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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Editor's Note

Re: “Editor's Note

@iamanonymos, Actually I'm organizing a boycott and protest of the Solano Stroll. Please boycott this event.

Posted by yoyo_guru on 08/04/2011 at 4:03 PM

Re: “Editor's Note

Is it ok to say that I think a lot of EBE's "reporting" is slanted?
Enjoy the 2011 Solano Stroll - there are going to be lots of great bands, food, rides & fun for the family.
No admission fee.

Posted by iamanonymos on 08/04/2011 at 2:29 PM

Re: “Editor's Note

I'll be happy to read the book but it won't change my mind because I believe in free speech on principle, with me it's not a pragmatist case by case basis.
It's like being a little bit pregnant.
I'm the same way on abortion as I believe it should be totally decriminalized, no human being has the right to be born or to live inside the body of another against that person's will.
I'm sure there are a trillion cases of godawful things on the web but there's no way I'm in favor of legislating it.
That said, I'll definitely look up the book.
Thanks.

Posted by mike_hardesty7909a on 08/04/2011 at 1:27 PM

Re: “Editor's Note

I'd REALLY hate to go back posting comments on animal husbandry websites. Too much articial insemination jibber jabber and, besides, I'm banned for life from www.chinchilla-advisor.com.

Posted by Lawngun on 08/04/2011 at 1:00 PM

Re: “Editor's Note

p.s. I read it 21 times. (Kidding.:)

Posted by yoyo_guru on 08/04/2011 at 11:56 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

Mike, I used to be a free-speech fanatic, too. All I can say is this: Read the book. It might challenge your beliefs. The internet turns everything upside down, and this book made me see it in ways I'd never thought of before.

Posted by yoyo_guru on 08/04/2011 at 11:46 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

yoyo, thanks for your most thoughtful comments here.
I, of course, agree that any site has the absolute right to enforce their particular standards. It's their judgment in every case that can be debated.
I oppose the libel/slander laws as I agree with the late Justice Hugo Black that no law means no law as written in the First Amendment.
I don't think anyone has a right to their reputation which is solely the opinion of other people. I prefer that untruths be fought in the free market of ideas and not in law courts. Books by law professors make me wary because the postivist, anti-natural rights doctrine of Holmes and others has been predominant for well over a century.
Now, of course, there is a great deal of garbage on the web but there's also much untruth in the regular media. The SF Gate and Yahoo sites have loads of angry people but I think it is good to have some sites where people can blow off steam even if much of it I find annoying.
There is a danger of getting blacklisted if you post something controversial no matter reasonable your tone is. It can taken out of context and your radical conclusions can be recited sans the benefit of your full argument.
So I totally understand why people use pseudonyms.
I find that many guilty people use the libel laws to shut down their opponents. General Westmoreland and Ariel Sharon in the mid-80s come immediately to mind but there have been many others.
I guess the Express editors are also public figures and can be called to account for their stated views.
Anyway, I want government out of this area. (Among many others.)

Posted by mike_hardesty7909a on 08/04/2011 at 11:22 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

typo: I meant to say

a book called "The Offensive Internet" by a bunch of law PROFESSORS

Posted by yoyo_guru on 08/04/2011 at 10:03 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

Mike, Our posts crossed. I posted my long one below before you posted your latest short one. I agree that everyone - the Express editorial staff and we, the readers/commenters - should be allowed ad hominem attacks on public figures. The Express should delete anything that's egregiously nasty and that doesn't provide useful content, though. That's my opinion.

Posted by yoyo_guru on 08/04/2011 at 9:41 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

Lawngun, I, too, am in witness protection. LOL. Seriously, though: I've given this matter in general a lot of thought lately, since reading a book called "The Offensive Internet" by a bunch of law professions, which consists of essays on reputation, privacy, and free speech on the internet and how that interacts with the current state of First Amendment law (summary: the law hasn't kept up with the harm that can be done on the internet - a great book). Since reading it, I've become more aware of the importance of civility (even though I post anonymously) and the fact that "free speech" and the law have very little to do with what sites should, or should not, allow.

For one thing, the Digitial Millenium Copyright Act still provides a "safe harbor" for internet or even blog providers, so that the providers are not responsible for libelous speech (or anything else) by posters on their sites. Instead, the posters themselves are legally responsible. There is talk, including recommendations in the book, about the possibility of changing this law.

The book gives real examples of things we all know exist: internet "cesspools" that are very hard (impossible in most cases) to get rid of (the sfgate site is not mentioned, but I'd point out that forum as an example of a bad unmoderated one); reputations that have been destroyed with a few nasty (and dishonest) strokes of the keyboard (again, the book doesn't mention this, but yelp comes to mind); etc. And it says the law should change (it gives some complex and subtle recommendations) to keep up with these kinds of damages.

I've really appreciated the tolerance and the moderate, "middle way" of the Express staff. Their tolerant and friendly attitude, even (and especially) when I disagree with the editorial content, gives me a warm and fuzzy. I won't post on the Trib site because it forces you to link with Facebook and/or use a real name or whatever. I care too much about my privacy - and about some of the very things the book points out (posts NEVER go away and can always be linked to your name, and even if I don't post crap or libel, someone can always find unsavory ways of linking your name with past posts). On the other hand, the Express staff's involvement with the comments sections discourages the kind of truly nasty exchanges that occur on the gate.

In response to Mike, I agree the Express should be careful not to censor opinions of public figures. We all know that even libel law provides some important exceptions for public figures - that they put themselves in the public eye, that civil engagement is furthered when the citizens can talk about them freely (see, "preserving democracy," "speaking truth to power," et al). So although the Express is allowed, of course, to moderate comments as it sees fit, I think it should try as much as possible not to censor comments of what it feels are public figures.

Just some random pre-caffeine thoughts. I'll probably have a p.s. in a few minutes. :)

Yoyo-g (sorry for the pen name)

Posted by yoyo_guru on 08/04/2011 at 9:39 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

Lawngun, I don't always look at every thread here, only the ones that peak my interest. So I don't know what attacks have gone over the top but I do notice that the editors routinely attack targets like the GOP, Perata, now even labeling Obama a 'sellout.'
Since human beings and not ethereal ghosts advocate various ideologies and philosophies it is not always easy to separate the advocate from the advocacy.
Profanity and threats should always be excluded but not the rough and tumble of political debate.

Posted by mike_hardesty7909a on 08/04/2011 at 9:20 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

Agreed, eb jose. In my humble opinion, commenters have been relatively civil lately, even when giving each other a hard time. On the other hand, some of the comments regarding EBE staff have been a little over the top. Maybe, way over the top.

As for using my real name -- the guy from the Witness Protection Program advised against it.

Posted by Lawngun on 08/04/2011 at 7:00 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

I agree with Jose. As long as no personal threats or profanity is used I don't see a problem. If Gammon writes something that I disagree with how can I respond without him considering a personal attack. Ad hominems should not be used in place of reasoned argument but if someone writes something really stupid why can't they be called on it ?
I do use my real name but I can understand the reluctance of people who might not want to on some controversial issues.
When I have been attacked personally I just try to bring the conversation back to the topic at hand.
It also varies, last issue I responded to half a dozen different stories, the issue before that none.
Unless you want only certain views here you need to be very careful here.
Some publications like the Anderson Valley Advertiser and to a lesser extent both the Chron and the Trib very rarely have alternative views published that are in disagreement with the their local culture.
I would hope the Express wouldn't go that way. But I have a policy that I don't read where I can't write.
I recently a really bad experience with some dirty tricks at the online BDP
and do not go to that site anymore. Now if I described what happened there
I guess that could be construed as a personal attack on the owner and it would be a very deserved personal attack.
You have an absolute right to censor whomever you want.
I'm not disputing your inalienable rights of private property here.
I strongly second Jose's comments here as I have seen this strongarm policy at rightwing sites like The American Conservative and American Renaissance
and I avoid them.
In These Times has traditionally been very fair about posting dissenting views though I haven't posted there for almost five years as I got weary of arguing with the same folks. The John Birch website, The New American, has been very fair about posting pro-abortion and anti-religious dissenters among many other controversial issues.

Posted by mike_hardesty7909a on 08/04/2011 at 6:54 AM

Re: “Editor's Note

East Bay Express: just when your comment section was getting lively you issue this update. Well, don't blow it. I've seen comment sections ruined by overzealous censors.

Posted by eastbay_jose on 08/03/2011 at 10:06 PM

Re: “Express Appoints New Co-Editors

Buel is one of the few remaining class acts in local journalism. Kudos for what he's accomplished and all the best to him.

Posted by yoyo_guru on 12/29/2010 at 8:49 AM

Re: “Express Appoints New Co-Editors

I will miss Steve Buel at the helm and hope you keep some of his innovations like fiction and Wineaux and lots and lots of band coverage. Good luck to the co-ed's!

Posted by cjo on 12/28/2010 at 1:01 PM

Re: “Express Appoints New Co-Editors

Congratulations to Bob Gammon.
The work he did on the 2010 Oakland Mayoral campaign is worthy of another
award. And the work he is now producing on Lew Wolff, San Jose, Oakland and the Oakland A's is the most illuminating and transparent in quite a long time. Keep up the good work, Bob.

Posted by sara6300 on 12/23/2010 at 7:30 AM

Re: “Be Cool

The poster says "the officer reacted in anger". Wow, that's a huge assumption that demonstrates your prejudice. Because it's provocative and inflammatory; it's also pretty irresponsible from an organization that professes to report facts. Do you think it might be possible that the officer was ill-trained, confused, scared, nervous; possibly even drunk, high or crazy. But, claiming that his actions were a result of anger assume that you knew his state of mind and implies the shooting was intentional. Shame on you.

Posted by sensenigma on 07/10/2010 at 5:26 PM

Re: “Be Cool

The Chronicle reported yesterday that in every case it could find for the last 15 years in the whole country, not one cop brought up on murder charges has been convicted of jack, while one pled to involuntary.

Against that backdrop, this is an historic breakthrough of epic proportions. Moreover, the jury tacked on a firearms enhancement. This is a good, solid, appeal-proof verdict that sends a message to would-be thugs in uniform that they can't count on skating for their misdeeds. I can live with it.

Posted by marye on 07/09/2010 at 9:22 AM

Re: “Be Cool

While I was not on the platform at the same time as the shooting, I was on the BART on the same line that night and people were rowdy and someone vomited next to me. Should any of them have been killed? No way. People need to stop making excuses for blatant a police murder.

Oscar Grant has been called a “thug” and slandered every which way while we have been told that murderer Mehserle was called “most huggable” (at a high school where he was later expelled for slapping a Latina student – but this second fact was left out of the trial and most of the media). Everyone also says “why don’t people protest gang-shootings too” but this is different – as far as I know gangs are not armed, trained, and paid $70k by the city to “protect and serve” the community. This case is about more than Oscar Grant, who had his face crushed by officer Peroni’s knee on the back of his head, this is about police brutality and racial profiling. (On a side note, the BART driver testified that the police never asked who was doing the fighting on the train that night, so to claim that Oscar Grant was doing anything wrong when he was detained is arguing guilt without any proof -- but he’s young and black and was photographed in a hat, so I guess that’s all the proof some people need to decide he was “up to no good”).

The reason I am not satisfied with an “oops, you jumped in front of my bullet” involuntary manslaughter charge is that this case, for me, is more than just one rotten apple in the police force. Police violence and racial profiling are rampant and unless the police know that if they do this they will be locked up for the same time as anyone else, then this behavior is being encouraged as the police, courts, and city government turn a blind eye. So the message of this case after the verdict… well you can beat and even kill someone as a cop and unless there are scores of people watching and a half-dozen videos showing you murdering someone, you will probably be fine.

Now I will wait to see what comes out of sentencing – if Grant’s murderer get’s the additional 10 years for using a gun, that will be something and I think the focus should then go onto getting that thug Peroni behind bars as well.

Posted by Jimmie Higgins on 07/09/2010 at 8:15 AM

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