Awaiting moderation (in more ways than one)

Just FYI, to give you a glimpse behind the scenes…

I agree with y’all that the blog has become a more lively and enjoyable forum since I started banning bad actors — or rather, since I started requiring that comments display a constructive engagement before I let them be published.

Since some of y’all are of a political persuasion that makes you want to know what’s done on your behalf — by the CIA, by Blackwater, or by me — I thought I’d give you an update on what you are NOT seeing on the blog.

Basically, I’ve banned Lee Muller, and “Mike Toreno” and “BillC.” But you probably knew that. Something you may not know is that all three have tried commenting under different names — Lee under his old pseudonym “SCNative,” “Mike” as “CarlsBoss,” and BillC as just “Bill.” I’ve shared with you some of the things Lee had to say as “SCNative,” back on this post.

Two other individuals have failed to make the cut: Someone called “enemy within” (who may actually be a spam program; I’m not sure), and just today, our old friend “Workin’ Tommy C.”

“Workin’ Tommy” tried to comment on this post, basically as an advocate for Angry White Maledom (excerpt: “Angry white men created the government as defined in the U.S. Constitution. Outraged men of principle MADE this country…”). And as a representative of that point of view, I almost approved him … but, remembering some of his behavior back on the old blog, decided to think about it. Then “Tommy” confirmed me in my caution by posting this follow-up:

My earlier comment is still awaiting moderation.

Can’t handle the truth, Warthen?

Anyway, that’s what’s happening beneath the surface.

Yours in civil discourse,


38 thoughts on “Awaiting moderation (in more ways than one)

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    Because there is no other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O Brad!

    (a touch of Evensong on this dreary afternoon)

  2. Herb B.

    The underlying issue is respect for others, and willingness to learn. The terms integrity and humility probably sum it up. I will freely admit that I have not always showed either in my remarks, but I think that I am still willing to learn. You showed enough patience with Lee,, and it was time for action. Well done. We can’t have real discourse without rules.

  3. Maude Lebowski

    I’m nodding along to Herb’s comments. What you shared was about all I can stomach, but it does make me that much more appreciative of the new forum.

  4. Doug Ross

    I’m waiting for the first time any of the regular comment writers or Brad types the phrase:

    “I was wrong”

    All the self-congratulations over banning Lee are pretty funny. Couldn’t win the arguments on facts, so you changed the rules.

    I’ll ask again – has there been any noticeable uptick in the number of webpage views since moderation was enacted? Are people flocking to the website now?

  5. Brad Warthen

    Doug, I don’t have the slightest idea. I don’t know what my stats were before, and I don’t know what they are now.

    I used to keep track of that when I was on Typepad, but WordPress makes it really difficult. I just tried to go look, and as usual, it tells me my password is wrong, and I don’t know what it wants.

    I do know that when I get in to look at it, it will have a bunch of numbers that I don’t understand. One of these days I need to get somebody to explain them to me.

    All I know is that the discussions are better, and livelier. I sense that people are a lot more comfortable expressing themselves.

    What do the rest of y’all see?

  6. Greg Flowers

    I would like to see you go to a system where certain users are banned but the comments of others are posted immediately to give more of the feel of a real time discussion.

    Doug, anytime someone attempted to refute one of Lee’s assertions he would immediately resort to ad hominem attacks. You seem to do a pretty good job of presenting your case without insult, others should be able to do the same.

  7. Maude Lebowski

    “I’m waiting for the first time any of the regular comment writers or Brad types the phrase:

    ‘I was wrong’”

    As of today, I’m having serious doubts about supporting any of the current bills enacting universal health care. Does that count?

    Some of the coservative backlash is starting to make sense to me, maybe because they’re discussing the issue instead of bashing the president and Dems in general. Nancy Pelosie’s Big Lie certainly gave me pause.

    So yeah, Doug. Maybe I was wrong.

  8. Kathryn Fenner

    I sure see three or four times as many different names in a thread many times. It’s a good thing–many great insights.

    Doug–I respect *your* comments, but Lee wouldn’t truck any dispute with his “facts”–even though I think most of the Republican Party disagreed with him on many of them. If you posit absurd premises, further deduction becomes pointless.

    I did say that I agreed with Lee on more than one occasion, the record will show. He wasn’t always in an alternative universe. He did, however, manage to insult me even when I was complimenting him–for participating in the marketplace of ideas.

    Lee would post the same widely disputed “facts” about, say, President Obama’s birth certificate, schooling,membership in the Communist Party and authorship of his books, repeatedly and apropo of nothing. Senator Graham, for one, says these positions are “crazy.”

  9. Randy E

    Doug, the variety of people who post on threads appears to have increased dramatically – many new names as Burl states. I’m baffled at your suggestion that Brad needed some sort of edge in debating Lee and others.

    Brad, I strongly agree with Greg that immediate posting facilitates the discourse although I worry about Lee or Angry Bill sneaking in.

    This blog does a good business for being “local” compared to other local blogs. The Hartford Courant blogs get minimal action.

  10. KP

    Ditto Herb, Greg, Maude, and Kathryn. People are not only more willing to post these days, I’d bet they’re also a lot more willing to learn from what they read. Nothing closes a person’s mind quicker than absurd argument and vitriol.

  11. Doug Ross

    I’ll go back to what I asked before – what is Brad’s objective for this blog? To have friendly discourse or to drive web page views as part of a business / personal branding strategy?

    If the goal is to have a coffee
    klatch with a few “friends” then that objective has been achieved.

  12. Doug Ross

    Randy –

    “This blog does a good business for being “local” compared to other local blogs.”

    Will Folks’ blog is the only game in town when it comes to commenting on politics and culture in South Carolina. I’d wager the number of viewers of that website are a couple of orders of magnitude higher than any other local blog. Why is that? Content, content, content. Provocative, informative content that has leapfrogged the mainstream media.

  13. Brad Warthen

    Doug, what are you trying to say? You want me to quit blogging? That’s the impression I get.

    I can’t tell you the “purpose” of the blog. I might make it into an income generator at some point, but from what I’ve seen, that would take more time than it would be worth right now. I think I would have to work on it all day for several weeks to get to where I could bring in some ad income, and right now my priority is finding a job. (From everything I’ve seen, the little bit of revenue the blog would bring in if I DID bust my hump to make it happen would be no substitute for a good job.)

    Meanwhile, if you prefer Will’s blog, by all means give it your custom. Will’s goals are very different from my own, and that’s about all I’m going to say about it beyond the fact that I get the impression that for Will, the blog and business are related. And he does indeed pour a great deal into it.

    For me, right now, it helps me keep in contact with people while I’m looking to see where I’ll land. Depending what sort of job I get, I may quit blogging. Or I may have to change the nature of the blog — avoiding certain topics to avoid a conflict of interest. I don’t know, because the jobs I’m talking to various parties about right now are quite varied, and I don’t know where I’m going to end up.

    In the meantime, Doug, if you don’t like what you find here, there’s a big world of options out there.

  14. KP

    Fits News is exactly the kind of blog this one should aspire not to become. He does occasionally break a scandal the mainstream media missed, and he’s funny, which is why his viewership is high. But it’s not a place for thinking people. The vast majority of the “content, content, content” (and there’s certainly a great big mass of it) is a mile wide and an inch deep, wildly, blindly, mindlessly ideological, and frequently so uninformed as to be irresponsible.

    The comment section is even worse, contributing absolutely nothing to any kind of reasoned debate.

  15. Bart Rogers

    This blog has changed in many ways. The discourse is a lot friendlier and less confrontational. Now, I read every topic and response without the bothersome task of filtering through the “crap”.

    I will admit that I do miss Lee on occasion because he did present me with a few challenges on positions and ideology. Just as bud commented once on Toreno, he had the opportunity to be one of the more articulate voices for the liberal side and if he had chosen to do so, Lee could have been the opposing contributor.

    There have been some very good comments recently, perhaps none more astute or insightful than the one by kbfenner. “…Political belief does not fall on a linear spectrum–it is multidimensional, encompassing parameters for degree of authoritarianism/personal liberty, central control/local control, ownership of the means of production and so on. There are devoutly Christian “liberals” and atheist conservatives,etc….”

    My own belief system is filled with contradictions if it were compared to the purist positions of the left or right. There are too many reasonable people on both sides of the aisle to allow the fringe element from either side to command or control how the vast majority of Americans live.

    This blog is good for its immediate purpose. There are two blogs no longer around that were very good and offered the same opportunity for reasonable discourse as this one does. “Not too Bright” and “LaurinLine” have gone away much to the dismay of those who desire intelligent discussion and a fair exchange of ideas “without the anger, vitriol, and name-calling”.

    Thanks for bringing the opportunity back Brad.

  16. Brad Warthen

    Well, at least Workin’ Tommy took his expulsion well:


    You, sir, HONOR me with your banning of my comments!

    To be ostracized by the likes of you and your ilk will no doubt enhance my citizen activist resume.

    BTW: My “angry white male” tome is otherwise being propagated since I edited it a little. I always use responses to obsequiously fascist blogs such as yours as spurs to writing opinion pieces that are regularly published elsewhere.

    Good riddance to me!!! =:>)

    See you in the funny papers!

    (Oh, never mind! I forgot, Der Staat fired your useless carcass.

    Well, at least you’ll have the satisfaction of watching them go the way of the Titanic as well.)


    And Bart — you’re welcome. Thanks for the kind words.

  17. Burl Burlingame

    As my city editor — who hailed from Kentucky — used to say, “If you ain’t pissin’ people off, then you ain’t makin’ ’em think.”

  18. Kathryn Fenner

    Thanks, Bart! That really made my evening!

    Doug–FITS News is a lot like Fox News–you seem to fall somewhere on the right-hand side of the matrix of political opinion/belief/taste, so I’m not surprised that you would prefer FITS. I have enjoyed his posts from time to time (“Jenny Sanford Wants You to See This” was worthy of an award), but like eating candy corn, a little goes a long way for me.

    Brad, I’m really liking the New World Order, even if I get my licks in from time to time–you know it’s only because I truly respect you!

  19. Bart Rogers

    You may criticize Fox News, you may call it Faux News, you may tune it out, you may be an avid supporter but one thing is for sure.

    Fox News has just as much right to broadcast, criticize Obama, and offer their right leaning slant as MSNBC and CNN have the right to do the exact opposite. Either way, it is freedom of speech and in a very loose interpretation, freedom of the press.

    The fact that the Obama administration has publicly taken to the airwaves, print media, and any other communication avenue available to assail Fox News should be very troublesome to each and every one of us. I was around when Nixon was committing one high crime after another and going to war with the press.

    We do not want to go down that road again. Historically, the press has taken the adversarial role against the government and has been the citizens watchdog, not an advocate for any particular political ideology. What we are witnessing now is the bastardization of the 4th Estate’s mandate (my view) to hold ANY administration they support accountable to the voters. If the press were actually doing their jobs, the health care bill would have been thoroughly vetted, presented fairly with scenarios the average citizen could understand, and not advocate one way or the other, then let the voters decide. So far, as a collective, they have failed us miserably.

    I don’t watch Fox News and I don’t watch the other 2 either. I find all of the political commentators offensive and wouldn’t invite any one of them into my home, especially Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly. Two of the most agregious offenders of good taste and sensibility on television. I still refuse to watch the pre-game show on NBC because of Olbermann just as I would if Limbaugh was on it. They do not present the news, they are cheap entertainment, meant to appeal to the baser emotions in all of us.

  20. Kathryn Fenner

    I agree that the Obama administration misstepped on blocking Fox.

    I do prefer MSNBC when I have access to TV news. Olbermann is distasteful but Rachel Maddow is sharp.

    I don’t think CNN, with Lou “birther platform” Dobbs, is left-leaning, though.

  21. Bart Rogers

    I tend to agree with the comment about Dobbs. He has literally leaped off the edge. Since I stopped watching CNN a long time ago, maybe they have moved more to the center. About the only time I watch is if I am in an airport and nothing else is on.

    I haven’t watched Maddow but on your recommendation, I will give it a try. Never say no until you have tried something, unless it will get you on the FBIs 10 Most Wanted List.

  22. Burl Burlingame

    Absolutely, Fox has the “right” to broadcast propaganda disguised as news. And folks have the right to call them on their hypocrisy. What’s most annoying about them is their insistence that they are the only “fair and balanced” news network. MSNBC is clearly the leftward counter to Fox, but they never make that claim.
    I agree that Maddow strikes the right balance (given her POV), without hyperventilating.
    Remember also that Glenn Beck was on CNN until recently.

  23. Brad Warthen

    I think Rachel Maddow interviewed me back during the 08 campaign. Did she used to do radio before her TV gig? (You see how little I know about TV “news”?)

  24. Burl Burlingame

    Yes. She was on Air America, made a good rep there. She’s very young for being such a wonk.
    MSNBC gave her a trial run along with Stephanie Miller when Don Imus self-destructed.

  25. Doug Ross

    I find Maddow to be as unwatchable as Hannity. Her smirks and voice turn me off… nevermind the politics.

    John Stewart and Stephen Colbert are all I need. They are brilliant.

  26. Burl Burlingame

    Combine with above comment?
    Maddow’s show actually replaced Dan Abrams, and is almost single-handedly credited with giving MSNBC higher prime-time ratings than CNN. Although describing herself as a “national-defense liberal” Maddow has never supported or endorsed any political candidate.

  27. Brad Warthen

    OK, so I did remember it right! Yeah, I was sort of reluctant to talk to someone with the Franken network. I don’t like “conservative talk radio,” and I don’t like the idea of something created to be the “liberal” equivalent.

    But I was saying yes to everything in those days; I figured the exposure was good for the paper. (Silly me to worry about such things, huh?) So I said yes to this, and you know what? It went fine. I was quite favorably impressed by Ms. Maddow.

    For that matter, I enjoyed the two times I was on Dennis Miller’s show, too. And he’s officially considered a “conservative” talker these days, right?

  28. Kathryn Fenner

    Ooooh Brad, you are such a, well, it’s not a nice term for a civil blog—think “Almost Famous.”

  29. Kathryn Fenner

    Nah, it has to do with what the character Penny Lane was. You are figuratively what she was literally…and the word isn’t “groupie.”

  30. Kathryn Fenner

    C’mon–you manage to work in every famous person you ever rubbed up against sooner or later.

    It’s okay. That’s part of your ‘stardust’ that keeps us reading your blog.

    It’s like a Brad Warthen number is the local version of a Kevin Bacon number.

  31. Brad Warthen

    Did I mention that I once had lunch with Mary Hemingway, Ernest’s last wife? She had a bloody mary, and I had one of those Dutch beers in the green bottles that are so good and clean when they are cold. And she said that her lunch was good, and I said, let’s not talk about it, because if you talk about it you lose it. A man does not talk about it if he is a man…

    I also have seen the following live in concert: Elvis (in Memphis), Bob Dylan (WITH The Band), Joan Baez, Paul McCartney and Elvis (Costello). But the best show ever was probably Leon Russell.

    And I taught Hootie and the Blowfish how to build a storage shed on a Habitat build. Really. I almost forgot that one…

  32. Kathryn Fenner

    I saw Paul and Linda McCartney en famille on the train platform in Ashford Kent. I escorted my crush Christopher Buckley from Russell House to Thomas Cooper Library.

    I have seen many world class musicians in concert, but that sort of doesn’t count. Ditto authors at book-signings and readings, I guess. It’s like the difference between seeing an animal at the zoo or in the wild.

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