the USA Today website, people using their REAL Facebook names are posting horrible personal attacks on otherwise who are using their real names. They are doing this anonymously. You are NOT from ugly personal attacks just because you post under your own name. Apparently there is a big group out there who don't give a damn that they are posting attacks on orhers under their real name. The problem is escalating. Not only do they attack others about their appearances,etc under the news story but they will then go to your Facebook page and bombard them with hateful messages. You are not safe posting under your real name. And the attackers are posting under their teal names. Go look at comments under political stories.


Posted by Holly L., a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jul 3, 2014 at 7:41 am

Holly L. is a registered user.

I meant to say that ALL posters over at USA Today are required to post under their REAL Facebook names. NO ONE posts anonymously. Check out the website some time. If under a political story for example, someone doesn't agree with what you say, you might get attacked as being fat, or old, because your photo is there for all to see. African Americans are often attacked for their skin color. Sometimes attackers then Google the name of a real poster, and then post personal insults about the person who has used their real name on the USA today website.And Mr. Carpenter, the attackers are attacking people under their real names.


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on Jul 3, 2014 at 8:08 am

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

I have always posted under my real name. I know for a fact that an elderly Atherton woman's life was saved and she lived an additional 4.5 years because of 2 anonymous posters, i personally thank them for posting. I also thank the Almanac for this place to post.

I prefer people posting under their real name, don't know if that will ever happen.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jul 3, 2014 at 9:46 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The above postings have been helpful to me in clarifying the issue.

In my opinion the biggest problem with the Almanac's TOS is that it permits anonymous unregistered users to post under multiple names on different topics. The result is a total lack of accountability for such users. This is in contrast to those handful of registered anonymous posters who always use the same screen names such as Pogo and Menlo Voter and who develop a credibility track record and who can therefore be held accountable for their postings.

The Almanac's policies are the worst of all worlds - post anonymously, change your name to avoid developing any track record, don't register to avoid any accountability and now feel free to attack and slander public officials because the Almanac rewards such public officials by guaranteeing other's unrestricted right to attack them.


Posted by pogo, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jul 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm

pogo is a registered user.

One good way is to simply require registration - which I did a long time ago. Having to register with your email address, even if that email address is only accessible to the administrator, tends to reduce vitriol and improve the exchange. I think that would be an excellent compromise for everyone.

It's pretty obvious when the same person uses multiple aliases in the same thread. They frequently misspell the same words in every post.


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