A word to anonymous commenters

17 Nov

We here at the Free Press very much appreciate all the people who visit our site and leave their comments… even the  rude ones. Dissent and critique are important to dialogue and while admittedly some of the comments here have been less than constructive, I for one still appreciate the time spent writing them.

However, many people post anonymously. I respect your privacy but does get confusing when replying as we very often don’t know if we are talking to the same anonymous we were talking to yesterday.

I’d like to request that anonymous posters sign their comments with something so that we know who we are talking to. I don’t care if it’s Mickey Mouse, Queen Elizabeth II or Troll 2011, just so long as it’s consistent for the sake of conversation. Ok?

Happy posting!

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17 Responses to “A word to anonymous commenters”

  1. Mike Honcho November 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Mandi, can you let me know why the facebook page is now limited to only members? I’m not putting you on the spot, it’s your organization, you can do whatever you want, I’m just curious as to the reasoning behind it and you seem like one of the real supporters of non-censorship and freedom of opinion in the group. What was the rationale behind it. I didn’t think there was anything on the page that was so damaging to the group that you would have to shut out others. I don’t want to become a member primarily because, as I’ve disclosed before, I don’t consider myself a supporter but also I have two young children on my facebook avitar and while 80% of the members seem genuine about the cause, there’s another 20% that, frankly, scare me.Thanks in advance for the answer.

    • idnami November 18, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

      To be honest I’m not sure. I’m not an admin on that page and I argued against it. Partly so we can have a “troll free zone” I think. I’m not calling you personally a troll, just saying that we do get our share of them and people get pretty discouraged battling inane comments when we are trying to support each other.
      Some of them scare me too.
      Honestly by your presence here alone I would class you as a supporter. I don’t agree with every idea put forward. I just publish them. Your respectful disagreement is frankly more useful than a lot of idealistic agreement if you know what I mean. The people who can point out the holes and flaws in our reasoning are the ones who help hone those same ideas and that is incredibly valuable. It is a form of support in my eyes at least and one that I strongly encourage.
      You know, I didn’t consider that kids might read this too and that some of the nastier comments may make this a parental concern. I don’t want to censor but a lot of the comments are totally unconstructive and really offensive. I didn’t want it to seem like I am filtering out detractors which is why I don’t delete them. But I do want this discussion available to everyone, young and old. Hmmm. Your thoughts?

      • Mike Honcho November 18, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

        Thanks Mandi. It’s unfortunate as I thought the Facebook page offered some insight to the movement and to block it means alot of people will follow the “other” Occupy Calgary Facebook page which I think is totally incoherent. You may ask why I don’t pop into Olympic Plaza to find out what’s going on but like I said, I’m a parent with two small children and frankly, my priority is to spend my free time with them. The second question is why not bring them with you and but my kids are their 2 and less then one year. I just want them to be kids for a little while. They can grow up and be adults and deal with adult issues but right now, I just want them to be kids. As such, appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. My hope is the occupation of Olympic Plaza ends but not because it’s a public park. Honestly, I’ve worked downtown for 15 years and passed the park probably less then 10 times in total. I hope it ends as I don’t want to see people getting burned or suffering frostbite or worse, hypothermia, due to the weather. No tent or sleeping bag is made to handle a hard Calgary winter. God bless, Mandi, and tell your friends to keep safe.

      • Stephen November 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

        Troll free zone or the suppression of opposing ideas? That is a very fine line the administrators are walking.

        • idnami November 19, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

          Which is why this is NOT a troll free zone. Free speech for one and all here. Facebook is a sucky way to communicate anyway.

    • Madi November 19, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

      We were having some issues with some rather rude and extreme harassment of individuals, so it was changed so people have to request to join. Of course we report those accounts to facebook, as it goes against both basic human decency and facebook’s terms of service, and they are not allowed back into the group to comment, although they can still see what’s being said. We recommend anyone being directly harassed block those accounts themselves as well, so it’s not being completely controlled it for the whole group.

      And a happy update: the other facebook page has been representative of the general assembly at Olympic Plaza for a couple of weeks now, with new admins, so its a whole lot more coherent haha. It’s just being used to share events, status and support of the Calgary occupation and ocassionally other Canadian occupations. =)

      Cheers,

      Madi~

  2. Ben Kendrick November 18, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    I approve this message 100%.

  3. Anonymous November 18, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    And I’d like to request your group stops squatting in a public park. But we don’t always get what we want out of life.

    • idnami November 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

      As free individual autonomous participants in Occupy we all accept and respect the personal choices made by others. I have made the personal choice not to camp. Others have chosen to remain at the camp even despite dropping temperatures and general nastiness by several members of the public. The campers don’t tell me what to do and I don’t tell them what to do. I just try to give people a space to be heard.
      Thanks for reading.

  4. Alessandro Machi November 17, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    idnami, I would suggest that either a real name, or at the very least, a name with a link that goes to a website supported by the commenter.

    Anything less than those two criteria and you will find a drop in courteous and civil discourse. It’s actually damaging to say something disparaging against someone who uses their real name when the person making the statement is not a real entity.

    • idnami November 18, 2011 at 12:52 am #

      I appreciate what you are saying but I know a LOT of people who feel that it is too risky to attach their name or personal info to anything occupy related at this point. All I want, because I think it is important not to censor, is a differentiation that will help clarify which unnamed individual I’m addressing. I prefer to have actual names. I use a name that is not my legal name but the one I am known by to most people. Good enough. Not everyone is prepared to put their signature to this thing… yet.

  5. Anonymous November 17, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    Hey I do support ur right to protest but have you ever thought about getting in on the inside and make changes. Join a political party that follow your ideologies, volunteer with them.

    many of you are young and idealistic, but as you get older you find better avenues to fight to change things that you find unjust. The way that you are protesting is showing you ideologies and areas of change in a positive light.

    I believe in some things that you are fighting for but this is the wrong classless way of going about it.

    there has to be a better way then the hippy camp.

    Respectfully asking you to move and find a better way to fight for your cause then trashing our parks

    • idnami November 17, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

      I feel I must make you aware that you are now participating in one of the better avenues. Whether you support the camp or not is a seperate issue from whether or not you support the ideas we are putting forward.
      I personally am not part of the camp but am part of the movement. My job here is to do as you suggest. I personally can’t do much about the camp either way and I agree that it may not be the most effective means of creating open dialogue with the public. This blog is another way and I do hope you will stick around and keep reading.
      I also have to say, I’m not all that young (34) but I am still idealistic! The people at the camp range pretty broadly in age as well. They are doing what they feel they must to bring these issues to your attention, and believe me it isn’t much fun to live outside of this time of year while also working and/or going to school. It’s not the party it’s being made out to be, I can tell you that. You may not like them being there but this conversation continues forward because they are. I do understand your concern and the concerns of many. But I do hope you will see past the media hype and participate in the discussion here!

      • AFish November 17, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

        Hello Anonymous person above, with the blue/grey icon,
        You raise the issue of whether it’s more useful to change things from within the existing system. But I think the real issue is how can you change the system? The occupation says a lot things that traditional political activism does not: it confronts the notions of “public space”, “democracy” and “freedom of assembly” square on. It presents an alternative way of organizing a society right off the bat. It steps outside the system so that we can see that there is a system. No one wants to trash the park, but obviously some grass will get walked on. It’s hardly a big deal though, right?

        “Classless” is actually the exact word for Occupy, even if you didn’t mean it that way. It’s without designation. Even the term “protest” is not quite capturing the idea. This movement is not within the regular parameters of protest. It is beyond left vs. right or the hippies vs. “The Man”. It’s about ferreting out the way our societies are currently operating and beginning a discussion on how they could be improved for the common good. This takes a lot of time and things are just beginning. Thanks for your support and keep being a part of the conversation!!

    • Jeryd November 18, 2011 at 1:33 am #

      The issue I had with moving inside is simply one of visibility and symbolism. If people weren’t at OP then would you be talking about them? If a group of a few dozens concerned citizens rented out a place to start meeting and discussing issues would people even notice?

      Of the people I have met down there the majority are far more politically active than any other group I have ever volunteered with before. The fact is despite our exhausting activism in better avenues we don’t see the change that has to happen.

      Thanks for continuing the discussion! Right now we are still developing awareness and engaged in education so the message and action plan are still unclear. We have to keep talking to people to develop realistic goals and map out a means to achieve them.

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