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Huckleberries Online

Posts tagged: online anonymity

HucksOnline Makes NPR Cameo

NPR just posted “All Things Considered” story by Martin Kaste re: Tina Jacobson case vs. Linda Cook (pictured), including this excerpt from Yours Truly: “But Dave Oliveria, who runs Huckleberries Online, the Spokesman-Review blog where the offending comment appeared, feels differently. “To have free speech in this community, I think you have to have anonymity,” Oliveria argues. Huckleberries Online covers Coeur d'Alene and northern Idaho, small communities where there's a constant battle between the factions of the dominant Republican Party. “In this town, there's so much infighting, if some of these folks identified themselves, they couldn't make these comments,” Oliveria says. “I have a lot of folks online here that are in a lot of key positions in the community.” If his bosses at the Spokesman-Review required real names, he says, it would kill his blog — and deprive the community of a crucial forum. But Oliveria also admits he can only keep that discussion constructive by spending a lot of time monitoring it, and blocking the trolls. More here. Audio available at 4 p.m.

Question: Did I describe the political climate here accurately?

Press: Anonymous Opinions Worthless

These are what we consider not just effective but appropriate uses of the Internet to sway public political opinion in opposite directions. They’re appropriate because the sources were steadfastly identifiable and responsible. But not everyone lives by these standards. You may not see the termites, but you can detect them from the rotting wood of blogs and online comments including sites like this newspaper’s. The upside is anyone is free to express an opinion. The downside is that the vast majority choose to do so anonymously, rendering their opinions roughly equivalent to termite scat. And now the termites are busy here. There’s an e-mail campaign that links to a website established to unseat Sheriff Rocky Watson (pictured) in 2012/Mike Patrick, Coeur d’Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Do you think online anonymous opinions are worthless?

Melissa: Why Are People Mean Online?

“I’ve never been one who’s afraid of speaking his mind,” explains Rick Lloyd. Lloyd is our most frequent commenter. He’s added his opinion on more than 300 times. He’s a news junkie and loves the debate. He says it helps people feel like they’re part of the news affecting our community. And, he acknowledges, sometimes it’s easier to be honest when people can’t see your face. But, he also sees the downside. “You can character assasinate a person or an issue at lightspeed. Anonymously. That is probably the biggest drawback of all,” says Lloyd. To Lloyd’s credit, he always posts his name. Which is why I was able to determine it was he who leveled that particularly scathing response to last week’s Good QuestionMelissa Luck, KXLY4. More here (w/video).

Question: Do you consider the debate here at Huckleberries Online to be informative or toxic? Please explain your answer.

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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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