Friday, October 10, 2008

Um, Guys? I Think We Just Got Called Uncivilized By the Greenwich Time

A Greenwich Time editor made an odd comment about bloggers- or, it may have been about you, the people who leave comments on blogs. I wasn't sure, so I thought I’d ask what you all thought.

In an op-ed, Greenwich Time managing editor Jim Zebora writes:
With all due respect to bloggers, people who write to newspapers are just the best. Our letter writers show the courage to share their views with the world - whether opining about the financial bailout, the presidential election, downtown parking or Henrietta the turkey - and they do so with their identities known to all. It's a more civilized way of making a statement than hiding behind a conjured-up screen name.
… It's especially heartening to see the informed, thoughtful give-and-take on this part of the editorial page. Reasonable people can and do disagree, and in their letters to the editor they do so in what I believe is an extraordinarily civilized way.
Unlike many blog-posters.

I’m confused about who he’s calling uncivilized. He starts out talking about bloggers (that’s me) then ends by cracking on “blog-posters.” I have no idea what “blog-posters” are. I post to my blog-- a blog is made up of posts-- but readers also post comments on blog posts. Is he busting on bloggers or commenters?

Since most local bloggers aren’t that anonymous (my photo was on the front of the Advocate this summer in an article about bloggers), and since most of the local bloggers are quite civilized, I think he’s busting on commenters.

Commenters do tend to be anonymous. However, the uncivilized, anonymous comments appear not on local blogs, but on the Greenwich Time’s own Topix discussion site. Topix is a news aggregator service that also offers a comments forum for articles. I guess the Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time use the service because it's easier than running their own forum, but I think the quality of the comments suffers. The Topix website, for some reason, attracts raging xenophobes and people who you can tell are 45 but write like petulant 14 year olds. So, those must be the uncivilized blog-posters, right? Nope. Topix isn’t a web log-- aka "blog."

People, I think he’s busting on you- and me, since I comment on other blogs. I think we are the “blog-posters.”

However, in my year of reading Stamford and Greenwich blogs, none of the discussions have gone into wacko, racist, libelous territory like the ones on Topix. Therefore, I think Zebora must be confused about the word “blog,” and is really referring to the Topix commenters, not us.

Or, maybe he wanted to bust on Topix, but didn’t want to offend those people since they read the paper online, so he instead insulted bloggers. (?)

Basically, I’m telling you I have no clue who Zabora is busting on.

I do know that the “blog-poster” talk distracted from his main message, which was his admiration for the passion of local people who proudly sign their names to letters to the editor. I also know that by mentioning blogs as the opposite of civilized discussion, he misrepresented local blogs. I think he was off-topic and off-target.

I'd write a letter to the editor about this, but I'm still too confused to know what to say.

What do you raging, crazy commenters think?


Julie said...

Chase him down and tie him to the tree on the Bedford Street, seriously, I think he was commenting on anyone who leaves vindictive-type comments (or creates such a blog entry/post) on online venues anonymously rather than write in to the newspaper with full disclosure of names. What he may not realize is that most of the "blog regulars" don't post anonymously - would be pretty easy to figure out who I am for instance ;) Oh well....we are so misunderstood.

Irenesbooks said...

The man does sound a bit confused.

Maybe he doesn't know Topix exists.

Maybe he doesn't know how a blog works.

Maybe, we should invite him to the next drinkathon . . .

Anonymous said...

What do you expect from the dying elite mainstream media?

signed anonymous

MamaBall said...

I think he's confused about what to call the place where people leave comments on Greenwich Time articles. I've noticed they get pretty ugly sometimes, and only occasionally do those people leave their real name (or something that potentially could be a real name). I guess it's just easier for him to lump it all into "blog-posters". Frankly, I'm annoyed he couldn't be bothered to learn more about the technology and get the terminology correct.

Dora said...

I think that the author is making a comparison that doesn't quite work or is valid. (People who leave anonymous comments vs. those who sign and their hometown to letters to the editors.)
On the same token, I had to change my blog settings because I had received so many nasty, wacked-out comments from the anonymous set. said...

I would be offended...but its Greenwich Time...I mean, cmon. I couldn't even care enough about it to leave a comment there.

How sad is it to see an outgoing Editor pander to his elderly subscribers for speaking up on such hot local topics as 'the wild turkey of todds point' and 'the cupcake incident'...I mean seriously, it was an embarrassing read.

Anonymous said...

What a shocker. An old time newspaper person slamming this new-fangled technology know as the internet and blogging.

Is it really a surprise to learn that when people can post anonymously, their comments will be a little less restrained. This is not a phenomenon unique to blogging.

But, does the author realize that, along with the "uncivilized" posts, are little gems of opinions that would never have seen the light of day had the posters been "forced" to reveal their true identities. I, for one, am willing to overlook certain posts to get to these gems. Anonymity can and does enhance dialog.

This author needs to think about the benefits and opportunities that today's technology can bring forth rather than harp on the limited, somewhat useful benefits of outdated methods of communication.