Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Blog Posting Policy For Sound Publishing Papers

The Port Orchard Independent, as well as all the Sound Publishing weekly newspapers are instituting a new policy for blog posters on Nov.17 that want to comment on its stories. They can no longer post anonymously, but have to sign in using their Facebook account.

One anonymous (naturally) moron using the handle YouMustBeMistaken disagreed with the change, saying, "I guess that there are some that have their feelings hurt by any criticism and therefore to protect those feelings the criticizers must be silenced." He went on to say in a later post that he isn't afraid to identify himself — but fails to do so.

In my view, this common sense change isn't about anyone's "hurt feelings," but about having the simple courage to sign your name to what you write, to publicly acknowledge your criticisms of government, government officials, public policy, or whom and/or whatever else a particular story may be about, and publicly demonstrate that the author has the courage of his or her convictions.

Letters to the Editor require a verifiable name and contact information. Blog posts aren't anything other than more immediate, electronic Letters to the Editor by virtue of their ability to be posted as soon as they're written.

I'm a firm believer that making posters identify themselves will not only upgrade the level of debate, but greatly increase the civility of it as well. It will also eliminate the cheap shot posts, from people blatantly posting under numerous screen names on the same subject in an attempt to influence the direction of the debate — such as we have witnessed in the Independent's recent stories on the Mayor's election and about the smear campaign orchestrated by People for a Better Port Orchard — as well as on a daily basis in the Kitsap Sun.

I'm a grownup. I can handle disagreement. It's what makes a horse race profitable. So if you want to critiize me, something I've done — or not done — at least have enough personal integrity to sign your name to it instead of hiding behind some moronic screen name. As someone who has been the target of scathing attacks by a couple of very specific anonymous posters for a number of years anytime my name is even mentioned on the Kitsap Sun site — no matter in what context or why — and more recently in the Independent, I fail to see why upgrading the honesty and quality of any given debate is an issue to anyone other than cowardly cheap shot artists.

Personally, I applaud this change in policy. I instituted a similar policy on this blog and on the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal site as well about 2 years ago. The First Amendment gives you the right to say anything, anytime, anywhere. So if you have something to say, at least have the courage to stand up for your opinion by signing your name to it.