Letter - Real names should be used on U-B website posts

Advertisement

Lately I have been reading some of the comments left by subscribers on the Union-Bulletin website.

Some are well-reasoned. Most, however, are snarky, demeaning and devoid of any substance. It seems to me if the Union-Bulletin required people to use their real names when posting online, as it does with the letters to the editor, the level of discourse would rise, the trolls would disappear, and the level of intelligent conversation would increase.

It makes no sense that the U-B allows anonymous comments on the website. This only encourages rude and cowardly behavior. If people have something to say they should have the guts to use their real name.

In the meantime I challenge all of you who post on the U-B website to use your real names.

Dan Calzaretta

Walla Walla

Comments

stvsngltn 9 months ago

Bravo! As you've noted, Mr. Calzaretta, insults abound online like you find in most all website comments sections when people who are anonymous feel free to say things to others that they wouldn't dare sign with their true name, much less say to their face. You need only read a few political comments to see what I mean. It would indeed be nice to see the U-B adopt the policy that you suggest.

4

Calzaretta 9 months ago

Thanks. Maybe we should start a campaign to get the U-B to change their policy!

Dan Calzaretta

3

namvet60 9 months ago

I would totally agree as long as it was a blanket program.

2

PeggyJoy 9 months ago

Not a good idea. Once you have given out your name, whether on this forum or any other forum, you are opened for harassment by anyone on the internet, because of your political views, etc. It is extremely easy to obtain home addresses, unlisted phone numbers, email address, etc. That opens you up for identity thief. I don't believe any of your would like to get tangled up in that mess.

Try this.........Go to "google." Enter your name. See what comes up on the net.

2

Calzaretta 8 months, 4 weeks ago

How is that different from the Letters to the Editor? People sign their real names, which can also be "googled".

Dan Calzaretta

2

PearlY 8 months, 4 weeks ago

And that's why I don't write Letters to the Editor. PeggyJoy's particular concern about identity theft is not mine, but there are indeed many people whose intolerance of differing views borders on or crosses the border of extreme.

Even the founding fathers wrote the Federalist Papers pseudonymously, and kept their identities a secret until long after the Revolution. If the practice was good enough for them, it should be good enough for us. The purpose of free expression is to put IDEAS out there to be considered and debated. Ideas can be judged on their own merits.

3

Calzaretta 8 months, 4 weeks ago

I understand your argument about the Federalist Papers. Benjamin Franklin also wrote anonymous letters to the editor (people should read these...many are VERY funny!).

Thanks, PearlY, for your comments.

Dan Calzaretta

2

Kevconpat 9 months ago

Why not sign off with ones true name? For all of us who enjoy reading letters to the editor and one who has from time to time sent in my own, I have no problem. My name is out there and I have been 'bugged' a bit on my opinions to my face......so what! Toughen up. If one is harassed call the police.

Kevin Patterson-Sluga

3

PearlY 8 months, 4 weeks ago

The same could be said for the vote. And yet we allow secret ballots, except where we (or at least, Congress) WANT to allow intimidation, like in votes on union representation.

Sorry. I disagree that someone should be willing to risk retaliation or give up the right to express an idea or vote.

3

Ropehorse 9 months ago

I totally agree, if you believe in your thoughts and words, and are here for good knowledge based communication with other community members, do not be afraid to put your name on your voice, Thank you, Sam Waldron, proudly raised in the Walla Walla Valley.

2

VampireNinja 9 months ago

Anyone who thinks that forcing one to use their given name to post would either a) raise the level of dialogue on an Internet message board which mainly or even occasionally discusses religion and/or politics, or b) not gut the number of subscribers who would otherwise take an interest in participating...hasn't been posting on the Internet for very long. You cannot and should not implement the means to make it difficult for any poster to speak their mind, no matter their message. An open forum guaranteeing a place to speak your mind is good, but a price of that privilege is listening to a lot of stupid stuff. Anyway, the first rule of troll management is: don't feed them.

2

Calzaretta 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Can you point to an internet forum where people use their real names? If the level of discourse is as low as I have seen here and on other forums I would gladly retract my statement.

I also don't see how remaining anonymous prevents people from speaking their minds. This has been done in the public square for hundreds of years. It is done every day, from coffee shop conversation to the halls of Congress. If someone truly believes in what he or she is saying, then they should have no problem identifying who they are.

Dan Calzaretta

1

PearlY 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Look at some of the sites that require posting through Facebook. Most Facebook users use their real names, and yet their postings are often far worse than anything I've seen on the U-B.

2

fatherof5 8 months, 4 weeks ago

While I respect your argument, Dan, PearlY is right about some of the facebook sites, like that local onion burger site barracuda pointed out the other day (or whatever it's called). There are a bunch of more national ones, too. Take a look and see what you think.

0

Calzaretta 8 months, 4 weeks ago

I did look at those sites, and I do concede that some of the posts are as bad or worse than what is on the U-B website. And yet, I am still not convinced. Should we race to the bottom with some others, or try to raise the level of discourse in our community?

My more important point is, however, why hide behind anonymity? Again, it seems that if people have a point to make they should put a name to it. As I wrote in a reply above, people have done this for hundreds of years. From coffee shops to the halls of Congress, people should be willing to put their name behind their words. I have seen NO convincing argument on the other side. Some people say they will be harassed. If this is the case, why does the U-B require real names on their Letters to the Editor page?

As far as the importance of this issue compared to others we face today, I admit that this is pretty low. I am thankful that my letter has generated some response. But it is probably time to move on to things that affect our community and our world.

I would like to thank everyone for the thoughtful responses!

Dan Calzaretta

2

barracuda 8 months, 4 weeks ago

I have to say..... This is a civil conversation.......... Thank you

2

PearlY 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Dan, today we have a very good example of what the risks are of putting your name to your ideas.

The CEO and co-founder of Mozilla (developers of Firefox) has been forced out of his job and his company because eight years ago he made a $1000 political contribution to an organization opposing gay marriage. Forget that eight years ago was about six years before even Barack Obama's ideas on gay marriage had "evolved" to the "correct" position. There are plenty of folks out there, including some who have commented here, who think anyone who engages in such thought crimes is, in George Orwell's Newspeak, doubleplusungood, and should immediately be rendered unemployable. How long before permanent unemployment is inadequate and thought criminals are forcibly re-educated? I'd like to think it couldn't happen in this country, but the fact is, it can happen anywhere.

As far as the importance of this issue, I think you underestimate it. Our society is currently engaged in a largely ignored struggle between those who uphold the concept of freedom in thought and expression and those who would silence any view they oppose, in every way they can. One way they can is by forcing people to choose between their livelihoods and their ideas.

1

stvsngltn 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I see a lot of "what it's" popping up here (facebook, other social media, etc.) but I was applauding this letter only in regards to this one, comparatively- small town' s newspaper site. In my view, if you are not prepared to put your true name on an online-posted response to a printed/published letter-writer, the U-B shouldn't post it. I would welcome that change to U-B policy.

1

stvsngltn 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Meant to say "what if's" .... this darn Kindle Fire HDX thingie keeps changing my words .... have to watch it like a hawk. Steve Singleton

0

fatherof5 8 months, 3 weeks ago

My concern is that I co-own a small business in town. This IS a small town which leans right. My politics lean left. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if we used our full names - and Dan's original point about wanting to improve civility is valid - but I might feel less inclined to be candid here knowing that my business - and my business partners - might become associated with my politics....especially in a small town. I'm 60/40 in favor of leaving it "as is."

1

stvsngltn 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Good point, fo5 ... I fully agree that someone dealing with the public such as you, or a doctor or anyone else whose opinion might adversely affect their business or clients cannot (nor should be forced to) ID themselves online on sensitive issues simply because they could hurt their business and therefore wouldn't comment. Okay ... I'm changing my opinion on this issue (see? I can do that when sensible arguments are heard. Too bad that never happens in the AGW debate....heh heh!) Grin.

2

NewInWW 8 months, 3 weeks ago

If the issue is trolls, personal attacks and the very boring sniping back and forth that regularly occurs, perhaps the U-B would consider volunteer moderators. The enthusiast boards I visit are all moderated, and you just don't see the sorts of comments there that are routine here.

1

fatherof5 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Interesting. A good example of this occurs at www.fieldgulls.com, which is the main blog site for Seahawks fans. There is a long-established code of conduct for the posters there. The code includes no discussion of religion or politics (which wouldn't apply here), no "rosterbating" (which is the free-flowing fantasy discussion of "what if we traded for Payton Manning AND Adrian Peterson AND ... " and no use of LOL, BTW or other non-standard English abbreviations.

Only a few there have the power to ban, but everyone has the power to flag. You learn pretty quickly there or else you're out. I'm not sure any of us would or should be given such powers, but perhaps we could negotiate a code among the regulars and join up to educate transgressors?

The challenge is that at fieldgulls.com, not only can they enforce the rules, but they have a common cause that joins them (i.e. the Seahawks). I'm not sure we have that.....beyond a mutual desire for civility. Maybe that's enough?

0

NewInWW 8 months, 3 weeks ago

It seems to me a mutual desire for civility is more than enough. I get tired of the "Yeah? Well, so's yer old man" posts and posters.

I think I read that the comments section is one of the things on-line subscribers most like about the U-B site (I could be wrong). If that's the case, perhaps the U-B has an interest in making it "meatier" and less juvenile.

That said, I don't think any effort that doesn't include the removal of posts that violate whatever rules are in place will get us anywhere.

2

VampireNinja 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I've seen giving limited post-judging responsibilities to all members in which each posting influence to do whatever the UB moderators want to allow us to do with that influence and to that particular poster and post. This limited moderating influence is gained only at the discretion of other board members...and the UB editors /mods obviously. Sort of a "karma" system. Self-policing communities usually are more even-tempered and engaging. Just an idea.

0

VampireNinja 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Not to mention the fact that each household would need multiple accounts for each poster and spoofing an ID is almost trivial for someone determined and knowledgeable...and it goes the other way: anyone who posts or leaves anything online can be matched to a name or at least an address regardless if any identification is revealed...if someone looking is determined and knowledgeable. Or an employee of an intelligence agency...which is a whole other can of worms,

0

PearlY 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Here's a partial list of the information available online starting only with a person's name and county of residence:

Birthdate;

Home address;

Name and birthdate of all other adult residents of that address as of 2012;

Ownership of home address;

Other real estate owned;

For all real estate owned: tax-assessed value and property tax, square footage of home and acreage, property sketch and pictures, numbers of bedrooms and baths, purchase price and when and from whom purchased; building permits issued; land classification (ag, open, forest); whether a senior exemption is claimed based on low income.

Debt owed on owned property (starting amount of mortgage and whom it's owed to); Usually, home telephone number;

Names of neighbors;

What the person's signature looks like;

Criminal history, including traffic offenses;

Civil litigation history, including divorces, collections, etc.

If divorced (for some of this you might have to go to a courthouse):
    terms of property division, sometimes including bank and brokerage account numbers;
    children's names, ages, child support ordered, and income it was based on;
    alimony ordered;
    often, detailed descriptions of debt, sometimes including credit card numbers;
    if a contentious divorce, often enormous  numbers of details of your personal life;
    if an old divorce (more than 10-15 years ago, Social Security numbers of couple AND their children.

Bankruptcy history and if there was one, full details of all debt, assets, employment and income;

Boats owned;

Often, cars owned if amounts are owed on them (this might cost a nominal fee to the searcher);

Businesses owned, including formation date, formation type, registered agent, co-owners;

Various kinds of government subsidies received (farm subsidies, for instance).

Often, employer, occupation, business location, educational background, club memberships, marathon racing times,

And, of course, Letters to the Editor written.

0

chicoli 8 months, 2 weeks ago

What a relief, Pearl. I'm so glad that my investments in Cayman Islands, The Bahamas, and my deposits in Switzerland (Banks) are not online due to being "protected" by USA laws! About my letters/ postings to the editor, I just keep them anonymous, under paco1234.

Carlos F Acevedo MD

0

Jerrycummins 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I have followed this dialogue for a week plus now. Personally, I take a fairly strong position that a person should be williing to sign their name to a public statement made to sway public opinion. If, however, a writer chooses not to want readers to know their name, ultimately the reader has the ability to accept or reject the persons statements. A writer can usually justify in their own mind why they do not want to be known or why they want to remain anonamous. I personally receive both signed and unsigned (anonamous) letters concerning issues related to our city. I often find communications that are anonamous to be deflamatory, untruthful or negative in nature. If a letter is signed, I attempt to respond and take appropriate action. Regarding anonamous letters, I normally place less stock in what is said unless I am told and I personally accept the reason for anananimity. In addition, I obviously have no recourse in attempting to follow up to get additional information or to confirm statements made. Relationships are built from trust and I must also assume if a person takes the time to communicate to me, they have a little trust and/or faith in me or my position and understand I will treat their name or comments confidentually unless I ask and receive permission to use their name with others relating to the issue. Ultimately, I find myself in a position of being willing to work for people who idenitfy themselves much more readily than those who want to remain ananamous. Interesting, however, is find people who write anamomous comments usually are the individuals who are the quickest to complain about not receiving a satisfactory response or action.

2

namvet60 8 months, 2 weeks ago

I would agree with you that when inquiring about a personal issue with a government entity I do sign my given name. After consulting with my employer, they requested that I stay with the anonymous moniker due to the highly competitive business market involved. When I become completely retired I won't mind a bit.

1

Sign in to comment

Click here to sign in