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Huckleberries Online

Posts tagged: Anonymity

Statesman Ends Anon Comments

In Friday’s paper, letter writer Geoffrey B. Clark declared it “is past time to end anonymous posts.” He’s right. Starting Sunday, Sept. 15, we will no longer have anonymous commenters at For years, we have struggled with the dichotomy between our print commenters, who have to provide their name, address and phone number and be verified in advance, and our online commenters, who need only an email address, often with an alias that hides their identity. Despite our best efforts to encourage and police our online commenters to create a robust but civil conversation on important issues, often the conversations have deteriorated into name-calling and abusive attacks. As Clark put it: “Trolls are ruining entire online communities/Vicki Gowler, SR. More here.

DFO: I've always contended that a newspaper can have good dialogue in an anonymous comment section, as long as it paid someone to monitor the comments closely. The overwhelming majority of papers don't want to do that. So they attract trolls who inflame the comments threads, driving legitimate commenters off. Huckleberries has walked this line for almost 10 years — and, despite, the move by the Idaho Statesman, will continue to do so. Thoughts?

DFO: Intimidation Tactics

HucksOnline commenters are under attack today from the totally anonymous Chuckleberries Online site, which supports candidates from the Far Right United Conservatives of North Idaho. Chuckleberries made this announcement this morning: “Chuckle Berries Online has just received a list of the identities of DooFo’s liberal minions from his blog (HBO).  Stay tuned to see who’s name made the list, you might be suprised…” Whatever. The site thought that Almost Innocent Bystander was Duane Rasmussen or Matt Roetter at one time. Let 'em guess. (A note about Chuckleberries … for all the disagreements I have with Bill & Mary @ OpenCDA, I respect them for having the guts to post their opinions under their own names. I consider the individuals behind Chuckleberries to be gutless cowards for hiding behind anonymity. It's one thing to comment anonymously. Quite another to run a Web site anonymously.) Meanwhile, I've booted commenter Justin Cottrell to the curb for posting the following notice on his online Web site: “JOKER/DUROC/MOSCOW MINIDOKA — You shouldn't have been so careless with your IP address.” Click here. I consider that post on another site as possible attempt to intimidate a HucksOnline poster. My SR technical adviser tells me that an online operator can get an IP address from individuals who click on their sites. But not the names of the individuals. And they have absolutely no access to the SR to get those names. So not to worry. Meanwhile, I plan to tighten things a bit here in the comments section. I will be more aggressive on knowing the identities of anonymous posters who throw elbows. If such an individual is unwilling to tell me who s/he is, I'll throw them in the cooler. Now back to your regular programming — DFO.

Anonymous Idaho Blog Site Aborts

On her Facebook wall, Jill Kuraitis writes of an attempt by an anonymous individual to start a website for political discussion in Idaho, called She and several of her Facebook Friends were turned off that the individual planned to keep the identities of the blog administrators private. Seems the blogger contacted Jill and discussed his plan, after she promised not to reveal who he is, other than to say he's an academic from Idaho living/studying in another state and had approached this project from the viewpoint of academia. Writes Jill: “He was startled to hear that certain journalistic standards were more appropriate, and had not thought of it. He was chagrined to think that the blogging community, for the most part, was wary, and didn't really see why until we talked about it more. When I pointed out that, in my opinion, doing business in secret puts one in the company of spies, thugs and thieves, he got it.” Jill goes on to say that the guy has pulled the website and plans to go back to his advisory board to re-tool.

Question: Would you want to be part of an discussion blog site dedicated to Idaho politics whose administrators were totally anonymous?

No More Anonymity For Warcraft Forums


Trolls, spammers and flamers begone! Blizzard is vowing to out yer nasty arses … and is angering a whole lot of “World of Warcraft” players along the way. Earlier this week Blizzard (the company responsible for the mega online gaming phenomenon known as “World of Warcrack”… er “Warcraft”) announced that it would begin requiring those who play its games to use their real names when posting comments in its official discussion forums. That’s right, a company that has made its fortunes off a game that encourages players to adopt fake identities and spend vast amounts of their time in a fake world has decided it wants players to get real/Winda Benedetti, Citizen Gamer, More here. H/T: Nic Casey

DFO: For those keeping score at home, Citizen Gamer Winda Benedetti is another former staffer in the SR’s Idaho office.

Question: Would you continue to post at Huckleberries Online, if you were forced to use your real name (not that I’d ever make such a requirement)?

MelissaLuckKXLY: Thick Skin Required

MelissaLuckKXLY posts on her blog: To work in TV news, you have to have pretty thick skin. People take a lot of shots at you, about everything from the way you tell stories to how you do your hair. It’s part of the job, though at times, it can really get to you. Recently, something has made it a lot more frustrating: the fact people can comment and not leave their name. A couple of people have left some pretty insulting comments in recent days, specifically in response to my weekly segment called “Good Question.” Maybe people don’t like that we call it Good Question (they’re not MY questions, it’s not like I’m taking credit for it!) – but, here are two of the comments people posted about yesterday’s question, “Why are some people faster than others?”:


  • “Next week’s question why are some journalism questions far dumber that others? It is the water? The fact that they went to WSU? Or poor station management.? film at 6 …”
  • “Excellent question! Next week, can you please answer why some people are smarter than others? Keep up the great journalism, KXLY!

Question: Although I support anonymity in the blogosphere (because it allows individuals to speak freely who otherwise might not be able to do so), I’m impressed by the civility that reigns in Facebook, where individuals use their real names. Why the difference?

Neiwert: Still Clueless After All These Years

I know that Hartgen knows all about Dear Abby, because he published it for years at the Twin Falls Times-News, where he was my boss for a year (1984-85). I fled as soon as it was reasonably possible because it became clear in short order that he was a clueless, rather pointy-haired boss. Nowadays he’s an equally clueless Idaho legislator. Here’s a reality check for Steve: A lot of people use pseudonyms because they face employment or other personal repercussions for making their real opinions public, particularly if they criticize the powerful. (I know you know all about that, too, Steve.) Taking away that cover will remove valuable voices and important perspectives from the public dialogue. Of course, I suspect that’s what people like you have in mind anyway, since those dirty bloggers are treading all over the media’s nice carpet. What you’re attempting is a form of censorship that clearly tramples all over free speech. Nice trick for a former newspaper guy, eh?/David Neiwert’s Blog. More here. (Hat Tip: Unequivocal Notion)

Randy Stapilus re: Hartgen

Idaho Radio News re: Hartgen

Question: Who do you think is the most clueless lawmaker in the Idaho legislator?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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