Toledo Talk

Blade goes to Facebook comments

The Blade is now requiring people to use their Facebook accounts when making online comments at that paper's site. The paper says the new policy will make for a more civil discussion. That may be true, I suppose, but it is also going to eliminate some people who have good reasons to disguise who they are to avoid retaliation and harassment. Given The Blade's long record of hatchet jobs and holding grudges over the years, some prominent people in the community may not want their unpopular-with-The-Blade viewpoints to boomerang against them for political or ideological reasons. Just my two cents!

http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2012/03/13/Blade-Web-sites-switch-to-Facebook-registered-comments.html

created by pete on Mar 14, 2012 at 09:22:43 am     Media     Comments: 127

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Comments ... #

It is beyond easy to set up false accounts in FB. I have a niece who has at least 4 or 5. And if I was looking for a new job I would definitely set up a new one in case I ran into this http://redtape.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/06/10585353-govt-agencies-colleges-demand-applicants-facebook-passwords

posted by roygbiv on Mar 14, 2012 at 09:36:34 am     #  

They should just get rid of the comments altogether. It's mostly a haven for 4-5 people to spout off racist garbage until their post gets deleted.

posted by Ace_Face on Mar 14, 2012 at 10:17:09 am     #   6 people liked this

I think it's an excellent idea. I'm a little concerned at the one commenter who suggested everybody move here to Toledo Talk to voice their opinion. I hope it doesn't mean a sudden influx of racist trolls here.

posted by dell_diva on Mar 14, 2012 at 10:35:32 am     #  

i think the blade is within their rights on this - they should not have to support diatribes against them, no matter how wrong the blade is, on their own site. fake FB pages are fine tho risky... we are fortunate and it is appropriate to have this site to have a more complete discussion... if not vent some vile bile at times.

good time to thank jr!!

posted by enjoyeverysandwich on Mar 14, 2012 at 10:37:16 am     #  

WOW.....WEE..... maybe the trolls and sub-room-temperature people will stop commenting now.

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 14, 2012 at 11:22:14 am     #   2 people liked this

nope, I'm still here.

posted by hockeyfan on Mar 14, 2012 at 11:39:13 am     #   2 people liked this

If you don't want to comment using Facebook, you can select from Yahoo, Hotmail, or AOL.

posted by odnation on Mar 14, 2012 at 11:46:49 am     #  

Dead on, Pete. Yes, the Blade is within their rights to run their site however they wish. But then they hide behind nameless editorials, so the hypocrisy is quite thick there...

posted by texlovera on Mar 14, 2012 at 11:57:57 am     #   1 person liked this

So now I can't spit my vitriol anonymously?!

Good point on the editorial hypocrisy Tex

posted by OmarLittle on Mar 14, 2012 at 12:33:27 pm     #  

I kind of expected this would happen eventually, but the Blade's reasons for switching are wrong.

The change, aimed at improving the public discourse ...

The goal is to foster better and more civil public discussions ...

It's a myth that real names lead to civility on the Internet. This myth is distributed by anti-pseudonym people. If you think Facebook users or Facebook comments on other sites have civil discussions, then you have spent very little time on Facebook and on the Web.

July 2011 blog post titled An Open Letter to Those Who Think Real Names Solve the Civility Problem :

Real names do nothing to rescue [the] intertoobz from civility problems. People are too adept at being rat bastards for anything like a real name policy to stop them.

I hate to tell you this, but the civility problem will never be solved. There will always be a subset of rotten jerks in any given population. The band-aid of a real names policy does nothing but give you the illusion things will be hunky-dory.

You [site owner] mitigate it by having tools in place for folks to flag bad behavior. You [site owner] mitigate it by having policies in place that deal with that bad behavior no matter what name it's coming from. You [site owner] are going to have to take some responsibility beyond "real names!" to solve the civility problem.


July 2011 blog post titled If your website is full of assholes, it's your falut

If you run a website, you need to follow these steps. if you don't, you're making the web, and the world, a worse place. And it's your fault. Put another way, take some goddamn responsibility for what you unleash on the world.


July 2011 blog post titled Anonymity and Pseudonyms in Social Software written by Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake who obviously has an interesting last name for someone who supports pseudonyms. Caterina wrote:

The point I think is this: Pseudonyms are not in themselves harmful. Yes, they can be used for harm, as when people use them for anonymous, slanderous attacks, trolling, etc., but in the vast majority of cases there is no harm done.

In the cases where pseudonyms are being abused, it is the harm that should be stopped, not the pseudonyms.

I understand the real reason a site owner would switch to Facebook comments: it's easy. It's also a sign that the site owner has given up and surrendered. It's a sign of running out of creativity.

But the site owner can implement whatever policy he or she wants. That's fine. But watch for a future Blade op-ed, championing the use of Facebook comments and how every other site should do the same. We already know that a couple local media people disapprove of Internet pseudonyms. Probably the only time WSPD, Toledo Free Press, and the Toledo Blade agree on something.

This imbecilic and maybe even dangerous thinking about Internet pseudonyms is probably more pervasive in the media world than we realize. Here's a March 2011 Slate.com article titled Why we need to get rid of anonymous comments by Slate's alleged tech writer.

If I ruled the Web, I'd change this. I'd make all commenters log in with Facebook or some equivalent third-party site, meaning they'd have to reveal their real names to say something in a public forum. Facebook has just revamped its third-party commenting "plug-in," making it easier for sites to outsource their commenting system to Facebook.

That's why the Web is not ruled by one person or one org.

The Slate writer also said:

Web sites should move toward requiring people to reveal their real names when engaging in all online behavior that's understood to be public. In all but the most extreme scenarios—everywhere outside of repressive governments—anonymity damages online communities.

The above is false. It's irresponsible site owners who damage their own online communities. I have no problem with Slate doing whatever it does regarding comments. The problem occurs when a dimwit like that Slate writer wants ALL websites to operate the way he wants by eliminating pseudonyms.

Some politicians would also like to eliminate Internet pseudonyms.

Oh, some people do create multiple Facebook accounts. What a shock. They have one Facebook account that they use with close friends, and another Facebook account that they use with family and/or co-workers. They do this to create a separation. They don't want their co-workers or family to see what they are sharing with their close friends.

One of my all-time favorite websites is MetaFilter.com. I patterned the look and functionality of the early Toledo Talk after that site.

MeFi has been around for over 10 years, which is ancient in Web time. The site still allows users to create pseudonyms. Naturally, the site has mods who remove posts and deactivate accounts that violate the posting guidelines.

Years ago, MeFi implemented a method to slow down the trolls and spammers, and this method is still used today. From the MeFi new user page :

Due to the bursting size of the community, its use of resources, and the cost of running the servers, all new users have a one-time $5 charge, to help defray these costs. If you sign up an account to pimp your product, act like an ass, or generally just do things that break the guidelines you will be booted and there will be no refunds.

MeFi does not need the $5 charge to help fund its servers. It gets plenty of money from the little ads. The one-time $5 charge for each new user account was simply a barrier to slow down the trolls. Do I recommend this barrier for the Blade or any other site? No. It's just an example of what one long-time site has implemented.

July 2011 tweet from a GigaOm writer:

anyone who thinks "real names" are a necessary pre-condition for civilized discourse should take a look at Metafilter sometime

Before I started Toledo Talk, a helpful book for me was the 2001 book titled Design for Community by Derek Powazek. One chapter is titled "Barriers to Entry."

No single method exists for managing user-contributed content. A site owner has to view methods used by other sites, try different things, and create new barriers. It's not required that a site owner make it easy for new users to post content. Those users who are willing to go through the barriers are more likely to be users who follow the posting guidelines.

But surrendering to Facebook comments is a common fad by those who have run out of ideas or don't want to take the time to innovate. And in a way, you are handing over a good portion of your site to Facebook. For some articles, the word count is greater for the comments than what was written by the Blade writer.

Another helpful bit of info to me was this March 2003 post titled Building Communities with Software by software developer Joel Spolsky. Joel writes from the perspective of computer programmers, but in my opinion, what he writes about the "third place" applies to anyone. Below, I added the "and strangers" phrase within brackets.

The social scientist Ray Oldenburg talks about how humans need a third place, besides work and home, to meet with friends [and strangers], have a beer, discuss the events of the day, and enjoy some human interaction. Coffee shops, bars, hair salons, beer gardens, pool halls, clubs, and other hangouts are as vital as factories, schools and apartments.

Over the last 25 years, Americans "belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often." For too many people, life consists of going to work, then going home and watching TV. Work-TV-Sleep-Work-TV-Sleep.

So it's no surprise that so many programmers, desperate for a little human contact, flock to online communities - chat rooms, discussion forums, open source projects, and Ultima Online. In creating community software, we are, to some extent, trying to create a third place.

I would consider Toledo Talk a "third place" type of setting, separate from work and home. Separate from family and friends. I believe people feel more comfortable sharing experiences, advice, and opinions in a third place type of setting than in a work or home setting. Or at least a user may share different info in a third place type of setting.

I'm sure many would consider Facebook to be a third place type of environment, based upon Joel's words above. But to me, Facebook is a hybrid of work and home. Facebook eliminates the third place, which is probably why some people create more than one Facebook account.

A good site to visit at least occasionally is the Electronic Frontier Foundation. A couple articles at EFF:

Here's an August 2011 EFF article titled Randi Zuckerberg [Facebook] Runs in the Wrong Direction on Pseudonymity Online. From this EFF article, here's some of the dangerous thinking that exists high-up at Facebook:

But there is one person for whom insisting on the use of real names on social networking sites is not enough. Unsurprisingly, that person is Facebook’s Marketing Director, Randi Zuckerberg. Speaking last week on a panel discussion about social media hosted by Marie Claire magazine, Zuckerberg said,

"I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors."

Take a moment and let that sink in. Randi Zuckerberg doesn’t just think that you should be using your real name on Facebook or Google+ or LinkedIn -- she thinks pseudonyms have no place on the Internet at all. And why should we take the radical step of stripping all Internet users of the right to speak anonymously? Because of the Greater Internet F***wad Theory, or the “civility argument,” which states: If you allow people to speak anonymously online, they will froth at the mouth, go rabid, bully and stalk one another. Therefore, requiring people to use their real names online should decrease stalking and bullying and generally raise the level of discourse.

The problem with the civility argument is that it doesn’t tell the whole story. Not only is uncivil discourse alive and well in venues with real name policies (such as Facebook), the argument willfully ignores the many voices that are silenced in the name of shutting up trolls: activists living under authoritarian regimes, whistleblowers, victims of violence, abuse, and harassment, and anyone with an unpopular or dissenting point of view that can legitimately expect to be imprisoned, beat-up, or harassed for speaking out.

July 2011 Daily Mail article about Randi's comments also shows the kind of dangerous thinking that can exist high-up in Google too:

The comments echo those of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt who has previously labelled internet anonymity a 'dangerous' precedent, before predicting government intervention will one day lead to its demise.

Internet venture capitalist Fred Wilson wrote in August 2011:

I'm all for real names if people want to use them. But not everyone wants to use a real name. This community is a perfect example of the value of anonymity.

The desire to clean up the web, civilize it, and sterlize it pisses me off. I hate it. The Zuckerbergs can run a sterile community on the web if they want. That's just fine. But to suggest that real names is the source of their success it to learn the wrong lessons from Facebook.

So the goal of switching to Facebook comments is not "to foster better and more civil public discussions" because that's a myth. The goal is "to foster more sterile public discussions." But site owners can implement any policies they want. The Web is big. People who disapprove of a site owner's choices can go elsewhere.

posted by jr on Mar 14, 2012 at 12:53:34 pm     #   4 people liked this

anonymouscoward posted at 11:22:14 AM on Mar 14, 2012:

WOW.....WEE..... maybe the trolls and sub-room-temperature people will stop commenting now.

This from the guy who references bestiality in 34.7654% of his post and or calls other people in the discussion homophobic names and must reference "sucking the Kotch" or he loses his hater-aid sponsorship.

Anonymity on the internet is something we must preserve. Lots of early freedom writers published under pen names because they didn't want repercussions from the controlling elite.

posted by dbw8906 on Mar 14, 2012 at 12:59:36 pm     #   2 people liked this

I call dibs on the fake FB profile for "Mrs. Blade Comment" !!

posted by viola on Mar 14, 2012 at 12:59:41 pm     #   1 person liked this

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 14, 2012 at 01:04:58 pm     #  

dbw8906 posted at 12:59:36 PM on Mar 14, 2012:
anonymouscoward posted at 11:22:14 AM on Mar 14, 2012:

WOW.....WEE..... maybe the trolls and sub-room-temperature people will stop commenting now.

This from the guy who references bestiality in 34.7654% of his post and or calls other people in the discussion homophobic names and must reference "sucking the Kotch" or he loses his hater-aid sponsorship.

Anonymity on the internet is something we must preserve. Lots of early freedom writers published under pen names because they didn't want repercussions from the controlling elite.

Well, you are a liar (that statistic is a lie, you did not review every single post I have ever made here and do the math), nor did you bother to look up the origins of "keep fucking that chicken" at UrbanDictionary, and it's "Koch-sucker" in honor of the Koch brothers (no T in there). So thanks for the pathetic effort you put in trying to attack me and proving my post more correct.

As for my "hater-aid" sponsorship, I don't know how many times I have to say that I don't have jack shit to do with the Democratic Party except to vote for them as the lesser of two evils as the GOP is intent on self-destruction by going far, far radical right and won't make a single move anywhere near my political bent, even if said move is actually in-line with what they repeatedly claim is their platform (less government and regulation also applies to INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS, including marijuana and marriage, YOU FUCKING DUMBASSES!)

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 14, 2012 at 01:16:04 pm     #  

Hey jr, you forogt the Blade/Paul Hem's position on anonymous domain registration too... claim it's infringing on their trademark and seize it. Be careful they don't claim prior rights to "Toledo Talk" and seize yours.

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 14, 2012 at 01:19:37 pm     #  

I guess I'll have to use my Facebook account "Sensor Gee" to make comments...

posted by SensorG on Mar 14, 2012 at 02:01:22 pm     #  

Taken from a Blade online poll as of 2:18 pm. Fifty percent see it as a kind of censorship.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
What do you think of The Blade using Facebook to moderate online comments?

It's about time, people should put real name with comments
19%
At least it incorporates more social media that I use
1%
I'm not sure about it
2%
I'm disappointed, I don't use Facebook at all
19%
It's a ploy to silence our opinions
50%
Doesn't matter, I don't read those comments anyway
9%
Total votes: 966

http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2012/03/13/Blade-Web-sites-switch-to-Facebook-registered-comments.html

posted by pete on Mar 14, 2012 at 02:19:43 pm     #  

Surprised they haven't been editing their survey to make the results come out the way they want them...

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 14, 2012 at 02:39:31 pm     #  

BTW this is what happens when you lose internet anonymity.

TWITTER agrees to shut down anti-Assad accounts...

"Asma al-Assad's aide persuaded Twitter to remove fake accounts, emails reveal" - They will soon be getting a visit from the Syrian Ministry of Truth.

posted by dbw8906 on Mar 14, 2012 at 03:26:11 pm     #  

Unlike face to face communication, using a fake name gives you the opportunity to voice an opinion that if said in person, might cause you to get your butt beat. Sometimes it's not to anger anyone, but to bring to light something that others are thinking, but won't say.
The problem with putting your real name on the internet is that it only takes one weirdo to get offended by your opinion and start making your life hell. You can get so much information about someone on the internet.
I believe the "fake" or "hidden" names are necessary for people to share their thoughts and ideas without being labeled or judged wrong too quick.

posted by hockeyfan on Mar 14, 2012 at 03:42:21 pm     #  

""Unlike face to face communication, using a fake name gives you the opportunity to voice an opinion that if said in person, might cause you to get your butt beat. Sometimes it's not to anger anyone, but to bring to light something that others are thinking, but won't say.
The problem with putting your real name on the internet is that it only takes one weirdo to get offended by your opinion and start making your life hell. You can get so much information about someone on the internet.
I believe the "fake" or "hidden" names are necessary for people to share their thoughts and ideas without being labeled or judged wrong too quick.

! posted by hockeyfan on Mar 14, 2012 at 03:42:21 pm # + ""

You're 100% correct here, hockeyfan. One whack-job could raise hell with your boss, spread rumors throughout your neighborhood, gather a crowd around your home, threaten your children, and so on and so forth. Look at what the Blaid said about Joe the plumber, when he said "I disagree" to a presidential candidate. They're on a fishing expedition here, and they resent having the Internet being an alternative source of information they can't selectively edit.

posted by Wulf on Mar 14, 2012 at 07:32:06 pm     #  

The entire news industry - including TV are moving to Facebook commenting.

Fort Myers News-Press

http://www.news-press.com/article/20110807/COLUMNISTS48/108070354/From-editor-Anonymity-going-away-news-press-com-story-comments :

“When I am out in the community I can always count on one question: Why do you allow people to be anonymous when they comment online? Starting later this week we won’t on the stories that appear online. We will be one of two newspapers in our company to test Facebook comments. We will test it for 60 days and evaluate the results.”

Note: ALL Gannett newspaper Web sites are now using Facebook commenting. That includes USA Today and The Detroit Free Press

Des Moines Register

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20110807/NEWS/110806038/DesMoinesRegister-com-move-Facebook-comments :

“Starting late Wednesday, Facebook comments will replace our existing commenting system. You will have to have a Facebook account to comment, which will eliminate use of anonymous screen names.”

From “Business Week”

“Facebook went a step further in March when it started offering a free commenting tool to Web publishers. User comments on blog posts and news articles have always been clogged with inane or malicious remarks. With Facebook's new system, publishers can link commenters to their social network account and display their profile picture and real name alongside their posts. The aim is to weed out the vitriolic dialogue that anonymity fosters, says Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's director of engineering. "Your identity brings value to the comments," he says.”

“It can also bring value to the bottom line. Some comments include information that may help Facebook better target its ads. Partner sites benefit from more page views: The news site Examiner.com saw its referral traffic from Facebook more than double in the first day after it installed the commenting tool. At Sporting News, the tone of reader comments used to be "embarrassing at best," says President and Publisher Jeff Price. Since adopting Facebook Comments, quality has improved—and so has the site's perception among advertisers, says Price. More than 17,000 sites implemented Facebook Comments in the first two weeks of its release.”

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_13/b4221043353206.htm

Here is a Poynter story:

http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/media-lab/social-media/127976/la-times-techcrunch-introduce-facebook-comments-but-its-not-for-everyone/

“While it is still far too early to pass judgment on the system, I touched base with Martin Beck, the social media editor at the Los Angeles Times to get his take on it. The Times has been using the comments tool since mid-March http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/03/facebook-comments-now-live-on-the-la-times-technology-blog-fabulous-forum.html , but only on a handful of its blogs. Previously those sites had been using the built-in comments native to the Typepad blogging platform.”

“Beck said the old system lacked some important moderation tools, so comments had to be pre-approved prior to being published. Using Facebook’s comments has, in some cases, enhanced the flow of real-time conversation.”

...

“Beck notes the paper’s tech blogger, Nathan Olivarez-Giles http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/nathan-olivarez-giles/ , has seen an increase in comments, and has had to moderate far fewer. Olivarez-Giles told him the system has led to better discussion, because “I think the removal of anonymity in the Facebook system has helped prompt people to leave more meaningful and thought out comments.”

Here’s a video from a TV station that is now using Facebook for comments:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrMdf5xNbqI

posted by paulhem on Mar 14, 2012 at 10:24:02 pm     #  

Your own poll at the paper reveals that commentators think it's being done to muzzle them... that's from your own readers. Your remarks above are meaningless crap and are just self-justification. Read JR's comments above. You might learn something.

posted by pete on Mar 14, 2012 at 10:37:48 pm     #  

JRB must have left the door open to your cage again.

posted by pete on Mar 14, 2012 at 10:41:45 pm     #   1 person liked this

Face it the rag in Toledo is going down sooner rather than later. I get more news from this website than the overpriced birdcage liner most days. I had a site for comics and a Sodoku, maybne its time to finely save the money and cancel our subscription.

posted by Linecrosser on Mar 14, 2012 at 10:45:27 pm     #   2 people liked this

Wow, I agree with Liney on something. Only reason I look at The Blah is to see what's not reported on the TV news sites.

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 15, 2012 at 12:50:12 am     #  

I lost interest in that paper when they dropped the Dick Tracy comic strip, for being too violent.

posted by Wulf on Mar 15, 2012 at 01:00:42 am     #  

Censorship has already started, I see where "Carty Finkbeiner" left a comment using a Hotmail account and it was gone hours later. Thought that was supposed to be IMPOSSIBLE with this new system! I can't wait to see what happens if someone creates a JRB Yahoo or Hotmail account, I bet given the actions of Block Communications in the past that they get the entire Homeland Security Department involved in uncovering exactly who dared register in that name. In fact, I wonder what happens if someone actually does legally change their name that way? If they actually deleted the comments from said person, would that person be able to sue? Would the ACLU get involved?

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 15, 2012 at 01:02:53 am     #  

Let's remember that Paul Hem has never worked at any newspaper other than JRB's Blade. He can quote from or reference any other news think tank story but he has never done any heavy lifting outside of the newsroom on the left side of N. Superior St. I stay anonymous because I have seen how his medium has savaged people who have tried to make a stand counter to his boss. So thank you JR, and thank you Paul for proving the foibles of your employer who many of us feel are potentially injurious to our community's effort to rebuild itself in these dire economic times. It's not like a member of the 1% percent will really recognize our skills and potential to position our community to rebuild a once proud economic engine. JRB's editorial stance is a conundrum. On the one hand he has his lap dog minions arguing for labor while attempting to crush his own organized workforce. Only a rich business owner of a privately held business can try and make this oxymoronic position tenable. Since Paul has identified himself as an artillery unit commander, and we do thank him for his service, we can only assume that he has been rendered a bit tone deaf to hear the inconsistencies of his media employer.

posted by MadAnthony on Mar 15, 2012 at 01:24:56 am     #   2 people liked this

Prior to The Blade, I spent my time "heavy lifting" in the Army and private business. Here's my LinkedIn profile for those who would like to learn more about my experience and education.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/paulhem

posted by paulhem on Mar 15, 2012 at 05:38:28 am     #  

Sorry, Paul, but those site owners who complain about bad comments like to blame the anonymous users while I blame the site owners.

If switching to Facebook comments increases page views for the site, then that's a valid, accounting, spreadsheet-type of reason to switch. More page views, more advertises, more revenue. I get that. It's numbers.

But it's an insult to say that the reason to outsource commenting to Facebook is for more civil discussions.

Personally, I would not hand over a good portion of my site's content to Facebook who has a shady record, regarding privacy and tracking users on the Web.

posted by jr on Mar 15, 2012 at 05:47:00 am     #   5 people liked this

Wulf: That's funny! The last straw for me was when they dropped Prince Valiant (one of the best-drawn AND best-written strips) and replaced it with Baird's musings. Talk about dumbing down the comics...

posted by texlovera on Mar 15, 2012 at 08:48:26 am     #  

This is simply all about the Blade trying to silence opinions that they found too... disturbing. I can only imagine JRB's daily rants from Pittsburgh to his troops to "GET THIS UNDER CONTROL!!!" The Blade must truly be a sad, sad place to work. As it's paid readership crashes, its owner would rather maintain a safely controlled "environment" of plastic correctness, even if it means chasing away precious online eyeballs. Can you imagine how much the pageview count has dropped?? Oh well, they're getting what they want, I guess...

posted by texlovera on Mar 15, 2012 at 08:53:31 am     #  

@MadAnthony. I think mentioning Paul Hem and "lapdog" in the same post just about sums it all up nicely.

posted by pete on Mar 15, 2012 at 08:57:24 am     #   2 people liked this

Well ... where to begin to weigh in on this.
First, I rarely visit the Blade website's comment section, because the first 10 times I did, there were childish rants, often just a single sentence somehow incorporating "butt" or poop. I decided the Blade comments section was a place for really immature, frustrated people to hang out. I don't want to hang out in that place. So from the standpoint of making that section of their website more customer-friendly, requiring a linkable "truthy" identity is a good move.

Second, FB made this possible for the Blade (and, apparently, for other sites) because they noticed a need and offered a business solution to improve other businesses' operations. As a B-to-B service, this one's pretty smart.

Third, FB only wants to do this so they can track the viewing habits of more people more thoroughly. They want to target ads to people -- that's how they intend to make a whole lotta money. There is a perception among younger people (and some hyper-connected folks) that there is no difference between personal and public now, that no one has anything to hide, that it's foolish to worry about limiting the intrusion of celebrity worship, advertising, etc. into one's life. I happen to disagree with every molecule in my body ... but I'm often out of step with others. Different drum and all.

I will be doing everything I can to avoid the tentacles of every commercial enterprise on the web that seeks to follow my behavior in order to figure out how to sell me things.

Fourth, the internet has created the possibility of those "third places" to be available 24/7. Formerly (and not too long ago) those "third places" were bookstores and coffeehouses. If you were drunk or ranting or using objectionable language, you could be asked to leave for the comfort of other customers, and for the good of the overall business.

Fifth, there are no other areas of modern life (that I'm aware of) where irate people CAN spew curses and potty humor without consequences. Even in a comedy club, where an audience might pay for that style of entertainment, only the folks up on stage have the right to bellow and spew continuously. Hecklers can be ejected.

Little kids may enter kindergarten with poor impulse control, but it's the job of parents, teachers, and others to teach the idea that one's most urgent and clever thoughts don't need to be shared with everyone else, all the time, anytime. Only the internet has provided that space, thanks to individual site managers and businesses that support discussion boards. Now that the "freedom" to be abusive and belligerent is threatened, people are reacting with vitriol. There is a similar reaction in children, when they first come to understand that they cannot have their own way 24/7: it's called the "terrible twos."

posted by viola on Mar 15, 2012 at 10:28:37 am     #  

Other than the daily crime reports which vary slightly. The blade, offers nothing but tired and worn out liberalism that hasn't worked any where on the Planet, in all of World History !

posted by BigWillard on Mar 15, 2012 at 12:36:47 pm     #   1 person liked this

hockeyfan posted at 03:42:21 PM on Mar 14, 2012:

Unlike face to face communication, using a fake name gives you the opportunity to voice an opinion that if said in person, might cause you to get your butt beat. Sometimes it's not to anger anyone, but to bring to light something that others are thinking, but won't say.
The problem with putting your real name on the internet is that it only takes one weirdo to get offended by your opinion and start making your life hell. You can get so much information about someone on the internet.

I believe the "fake" or "hidden" names are necessary for people to share their thoughts and ideas without being labeled or judged wrong too quick.

I do agree with that. I don't comment on any website using my Facebook profile.

It is unfortunate that some people use anonymous commeting to spout off idiotic/offensive/racist comments. jr made good points about that being more of a site management issue.

I've made many posts here on TT in relative anonymity. While some of you may not always agree with every opinion I have, I don't think anyone would say that I have a habit of being rude or offensive. It is unfortunate that some ruin it for the rest of us who do want the option to comment in an anonymous and respectful manner.

The Detroit Free Press and Monroe Evening News also have switched to Facebook commenting in the past year or so. I've not commented on either site since.

I suppose in some way, these sites moving to Facebook comments has been good for me. Makes it easy to avoid the temptation to get wrapped up in discussion, so I save some time that way. :)

posted by mom2 on Mar 15, 2012 at 12:50:05 pm     #   1 person liked this

Many years ago, I had 6-7 letters to the editor published in the Blade. One day someone looked up my phone number and called to challange my remarks. I asked him to write me a letter, as my remarks were written and did not want to talk to strangers about this topic. He acted almost offended. I quit writing to the Blade because of this. Some people are just lazy, others have mental problems that are not dealt with. I have no problem with a webmaster knowing who I am, but to put your name out there for just anyone is asking for trouble.

posted by WhatThe on Mar 15, 2012 at 12:56:53 pm     #   3 people liked this

When the blade isn't utilizing its Goebbels 37 year old tactic of character assassination...it is carrying the water for those who hate America, as thoroughly as our worst enemies.
I haven't gotten it since 1984...

posted by BigWillard on Mar 15, 2012 at 03:19:20 pm     #   1 person liked this

jr. No problem. We are running a business.

We do not have the time to do all of the policing necessary to deal with the deluge of comments that violate our visitor agreement.

Frankly, we have had quite a few complaints regarding comments that violate our visitor agreement.

As others have mentioned, it isn't just The Blade. My post or comment, above, was filled with quotes from news industry professionals who have faced the same problem. So, no offense to me, jr, if you disagree with the industry. I trust you take no offense in the statements made by Gannett (owmns USA Today - Detroit Freep) and other news outlets.

Of course, I didn't create the YouTube video, either.

So, it's all good.

posted by paulhem on Mar 15, 2012 at 05:30:29 pm     #  

paulhem posted at 05:30:29 PM on Mar 15, 2012:

jr. No problem. We are running a business.

We do not have the time to do all of the policing necessary to deal with the deluge of comments that violate our visitor agreement.

Frankly, we have had quite a few complaints regarding comments that violate our visitor agreement.

As others have mentioned, it isn't just The Blade. My post or comment, above, was filled with quotes from news industry professionals who have faced the same problem. So, no offense to me, jr, if you disagree with the industry. I trust you take no offense in the statements made by Gannett (owmns USA Today - Detroit Freep) and other news outlets.

Of course, I didn't create the YouTube video, either.

So, it's all good.

You mean that despite having how many employees in the Block Empire there are not enough nor are you willing to pay enough to police the forums? Is this representative of Block's view of job creation? Surely there's someone out there willing to be paid minimum wage just as the Chief Internet Comment Censor of The Blade?!

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 15, 2012 at 06:21:40 pm     #  

Save your breath, AC. Hem is just parroting his master's voice. He can't answer JR and he can't answer you because he still gets a paycheck.

posted by pete on Mar 15, 2012 at 06:47:35 pm     #  

"Sorry, Paul, but those site owners who complain about bad comments like to blame the anonymous users while I blame the site owners."

Right on the mark! As long as I follow the rules of the site, there shouldn't be any problems. I don't believe that it takes that long to review posts to determine if they should be kicked off the board.

People are anonymous for many reasons. If my opinion is different from my boss's, and my boss reads my post on a website, then I could lose my job. I've read too many articles about someone losing their job because of a political bumper sticker that didn't agree with the boss's, or some other opinion expressed by an employee. Also, we are reading more and more about employers reviewing someone's Facebook page as part of the hiring process. We keep getting warnings about this. I would never use my Facebook account to post an opinion anywhere.
I also agree with those who say it is a security issue not to use your real name. Anyone can look up a name on AREIS and find your address.

posted by bikerdude on Mar 16, 2012 at 10:08:57 am     #  

It's funny how this plan is already blowing up in the blade's face. When I go to an article now (at least from work), I can't even see the comments at all because of "untrusted connection" issues with facebook, whether it's firefox, chrome or IE. Plus, the blade doesn't even list the "Most Commented" stories anymore on its front page. So, bladesters, is this a feature or a bug?

posted by texlovera on Mar 16, 2012 at 11:38:25 am     #  

If my opinion is different from my boss's, and my boss reads my post on a website, then I could lose my job. I've read too many articles about someone losing their job because of a political bumper sticker that didn't agree with the boss's, or some other opinion expressed by an employee. Also, we are reading more and more about employers reviewing someone's Facebook page as part of the hiring process. We keep getting warnings about this. I would never use my Facebook account to post an opinion anywhere.

It's called a chilling effect. By posting your real identity, you are much less likely to post anything too far out of the "mainstream" way of thinking. Spiral of Silence theory plays into this too.

Since the internet is permanent, one misguided opinion is frozen in time for all to see and search until the end of your days. Just wait for the day 30 years from now when Joe the Respected Official is running for high office and Karen the Concerned Opposition digs up his Facebook posts from junior high 30 years ago saying "bitches is stupid" or whatever. And Joe goes down in flames.

Trust me, it's coming...and it's going to be fun to watch.

posted by oldhometown on Mar 16, 2012 at 12:08:30 pm     #   2 people liked this

I'm wondering when "youthful indiscretions" will finally be put to rest for everyone. I don't know of anyone who hasn't said (or posted) something they regret at one time or another. Living life in an online world is in itself a chilling effect.

posted by TartyTinkbeiner on Mar 16, 2012 at 05:07:39 pm     #  

I feel like the commenters had become a little too much like the child who didn't work for the emporer, and could therefore see that he had no clothes. But in the end, my blood pressure is lower and I'm getting more done. The lovefest at the end was pretty funny. While I would love to be one of those people who can't fit their entire head in a photo, I have no interest in Facebook. And less and less interest in the Blade every day.

posted by justread on Mar 17, 2012 at 07:01:20 am     #  

Living in Florida I have always depended on "The Blade" for
news of home. But now--what news? Look at this morning's online edition. One article about a young man shot to death in the central city and the main theme was the animal shelter. With everything happening in Toledo, Ohio and around the world this is the best they could do on their front page Sunday edition. What crap. And I will not be "driven" to Facebook just to have the right to make a public comment. Hey!!! Is it the Blade, one of America's Great Newspapers or Pravda? I'm 60 years old and don't give a rat's ass about social media sites. Lately the only thing the Blade is useful for is the Toledo obituaries and the Blade will soon be reading it's own if it does not change course.

posted by Wydowmaker on Mar 18, 2012 at 10:50:44 am     #   1 person liked this

The Blade hasn't been useful for years. The information stories aren't really anymore than "Toledo Sucks" posters to keep the city depressed to further the Block's ambitions for control of the area. It is a shame one of those tornadoes up in Monroe County couldn't have been redirected south to clean out one spot in Downtown Toledo. :-P It would do the city some good to get the Block family completely out of town and their henchmen fired. The first person that should go though is their internet designer. They have a horribly cluttered and designed site. The move to Facebook essentially just allowed them to remove 99% of story commenting. Yes there were a lot of comments that violated their user agreement. However, there were also a lot of comments that CORRECTED the INACCURACIES in the stories the Blade published and didn't bother to fact check completely. Of course...this goes back to enforcing their agenda for the area and keeping the sheep in line.

posted by JustaSooner on Mar 18, 2012 at 12:52:28 pm     #   3 people liked this

JustaSooner posted at 12:52:28 PM on Mar 18, 2012:

The Blade hasn't been useful for years. The information stories aren't really anymore than "Toledo Sucks" posters to keep the city depressed to further the Block's ambitions for control of the area. It is a shame one of those tornadoes up in Monroe County couldn't have been redirected south to clean out one spot in Downtown Toledo. :-P It would do the city some good to get the Block family completely out of town and their henchmen fired. The first person that should go though is their internet designer. They have a horribly cluttered and designed site. The move to Facebook essentially just allowed them to remove 99% of story commenting. Yes there were a lot of comments that violated their user agreement. However, there were also a lot of comments that CORRECTED the INACCURACIES in the stories the Blade published and didn't bother to fact check completely. Of course...this goes back to enforcing their agenda for the area and keeping the sheep in line.

"Yes there were a lot of comments that violated their user agreement. However, there were also a lot of comments that CORRECTED the INACCURACIES in the stories the Blade published and didn't bother to fact check completely. Of course...this goes back to enforcing their agenda for the area and keeping the sheep in line."

"Yes there were a lot of comments that violated their user agreement. However, there were also a lot of comments that CORRECTED the INACCURACIES in the stories the Blade published and didn't bother to fact check completely. Of course...this goes back to enforcing their agenda for the area and keeping the sheep in line."

I'd repeat this more but if you don't get it after 3 times, oh well.

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 18, 2012 at 01:09:14 pm     #   1 person liked this

good points all around

posted by nits on Mar 18, 2012 at 02:13:06 pm     #  

In order to correct an "inaccuracy one has to be anonymous? I've been sealing with people on all of the social media sites. People who have mentioned things that they would like us to recheck are not anonymous. And if they are right, we thank them for it.

Just-a-Sooner: Did you actually wish Blade employees to be killed in a tornado?

posted by paulhem on Mar 18, 2012 at 06:49:03 pm     #  

OBVIOUSLY, what he's saying is that this would be a better town if what The Blade represents were gone. Don't be obtuse.

posted by pete on Mar 18, 2012 at 06:55:35 pm     #  

paulhem posted at 06:49:03 PM on Mar 18, 2012:

In order to correct an "inaccuracy one has to be anonymous? I've been sealing with people on all of the social media sites. People who have mentioned things that they would like us to recheck are not anonymous. And if they are right, we thank them for it.

Just-a-Sooner: Did you actually wish Blade employees to be killed in a tornado?

They used to be anonymous, now they just go on the enemy list when they point out the Blade's screw-ups or biased coverage or otherwise make the Blade look bad.

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 18, 2012 at 07:07:01 pm     #  

"It is a shame one of those tornadoes up in Monroe County couldn't have been redirected south to clean out one spot in Downtown Toledo."

And what do you think the result of a redirected tornado "..to clean out one spot in Downtown Toledo," would be? Death, that's what. Obviously anonymity makes wishing death to Blade employees easier to write. Made my case.

posted by paulhem on Mar 18, 2012 at 07:56:05 pm     #  

There's enough sucking inside a few blocks of downtown already, how can you tell the difference between that and a tornado anyhow?

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 18, 2012 at 08:30:38 pm     #   3 people liked this

Hem, you are a suck up. I'll translate for you.

posted by pete on Mar 18, 2012 at 09:12:51 pm     #   1 person liked this

paulhem posted at 06:49:03 PM on Mar 18, 2012:

In order to correct an "inaccuracy one has to be anonymous? I've been sealing with people on all of the social media sites. People who have mentioned things that they would like us to recheck are not anonymous. And if they are right, we thank them for it.

Just-a-Sooner: Did you actually wish Blade employees to be killed in a tornado?

Wow really? LOL Look I live in the heart of tornado alley, deal with these things several times a year, I would never wish that on anyone else. We can handle them here, up there you don't have the tools or quality media to really handle frequent events. So no, I don't wish harm to the employees.

Now the fact that you read it that way really points out you aren't here to discuss things rationally and are out playing the hand puppet for JRB. At some point it will hit home to you guys that you are one of the major factors in why the Toledo area has suffered. The best thing that could happen would be the Blade to just go away or all editors and writers be replaced. It is one major group of jaded bitterness that loves holding everyone else back. Misery loves company?

I do have to give you some respect for continuing to come back here and respond...though the fact that any concerns about the quality or message of the Blade go in one ear and out the other really solidify the opinion for many of us. So thanks for that I guess!

posted by JustaSooner on Mar 19, 2012 at 05:46:03 am     #   5 people liked this

paulhem posted at 07:56:05 PM on Mar 18, 2012:

"It is a shame one of those tornadoes up in Monroe County couldn't have been redirected south to clean out one spot in Downtown Toledo."

And what do you think the result of a redirected tornado "..to clean out one spot in Downtown Toledo," would be? Death, that's what. Obviously anonymity makes wishing death to Blade employees easier to write. Made my case.

You are a mess. LOL JRB's hand twitching today?

posted by JustaSooner on Mar 19, 2012 at 05:48:17 am     #   4 people liked this

"In order to correct an inaccuracy, one has to be anonymous?"

Hey Paul, I think your straw man just got blown away by a tornado....

posted by texlovera on Mar 19, 2012 at 01:52:04 pm     #  

Sweet irony. The Blade has a story today about how employers are asking for Facebook passwords at interviews. Gosh, illustrated by their OWN story, anonymity clearly has a value in reducing the "chilling effect." I can't say more than that though, because the "hemchmen" for anti-privacy movement know who I am.

posted by justread on Mar 20, 2012 at 10:58:45 am     #  

justread posted at 10:58:45 AM on Mar 20, 2012:

Sweet irony. The Blade has a story today about how employers are asking for Facebook passwords at interviews. Gosh, illustrated by their OWN story, anonymity clearly has a value in reducing the "chilling effect." I can't say more than that though, because the "hemchmen" for anti-privacy movement know who I am.

"OWN story" Nope. It isn't The Blade's story. It is a wire story (Associated Press). Obviously, the editors made a decision to use it to inform the public.

However, it is interesting how different people get different information from the same story.

For example, I read these:

"Questions have been raised about the legality of the practice, which is also the focus of proposed legislation in Illinois and Maryland that would forbid public agencies from asking for access to social networks."

"Asking for a candidate's password is more prevalent among public agencies, especially those seeking to fill law enforcement positions such as police officers or 911 dispatchers."

Also, as most people know, advertisers pay for the vast majority of all the news in newspapers.

As a result, there are periodicals and Web sites cater to informing advertising buyers.

AD Week is one of those:

Facebook Makes Commenters Think Twice Before Dropping an F-Bomb; Friend accountability elevates virtual banter

posted by paulhem on Mar 20, 2012 at 12:06:41 pm     #  

I just meant on your rag, Paul. Read "purchased" if "own" offends your toady sensibilities.

posted by justread on Mar 22, 2012 at 06:32:10 am     #  

Look at the instructions for comments listed by the Blade:

"Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ."

Makes me want to get my red pen out. How many grammatical and punctuation errors can you spot?

posted by Dappling2 on Mar 23, 2012 at 12:05:42 pm     #  

Somebody is in love with commas at the Blade.

posted by oldhometown on Mar 23, 2012 at 12:21:56 pm     #  

There for sure shouldn't be a comma after "personally." That is also very poorly worded. How about, "Please refrain from personal attacks."

That Taylor girl (the one who writes the blog) torturously words things at times.

The teaching of grammar in schools has fallen by the wayside. I base that upon first-hand evidence.

posted by Dappling2 on Mar 23, 2012 at 12:45:25 pm     #   1 person liked this

OHT & Dappling2 - Thanks! These are useful comments. I have to admit to a comma proclivity in sentences that I construct.

I will pass these along to the newsroom.

posted by paulhem on Mar 24, 2012 at 07:31:10 am     #  

"The teaching of grammar in schools has fallen by the wayside. I base that upon first-hand evidence."
This is true. You almost never hear "grammar school" anymore. Kind of like "journalistic integrity."

posted by justread on Mar 25, 2012 at 07:28:56 am     #  

From Dappling2: How many grammatical and punctuation errors can you spot?

Very few. You're debating style.

From Dappling2: There for sure shouldn't be a comma after "personally."

This is grammatically incorrect and very clumsy. Eliminate the phrase 'for sure'. What are you, a valley girl?

From Dappling2: That is also very poorly worded.

What is poorly worded?

From Dappling2: How about, "Please refrain from personal attacks."

There you go. What did you do, engage the supercharger unit?

From Dappling2: That Taylor girl (the one who writes the blog) torturously words things at times.

Another clumsy sentence and misuse of the word. It's likely you meant tortuous, as in twisting or winding.

Somehow I don't think the irony in the first and second sentence is deliberate.

posted by madjack on Mar 25, 2012 at 09:39:32 am     #   2 people liked this

Paul - When is The Blade going to fix all the old article links that got destroyed when the new and improved web page was installed?

posted by madjack on Mar 25, 2012 at 09:40:54 am     #  

Dappling2 posted at 12:05:42 PM on Mar 23, 2012:

Look at the instructions for comments listed by the Blade:

"Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ."

Makes me want to get my red pen out. How many grammatical and punctuation errors can you spot?

How many errors can I spot? Zero.

I guess I'm stupid because I do not see anything wrong with the way the Blade punctuated the above text. I would have done it exactly the same way.

And yes, I would use a comma after "personally" because the conjunction "and" is connecting two independent clauses, and each clause begins with the implied subject "You." Those two clauses could exist as standalone sentences.

"[You] don't attack other readers personally, and [you] keep your language decent."

A comma is needed after "personally." With the imperative mood, the Blade is giving commands. It's being authoritative in its guidelines, which is fine in my opinion.

After introductory clauses or phrases, a comma can be used, but some may choose not to use a comma if it's a short phrase. Hemingway rarely used commas after any intro clauses. But I side with consistency and clarity, so I agree with the Blade using a comma after these intro phrases:

  • If a comment violates ...
  • To post comments
  • To find out more

Dappling2, you said, "Makes me want to get my red pen out. How many grammatical and punctuation errors can you spot?" yet you only spotlighted one alleged error that does not appear to be an error. So what are the other punctuation errors, and what are the grammar errors? I do not see any grammar errors. Rewording a grammar-correct sentence is not reporting a grammar error.

posted by jr on Mar 25, 2012 at 10:15:09 am     #   1 person liked this

Hi Jr. I am going to guess that you are at least 40. It seems that even caring about punctuation, grammar, clarity in writing, knowing such terms as "imperative," etc. faded quickly in schools once the '90's hit.

Mentioning Hemingway's prose style makes you even more of an outlier! Very impressive! :-)

How is this?

Original:

"Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ."

Amended:

"Forum Guidelines: Users should please keep comments smart and civil. Please refrain from personal attacks. Language should adhere to decent standards. If comments violates these standards, the privacy statement or visitor's agreement, users should report abuse by clicking the "X" in the upper right corner. To post comments, one must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ."

posted by Dappling2 on Mar 25, 2012 at 10:39:20 am     #  

Dappling2 wrote:

"...If comments violates these standards..."

Subject and verb do not agree in number in your amended version. Also: most of the changes you proposed were stylistic in nature, and these changes were not related to grammar or punctuation.

Earlier in your post, though, you used an apostrophe with a decade (90's). Apostrophes should not be used with pluralized dates, and since we are straddling a new century, the previous century should be referenced for clarity (1990s).

The use of "etc." is informal, and is generally not used in writing of higher academic quality. In that same sentence, you also did not follow parallel structure in the development of your prose. I would additionally suggest that you read up on the "rule of three" to further polish your writing skills.

Moral: if you are going to be a Grammar Nazi, make damned sure every sentence you compose has perfect structure and grammar. Otherwise you simply look like a pedantic twit.

posted by historymike on Mar 25, 2012 at 10:54:13 am     #   4 people liked this

Wait for it, , , , kerslam. hahahaha.

posted by Linecrosser on Mar 25, 2012 at 12:36:50 pm     #  

Well... you know Dappling2, I don't think you're going to win this one.

posted by madjack on Mar 25, 2012 at 12:41:46 pm     #  

Touche on the subject/verb agreement. That was a typo. I don't know about being a pedantic twit, historymike, but I am definitely have a thick skin!

posted by Dappling2 on Mar 25, 2012 at 01:02:39 pm     #  

Did you mean, but I definitely have a thick skin?

posted by Linecrosser on Mar 25, 2012 at 03:15:02 pm     #  

Looks like I'm going to learn something whether I like too or not. :)

I think a contest for finding errors in The Blade would be fun. What do you think? OK, besides the fact that historymike would be a winner and it would be too easy (ha ha).

posted by paulhem on Mar 25, 2012 at 03:19:31 pm     #  

OOPs! I meant "like to or not."

posted by paulhem on Mar 25, 2012 at 03:22:24 pm     #  

Hey Paul!

When is The Blade going to fix all the old article links that got destroyed when the new and improved web page was installed?

posted by madjack on Mar 25, 2012 at 06:14:38 pm     #   1 person liked this

Can we get back to bashing The Blade now? It's far more entertaining than English class.

posted by hunkytownsausage on Mar 26, 2012 at 07:25:35 am     #   2 people liked this

I just learned that The Blade has the ability to track you and which stories you pull up on their system if you are already logged onto Facebook. The online Blade knows who you are without even logging in to make a comment. I don't like being tracked without my permission. More Big Brother!

posted by pete on Mar 26, 2012 at 11:38:20 am     #  

Yikes! No shit?

posted by upso on Mar 26, 2012 at 12:01:45 pm     #  

No shit:

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-09/26/facebook-offline-tracking

posted by oldhometown on Mar 26, 2012 at 12:25:01 pm     #  

http://chromeadblock.org/extensions/block-facebook-tracking/

Well, now that the Blade knows everything about everyone, how about they publish the names/addresses/phone numbers of all their employees?

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 26, 2012 at 02:20:09 pm     #  

Hey Madjack! I have been concerned about broken links too. The are still not working, so I am following up now. Thanks for reminding me.

posted by paulhem on Mar 26, 2012 at 03:04:26 pm     #  

The Blade has no way to track what stories you read or sites you go to while logged into Facebook. Facebook may know, but The Blade does not.

I've been working on the Facebook comment tools and I don't see how we would know. If you choose, the comment will appear on your Facebook timeline.

posted by paulhem on Mar 26, 2012 at 03:08:19 pm     #  

paulhem posted at 03:08:19 PM on Mar 26, 2012:

The Blade has no way to track what stories you read or sites you go to while logged into Facebook. Facebook may know, but The Blade does not.

I've been working on the Facebook comment tools and I don't see how we would know. If you choose, the comment will appear on your Facebook timeline.

You're in violation of your own privacy policy for not stating that you're sharing data with Facebook. (Even if it is in one direction only.) I expect to see some sort of notice up on the Blade shortly.

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 26, 2012 at 03:26:01 pm     #  

We are not sharing data. We are using the plugin that Facebook provides. We do not have any information or data that Facebook is doing any tracking. When I wrote "Facebook may know..." - If they do then they aren't disclosing that to us. So, there is no gotcha there,

posted by paulhem on Mar 26, 2012 at 03:48:53 pm     #  

Ah but Facebook IS tracking and you are enabling them by your agreement to use their platform on your site, see their policies for details. Your policy goes into detail about how you contract with DoubleClick for ads on the site and how to opt-out of DoubleClick tracking and so on, but not one peep about Facebook. Don't tell me that The Blade never EVER agreed to any legal terms with Facebook before using their platform.

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 26, 2012 at 08:36:57 pm     #  

it's somewhat disconcerting that anonymous posters need to let paul understand the ramifications of using FB for postings on his site

posted by upso on Mar 26, 2012 at 11:00:38 pm     #   4 people liked this

upso posted at 11:00:38 PM on Mar 26, 2012:

it's somewhat disconcerting that anonymous posters need to let paul understand the ramifications of using FB for postings on his site

Don't worry, the replies will continue to be attempts to wave the ramifications of using Facebook platform away. And while they can point out DoubleClick's tracking in their privacy policy, they've ignored and neglected to report the fact that they've now pointedly chosen to bring on Facebook and Facebook's tracking as well as the ramifications of such including whatever tracking Facebook does to people who aren't signed into FB or have never used it at all.

"We do not have any information or data that Facebook is doing any tracking." -- paulhem

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If you’re logged out or don’t have a Facebook account and visit a website with the Like button or another social plugin, your browser sends us a more limited set of information. For example, because you’re not logged in to Facebook, we don’t receive your user ID. We do receive the web page you're visiting, the date and time, and other browser-related information. We record this information for a limited amount of time to help us improve our products. For example, we sometimes find bugs in the systems we’ve built to gather aggregate data on how people are interacting with sites that use the Like button or other social plugins. It’s helpful to be able to reference this anonymized information when investigating these bugs so we can find their source and fix them quickly.

Regardless of whether you are logged in or not, we do not use the information we receive when you visit a site with the “Like” button or another social plugin to create a profile of your browsing behavior on third-party sites or to show you ads, although we may use anonymous or aggregate data to improve ads generally. We delete or anonymize the information we receive within 90 days, and we don't sell it to advertisers or share it without your permission.

-- https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=186325668085084#What-information-does-Facebook-get-about-me-when-I-visit-a-website-with-a-Facebook-social-plug-in?

Adding fuel to such concerns, Arnold Roosendaal, a doctoral candidate at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, and Nik Cubrilovic, an independent Australian researcher, separately documented how Web pages containing Facebook plug-ins carried out tracking more extensive than Facebook publicly admitted to.

Noyes says Germany doesn't understand how the company's tracking technologies work. And he blames "software bugs" for the indiscriminate tracking discovered by Roosendaal and Cubrilovic.

"When we were made aware that certain cookies were sending more information to us than we had intended, we fixed our cookie management system," Noyes says.

However, researcher Roosendaal says Facebook's tracking cookies retain the capacity to extensively track non-members and logged-off members alike. "They have been confronted with the same issue now several times and every time they call it a bug. That's not really contributing to earning trust."

-- http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2011-11-15/facebook-privacy-tracking-data/51225112/1

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 26, 2012 at 11:35:55 pm     #  

You will have a privacy policy that tells users what user data you are going to use and how you will use, display, share, or transfer that data and you will include your privacy policy URL in the Developer Application.

[...]

You will delete all data you receive from us concerning a user if the user asks you to do so, and will provide an easily accessible mechanism for users to make such a request. We may require you to delete data you receive from the Facebook API if you violate our terms.

-- https://developers.facebook.com/policy/ (Facebook Platform Policies)

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 26, 2012 at 11:40:20 pm     #  

"'But he has nothing on!' said a little child at last.

'Just listen to the innocent child!' said the father, and each one whispered to his neighbour what the child had said.

'But he has nothing on!' the whole of the people called out at last.

This struck the Emperor, for it seemed to him as if they were right; but he thought to himself, 'I must go on with the procession now. And the chamberlains walked along still more uprightly, holding up the train which was not there at all." -Hans C. A.

posted by justread on Mar 27, 2012 at 06:08:30 am     #   1 person liked this

Last year Facebook denied the allegations, and the FTC has investigated. The result? Again, last year.

For Release: 11/29/2011
Facebook Settles FTC Charges That It Deceived Consumers By Failing To Keep Privacy Promises

The social networking service Facebook has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public. The proposed settlement requires Facebook to take several steps to make sure it lives up to its promises in the future, including giving consumers clear and prominent notice and obtaining consumers' express consent before their information is shared beyond the privacy settings they have established.

The FTC's eight-count complaint against Facebook is part of the agency's ongoing effort to make sure companies live up to the privacy promises they make to American consumers. It charges that the claims that Facebook made were unfair and deceptive, and violated federal law.

"Facebook is obligated to keep the promises about privacy that it makes to its hundreds of millions of users," said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC. "Facebook's innovation does not have to come at the expense of consumer privacy. The FTC action will ensure it will not."

http://ftc.gov/opa/2011/11/privacysettlement.shtm

Therefore prior - long before - The Blade adopted the Facebook commenting system, this was settled officially. Not by a doctoral candidate, not by an Australian researcher, but by the FTC.

Dustin. C'mon. I've been posting here for years. I have no problem with dealing with the commenters and posters on Toledo Talk. However, I work for The Blade and I identify myself. So, whatever anonymous posters say I take with a grain of salt. As much as anonymous coward may attempt to antagonize me, he takes the time to cite references for his opinion. So, yes when I read his posts and click on the links, I learn something. It may not make his/her point, but I still learn. So, yes one can learn from anonymous posters.

Additionally, it is fairly common for Blade employees to receive some helpful suggestions and a little ribbing from their extended families, if they are from the Toledo area. So, I am quite used to this. A friend and family member work for First Energy. You can imagine what they hear during social get-togethers.

posted by paulhem on Mar 27, 2012 at 06:48:26 am     #  

So what does that tell you if it is "fairly common" that Blade employees get a "little ribbing" from family and friends? Why does that happen? Is it because your newspaper has almost certainly contributed to the depressed state of our city as much as any politician has? Is it because your newspaper wasted everyones time with incessant coverage of a courthouse being torn down, that in the end just made The Blade look foolish? No, I'm sure that's not it at all. Just keep pretending.

Keep living in a cave over this Facebook commenting issue. Denial is a funny thing.

posted by hunkytownsausage on Mar 27, 2012 at 07:20:35 am     #  

What it tells me is this: Work for a news firm or any other service that people have to deal with everyday, then one consequence will be hearing from those who are unhappy with the service or product.

Is it important to listen? I think so, or I wouldn't be contributing here.

I have several useful follow ups to do because of this conversation.

1) Find out when the old links will be fixed.
2) Double-check the privacy terms that AC brought up.

If there are other ideas, then please let me know.

I can't comment on or answer angry people who dislike my employer. I can listen. However, I can listen. And that's what I'm doing now.

posted by paulhem on Mar 27, 2012 at 08:16:12 am     #  

Shouldn't the research on privacy concerns been done before The Blade decided to switch to Facebook commenting? I would hope that a business of any kind would research something that would affect all of their customers before implementing it.

posted by hunkytownsausage on Mar 27, 2012 at 08:52:59 am     #   2 people liked this

I've been posting here for years. I have no problem with dealing with the commenters [commentators? MJ] and posters on Toledo Talk.

I don't know, Paul. That 'no problem' statement sounds a little weak to me. What about that incident with Limedrops?

Whoa, look at the time! Gotta run.

posted by madjack on Mar 27, 2012 at 11:40:15 am     #  

Facebook is not a benevolent institution. That data they collect by any means necessary is highly valuable...and I don't know how anybody at the Blade would not want to know or share it.

Yeah yeah yeah...Facebook...civil discourse...names on posts...can't monitor everything...blah blah blah. Ummm, sure.

No media organization I have either worked for, nor heard of, does things exclusively out of the goodness of their hearts or high-minded civic duty. Sorry, not buying that Facebook did not agree to share data with the Blade.

Hell, I think someone could win a Pulitzer just looking at Facebook's relationship with newspapers in general.

As for the whole Facebook thing in general:

Andy Borowitz

There is a fine line between social networking and wasting your fucking life.

posted by oldhometown on Mar 27, 2012 at 01:57:50 pm     #   5 people liked this

hunkytownsausage posted at 08:52:59 AM on Mar 27, 2012:

Shouldn't the research on privacy concerns been done before The Blade decided to switch to Facebook commenting? I would hope that a business of any kind would research something that would affect all of their customers before implementing it.

I'm looking at information that anonymous coward posted. That does not mean anything other than that. I appreciate suggestions and criticism.

Here's another indicator. When leaders in the news industry like the New York Times, who have to worry about litigation more than almost any news outlet starts using Facebook commenting, then it's time to take a look look at the concept.

http://goo.gl/LZRvA

posted by paulhem on Mar 27, 2012 at 04:43:02 pm     #  

Only one look. Should have read ...then it's time to take a look at the concept.

posted by paulhem on Mar 27, 2012 at 04:44:44 pm     #  

And what are you going to use when your company folds? I wont even give you another 10 years before The Blade is only a memory.

posted by Linecrosser on Mar 27, 2012 at 06:16:48 pm     #   2 people liked this

Last August or September, I removed the Facebook "Like" button from Toledo Talk thread posts due to Facebook's nefarious tracking methods.


August 2011 GigaOM story titled Handing comments over to Facebook is a double-edged sword

But not everyone believes in the value of requiring “real names” as a way of ensuring harmony in online comments: As a recent article at NetNewsCheck describes, the news site Cleveland.com, which is run by the same company that owns the Cleveland Plain-Dealer newspaper, has decided to continue allowing anonymous comments.

Why would Cleveland.com want to do this? Editor-in-chief Denise Polverine says that the decision was driven by a desire to have as many viewpoints represented as possible, something that requiring real names might deter, and that the site also sees the value in allowing anonymous tipsters to alert it to stories.

The editor in charge of another news site — Ohio.com, run by the Akron Beacon-Journal — told NetNewsCheck that some of its biggest news stories have come from such anonymous tips, “so we don’t want to discourage people from sharing information.”

Some have also pointed out that when it comes to contentious topics, many people are happy to make offensive or distasteful comments with their so-called “real name” attached (although since determining actual real names is not an easy task, these types of policies often just involve “real-sounding” names).

Although removing anonymity (or pseudonymity) can remove some of the trolling and flame-wars that consume comment threads, it also risks removing opinions and viewpoints that would never be expressed if the commenter had to put their name on it. There are any number of valid reasons why someone wouldn’t want to [use a real name].

There’s no question that integrating Facebook comments can provide a traffic boost for publishers and other websites, simply because the social network is so huge. This kind of boost is the carrot that the network uses to convince publishers that Facebook comments are worth offering.

But that carrot comes with a stick, or at least a downside, and that is the fact that Facebook ultimately owns one of the most important elements of your interaction with your readers: namely, the interaction that comes with reading and responding to comments.

Obviously you can do all the same things with those [Facebook] comments as you would have previously, but Facebook controls what happens to them — how they look and function — and it also more or less controls the data behind those comments (although sites can export that data and use it internally).

posted by jr on Mar 27, 2012 at 06:54:10 pm     #   4 people liked this

Once again... the Blah's privacy policy explicitly states they have ads provided by DoubleClick and how to opt-out of tracking by DoubleClick, but they say NOTHING about comment platform from Facebook or that Facebook is collecting data on both logged-in and non-FB users... not that you can opt-out of that tracking (and don't weasel out of saying it's not "tracking" -- they are collecting data, and just because they claim they don't magically collate and sort by "this specific user's cookie ID" to build a "profile", that doesn't mean they (or, say, Anonymous if Anonymous gets into the database) can't. Or say the Feds demand the data (without warrant or subpoena, in the name of "homeland security").

Man up and say "Oh hey, when we switched to FB comments, your activity on this site is logged by FB regardless of whether or not you are logged into or use FB, if you don't like it, don't read The Blade online."

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 27, 2012 at 09:36:16 pm     #   2 people liked this

Mar 22, 2012 cnet story Facebook fans flames with privacy policy tweaks

Privacy advocates in the U.S. and the European Union are on edge over changes Facebook is enacting in its language governing its terms of service.

Sarah Downey, privacy analyst and attorney at online privacy company Abine, said with the changes Facebook is acknowledging that its focus is on collecting user data.

German officials are complaining that Facebook isn't doing enough to provide users control over their data and is instead giving users more duties and less rights. In a statement issued yesterday, the officials accuse Facebook of giving itself the right to "comprehensive tracking of registered and un-registered users."

Downey of Abine also noted that Facebook tracks non-users on other Web sites using JavaScript code that grabs IP address, site visited, and other information when people visit a site with a Facebook "Like" button on it.

"I don't think people realize that if you go to a non-Facebook site the 'Like' button can track you, even if you don't click on it," she said. "They consider you interacting with it if you're merely viewing the page."

posted by jr on Mar 28, 2012 at 12:32:41 am     #   3 people liked this

The fact that someone who hides behind a handle like anonymouscoward writes that I should "Man up.." should be entertaining for anyone who reads this thread.

jr. After having evaluated the Plain Dealers' and Akron's position, we decided that their business decisions were not as attractive to us as what we saw with Gannett (USA Today, Detroit Free Press/News) and of course, the New York Times - all using Facebook's products.

posted by paulhem on Mar 28, 2012 at 05:46:46 am     #  

What difference does a name make? Again, we have the villification of anonymity. Clearly the value of anonymity and the rationale for it have been demonstrated on this thread. Just because one has chosen to be the cyber face of the strong publisher, and therefore assumes the position of cyber public figure doesn't mean that everyone who "hides" (pejorative choice of words there, sport) does n have not relevant and valuable perspective. Mr. Hem's position here in regard to "man up" betrays his underlying arrogance, despite his attempt to position himself as an objective truth seeker and student of the world.

posted by justread on Mar 28, 2012 at 07:05:03 am     #   2 people liked this

Little drag and dropping there.

"does not have a valuable perspective."

posted by justread on Mar 28, 2012 at 07:06:03 am     #  

...someone who hides behind a handle like anonymouscoward writes that I should "Man up.."

He has a good point. The Blade ought to publish something along the lines of We Really Screwed the Pooch This Time!, but instead we get corporate weasel speak: After having evaluated the Plain Dealers' and Akron's position, we decided that their business decisions were not as attractive to us...

So what's The Blade going to do, exactly? Is the paper staying with Facebook or not?

posted by madjack on Mar 28, 2012 at 08:49:32 am     #   2 people liked this

Don't mistake civility for "corporate speak." Also, do not mistake my engagement here to any way demonstrate anything other than engagement and interest in different points of view.

posted by paulhem on Mar 28, 2012 at 09:06:05 am     #  

justread posted at 07:05:03 AM on Mar 28, 2012:

What difference does a name make? Again, we have the villification of anonymity. Clearly the value of anonymity and the rationale for it have been demonstrated on this thread. Just because one has chosen to be the cyber face of the strong publisher, and therefore assumes the position of cyber public figure doesn't mean that everyone who "hides" (pejorative choice of words there, sport) does n have not relevant and valuable perspective. Mr. Hem's position here in regard to "man up" betrays his underlying arrogance, despite his attempt to position himself as an objective truth seeker and student of the world.

Clearly we should take these comments as representing the Blade's opinion of all people wishing to remain anonymous and therefore any sources wishing to remain anonymous would be much more welcomed at other papers, such as the TFP. Good luck getting any "Deep Throat", Blade.

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 28, 2012 at 09:27:40 am     #   3 people liked this

madjack posted at 08:49:32 AM on Mar 28, 2012:

...someone who hides behind a handle like anonymouscoward writes that I should "Man up.."

He has a good point. The Blade ought to publish something along the lines of We Really Screwed the Pooch This Time!, but instead we get corporate weasel speak: After having evaluated the Plain Dealers' and Akron's position, we decided that their business decisions were not as attractive to us...

So what's The Blade going to do, exactly? Is the paper staying with Facebook or not?

Sir! Weasels are noble animals and are insulted by you comparing them to Mr. Hem and The Blade!

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 28, 2012 at 09:29:18 am     #   1 person liked this

"Man up"....Kinda like what The Blade should do about who writes their editorials? I am sure Paul would agree with that statement.

posted by Molsonator on Mar 28, 2012 at 09:39:00 am     #   4 people liked this

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Editorial_board

Editorial boards meet on a regular basis to discuss the latest news and opinion trends and discuss what the newspaper should say on a range of issues. They will then decide who will write what editorials and for what day. When such an editorial appears in a newspaper, it is considered the institutional opinion of that newspaper.

Why we don’t sign editorials

From the Greensboro, News & Record

Staff editorials

"The editorials represent the official position of the newspaper’s editorial board with input from our publisher, Robin Saul; they are not the sentiment of any one individual. Hence, they aren’t signed. These editorials can be found on the left-hand side of the Opinion page. Editorial writers meet daily at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the news of the day, what we should write about and what our editorials should say."

http://company.news-record.com/edfaq.htm

The Chronicle, Duke University does not sign editorials, either

http://dukechronicle.com/article/faculty-downsizing-ominous-sign

I can could find 100s more.

Colleges and universities are still training journalists in this manner, so don't expect any change in the near future.

posted by paulhem on Mar 28, 2012 at 01:16:59 pm     #  

paulhem posted at 09:06:05 AM on Mar 28, 2012:

Don't mistake civility for "corporate speak." Also, do not mistake my engagement here to any way demonstrate anything other than engagement and interest in different points of view.

Ah... what?

Okay, I'll byte. What's the difference between civility and corporate weasel speak, and what do you mean by engagement here?

posted by madjack on Mar 28, 2012 at 01:19:10 pm     #  

Yeah, j-schools are really turning out quality product these days. Yeah, that really settles the argument, don't it?

If your editorial writers want to hide, I can certainly understand. They have a lot to hide from.

DOUBLE-STANDARD: ENGAGE!!!

posted by texlovera on Mar 28, 2012 at 01:39:40 pm     #  

You know you're in trouble when people are taking the side of AC vs. yours.

posted by anonymouscoward on Mar 28, 2012 at 05:34:08 pm     #   1 person liked this

I read a few of the new and improved comments from new and improved facebook users. No, the "level of discourse" has not been "elevated." Now the same basic broad sweeping generalizations and wild guesses about the backgrounds of the subjects of articles are made by people with avatars. Missing are the actual philosophical conversations that used to take place.

posted by justread on Mar 29, 2012 at 11:23:17 am     #   1 person liked this

Color me shocked that the Bland has decided to use a website where a large majority of the posters are devoid of intelligence.

Case in point. Post a picture of Carl Weathers from Predator onto facebook and write "I support this man" and you will be summarily hated for the retards on there who think you're supporting Kony from the Kony 2012 video.

posted by MikeyA on Mar 29, 2012 at 11:42:48 am     #  

Here's an entertaining site, introduced last fall that uses Facebook tools. If you have not tried it yet, give it a shot.

http://www.TakeThisLollipop.com


AllFacebook.com article :

We should mention that Take This Lollipop is 100 percent safe, and that while users must grant it permission to access their Facebook data, the data is not shared or stored, and used only once.

What’s it used for? After granting permission, you see a video a seriously tweaked-out guy logging on to your profile, and becoming more and more unsettled by your status updates and photos.

We won’t give away the ending, but let’s just say that we’re pretty happy Take This Lollipop is fiction.

Slate.com article titled Creepy “Take This Lollipop” Site Offers Warning About Giving Away Personal Info

When you open up the site and click on an image of a blue lollipop, you’re prompted to allow Take This Lollipop to access your Facebook profile. This is standard stuff; for instance, if you want to use your Facebook profile to comment on a website—say, Slate—you agree to such access. But Take This Lollipop demonstrates exactly what you agree to when you hit “OK.”

In a stunning display of interactivity, the site shows a creepy video, a couple of minutes long, showing a dirty, creepy man, his fingerstips caked with grime as he points his way to Facebook. There, he accesses … your profile.

The site takes the information from your Facebook page and seamlessly weaves it into the video. You watch as the stalker looks at your photographs, your recent status updates, your list of friends.

Then he pulls up Google Maps and finds directions to your home (geographic data contained in your profile). He hops into a car, your profile photograph taped to the dashboard.

posted by jr on Mar 29, 2012 at 12:15:05 pm     #   1 person liked this

justread: thanks for the feedback.

One thing that I feel guilty for not having mentioned until now is that jr has been dedicating his time and talent to promote and deal with anonymous communication on his site. I admire his dedication and hard work.

In my case. I really don't think it's fair for an employee of any company to comment or respond to any of you while being anonymous when that employee is engaging as a representative of that company. Especially when providing information to you. That employee should be held accountable by both the employer and the anonymous posters.

I was joking around with AC. Most of you are anonymous friends. Molsonator is a great guy who sold a family member a very cool truck. So, I hope everyone is cool with me, too. I've been around this place for a few years now. Thanks for the fun.

MJ - I am after that old link issue - big time. I've been told that the fix is scheduled for this coming Monday. My experience is that "scheduled" usually means "maybe."

Also, AC I still need to retread your suggestions in order to properly represent your concerns internally at The Blade.

posted by paulhem on Mar 29, 2012 at 12:19:59 pm     #  

Haha not retread - reread - Apple autocorrect got me :)

posted by paulhem on Mar 29, 2012 at 12:22:50 pm     #  

Hopefully, from the comments, above, one can see that I am not anti-anonymous or anti-privacy. I just think news sites don't have business model that can support that. Also, The Blade has to have a "G-rated" site because we do attract students of all ages. The Blade is very active with "Newspapers In Education." So, we expect teachers and students to access http://www.toledoblade.com

posted by paulhem on Mar 29, 2012 at 12:43:28 pm     #  

I am after that old link issue - big time. I've been told that the fix is scheduled for this coming Monday.

Thanks Paul. I can only guess at what the developers might have done for the new design, but I'm betting the fix isn't a walk in the park on a nice Spring day.

posted by madjack on Mar 29, 2012 at 10:03:15 pm     #