Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Results from Super BlogaBarbara Tuesday

You may have noticed that I chose Super Tuesday for my post on whether we should do away with anonymous comments. A bit more clear than the Democratic primary, most of you seem supportive of my proposed change that you either use a Blogger ID or at least the "Nickname" section to make comments. Thank you for your ideas and support.

As there may be some education needed for some of you to know how to do this, I found the following Blogger Help page that goes over making comments in more detail.

I plan on switching over to the new format next Saturday, February 16th. Perhaps start considering some interesting names you could use for making comments...



Blogger Persephone said...

This is wonderful, Sara! I am so pleased, and looking forward to a new era of genuine community discussion.

2/09/2008 7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hasta la vista.

2/09/2008 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, Sara, you don't see that some of the more caustic, uncivil comments have come from people with "blogger" names--- and not the anonymouses among us. Be it "first district streetfighter", de la noriega [or something like that] its an illusion to think eliminating anons will raise the level of discourse.
but whatever that is your decision

2/09/2008 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What privacy protections do we have -- if any -- if a lawyer subpoenas our posts as part of a legal action?

After I quit (not fired) the News-Press, Wendy McCaw's attorneys tried to force my Internet-based email provider to turn over all my emails from my personal email account.

What protections do I have here?

2/09/2008 1:57 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

1:29 PM -- most of the comments I do NOT publish are from anonymous and are often racist, over the top mean, or use foul language.

Using some kind of a name will not keep the jerks at bay -- I am clear about that and I will still have to be judicious about what I let through (perhaps more so)...but at least there will be a name associated with it and if our common readers take on a consistent nom de blog there will be more organization.

There will likely be less mean comments because people will have to be a bit more thoughtful if they are putting a name on their comment.

In some ways this is an experiment of last resort for me as being a traffic cop is my least favorite part of BlogaBarbara.

You are right that it doesn't necessarily solve the issue but it does provide one more barrier to think about before one hits publish.

2/09/2008 2:42 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

1:57 PM -- I, of course, value privacy and have been on the same end of the subpoena's from the NP. There are several factors to consider here:

1) Even with the prior format of allowing "anonymous" comments it would have been possible to track a person by time and date and a couple of other factors. A blogger ID would make that process easier, but those of you who are concerned about this could use a nickname which would be about as effective as anonymous. One could theoretically changed nicknames for a level of anonymity as well -- but your IP address would stay the same.

2) Google has a decent record of protecting blogger's rights unless violence is advocated. I wouldn't count on it but they are pretty good about this issue.

3) Those of you that are truly worried about this should probably use an anonymous proxy to visit the site.

You might take a look at the Electronic Frontier Foundation's blogger rights page for very good info. They helped me a lot when the subpoenas were flying and are an invaluable resource.

In the end there is little to be concerned or alarmed about, if you are not saying anything that would provoke a subpoena there would not be one requested.

This is a good question and perhaps should be a subject of a future post.

2/09/2008 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad you've felt it necessary to make the change!

I don't know what kind of comments you've received to lead to this, but do know that this anonymous has never made such comments. I, like the earlier poster, also will be absent as a poster, even though I'll probably check in occasionally to see how it is going.

It will be interesting to see if the number of posts declines or stays the same or even increases.

2/09/2008 8:13 PM  
Anonymous sa1 san said...

Konnichiwa, My Santa Bar-babies.

So I've been be-bopping around Asia for awhile trying to stack some tofu for my upcoming Prop 13 subsidzed tax bill.

I was was gonna try and keep up wit y'all till one day I thought I was reading the 5th grade bathroom wall.

The really stupid stuff always seems to come from posts about the news mess and it comes from so called journalism professionals. Sad really and maybe Wendy was right for the wrong reason...not bias but just bad writing skills.

So I had to laugh when I saw the article in the DS about the Indian clinic that wanted to sell the donated $100K van for poor kids while the other Indians were spending 100 million $ to presuade all you boneheads that they needed more slot machines to shake down the palefaces. Un freakin believable.

I think I'm going to spend a few weeks in Bali working up a good tan then go to Sacto and spread some wampum aroud to the pols and start my own tribe. Friday night Texas Hold'em at my house! Bring your lunch money (or your S.S. check).

Oh yeah, just to stay on thread, probably easier to just not post anons Sara. Anyone without out the imagination to come up with a nickname probably hasn't got anything interesting to say anyway.

Aren't y'all smarter than a 5th grader?

2/10/2008 4:46 AM  
Anonymous Garrry Owen said...

Sa1 San...

What are you doing hangin around 5th grade bathrooms? And, oh yeah! Your lame attempt at humor is racist at worst, sick at best. Got all your white sheets cleaned and ready? Make sure you trim the loose threads around the eyeholes Sal San; wouldn't want anything obstructing your vision of the truth.

2/10/2008 8:42 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Dropping anonymous comments cannot come too soon. In here it's been like coming late to a cocktail party where everyone is wearing a burqa.

2/10/2008 9:01 AM  
Blogger soodonim said...

Ok Sara, you got me. Here I am with my nom de paz.........let the games begin

2/10/2008 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading Sara's proposal to eliminate anonymous comments on BlogaBarbara and Craig Smith's post complaining of anonymous emails attacking him, I went back and looked to see exactly what everyone was getting upset about.

As far as I can tell, there was a grand total of three (mostly, but not entirely) negative comments about Craig on BlogaBarbara immediately before Craig posted his complaint. And while I can understand Craig being upset at the criticism, none of the three negative comments -- to me, anyway -- seemed THAT awful. Not nice, definitely, but not awful awful awful.

As for Craig's complaint about getting anonymous negative emails, that's an entirely different matter. Since he didn't tell us what they said (unlike Starshine, who was a little more forthcoming in her column), it's impossible for us to know what the problem is. At any rate, those emails are not BlogaBarbara's fault.

At the risk of sounding as though I'm attacking Craig (which I'm not -- I like his blog and read it regularly), maybe he needs to develop a little thicker skin. As an ex-journalist, I know one thing for sure -- journalism is a blood sport. If you dish it out, you've got to be able to take it, too. But then, maybe there are different rules for bloggers.

2/10/2008 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I use the anonymous out of convenience but as long as I can use a name de blog, it will be ok. I am sorry you are subjected to people who do not know how to conduct a mature discourse. Everybody has opinions and that is great, but using rude,defamatory language solves nothing and simply causes the reader ignore your post or Sara throws it away. I don't have to like anybody's opinion other than my own, but as long as the person presents their views reasonably, I will at least read what they have to say. Remember though, opinions are not necessarily based on facts or reality. If you cannot give hard facts and evidence to support your opinions (comp 101), then please don't defame somebody who challenges you with facts. Agree to disagree. It will make the blog a lot more user friendly and make Sara's life easier too. Still happily anonymous for one more week!

2/10/2008 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Nose2much said...

Craig Smith can hardly complain about negative comments directed at him after his slew of really mean-spirited posts trashing Wendy, how she looked, what she was wearing ad nauseum.

Craig needs to live in his glass house with a little more introspection and integrity.

2/10/2008 7:44 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Wendy McCaw? How is it possible to trash Wendy?

2/10/2008 11:09 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Gee Golly Gosh Garrry,

I’m actually in the 6th grade and have to share the WC with the 5th graders.

In the 6th grade we learn the difference between racism and bigotry. Racism is giving or denying special privileges based on race. Bigotry is believing someone of a particular race is no smarter or capable than a 5th grader.

Why do you assume I’m white? If you had any friends of color, you would know they tan up nicely just like the crackers. My girlfriends would assure you that I’m no bigot.

The State of California and the voters for props 94-97 are racists. Reverse discrimination is rampant in this country. Bigotry is believing all Caucasian are bigots based on a situation that ended (arguably) 150 years ago. The last visages of institutional racism were put to bed with the elimination of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights amendments in the 60’s…or were you asleep that day in your civics class?

You know of course the freight train of global economics is comin down the mountain, aiming to flatten your pampered patoot. Next time you pass the execs in the hall, flip em off for me cause they're constantly scheming to sell away our jobs and lifestyle to the lowest bidder over here. At least I'm trying (and suceeding) to repatriate our fleeing dollars.

What are you doing to help the cause besides whining about how a little street talk hurts your feelings?

I suggest you remove your rose colored PC Gucci glasses, take a valium and go flog yourself…you’ll feel better in the morning.

Sayonara for now my babies…

2/11/2008 4:02 AM  
Blogger Greg Knowles said...

Sara, thanks for the move to becoming more credible and having some accountability on your blog. I only hope the folks posting comments can stay on topic and not feel they have to attack one another. Hearing different opinions is one reason why I do this.

2/11/2008 9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet blogging on Blogabarbara will go the same direction that Indy’s blog feature went when they demanded blogger registration. Comments spiraled downward to almost nil. Thanks, Sara, for the service you have provided for such a long time-- it has been nice to have a place to get a broad overview of community opinions.

2/11/2008 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Garry Owen said...


I'm sorry you assumed I believed you were white...far from it. I learned many years ago that us white folks don't hold the exclusive rights to bigotry and racism. That sad fact was proven to me as just last week; I learned that the son of a co-worker was harrassed, bullied and physically threatened to the point his mother was forced to pull him from school to protect him. Yes, he is black. His high school did little to help him. His tormentors? Hispanic. So, if as you say "The last visages of institutional racism were put to bed with the elimination of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights amendments in the 60’s…" someone didn't get the memo. Not surprisingly SA1, you again assume too much, too quickly. But that's a byproduct of superficial, convenient thinking.

"Pampered Patoot?" "Rose colored Gucci glasses?" I wish it were the case...but sigh, not so. Once again a figment of a limited imagination. I've earned my opinions, SA1. Five years in the Army. A year in Viet Nam. Community and political involvement since my teens. I work everyday to pay my mortgage and put gas in the car. Your opinions, though illtempered, uninformed and flawed, are still yours and as such you have the unalienable right to express them. Your attempts to cover them with a cloak of respectability, however, are an abject failure. Save that effort for your gullible girlfriends (say, do they know you "share" your affections with others, or do you keep that little tidbit to yourself? Nice work.)

So, once again, SA1, sorry you assumed I am pampered and undeserving of my opinion. I assumed you were capable of understanding the difference between offensive language and civil (though perhaps lively) discourse. We were both wrong.

2/11/2008 12:34 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

The really stupid stuff always seems to come from posts about the news mess and it comes from so called journalism professionals

Unless you're a journalism professional that can't possibly be true, being an example of the very thing it decries.

2/11/2008 4:51 PM  
Anonymous dick said...

This change makes sense to me. I regret those who would "try" to discover what a former NP employee says or something similar; but I regret even more the, often, callous or libelous statements which all have the source "anonymous". A handle, after all, doesn't reveal much, but might help us to keep track of which 'handle' said what.

2/11/2008 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember you heard it here first from anonymous there was strong brewing opposition against city council incumbents in the then pending city council election.

This threat of opposition was scoffed at heartily from another anonymous, who demanded proof of its existence. Ha, s/he said.

Remember always the first anonymous did speak the truth, sent out the warning in the best tradition of civil discourse, and ultimately was 100% correct.

Long live anonymous cries for freedom, in this unfree world. You will be missed. I mourn your passing, anonymous.

2/11/2008 10:21 PM  
Blogger Voice of Rezon(e) said...

I'm baaaaaaaaacccccccccckkkkkkkkk! :-)

2/12/2008 12:25 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Ok, peace G. I just don't see that wampum and tans rise to the level of cross burning and lynchings. Most of these so called tribe members have a pretty tenous claim to being so and tell me again why they get the exclusive right to running lucrative casinos without even having to pay standard corporate taxes? You no why? cuz they bought off the media and politicians with One Hundred Million Dollars while many of the "tribes" go wanting...that doesn't seem to offend you one bit.

J if I were to parse your sentence I'd prove you were as stupid as me. I never claimed to be a professional journalist. I do however hold multiple professional and federal licences and I'd be loath to trash talk my clients in public no matter how much I disagreed with them. You do what your paid to do or don't take their money. Journalistic ethics? Surely you jest. How about human ethics? That's what is really lost in this country.

That's the hidden tyranny of unions. They foster mediocracy and kill competition. That how we end up paying $150K a year for a police sergeant to sign time cards and organise basketball games and $180K for a Lt to make out next months work schedule for the $110K cops who spend most their time driving around handing the occassional ticket and filling out domestic dispute reports. Now they want an extra half hour overtime pay because they have to put on their flack vest and strap on their .38 caliber manhood.

This is what I'm bitter about. Misdirected priorities based on who's greasing the palms of the beaurocrats. Let's not tackle the big problems when we can worry about a 50 year old fireman who got hazed by his co-workers. Let's give that guy several million dollars of public money to assuge his hurt feelings be cause that's the politically correct thing to do. And I'm offensive???

Now I find out that my laptop and cell phone is subject to seizure for weeks or months by the Customs Cops without warrents and without explanation. Meanwhile after paying the TSA billions to keep us safe, 80% of the test attempts to get bad things through the system go undetected. And y'all worried about being subpeoned for calling Wendy a poo poo head?? Get real.

2/12/2008 5:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the heck is the difference between a pseudonym, nick-name, or the word "anonymous"? It is all still not standing by your words with courage and identity.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger

2/13/2008 6:16 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Clearly your use of irony in using Dr. Laura's name as if you are her makes a point...I'm simply asking for a bit more responsibility than that and bringing the nomenclature up a level....

2/13/2008 6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I think you caved in to Craig Smith's whining

2/13/2008 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Garry Owen said...


In theory "Dr. Laura" is absolutely right: there is little difference of purpose behind any words used to disguise one's identity. Anyone offering an opinion should have the courage to defend it publicly, right? I completely agree ; in fact, I want to live in Theory... everything works there.

But that's the only place it works. "Dr. Laura's" argument falls apart where it confronts reality. In the real world ours is a litigious-happy society where lawsuits are more an expectation than a possibility. And in Santa Barbara, Wendy McCaw has created an atmosphere of fear as heavy as a lead umbrella.

Where else can small business owners be threatened with lawsuits unless they give up their right to Freedom of Speech? Where else does a beneficiary of Freedom of the Press seek to suppress the Freedom of Expression in those who dare disagree?

So, "Dr. Laura's" position is disingenous at best. Disguises are protective devices in Santa Barbara, made necessary by "Dr. Laura's" employer. And if indeed this contributor IS Dr. Laura, all the more reason for caution. If she's checking out the blog, any doubt that Travis doesn't has been erased. It doesn't take much imagination to picture him salivating over the prospect of nailing as many the "Nasty News Press Naysayers" as possible.

So again, yes, Dr Laura. I agree with you in principle. Here's the real irony in your statement: It isn't safe to speak your mind in Santa Barbara unless you work for Wendy McCaw. You do, so you're safe. We don't, so we aren't.

(P.S.: Kudos for your honesty. Too bad Travis doesn't share the same courage).

2/13/2008 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's have a toast for the original Andy Poodle who remained anonymous until his death, when his real name was only whispered among those in the know. Under his cover of darkness he was able to shine light on many important local issues.

There is a role for anonymous posting that will be lost and it is not just because of Wendy.

But there is no role for using anonymous to bash Sara DLG and make her volunteer time miserable. The pays not good enough to put up with that. But agree, changing anonymous posting will drop the volume, make the site boring and it will pass into perhaps a well-earned oblivion.

Gawd, it was great while it lasted. But SDLG should not ever have to read another mean-spirited unprintable, unsoliticed email ever again.

2/13/2008 7:00 PM  
Anonymous Bill said...

I oppose doing away with anonymous comments.

2/14/2008 7:05 AM  
Anonymous Sam said...

So do I.

2/14/2008 7:06 AM  
Anonymous Mary said...

So do I.

2/14/2008 7:07 AM  
Anonymous Edith said...

So do I.

2/14/2008 7:07 AM  
Anonymous Cindy said...

So do I.

2/14/2008 7:08 AM  
Anonymous Pete said...

So do I.

2/14/2008 7:08 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Clearly, one could try to manufacture comments and I am sure it already happens. I could also choose not to publish them!

2/14/2008 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yippee, Senator Clinton takes New Mexico. Latinos, not blacks will decide this election. Texas and Ohio are slam dunks for Senator Clinton.

Obama will be a minor footnote in history and his wife says never again. What does that tell you about his messiantic vision?

2/14/2008 6:26 PM  

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