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Rainbows Are Beautiful, So Obama Must Be A Socialist

Online communities seem to be plagued by uncivil discourse. With enforcement of rules, personal responsibility and strategies for dealing with the unstable, I think that we can become more civil.

Rainbows are beautiful and puppy dogs are cute. Moms and Apple Pie are all American and should be celebrated and revered. No matter what we think of a war, we should celebrate the soldier.

I could write a blog that continued with the sentiments expressed above and I bet that it would take no more than ten comments for someone to call Obama a Socialist or a Muslim. By the twentieth comment, someone would have been called a “libtard.” Give it another twenty comments and whatever sign in names Jeff and Roy are currently using would be slinging mud. It is the same template for every comment section in this edition of The Patch.

Part of the problem lies with the Patch. They publish a Terms of Use which can be found at http://lakeelsinore-wildomar.patch.com/terms. Among other things, the Acceptable Use section of this policy includes prohibitions against posting content that is “is defamatory, abusive, obscene, profane or offensive.” Even with this prohibition, a search of comments section of my last blog  finds that there are nine occurrences of one of the “seven dirty words,” all by the same user. Numerous personal insults can also be found peppered thought out these comments. In all fairness, the Patch states that they have no obligation to enforce these rules, but if you are not going to enforce the rules, why have them at all?

Sometimes the Patch’s attempts at enforcement are worse than nothing at all. In a blog about thanking good teachers (which seems as close to uncontroversial as you can get), the following exchange occurred:

 2:33 pm on Friday, January 4, 2013

“This a reminder to keep the conversation civil. Commenters who fail to be civil may have their accounts suspended.”

 2:43 pm on Friday, January 4, 2013

“...go ahead. Your threat is worthless. i will just open another account” (1) 

The conversation then continued as it had before, insults and all. This sets the Patch moderator up as the parent who continually counts to three, always threatening the next time there will be consequences.

Of course this problem is not limited to the Patch. Try to read the comments section of any news site and you will find the same inability to stay on topic as people jockey to promote their point of view. I used to post regularly on a discussion board created for Disney fans. Even on that site people would get themselves so worked up about certain subjects that they would get themselves  banned. I had longtime friends unfriend each other on Facebook after arguing about the Newtown shootings and the pros and cons of gun control.

In real life, police serve as a reminder that the law exists. However, their small presence only works because as a society we have bought into the concept of law and order. Take that away and you have a riot. Online moderators can only play a role if most of us agree to follow the rules. Therefore, the best way to solve the problem of uncivil discourse is to practice personal responsibility.

I doubt very seriously that most of the worst online offenders talk to people in real life the way they do in the comments section. For example, could you imagine one of your coworkers walking up to you and saying:

10:08 am on Tuesday, January 1, 2013

You two lovebirds...need to meet up and have a liberal love fest with each other. You are both about the same size, so we can call it a fat fest!” (2 )

There are real people on the other side of the computer screen, not just empty aliases. A decent conversation requires everyone to remember that fact.

Another thing to keep in mind is that disagreement with your positions is not a sign of disrespect. Too often people act as though the validity of their beliefs is threatened by the disbelief of another. Reasonable people can look at the same situation and come to different conclusions.

Much like a good neighborhood watch can reduce crime in a neighborhood, online communities can play a role in keeping the peace. If you witness someone being abusive, you should say something. This is especially important if that person is one who usually agrees with your positions. Peer pressure can be very persuasive.

There are some people who are genuinely unbalanced and will continue their antics no matter what is said to them. They may feed off of any attention that they are given and, therefore, should be isolated. If they post something that is false, correct the information without engaging with them on an emotional level. Sometimes people seem to find entertainment in purposefully pushing an unbalanced person's buttons. To me this should be no more acceptable than harassing a homeless person to see if he becomes unhinged.

I think that we all benefit when there are thriving online communities. The free exchange of ideas strengthens our Democracy by putting us in touch with other points of view. However, it can only work if we all push to make this a civil discourse.

 

(1) http://pasadena-ca.patch.com/blog_posts/teachers-matternow-more-than-ever, accessed 12/5/12

 

(2) http://temecula.patch.com//blog_posts/off-the-cliff#comment_5950321, accessed 12/5/12

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Carl Petersen III January 13, 2013 at 03:41 PM
ROBERT E. FISHBACK 5:42 pm on Saturday, January 12, 2013 "you should open your own web page,,invitation only" . . Then how would I meet people like you?
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 13, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Ms Bridges..Just read youre Bio...Very impressive, if not intimidating. I am not very computer savvy, but with your lament about no place to have a rich exchange of ideas is shared by many. I wish you would create your own site and be webmistress !! That way, you could control....trolls. The possibilities of your own site seem endless. You could have guest columnists and subject of the week type of thing. Persinally, it would not bother me at all if you banned lengthy political haggling. With your smarts, I am surprised you got envolved with Patch at all. I was reacquainted with my loss of spelling ability the other day when I hit spell check and the whole message lit up ! I am 74, married, retired. and live in Tulsa, OK. Naming this new cite would be your priviledge, but I am already having fun with it. Years ago, a singer named Jack Scott recorded a song "Burning Bridges" Funny, but not what you would want...Also, we could simply overwhelm Patch by talking about anything we wanted, no matter the Heading. Not the best. I hope you contribute allot about things that interest you. I have a flair for off beat humor that borders on a little improper. Hope you have a nice day and get your mind "All a twirlin" on this. Have a good day...Bob Fishback (Germanic in origin..used to be Fischbach, but the English screwed it up) fishbackrobert@gmail.com
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 13, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Re the opening main theme blog: I think that allot of people are just plain angry, and, perhaps, some wording sets them off so that they act in a vicarious manner....the subject becomes symbolic of a certain flavor or subject they hate.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 14, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Tulsa Bob back ...Wow, The Eds. must love me..I know how, baby...I fell into dis-repair when I did not not get a "Baby Starter Kit " when I was..born. For some reason, I remember when I delivered News Papers...there was a house where the owner loved to fish..he needed worms for bait, so he put electricity into the ground via two wires fastened to spikes that were driven into the ground.....worms came to the surface in droves....No emotional response indicates no association....much response indicates that it struck a familiar chord.
Vic January 14, 2013 at 12:53 AM
And now, Bob, brace yourself for the backlash......
Martha L. Bridges January 14, 2013 at 01:29 AM
@ Robert E. Fishback Good evening, Bob. Thanks for your input back at the beginning of these comments and your encouragement. I just wanted you and others to know that I already have two different projects well underway as options for getting my thoughts and opinions out to a wider public audience. I will be releasing a personal blog link very soon, and am well on my way with documenting some of the more current history of Wildomar with its foibles and political shenanigans in a digital format book. The challenge with the book isn’t knowing where to start, but where to stop. In my opinion, a certain group of people here in Wildomar pushed the community into premature incorporation to serve their own self-interests, and we are struggling with the economic results of their folly. I no sooner put the finishing touches on what is supposed to be the last chapter, and then a juicy new incident unfolds. We do live in interesting times, and I’m looking forward to an eventful year in 2013.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 14, 2013 at 01:40 AM
Hi Vic: Yes...I have braced myself for many years.....Some times I have benefitted from the corrective backlash...I have had to access my continuation in this interesting clash of ideals and opinions...i am now wondering if this has all become a game. I appeciate your response...B
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 14, 2013 at 01:48 AM
Martha: Thank you for reply..sounds like your work will never end! People like yourself have used the pen, which is till mightier than the sword, to change history; .It is a constant battle.. Be not discouraged in your efforts...even though the value of a person's work is often not realized until they are......older and say Dah....(Russian for yes...also known as a toady)
Martha L. Bridges January 14, 2013 at 01:57 AM
Carl, I hope you will ignore the negative remarks emanating from your critics and continue to write and comment in your own initiative style. It is refreshing and obviously an effective methodology for getting your points across. Certainly nothing you have done or written has discouraged intelligent commentary here on The Patch. Quite the contrary, your postings draw praise and comments from some of us who have simply grown intolerant of the incivility and nonsense we have to wade through to get to something salient and interesting to read.
Martha L. Bridges January 14, 2013 at 02:54 AM
Ha Ha! Somehow I knew my posting would bring out the council cronies and their attack brigade. Whoa there. Don't count your bonuses quite yet! Sorry to dissolution anyone, but you should probably put the cork back in that bottle of bubbly. I never made any foolish promises about leaving The Patch to suffer your hostile takeover unchallenged. I’m just taking a bit of a breather while expanding my arsenal and acquiring additional routes for written weaponry and ordnance delivery. As John Paul Jones so prophetically said on 23 September 1779, "Surrender? I have not yet begun to fight!” Time and history is on my side.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 14, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Now, down to substance..Marfa is the name of a small West Texas Town where portions of Giant were filmed. I hear there are still some remnants of the Little Riatta Ranch house still there. Also, researchers have determine that flatulance leaves at a whopping 4 mph. No joke.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 15, 2013 at 06:09 AM
MARTHA: i HAVE POSTED A VERY SCATHING COMMENT ON THE GROSS MISUSE OF WHAT Patch was intended for. I made it known that I am sending top brass of Patch a printout of the posts over the last week which I will do. Patch is owned by others who invested allot of money and they have stated what their intentions for Patch are all about. I rather suspect there will be a real ass chewing and perhaps some head rolling from this. The local eds are not doing their job in fulfilling the design of the owners and top managers...
ROBERT E. FISHBACK January 15, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Constant Comment: I am serious,,Isnt C.C also the name of a tea..seems it is..But to comment on your post about 1000 lines up re the Brass looking for numbers, I have wondered that too. The fly in that ointment is some body with rank went through and cleaned the garbage out of many sites. Be interesting to see. b
Marie Houlton January 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM
I doubt that my flagging almost all of Constant Comments and Teller of Truth's ignorant and ridiculous comments will do anything, but I felt I had to anyway. Whoever you are, you're jokes! Both of you should get a life. I don't even know you, nor have I lived in the area for the last 12 years. I happened to browse the Lake Elsinore Patch and first saw Carl's blog post and read it. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I read all of your comments. Someone should seriously give you two a good beating. Jokes. Oh, and no need to Constantly Comment on this comment because I won't be coming back to this Patch and I don't get notifications from it ;)
Marie Houlton January 16, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Oh, and on the matter of who was proven wrong about the point of this blog post, or whatever the hell you were arguing about- I'd say Carl won his argument. How can you be poking fun at someone for supposedly not having a life, while you're CONSTANTLY COMMENTING on everything and being a freakin' douchebag about it?! And you get down on him for having a low self esteem, when it's well known that idiots like you, who spout off rudeness and tastelessness, are those who have no life or self esteem? Take a look at yourself! .....I doubt you're intelligent enough to really do that objectively though or give it a second thought. My bad.
julian January 17, 2013 at 03:42 AM
LOL, you definitely proved your point in this blog. The comments are almost unbelievable. If it weren't so funny it would be sad. I really admire that you and Martha continue to post so often in the face of such unhinged hostility. Peace.
Martha L. Bridges January 21, 2013 at 01:17 AM
Not shut up at all, but exercising some discretion in the face of your senseless and vile personal attacks...which I have pointed out before to be politically motivated and misguided. You may appear to win some verbal battles, but in the end the people you attack will win the war.
Kim January 26, 2013 at 07:19 AM
Good post. I try to avoid comment sections on most sites because of all the rudeness, but my eyes are often drawn to them like one would be drawn to a bad monster movie. The comments I have seen here remind me why I avoid the Patch; no matter what the original topic is, the conversation disintegrates into an insult fest based in Wildomar politics.
Carl Petersen III January 26, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Kim 11:20 pm on Friday, January 25, 2013 "Good post." . . Thanks!
Marie Houlton February 15, 2013 at 03:21 AM
Nobody will miss me? I'm not whoever you think I am. My name is Michelle Anders. Look me up on facebook if you want. My picture is of a waterfall that was taken in Oregon.....idiot.
Carl Petersen III March 03, 2013 at 04:24 PM
This week's blog is live... Finding wasteful spending within the budget is not a bad idea, but sequestration does not do that. It blindly fires a gun and hopes to find a target. Most likely we will shoot ourselves in the foot. http://northridge.patch.com/blog_posts/shooting-ourselves-in-the-foot
ROBERT E. FISHBACK March 03, 2013 at 06:08 PM
If the Gov't shot itself in the foot..well..that is a start...maybe if they keep shooting they will hit a vital part and things will get better. The title is rainbows and socialism...that means I can feel free to talk about any unrelated thing and it will fit. I think allot of insults are out of boredom..just poking a stick to see what happens. I did this when I was about ten and home from school with a bad cold...and I was bored, I found an old wind up mantel clock I had had and it stopped working....I wondered why, so I got a screw driver and started to take the back plate off of the works....It was tightly wound and I did not know that. When I pulled the plate off, it was anything but boring. There was an explosion of golden wheels and all sorts of stuff. I picked little pieces of shorn off teeth out of my face for days. You should have heard the sound it made. Sort of like the sounds on this blog :)
Carl Petersen III April 07, 2013 at 02:51 PM
At some point in our lives we all must face what seems like an insurmountable obstacle. Like Jack Walsh in Pretty in Pink, we can choose to wallow in our grief. Or we can look for our second chances. This week's blog is posted at http://northridge.patch.com/blog_posts/avoiding-our-inner-jack-walsh
ROBERT E. FISHBACK April 07, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Hey, Carl...good to see you in great form today. I sure agree about making a mockery out of posting rules. I think there are multiple reasons for nasty notes. Curiosity may be one....what will he say back to this....maybe just general anger...striking out at anything that moves. Who knows. I sometimes wonder if we would be miserable if we had nothing to complain about. I have to admit to one of my problems: when I detect a certain attitude, I like to rattle cages. This brought me into great dis-favor with an old timer's group. Maybe I am soliciting something I think I deserve...which portends a poor self image on my part. Any way, with so many diverse points of view here...someone has to be right, and boy, will all the others be pissed...uh,I mean upset. Keep up with your thought provoking missives. B
ROBERT E. FISHBACK April 07, 2013 at 04:53 PM
The ultimate in anger via heavy metal..it scares me. Google Down for Five...click on Scott Squires and then scroll down to "Bring Me Down" pic of guy behind mic,,Frightening..My dau is lead guitar.
Carl Petersen III April 08, 2013 at 03:20 AM
ROBERT E. FISHBACK 10:12 am on Sunday, April 7, 2013 "The ultimate in anger via heavy metal..it scares me. Google Down for Five...click on Scott Squires and then scroll down to "Bring Me Down" pic of guy behind mic,,Frightening..My dau is lead guitar." . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGR2nMzPyUk Off stage is he a teddy bear?
ROBERT E. FISHBACK April 08, 2013 at 04:32 PM
pretty much so...he can sing in four octaves...I just don't like this angry stuff
ROBERT E. FISHBACK April 08, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Here is a little quiz and it does relate to title of blog. What is significant about the name Roy G. Biv?
ROBERT E. FISHBACK April 08, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Carl: DFF new album Heroes and Devils is rapidly approaching #1 in Reverb Nation.
Carl Petersen III April 09, 2013 at 03:54 AM
ROBERT E. FISHBACK 5 hours ago "Here is a little quiz and it does relate to title of blog. What is significant about the name Roy G. Biv?" . . I had to look it up, but my wife knew it right away.

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