Civility II

Readers jump at chance
for a civil conversation


LAST WEEK, I used this space to seek advice as to how to improve the quality of discourse on my Weblog.

Some have been less than civil in their interactions, causing some of the most thoughtful contributors to abandon the discussions – thereby defeating the very purpose of that forum.

I asked readers to join in a discussion (and you can still do so, at the address below), after which I would either require participants to identify themselves by their full, real names or just start deleting offending comments out of hand.

The response was overwhelming, and mostly gratifying. By the end of the day Thursday, there were 217 comments (256 late Saturday). Sure, some were off the subject, but there was plenty to provoke relevant thought. Some folks joined in for the first time, others returned after a hiatus, and stalwart regulars attacked the subject with gusto.

Regular "Herb," whose complaints about "Lee" and "LexWolf" started the whole subject rolling, was inspired to use his full name (Herb Brasher) for the first time, although he asked me not to make that a requirement:

"I’m not sure about the anonymity, but I’ve surrendered mine, as you notice. I’d rather see anonymity continued, in which case a bit of censorship might be needed. I’d go for option two, as long as you really enforce it."

Ervin Shaw agreed:

"I recommend that you (1) remember that yours is "Brad Warthen’s blog", (2) remember that Brad knows a "blog bully" when he sees one, and that you (3) decide to treat blog bullies as you treat spam. You know the type of participation that you want, and you are in control of the delete button. You’ll be criticized, but so what?…what else is new?"

But "bud" spoke for many Web denizens when he asked, "please don’t go overboard and edit this thing to death. We’re all adults and a bit of good natured jabbing is ok with me."

Spencer Gantt took the opposite view:

"Just make the requirements for posting the same as for ‘letters to the editor’. Have people participate on your blog by registering with full name, address, and telephone number. Names are published as above (Shaw & Brasher); address/phone are known only to you (unless one finds them in the Columbia phone book). People shouldn’t be ashamed/afraid to sign their name to their opinion or ‘good natured jabbing’ if that’s what it really is. Most of it is definitely NOT ‘good natured’. I quit with your blog some time ago for the very reasons noted in
your editorial."

From Bill Molnar:

"My suggestion is that you don’t allow respondents to go to far afield of the topic…. Monitoring what people … express is not an easy job. You don’t want to lose good thoughts/ideas or as Bud said, go over board and not allow the humorous jab. However, the blog cannot be a place where 2 or 3 people dominate, attack the person and ignore the issue in any type of intelligent manner. I wish you the best in re-fitting your blog and hope it will become a place that I want to return to for thoughtful discussion on the issue of our lives."

Regular "Randy E" suggested:

"(U)se an abuse reporting procedure  like other sites use. A blogger can report another as being abusive or ‘destructive.’ If the reported blogger meets a threshold of complaints, incremental action can be taken; e.g. warning email from Daddy Warthen, a suspension, and finally even expulsion. This would allow the bloggers to police themselves and preclude censorship. Blogger registration may be necessary. As long as we can say the Yankees suck, I’m  happy!"

I caused "Phillip" to examine his own conscience:

"Your column gave me pause, wondering if I have crossed the line into incivility on occasion. I’ve made strong statements but have tried not to make things personal. I also am not anonymous, as anyone who clicks on my name here can easily find out."

He needn’t have worried. (But then, it seems the people who are the least guilty are generally the first to feel guilty.)

"Dave" was unimpressed with the entire discussion:

"While the Israelis have over 1400 rockets launched at them indiscriminately where mostly civilians can be hit, we have people worried here about blog civility. Why is that? Let’s all worry about  terrorists being civil to the rest of the world and after that is fixed we can worry about people who think other people aren’t nice to them. Sheesh!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"LexWolf," one of those Herb had specifically identified as a "bully," was unrepentant and took the occasion to paint things in partisan/ideological terms (which I take to mean that he actually considers me to be a liberal):

"The problem for you guys is that you are so used to getting your way and to having everybody just shut up while you spout your illogical socialist (minor expletive deleted) that you are stunned when people point out the truth to you. In your opinion, we are being ‘incivil’ just because we point out some undeniable facts but when your side accuses us of the usual sexist/racist/bigot/homophobe litany, I suppose you are exhibiting the height of civility. NOT!"

Fellow defendant "Lee," in one of his 31 comments on the subject, also remained true to form: "Anytime you ‘liberals’ want to clean up the threads by talking honestly about the thread topic with facts, get to it."

I was gratified by the return of former regular Paul DeMarco, who explained that he now visited the site "only occasionally because of its circular and predictable nature. I wonder if there is a way to make the conversation more linear so that we are driving toward a solution or consensus on a specific issue…. BTW, I agree with requiring full names. I’ve done it from the beginning because I knew it would help moderate my own commentary."

That just scratches the surface of the first half of the responses. Of course, in true blog fashion, the civility deteriorates significantly in the second hundred comments. Still, there is a substantial mass of sentiment here for something better, and plenty of ideas on how to achieve it. Please join in the discussion if you haven’t already. You know where to go, don’t you?

95 thoughts on “Civility II

  1. SGM (ret.)

    I’ve only joined in here in the last couple of days, but I recall reading Brad’s original civility editorial in the “dead tree” edition of The State. I have, however, read through and skimmed the majority of the posts in the Civility thread to see what all the fuss was about.
    I actually couldn’t see much of anything offensive in any of the cherry picked examples quoted and bandied about by anyone. Calling someone a “liberal” or a “right winger” offensive? Puh-leese, gimme a break!
    I have to disagree with any of the positions that call for more than voluntary disclosure of full names, etc. The value to me of this (and other such forums) is its completely open and free flowing format. Any serious effort to edit or employing a policy of deleting offending posts will diminish this freedom. Requiring posters to sign their full names will have the same constraining effect.
    The most anyone should expect is for Brad to maybe, on occasion, in his capacity as host and moderator steer the discussion back to the topic. Even that would be a full-time job for him.
    The best of forums like this one are pretty much self-regulating. That is, posters who regularly offend large numbers of their fellows wind up pretty much ignored and, by ostracism, completely marginalized. They fade into obscurity only popping up occasionally as shrill voices from the fringes.
    The basic rule usually develops into: Play nice and you’ll be welcomed in; Act like a horse’s ass and you’ll be ignored until you go away. I should imagine that as this blog matures, the same or similar rules will come into being.
    American political discourse has a long history of anonymous writers and publishers just like it has a long history of partisan editorship. The one somewhat balances out the other. How many pseudonyms did Ben Franklin use over his lifetime?
    For what it’s worth, I say keep the blog pretty much just the way it is.

  2. Anthony Williams

    I am a new visitor to this blog and like what I see for the most part. I also don’t think that requiring people to identify themselves work as well as just allowing them to. Those who hide behind fake names and handles feel free to strike at those who reveal who they are. The anonymity gives them a sick feeling of power over those of us who are open and communicative.
    I will visit this blog often because, as a teacher of public discourse, this is where the best and the worst examples can be found. Great job, Brad. I’m glad to be here.

  3. SGM (ret.)

    Did you really mean to say that the only reason why anyone would want to remain anonymous here is to have “a sick feeling of power over” you?
    Can you not even imagine any other reasons that you might grant legitimacy to?
    Do the arguments here have more value to you from having been posted by someone who says his or her name is such and such as opposed to those posted by others? If so, who is to vet those who claim to have revealed their real names? Would you take that responsibility for yourself?
    The internet medium itself hides the identities of each and every one of us. Anyone here, even you, can claim to be anyone with any real or imagined credentials. Those claimed identities and credentials are therefore valueless and add no strength to anyone’s arguments or positions.
    It is on their merits alone that our arguments and positions stand. Those posters that resort to attacking the messenger vice the message only weaken themselves. Those that allow such attacks to do them harm only offer up their own egos for sacrifice.

  4. LexWolf

    What is your goal for your blog? I’ve seen you write more or less that you want it to be a serious discussion of ideas but who should be included in that discussion? As it is now, you have Lee, Dave, and me (and Mike C today) on the Right (let’s call us ‘righties’). The rest of the dozen or so frequent, and most of the infrequent, posters are all moderate to hard Left (let’s call them ‘lefties’). Some of the lefties now complain that we are driving some posters away, simply by expressing our opinion I guess. Something they just can’t abide even while we are supposed to worship their opinions. The incivility argument simply doesn’t wash because they are easily as incivil as we are, if not more so. I can tit-for-tat you on any incivil post claimed by the lefties, without even trying hard. Just look at Randy E who absolutely stuffs your blog with about 20-25% of the posts, most of which are personal attacks, fake or distorted “quotes” and other useless stuff (talk about bullying and incivility!). That’s OK, I guess, if you just want to get your hit count up but otherwise it’s death for the blog.
    How can you seriously discuss ideas when everyone basically agrees? Purge Lee and me, the dissidents, and your blog would be reduced to a lefty Kumbaya lovefest. Dave against the rest.
    In the interest of the fairness and balance you profess, shouldn’t you even want some of the lefties to be driven away? Or more righties to be added so you’ll get a somewhat even distribution of viewpoints? Your blog demographics are already way out of whack when we compare them to SC demographics. After all, the country breaks down into roughly a third each Dem, Rep, and Indy. In SC, that’s probably closer to half Rep, and 1/4 each Dem and Indy. Yet the blog is somewhere between 3:1 and 4:1 left/right. If you are at all interested in a blog that’s representative of SC, shouldn’t you try to encourage more righties to participate instead of driving them away? After all, isn’t 3:1 or 4:1 bad enough already? Do you really want a 10:1 left/right situation on your blog? Based on emails I’ve received, I submit to you that there are quite a few righties who would love to post on your blog if it weren’t for the immediate attacks and hassles they would face from the lefties. Any way you look at it, the predominant conservative part of this state is vastly underrepresented on your blog. If you want to grow the blog, driving away half or more of your potential audience isn’t very smart. Unless of course your target market is the Left.
    Now a suggestion you might want to consider for the blog. Strictly enforce the topic of each thread. Delete off-topic posts and bounce repeat offenders. If your thread is about, say, SC education, we don’t need any posts about the Middle East war, and vice versa. At the same time, have an “open thread” every day or two where any topic is fair game. That allows serious discussion on a particular topic while giving an outlet for other stuff.
    I hope this helped a little. While I don’t agree with you most of the time, I also don’t want to screw up your blog. The lefties are already doing so well at that.

  5. Frank Knapp

    Congratulations on the effort to inject civility on your Weblog. Having been on the receiving end of anonymous personal and professional blog attacks that used misinformation and demeaning comments, I appreciate those who are willing to sign their entire real name. I would support that as a requirement to participate on your Weblog. However, as a concession to those who feel anonymity is important (and there certainly may be some good reasons for it), I would suggest that only those who you, Brad, determine are making negative attacks be required to sign their whole real name. The rest can do so on a voluntary basis.

  6. Kyle

    Lex, even in your somewhat gracious post, you still manage to throw in what we’re trying to weed out here. Sigh.

  7. Randy Ewart

    I stated in a post last night that I inteded to no longer visit the Brad Warthen post. I included a list of quotes from Lexwolf – a series of demeaning replies he directed at me, ironically while he depicted me as being the “toddler.” While I may have engaged in “hot-headed” “circular” debate with him, my posts never included demeaning another person as “dense” or “ignorant” and I did not belittle the profession of others as Lex did. In fact, I often affirmed other posts with comments like “you make a good point.”
    As I was whacking down predatory vines in my yard today, I got to thinking about his hateful posts. It occured to me that I see similar behavior in my classrooms (as a national board certified teacher at Ridge View HS by the way Lex). Some students come to us with tremendous baggage that manifests itself as anger and venting. I started thinking Lex has similar issues.
    What I am contemplating now is why does someone direct so much anger at others – often with unprovoked belittling and disparaging remarks. It makes me think of the father we see at his son’s ballgame who screams obscenities at the officials, other team, and even his own son. I’m not saying Lex does this, but he reminds me of that type of person.
    I don’t think Lee is full of anger. I think, in a way, he doesn’t know any better. He reminds me of a follower who repeats what he hears. Lex, on the other hand, is no follower.
    MLK Jr stated “to educate without morals is to create a meanace to society.” Lex is very intelligent, but seems to be missing the sense of respect that is a societal norm. I think it’s a shame that this blog has become his personal playground through which to vent this anger as a blog bully.
    I think this playground has great amenities. It’s a shame we don’t get to enjoy them. I no longer plan on trying.

  8. bud

    Randy, Here’s the latest from one of the right’s more famous columnists, Ann Coulter:
    From Coulter’s August 2 column:
    Q: Does Hillary Clinton have a good chance in 2008? What are her strengths and weaknesses? What did her reaction to your “Jersey girls” comments tell you about her as a potential candidate?
    A: Good chance of what? Coming out of the closet? I’d say that’s about even money.”
    A few columns back Brad threw Coulter’s name out for discussion. Lex and Lee never repudiated her vile, slanderous ways. That speaks volumes in my book.

  9. Dave

    Bud, I think you take Ann C., who I like very much, a little too seriously. She is not an elected official, just a witty, smart, quick on her feet pundit. She outdebates those who try to keep up with her. Matt Lauer, Russert, Deutsch, Colmes, and a raft of others have gotten nailed by her. If we all had to spend time repudiating, the left would never get anything else done. Pelosi, Kerry, Murtha, Franken, Carville, McKinney, Baldwin, and a cast of thousands have all said despicable nonsensical things. So lighten up and enjoy Ann C. Why do you think her latest book is the #1 Best Seller?

  10. Dave

    Most of us who work for a living cannot be identified for reasons I have gone into before. If I were a college prof with tenure I would ID myself. Anyway, as the SGM noted, anybody can claim to be anyone, who knows the better.

  11. Kyle

    Dave, if you think Coulter outdebated those folks and has any merit at all, I’m not surprised that we are having civility problems here.

  12. LexWolf

    A few columns back Brad threw Coulter’s name out for discussion. Lex and Lee never repudiated her vile, slanderous ways. That speaks volumes in my book.
    Pray tell, Bud, what sorts of volumes does it speak in your book? I don’t remember any of Brad’s columns about Coulter. Could this have been before I stated posting here sometime around 6 or 7 weeks ago? Do you think it’s my job to rummage through all of Brad’s past columns so I can denounce anything you might object to? Do you also think I should read Coulter’s periodic musings and denounce her here on the blog? Do you keep abreast of all the insane rants and raves of lefty pundits and repudiate them for us?

  13. Lee

    Would “bud” can explain to me how liberals can defend homosexuality as normal, then act outraged when someone mentions the butchy friends of Hillary Clinton and her entourage, much less when these “liberals” try to smear their opponents as being gay every chance they get.

  14. LexWolf

    You know, you guys are really getting desperate in your neverending search for stuff to be offended, insulted, belittled, denigrated, incivilitized, and whatnotted by. Has it ever occurred to you guys that if you don’t like what Coulter says or writes, just shut off the boobtube or don’t read her columns? Go on Ebay and buy yourselves a life, people!! Bidding starts real low so even you can afford it.

  15. LexWolf

    I guess despite all their snivelling and whining we weren’t incivilitizing them enough so they had to drag in an Ann Coulter column to help them get their dander up again.

  16. Herb Brasher

    Randy, I’m bowing out, too, at least for the present. But I think this blog, which had a chance at being a good discussion forum, will suffer from your absence. You may have tried too hard. Lex cites the number of your posts as evidence of your “bullying,” which of course is a very foolish presupposition–no one ever said that the number of a person’s posts was in any way a detriment. The issue remains the quality of the posts, and as you have well noted, Lex may well be an angry person. The fact that he finds it difficult to post anything without some sarcastic or demeaning comment is good evidence of that.
    That being said, what we need to do is simply ignore such posts and discuss the issues with those who can discuss them, but it is easier said than done, one almost has to read through most of the posts in order to follow the thread, at least I find that is true.
    I will miss your angle on things as a schoolteacher. Any chance on your reconsidering?
    Brad, I think I have changed my mind somewhat. Rather than putting the burden on you to “zap” insulting or inane posts, it might work better to allow anonymity only by exception, with you granting the exceptions. I’m not sure of all the ins and outs of that, but I think it would be worth trying.

  17. Tony

    I read through some of this crap for a couple days and have 3 questions.
    Who gives a flip what these blabber mouths say?
    What does this Lee character think a liberal is? Every person who posts is a freakin liberal to him. I started thinking my parrot was blogging – keep repeating the same crap.
    And what does that wolf guy have up his…rump. Can we say rump in here? This blabber mouth does nothing but pee in everybody’s wheaties. Can we say pee in here? Who knows what he’ll freakin say to me now. But I don’t give a rat’s…rump?

  18. Lee

    Tony, why don’t you reform the process by adding some enlightening comments about solving a social problem, instead of just becoming another complainer about those of us who are doing that?
    All you folks have to do is stop talking about people, and join us in talking about ideas.

  19. Doug

    I found today’s editorial depressing to read. Spending two weeks on such a trivial issue which impacts so few people seems like a major waste of newsprint.
    Unlike a face-to-face argument, blogs allow the participants much more freedom to choose to engage or not. Also, because of the open-ended nature of the discussion, everyone has the ability to try and get in the last word. I’d suggest that if you feel offended by someone’s post, you either ignore it or take it offline. I’ve done the “offline” route three times in the past few months and it has worked out fine.
    Personally, I have no problem with the entries of Lee, Lex, Mary Rosh, or anyone else. More often than not, Lee and Lex bring factual information to discussions.
    Sure, it represents one side of the partisan view of the world, but you’d be hard pressed to call them uninformed.
    I find Mary Rosh fascinating. I think there is some benefit to having every single statement you make tested and criticized. I don’t know how Brad could read Mary’s posts and not take just a moment to do a little seld-examination and introspection. That’s not a bad thing.
    I don’t hold it against people who blog anonymously because there could be any number of reasons why they choose to do so.
    I do appreciate everyone who DOES identify themselves. Randy and I had a few unnecessarily nasty posts beofe but I have a much greater respect for him now. We need more of his fellow teachers on this blog (although it will not surprise me in the least if his administration shuts him down at some point).
    I still think the blog would work better if Brad arranged some type of “meet the bloggers” get together occasionally.

  20. Tony

    Lee, what do you think you’re freakin doing? Calling everyone a liberal and throwing socialist and government around like a hot potato? That’s solving a social problem? I hope you’re being funny, otherwise I take you for some whacko.
    Get out of the house sometime leigh too much CO2 in there. fresh air will do you some good.

  21. LexWolf

    I always get a chuckle out of liberals when they are unable to defend their positions and then claim that the other side must be an “angry” person for not seeing their ‘superior wisdom’.
    I can’t speak for others but for me the simple fact is that I just don’t agree with most lefty positions and I’m not at all bashful about saying so. Best of all, I have the facts to back me up. That, of course, is the truly unforgiveable part and that makes me ‘incivil’ in the eyes of lefties. After all, how could any left-thinking person not want to join in with the Kumbaya singalong?
    Just yesterday a poster accused Normal-Americans who want to drive their SUVs of being a–holes. The host of this blog used ‘jerks’ to refer to taxpayers who don’t want to throw yet more $millions at our failed public schools. He also called me a ‘jerk’ – I later accepted his apology and don’t have any hard feelings about that but nevertheless it happened. Yet these paragons of civility (NOT!) actually have the nerve to accuse Lee and me of being incivil.
    Bottom line is that if Brad wants me to leave the blog, all he has to do is say so. I’ve lived a reasonably happy 49 years before I started posting here and I’m sure I’ll be just fine for the remaining years of my life if I don’t post anymore.

  22. Tony

    Lexwof, I’m sure alot of people will be fine if you left. From what I read, incivil ain’t the word. Jerk comes to mind. Angry? I don’t know you. But Jerk is a definite.
    What’s with the freakin lefty crap. Don’t you have any other comment to make other than lefty and lib? Two freakin parrots in here pecking away at the computer. cripes

  23. LexWolf

    Heh. Tony sounds like one of the Soprano’s enforcers who lost his gun and thinks his mouth will do his job for him.

  24. Doug

    I hope you’re not talking about Tony Soprano’s gay mobster buddy, Vito Spatafore. 🙂

  25. Tony

    Lexwuf sounds and acts like Nelson, the snotty kid on the Simpsons with the scornful laugh. Some intellect as well.

  26. Tony

    So tell us Nelson, what makes all the people in here a “lib.” Do you know what it means or did you hear someone on the radio mention it? Are you copying Lee the whacko?

  27. Lee

    Tony, why haven’t you tried to uplift this thread by posting some ideas, backed up with the facts which lead you to your viewpoint?
    We already have enough insults from people who are obviously not really liberal, tolerant and open-minded.

  28. Tony

    OK Lee! Sounds Good! I’ll follow your lead. Do I work in “lib” in the first sentence of a post or the second? How many of my posts should have some stat I pulled out of my …rump. Did we determine if rump is ok? Do I write what Rush tells us verbatim or should I paraphrase?
    Dang, I’m stoked!

  29. Kyle

    Lex, again, you’re overgeneralizing and throwing around insults and labels too freely. Knock it off, man. This isn’t the place.

  30. Kyle

    Brad, I just thought of something…what about shutting down the blog for a while (well, the comments anyway) and letting people cool off? Maybe after a week or so, bring it back and start fresh.

  31. Lee

    Yeah, Lex. Pick on someone who can take it.
    Tony, just pick one of my many opinions, which are accompanied by the facts which led me to reach those conclusions. If there is a source on the Internet, I often provide it so you-know-who can get up to speed. If not, they have to go to the library.

  32. Tony

    Kyle, Lexwoof is a putz. He’s the blog version of Nelson from the Simpson’s. He won’t even post his name while he’s throwing his insults around – hiding behind his little computer.

  33. LexWolf

    Randy, is that you hiding behind a new name? Your repetitive, juvenile style is giving you away. Maybe Brad should check the IP addresses of Tony and Randy.

  34. Ready to Hurl

    Gee, Dave, I guess many people miss the humor when Ann Coulter says that she’s never seen women enjoying their husbands’ deaths as much as 9/11 widows.
    The punch line kind of rings hollow when she wishes that the 9/11 hijackers had hit the NYT building instead.
    I was going to suggest that I’d cut Coulter’s “wit” some slack when you started enjoying Michael Moore’s humor. But, then I realized that Moore has never called for forced religious conversion– or execution.
    Moore might be a tad sophomoric but he doesn’t justify murder as political expression. (“John Murtha, the reason that soldiers invented fragging…)
    Coulter’s a real piece of work, alright. She’s all yours and you’re welcome to her.

  35. Tony

    Lee, you little research academic fiend. I saw about 20 requests in some other freakin post asking you to explain something like 98% of Latins are criminals. Scurry on over to the library and find something that explains that whopper. I’ll be here holding my breath.

  36. Lee

    Did you stop with reading the bogus number posted by Randy, or read my responses?
    If not, do that first. Then decide if you disagree with the facts.

  37. Tony

    Dude, I read where you put 98% of Latins are criminals. He put the citation for where you wrote it. I got time to kill so I looked it up. Sure enough, you freakin wrote it! How do you get that number? Rump city? I’m no fan of an open border, but I have enough sense to know that number is crap. You wrote it so support it.

  38. Tony

    Hey Lexwoof snuck in again I didn’t see “lib” posted Don’t you have someone to go bully there Nelson? Run along while I wait for Lee to get back from the library.

  39. LexWolf

    Now back to more serious stuff. Someone has just signed me up for the email list at the DailyKos as ‘LexWolf’. No big deal because I go there every day or two anyway, just to keep up with those traitorous buffoons. However, I didn’t sign up for it myself.
    In addition, my unknown benefactor signed me up for lists at the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, AFT e-Activist network, NEA, Drinking Liberally Network, The Daily Gotham,, and
    The user ID in each case was either Lex or LexWolf and my email address is at the bottom of evry post, of course. This forum is the only place I use either so the perp must have been someone who reads this blog. The AFT and NEA links would suggest Randy but I’m not making any accusations without more evidence.
    These actions are fairly harmless (in fact the AFT and NEA sites will give me advance warning for upcoming shady educrat shenanigans so thank you!). However, this should give pause to those of you who think we should post under our real names. No real harm done with this but there are indeed people who are unable to keep things on the blog. Who will pursue you much closer to home if they can, and who knows what they will do if they are deranged enough?!
    I will gladly forward these emails to you so you can see for yourself that I’m not making them up.

  40. David

    This is my first post in response to your recent requests.
    If you want legitimate, civil, and to the actual point discussions, I’d be for requiring all posters to register, post IP addresses, and require full names.
    Some folks on here will abuse virtually anything that is proposed.
    Another idea – once a month or every 6 weeks, invite some of the posters which you find are having a good, strong, useful, and civil debate to come by The State headquarters and have a 1 hour meeting and you bring up some of those dicussions and see how things go.
    I’d bet that a lot of folks would, if they really were intersted in good discussions, would temper their comments quite a bit if they knew they might be meeting that person face to face in a few weeks.

  41. Lee

    Tony, if you believe the bunko posts of Randy, you really are simple, or you just don’t actually want to discuss what we really said, much less express an opinion of your own.
    To help you, I’ll ask some simple questions? Does it really matter to you how much crime the illegal aliens commit, in addition to being criminals just by sneaking across the border? Do you care what race they are? Why?

  42. SGM (ret.)

    There are several potential technical solutions that would give Brad near total of control over what goes on here, but does he really need or want to invest the time and coin to achieve… what?
    He could for instance:
    Have all users register with him, providing their real names, phone numbers, and addresses. They could then choose “user names” under which to post. Brad would hold the real contact info for his own use in the event of a problem.
    The con here is that it removes any chance of the casual surfer who has a brilliant idea from participating. It also gives Brad a large data base filled with personal information. I suppose I trust him to safeguard it, but do you?
    Another technical solution would be to remove the e-mail hot links to the posters’ names. I see “David’s” e-mail is to “sportstalker@….” (Hmmm??? Sport Stalker… don’t know if I’d want my daughter dating that guy.) The site could be easily set up with a PM function that forwards e-mails through the site vice providing direct e-mail access.
    This would have prevented the attack that “LexWolf” says he was the victim of. (That presumes that Brad didn’t sign him up for all those sites. Brad, you didn’t… did you?)
    I know that all of these technical fixes (and more) are possible, but just how much time and effort should Brad have to put into this? I mean, come on people, we’re talking about a few insults and some thin-skinned responses. (Oh no… the big bad wolf called me a “toddler”! I almost spit my corn flakes on the keyboard! What a hoot!) If someone really crosses the line with genuine hate speech and threats, Brad can always block the offender’s IP and call the police.
    Grow up.
    If you don’t like what someone says, if you feel insulted or offended don’t give them the satisfaction of rising to the bait. The long winded, message after message, circular exchanges take at least two people. Both are guilty of dragging the thread off topic. It only gets worse when their friends on the sidelines pile on. That is the only thing that needs fixing around here.
    The real solution:
    Reach inside and find the strength of your own convictions and self-respect. Move on… dot com.

  43. Dave

    What I see is a lot of virtual ink being wasted volleying back and forth over who in uncivil, what is incivil, real name vs. virtual name, etc. etc. Meanwhile, here is what NOT is being blogged
    1. Impact of Castro’s eventual departure
    2. BP shutting down Prudhoe Bay oil lines and impact.
    3. GM and Ford heading to bankrupty and impact on USA
    4. Immigration
    5. SC Governors, Educ. Secty., Lt. gov races
    6. Why Columbia is without a real minor league team and decent stadium. (Brad’s pet peeve)
    7. National November Cong. elections.
    8. Global warming – (Note: The environmental wackos blamed the rash of hurricanes last year on GW, now they are scratching their heads, zero hurricanes so far this year) Sorry, had to post that.
    9. Alternate fuels and energy policy.
    10. SC economic development
    11. Is New Jersey really the most horrible state in the union? (Special for Mary R.)

    Anyway, let’s argue and debate about important issues and stop this bantering about who in civil or uncivil.

  44. David

    I disagree.
    Just like I wouldn’t pay your opinions any attention or give them any credibility if you (just using you as an example) were impolite (disreptful) toward me in person, I often will just ignore similiar comments on such boards as these.
    How often, in real life away from the computer, do you actually engage in a serious discussion with someone you barely know if they call you names and treat you as if they think you are stupid? I doubt you’d engage in a discussion with someone like that. Why do that on a message board just because someone is free to hide their identity? In fact, I would bet a physical confrontation would result quite quickly with most people put in a similiar situation.
    Brad runs this show and he has a right to have the sort of board he wants to have.
    I am all for it. I rarely post anymore because of the silly namecalling that is done, and the people that think they are 100% right on everything and everyone else is wrong all the time just because those same people are able to hide behind their computer.
    That is never true in real life and it isn’t on this board either.

  45. bud

    Dave, I find it stunning that the Prudoe Bay story isn’t bigger than it is. That’s a very big story with huge potential consequences. I’ve been ready to move on. This will be my last post on any of the Civility topics.

  46. Kyle

    SGM said: “If you don’t like what someone says, if you feel insulted or offended don’t give them the satisfaction of rising to the bait. The long winded, message after message, circular exchanges take at least two people. Both are guilty of dragging the thread off topic. It only gets worse when their friends on the sidelines pile on. That is the only thing that needs fixing around here.”
    I second that. I’ve got to get sharper about what not to respond to.

  47. bill

    This site has more pop-up ads then any I’ve visited.Some have actually gotten around my Firefox blocker.So,maybe that’s the bottom line.TWO Sunday columns advertising ads.

  48. Lee

    The BP leak could be serious, because unexpected corrosion could indicate some changes in oil chemistry or what is actually erosion of the pipe, which would require a full cleaning and inspection. This field produces about 4% of US consumption, so it has no more impact on supply that a refinery outage.
    The good that could come out of it would be some reasonable discussion on offshore drilling, and less hysteria from tourist towns in SC and Florida. The US has not had a real offshore accident since 1968, and that was due to major storm. Mexico has had several, which our oil companies have cleaned up for them.
    Even the destruction of our Gulf rigs by Hurricane Katrina caused almost no pollution. Estuary fish populations in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida are at the highest levels in decades. Sport fishermen are catching 100 redfish and day in Louisiana (and releasing them).

  49. Preston

    Question to Lee and Lex— Do you guys ever leave the house?
    It can be fun to get outside and interact with real people. Since Friday, I have been gone. I come back Monday, and you are the two majority posters here. Get some fresh air and chill out.

  50. Lee

    We’re taxpayers, working all weekend to pay for the money bonfire of John Land and Bobby Harrell.

  51. Lee

    Second-hand Smoke Study Finks No Links to Health Problems
    By Mike Wendling London Bureau Chief
    May 16, 2003
    London ( – A study about to be published in this week’s British Medical Journal indicates that second-hand smoke doesn’t increase the risk of heart disease or lung cancer, but the publication and the study’s authors have come under attack by anti-smoking groups.
    Two American researchers analyzed data from an American Cancer Society survey that followed more than 118,000 Californians from 1960 until 1998.
    James E. Enstrom, of the University of California at Los Angeles and Geoffrey C. Kabat of the State University of New York at Stony Brook concluded that “the results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke (second-hand smoke) and tobacco related mortality, although they do not rule out a small effect.”
    “The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed,” the researchers wrote.

  52. Charlie

    I keep a blog, and the only comments I delete are blatant spam.
    The best way to deal with incivility is with humor. I laugh when I get slammed.
    People who make these calls for civility are really people who take themselves too seriously.

  53. Ready to Hurl

    Back to the subject of Brad’s column.
    Here’s CBS’ policy for its comment section.
    Just food for thought.
    – – – – – – – — — – – — – – – – – – – –
    Rules Of Engagement Forum Rules
    (CBS) People who want to post comments on are going to have to follow our rules. We know that not all forums are like that, but this one is.
    There’s legal language nearby. Here’s the plain English: no libel, slander, no lying, no fabricating, no swearing at all, no words that teenagers use a lot that some people think aren’t swearing but we do, no insulting groups or individuals, no ethnic slurs and/or epithets, no religious bigotry, no threats of any kind, no bathroom humor, no comparing anyone to Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot. We expect heated, robust debate, but comments should be polite and civil. We consider this to be public space so behave and write accordingly.
    Yes, what is not allowable is subjective. absolutely reserve the right to remove posts we think break any of the rules or the spirit of the rules and we reserve the right to ban individuals from commenting. We will use language filtering programs to block certain words and we will use human editing too.
    Comments should be limited to the topic of the original posting. This is not the place for private conversations, no matter how innocent.
    We require everyone who comments to register and provide a real e-mail address. No exceptions. And posting comments is not the same thing as complaining to CBS News or notifying CBS News of a problem – legally, there’s a big difference.
    Very important: if you see a comment that you feel is inappropriate, let us know by clicking on the “comment complaint” button.

  54. Lee

    CBS News exhibits one reason why it is not taken seriously. It wants any comments to be as politically correct as its broadcasts are.
    While I agree that it is stupidly inaccurate for Democrats to equate President Bush to Adolf Hitler, it is appropriate to not the fact that this liberal or that democratic socialist advocates a particular program already tried by Hitler or Stalin, and may have in fact been an admirer of those dictators.
    For example, Hillary Clinton’s close advisor Harold Ickes is the son of a Stalinist who was an advisor to previous generations of Democrats. It is useful to know where his views, and Hillarys, are coming from.

  55. Ready to Hurl

    Brad, it might be useful to insitute a daily “open thread” which could center on news of the day or whatever moves any poster.

  56. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, actually your comment about the lack of coverage for the BP pipeline shutdown made me think of it.

  57. Kyle

    Lee, if you’re trying to make liberals (or anyone, really) a bunch of Hitler-worshippers, the logic doesn’t follow. Whatever programs & ideas you’re talking about most likely have roots elsewhere. It’s not automatically guilt by association. (The NSDAP had a huge role in making the VW…does everyone driving one of those worship the NSDAP?)

  58. LexWolf

    actually your comment about the lack of coverage for the BP pipeline shutdown made me think of it.
    no, it didn’t. I posted the “open thread” suggestion twice within the last week, once even on this very thread (Aug 6, 2006 9:50:37 AM), complete with quotation marks. However, if you want the credit for it, by all means have it, just as long as we do get some open threads. Heh.

  59. Lee

    Kyle, if you care to discuss any particular liberal program, I am sure I can teach you a lot about the history of it, if you can face some of the communists, fascists, and other people you don’t want as cousins. Try one. I have been researching this for 35 years, and connecting liberals to their black sheep, from the supporters of Mussolini to Jim Jones.

  60. Lee

    For example, Hillary Clinton met Harold Ickes (of the Stalinist Ickes family in the FDR administration) while Hillary was working as a law clerk for the husband and wife team of communist attorneys in California, who were handling the Black Panther defense for murder.
    Hillary got hooked up with them through her internship with communist propagandist Saul Alinsky, where she also met Dick Morris, whom she later called to remake her image and her husband’s, in Arkansas, in order to deceive the voters to putting them back into office.
    That is where another radical child of communist parents, David Horowitz, met Hillary Clinton, while he was editor of Ramparts Magazine.

  61. Ready to Hurl

    Whatever, Lexie.
    You’re certainly welcome to the “credit” if that makes you happy.

  62. Kyle

    Lee, I’m fine with people I don’t agree with using ideas that I do agree with. That’s inevitable. 🙂

  63. Preston

    Lee, to clarify for you: Fascism is extremely right politically. Communism is far left. The two should not be mentioned synonomously. Thanks you.

  64. Preston

    Lee, to clarify for you: Fascism is extremely right politically. Communism is far left. The two should not be mentioned synonomously. Thanks you.

  65. Lee

    As one of Mussolini’s supporters once declared in a speech, “Fascism comes from the Left!”
    Mussolini began as a communist, the speaker as an academic liberal. So fascism is “right wing” socialism, or as Hitler said, “Socialism without internationalism”, because it puts the nation ahead of world governments and governing bodies.

  66. Preston

    Main Entry: fas·cism
    Pronunciation: ‘fa-“shi-z&m also ‘fa-“si-
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces
    1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
    2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

  67. Lee

    It only sounds like all you know about fascism is what you just copied from an oline dictionary. Diversion over. Try to discuss a local social problem, without the spam.

  68. Kyle

    Lee, I believe that was an attempt to clarify the meaning of the word you brought up.
    Thank you for posting that, Preston.

  69. Lee

    Get a real dictionary.
    Better yet, read some history of how the liberals helped put Mussolini and Hitler into power. Read the glowing praises of them in the American liberal press, like the New York Times. Several journalists of the 1930s roasted their colleagues for their infatuation with fascism, but it took the invasion of Poland to wake most of them up to Hitler, even though most did not wake up to the problem with their own philosopy. Today, they still think they just need to promote better leaders to management of the country.

  70. Preston

    Oh, you mean like how Prescott Bush got rich selling arms to the Nazis in the 1930’s.
    What is “fake” about Meriam-Webster Online. Last I heard, they were the authority on the English language. Sorry if the definition of Fascism doesn’t fit into your argument.

  71. LexWolf

    if only you lefties didn’t “know” so many things that just ain’t true. Please back up your assertion that Prescott Bush sold arms to the Nazis.
    That definition of yours applies almost exactly to communism and socialism as well. The similarities between those 3 -isms are much higher than any of them are to democracy. Simply 2 faces of the same tyrannical coin.

  72. Lee

    The Meriam-Webster definition is not inaccurate, just incomplete and simplistic. It is the bare minimum of knowledge about fascism, not supporting any naive liberal conception. Unfortunately, it typlifies the depth of knowledge liberals have no many subjects.

  73. Preston

    Lee, sorry if you consider their definition “incomplete”. The bottom line is definition doesn’t mee t your goals, so you must apply some Leeism to make it fit your argument. That is very dishonest.
    Lex, I understand that they are both based on a centralized leadership, but I don’t remember the commies and Nazis being such good friends during WWII. To lump the two together is an innacurrate portayal of the goals of each. Read “House of Bush/House of Saud”. Some interesting background on the Bush/Walker business dealings, and yes, I know Joseph Kennedy was a bootlegger and pornographer.

  74. Preston

    Also Lex, why is it that your “knowledge” is the only one that matters. I don’t speak for liberals, so if you have a problem with what I say, address me specifically. I am uncategorizable.

  75. Lee

    The commies and Nazis actually had a treaty in the 1930s, to divide up Europe among them in World War II. Hitler got around the bans on rearming Germany by building army tank and airplane factories in the USSR, to arm his Wermacht.
    Hundreds of American UAW workers, led by their socialist union leaders, emigrated to the USSR to work in the munitions factories.

  76. LexWolf

    Lex, I understand that they are both based on a centralized leadership, but I don’t remember the commies and Nazis being such good friends during WWII.
    Really? Maybe you should ask the Poles and the Finns and the 3 Baltic states to see if they agree with you. After all, the Nazis and the Commies were friendly enough to work together at invading those countries in 1939/40.
    To lump the two together is an innacurrate portayal of the goals of each.
    Not at all. As I said before, simply 2 faces of the same tyrannical coin. There is very little to distinguish them. In fact, the Nazis named themselves National Socialists only because they wanted to concentrate on one nation instead of the usual international approach of the rest of the socialists. Otherwise it’s like tweedledee and tweedledum.

  77. Paul DeMarco

    If you want a serious conversation on the blog, require full names. As a school board member, I occasionally receive written complaints in the mail. If they are not signed, I disregard them. Anonymous opinions don’t carry much weight.
    If you want the blog to be simply entertainment/sport, leave it alone.

  78. Dave

    Paul, If Brad requires full names and identification on this blog, he may as well go all the way and have people also publish their home phone numbers, address, resumes, religious affiliation, etc. Also, he will be able to read all 3 posts he will get each day from the remaining bloggers. You may want to read up on Cyberstalkers, a new breed of miscreants who actually share many of the traits and profile of serial killers. Visit Bullies Online!
    Even now on Brad’s site, you have identity theft occuring on people’s virtual names, let alone on their real names. Many of these mental cases would like nothing better than to be able to do harm to the real people behind the bloggers.

  79. Dave

    Lee, that is good to hear. I was giving Brad the benefit of the doubt and didnt think he would do that unless one had requested it. Too bad but since it may have been an accident, c’est la vie! I didnt get it so that means I am not a pinko. Great.

  80. Lee

    Law enforcement is going to be talking to some of the “liberals” in this blog, if it doesn’t stop. This is a state and a federal crime.

  81. Dave

    Yes, someone has begun registering me for porn sites using my email from here. Note to Brad, if you mandate open identification that would be very foolish with the mental cases dropping in on this blog. Your choice, your blog.

  82. Capital A

    Everyone is getting this same crap. Enough with the conspiracy theories.
    Just block it, like I do.

  83. Lee

    The passive, victimhood response is to block criminals. The active response is to hunt them down and lock them up.
    Congress needs to clean up the Internet so it can be used for business and by decent people. Right now, it is the Wild West of scams and porn.

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