By Scott Tibbs, August 20, 2012
I have been very critical of the Herald-Times' moderation of comments on HeraldTimesOnline.com to the point that I gave up on HTO comments at the end of June. I am going to resume posting on HTO comments. Why? Because the H-T has stepped up on comments and is doing a much better job dealing with the trolls that had turned HTO comments into an open festering sewer. HTO comments will always be heated, but the moderators have reigned in some of the Left's worst instincts.
And yes, I do mean "the Left" here. There is no question that it is Leftists that are by far the worst offenders on HTO.
I do not doubt that my critics will throw repeated hysterical temper tantrums when I resume posting, but that will only demonstrate their own hypocrisy. After all, not one single Leftist uttered a peep of disapproval when fellow Leftist Greg Travis (who posts on HTO as "Nitpick" and "GRT") stormed off HeraldTimesOnline.com comments in anger after I called out Sophia Travis for campaigning in bad faith. Less than a month later (May 24 to be exact) Travis returned under a different name - this time using "Nitpick" as his handle.
Meanwhile, "Marq" stormed off HTO on July 27 only to return on August 11 - just two weeks later. Not only did those two leave, but they canceled their subscriptions to HTO and publicly demanded a refund of the remaining balance on their accounts.
So yes, I did leave and loudly announce my intentions for doing so, and I am returning. However, I left for specific and concrete reasons - specifically the Herald-Times' failure to properly moderate their forum and enforce the Terms of Service agreement that paying customers are expected to obey. Since the H-T has done much better lately in actually enforcing that TOS agreement, the reason for my boycott is greatly reduced... though not completely eliminated. While I applaud the Herald-Times for improving their moderation, the moderators do have a way to go because there are things posted to HTO that clearly should not be permitted to stay according to HTO Terms of Service.
I still vehemently disagree with the policy of protecting anonymity, especially when anonymous posters are public figures, including candidates for elective office and people appointed to serve on various commissions in city and county government. The Herald-Times is engaging in a cover-up by fiercely protecting the identity of public figures, hiding the truth about what those people are saying from the voters of Monroe County. Furthermore, it is not explictly stated anywhere on HTO that "outing" posters is against the rules. It is an "unwritten" rule and the Herald-Times owes it to their paying customers to spell that out clearly and in a very public way.
However, while using the real names of anonymous posters may be "forbidden" on HTO, it is not forbidden elsewhere - especially not on this blog.