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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Opinions versus idiotic comments

Two of the great things about the Internet are its immediacy and the way people can interact. It's terrific that stories and opinions can be posted on The Saratogian Web site any time of the day or night. Breaking news gets right up. And comments to posts can turn into a conversation of sorts.
The conversation sometimes disintegrates. Some people cannot resist idiotic, uncivil and sometimes hateful drivel.
I recently added myself to the people at the newspaper who receive an e-mail when a reader clicks on "report abuse" after a comment. I see who filed the report, what the comment included, and the filer's summation of why it should be removed. Then I decide whether to remove it or leave it alone.
In the last couple of weeks I've been inundated with reports, and I have been removing more than half of the comments, most of whom are from just one or two people. I am debating whether to ban them outright. I encourage readers to share their comments, and implore them to keep it civil. My patience for people misusing our site for stupid, mean, meaningless potshots is running out.


Blogger george said...

Thank you

May 21, 2009 at 4:00 PM 
Blogger demroc said...

you guys should monitor the comments like the poststar does before they go on, then nobody has to worry about it.

May 21, 2009 at 4:27 PM 
Blogger shanghai dandy said...

dis⋅in⋅te⋅grate  [dis-in-tuh-greyt] Show IPA verb, -grat⋅ed, -grat⋅ing.
–verb (used without object)
1. to separate into parts or lose intactness or solidness; break up; deteriorate: The old book is gradually disintegrating with age.
2. Physics.
a. to decay.
b. (of a nucleus) to change into one or more different nuclei after being bombarded by high-energy particles, as alpha particles or gamma rays.
–verb (used with object)
3. to reduce to particles, fragments, or parts; break up or destroy the cohesion of: Rocks are disintegrated by frost and rain.

May 21, 2009 at 11:21 PM 
Blogger shanghai dandy said...

See above for a "meaningful" pot-shot. Sorry, couldn't resist...

May 21, 2009 at 11:23 PM 
Blogger shanghai dandy said...

"I recently added myself to the people at the newspaper who receives an e-mail."

people don't "receives" they "receive"

May 21, 2009 at 11:32 PM 
Blogger shanghai dandy said...

"...and I have been removing more than half of the comments, most of whom are from just one or two people."

Since when are comments people??

Very sorry, the correct answer is most of which, yes most of which is what we were looking for here.

Thanks for playing.

May 21, 2009 at 11:37 PM 
Blogger muldoonmedia said...

As Noam Chomsky frequently says,

"You either believe in freedom of speech or you do not."

Sadly, Mr. Chomsky and I are in the minority on this subject.

Does Orwell's 1984 ring a bell?

May 22, 2009 at 5:41 PM 
Blogger Horatio Alger said...


Hilarious as always. I'm still trying to figure out how the spoken word disintegrates. Maybe Babs is referring to the dissipation of sound as it travels from source to sink? Or maybe she's finally huffed a bit too much nail polish and has lost her grammar faculty. Then again, there's a chance she's simply relying on Microsoft Word to edit her work. After all, I wouldn't want to re-read the posts she leaves here.

May 23, 2009 at 9:07 AM 
Blogger gerard hawthorne said...

I agree that comments left are not In saying that you need to read these comments before they are printed. The only place that they are exceptable is on the "Lies Saratoga" blog by HO-RATS-IO ALDER. That site is all one sided garbage. He tells the lies and his 5 or 6 followers spread them. Maybe everyone should have to put their real name or cut them off!

May 23, 2009 at 11:26 AM 
Blogger gerard hawthorne said...

You must have a flaw in your posting since half of what I posted didn't come across. The part where I said I have posted junk of my own that I'm not proud of and will refrain from it in the future.

May 23, 2009 at 11:30 AM 
Blogger demroc said...

you could monitor the comments, or subject yourself to arguments of semantics....

May 24, 2009 at 9:50 PM 
Blogger gerard hawthorne said...

This is just my opinion and it probably sounds idiotic but,


May 25, 2009 at 11:35 AM 
Blogger demroc said...

well it can be hard not to respond, gerard, when the saratogian prints libelous materials on it's webpages. and, you'd think the editor might check in on her blog every now and then, but i guess they're too busy over there.
and for god's sakes, they're paving nelson ave in september, you'd think it would kill them to mention that in one of it's sound off's and/or letters to the editor. the road is under current work by a private contractor. i'm sure if it was criticism of the saratogian, the sound off would be accomponied by an editor's note.

May 25, 2009 at 12:46 PM 
Blogger shanghai dandy said...

How odd. She seems to have corrected/clarified 2 out of the 3 egregious errors I pointed out (errors, I might add, that anyone with a 6th grade education should not make.) Why stop at 2? Her maintaining the ludicrous position of personifying "comments" can potentially be explained by a serious, habitual and mentally deleterious nail polish/ether/glue huffing habit. Even a serious pot/mescaline/speed-ball habit would seem insufficient to produce such insane and elementary errors in the written word. No, this seems to be evidence of the pernicious effects of perhaps airplane glue. Maybe she should lay off the huffing and take up the bong?

May 25, 2009 at 10:16 PM 
Blogger demroc said...

not only that, but i've been unable to get a comment posted since last week. pretty lame, the gerard and thige show continues and i can't get a comment posted???

May 26, 2009 at 8:06 AM 
Blogger gerard hawthorne said...


I think they stopped everyone for awhile. Some aren't allowed on anymore. Tighe now goes by GEORGE! because Kaiser probably got booted.

May 27, 2009 at 7:24 AM 
Blogger Horatio Alger said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 27, 2009 at 8:54 AM 
Blogger uhknee said...

I was just looking at another article written about my school and I couldn't help but notice that comments were being deleting when they questioned the validity of the Saratogian's opinion. Freedom of the press has its price, but since you are an intelligent human being, Babs, being the editor and all, why don't you just engage us in this lovely back and forth, rather than doing what I would do when I was 15 and delete comments? This is not facebook. If this newspaper is really qualified and its writers are so excellent, they shouldn't need to shut people up to defend themselves.

May 28, 2009 at 10:14 AM 
Blogger shanghai dandy said...

There is no defending a Managing Editor so woefully and embarrassingly unqualified for her job. How she got this job and has kept it is beyond me. There are elementary school children who have a better grasp of the language than she does.

May 29, 2009 at 12:32 AM 
Blogger shanghai dandy said...


How do you justify your incompetence?

Come on, for once engage the lowly and filthy masses who somehow have an understand of grammar that is above that of yours?

I want an answer for once...

Justify your existence!

May 29, 2009 at 10:32 PM 
Blogger shanghai dandy said...

understanding to be precise

May 29, 2009 at 10:34 PM 

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