Pool Rules For Wading In Our Comment Stream

Five tips for navigating the swiftly-moving waters of a Patch site.

(Editor's note: I really liked this recent posting by Lamorinda Patch's J.D. O'Connor. Where's Lamorinda, you ask? That's slang for Lafayette/Moraga/Orinda.)

As one reader pointed out our comment stream provides useful insight into the collective mindset of the people who make their home here.

Almost as avidly read as our news stories and announcements themselves, the comments number in the hundreds for some stories and can be difficult to monitor.

For that reason we ask that you "flag" any post you find overtly insulting, threatening, profane or advertorial (no spamming.)

Do this by hitting the "Flag as Inappropriate" button included on every post. This signals me that you have a problem with the post and enables me to locate it much more quickly.

And just so we're clear, the listed practices are not allowed in our comment stream and comments of this type will be stricken:

No Profanity
No Insulting Language
No Threatening Language
No Spamming
No Head-First Diving or Thread Hijacking ... off-topic posts will be deleted.

marie Borders February 05, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Thanks Brent, for posting these guidelines...it is unfortunate, however, that folks don't choose to observe these of their own accord. Jim Lehrer said " I'm in the civil discourse business. I think it takes all kinds. And more power to everybody."
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr February 05, 2012 at 05:40 PM
On "American Dad" the country club employees were allowed in the pool the day before it was drained for cleaning. Those of us who were born before 1954 remember the Confederacy analogy.
Tina McMillan February 05, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Brent Thank you for writing about posting etiquette. Personal attacks are aggravating. They make it less and less attractive to participate in online dialogues. Going off topic to respond to hostile rants doesn't seem to help. Posting directly to the person's wall in order to keep it off the dialogue stream can sometimes protect the conversation. Colorful language has not been a problem if the focus is on an issue rather than an individual. I have noticed that most people who post under their actual first and last name tend to act responsibly. It would certainly raise the bar if this was a requirement of posting to Patch. Not everyone that uses a pseudonym abuses the anonymity but the ones that do create a divisive atmosphere that makes it difficult to engage in a productive conversation. Some people appear to go so far as to post under multiple pseudonyms. They attack the entire purpose of the dialogue boxes by trying to shut down all commentary. What makes Patch so helpful is the chance to exchange ideas. It is not necessary to agree on an issue in order to have a valuable conversation.
Karen Turnbaugh February 05, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I agree 1000% with Tina on wishing people had to post under their own name. Like the other pool rules, it would improve the dialogue and should reduce the hostility that you get from cyber bullies who hide behind a screen name.
Robert Sedor February 05, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Yes, ideally everyone should post under their real name, but during the often vitriolic affordable housing debate a number of folks, especially affordable housing proponents that used their real names, were subject to personal attack--often by other posters that used real names. I can see why some are reluctant to use their real names, especially if they go against the prevailing winds of opinion on these discussion boards.
Katharine Johnson February 05, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I have been increasing concerned by the personal attacks targeted against Patch participants who are genuinely trying to play a constructive role.
karen triplette February 05, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Does anyone else think that bud light and peak a punch are the same person.
Mark Burnham February 06, 2012 at 12:35 AM
karen, of course bud light and peak a punch and bud light are the same guy. he also goes under another alias as well. his posts are silly just ignore him.
karen triplette February 06, 2012 at 01:34 AM
I think bud light , peak and punch, and I guess now he is going by live by the rules is getting a little upset. Lets all just get along.
Joan L. Lawson February 06, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Reading these posts are getting very interesting. It was said that Brent was out sick and someone challenged that statement ,and now they come back with what was said four hours ago that Brent was out on sick leave . They are now saying it may .require more attention before it can be resolved. Somebody needs a life here .
Karen Turnbaugh February 06, 2012 at 09:35 AM
Now this is funny. This nonsense is exactly why people should have to post under their real names. It may cause people to think before lash out and hit the enter key.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr February 06, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Brent Ainsworth is a journalist. He has a broader view of what is news than most current media people, who are pushing their political philosophy. Rather, Brent reports the news. Brent is a journalist with a rosier view of the news than most. He would rather publish good news than bad news. He would rather view the world as a nice place to be. But all that said, he is a journalist. Everything on the Internet is subject to the rules that the publisher imposes. Brent's rules simply ask that you use multi-syllabic words when you are criticizing the views of another.
Edwin Drake February 07, 2012 at 02:11 AM
off topic: Is Brent OK? He is the best!
RJM February 07, 2012 at 08:19 AM
Brent just had some back surgery
Craig Belfor February 07, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I got a lot of hate mail from no-last-namers when I blogged against the affordable housing, but I respected the comments of Marla, who finally used her last name when asked, and did not descend into character assassination, unlike others. Apparently there are a lot of single moms who want to beat me up, but that no-last-name thing is hurting their efforts to raise an army.
Edwin Drake February 07, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Please, let's not forget that there are ALWAYS one or two nutcases, (myself included, sometimes,) who are NOT worth commenting about. This is what hijacked the affordable housing "debate," the way-out-in-left-field comments of one or two posters. For all of us who are trying to argue with logic and respect, it's better to ignore the outlandish entry and deal with the vast majority of thoughtful and concerned Novatans. PS: Brent, get well soon!
Brent Ainsworth (Editor) January 02, 2013 at 01:51 AM
(Note what date that was published. I'm fine now! Thanks).
HistoryLover January 02, 2013 at 03:58 AM
I like the idea of having one user-name per person, and not multiples. I don't know how Brent could avoid that, so it is - one person - one user-name. In the case of hot topics (ie. charter school & affordable housing) some individuals apparently were jamming the threads with their own crazy ball of yarn, messing-up the flow of conversation by preventing other voices to be heard.
Tina McMillan January 02, 2013 at 04:04 AM
The IJ links to people's facebook accounts. Even there you can always create a fake one but I think it takes a lot more work than the accounts on Patch where people set up several fake names and then post on the same thread as if they are more than one person. Most of the arguments eventually settle down but the willingness of nameless people to make false accusations and statements gets really ugly at times. Brent can't babysit us all the time or he would never get anything done. Perhaps we can monitor ourselves by deciding what to respond to when it gets ugly. I know I have made the mistake of wading in and accomplishing nothing worthwhile because the argument gets so outrageous. Patch is a wonderful resource. We need to use it as such and treat each other with respect even when our views differ.
HistoryLover January 02, 2013 at 04:07 AM
Brent, I think it would be interesting to hear about some of the road-bumps you've encountered on the Patch with your posters. How may comments were 'flagged" in the past year; did you ever have to kick someone off entirely? How many comments got deleted? Did you ever need to contact individuals directly to tell them, "you can't say that." Knock it off! Did you ever have to report to the police a threat...What was the most difficult article you had to work on in the past year. Which ones do you find most interesting...enjoyable? Which had the most heated posts? Housing/charter? How has the Patch changed or grown in the last year...inquiring minds want to know! We appreciate you and the work you do! Happy 2013!
Trish Boorstein January 02, 2013 at 04:42 PM
Happy New Year and Best of Health to you Brent and to Patch Staff! The same to all Patch subscribers! This forum is so valuable to our community for the news that Patch reports on and for the civil posting that takes place. I appreciate the effort of many who post with civility and supporting links. Even during controversial debate, Patch has been an immeasurable source of education. Edwin's point about focusing on the concerned members of our community is paramount. Looking forward to 2013 lively discussions! Thank you Brent and staff for making this possible.


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