Telegram: now with fewer trolls

Letters to the Editor (The Telegram)
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Like many others, I have purchased access to your online paper and website, as I am a loyal Telegram reader. I think the move to have consumers pay for online content is a good one, as there is obvious value to your product and related platforms.

In my daily reading of your online paper and my unofficial survey of comments, I have noticed a very positive spinoff to your payment policy. That positive spinoff is fewer comments from the nameless (or those who use pseudonyms) who will not publicly and openly stand behind their sometimes vicious, but cowardly, “commentary” on local issues or people. And that is a really good thing.

As someone who tossed his hat in the ring for election at the municipal level, I was disappointed by what some of the nameless, gutless wonders would say to and about me under the veil of cowardice and anonymity.

What will make your paper even more forward-looking and strong on analysis is if you can move to ensure that comments without a name that relates to a real person’s email address are not allowed on your site.

I’m all for free speech, but only from those who have the courage to stand behind their comments. Such a policy by you might help eliminate the Internet ranters, bullies and cowards — a good thing for free speech and open, civil public debate.

Geoff Chaulk

St. John’s

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Recent comments

  • Corporate Psycho
    May 29, 2014 - 20:46

    I Work in the confed building. I would be fired in a heartbeat.

  • carogers
    May 28, 2014 - 08:56

    Didn't you run for mayor and quit before the council election? "nameless, gutless wonders would say to and about me" .... you were running for public office, that opens the door for others opinions. Positive or negative it is their opinion. Your job as a candidate for Mayor was to use your charm and intellect to convince people you can do the job. I was not impressed when you quit right before the debate. I intended to vote for you, but you could not handle the campaign and up and quit. Your resume read well, but there is no proof of your ability to follow through. Now your complaining because apparently others have been complaining about you. Really? From reading this letter it is clear it was for the best you quit the campaign around the time of the debate. The Mayor position would be far too much stress for you, as people tend to regularly critique decisions made by elected officials. Now your writing letters trying to show your intellect by insulting others. Everything works out for the best in the end.

  • Herb Morrison
    May 27, 2014 - 14:45

    A person utilizing a public medium to express an opinion, who has a documentable, legitimate reason for seeking anonymity should be able to depend on the law to protect from unjustifiable repercussions.. On the other hand, a person or group who utilizes the law to avoid accountability for posts, which they make, should have the intestinal fortitude, integrity; call it what you will, to identify themselves. Unfortunately, as has been pointed out again and again, you can't legislate morality.

  • Anonymous
    May 27, 2014 - 12:26

    You're incorrect Mr.Chaulk.We have the right to post our thoughts without giving up our privacy.As long as what we do and say is legal and within the guidelines,what problem do you have with that?

    • The last one I promise I'm trying to quit cold turkey, I am addicted to commenting.
      May 29, 2014 - 13:20

      Is fewer comments from the nameless - the shameless - what we really need? Anyone who can't make the link between trolls, mental illness, poverty and a deplorable, limping democracy needs to get their...wait, isn't this guy a mental health advocate? When one steps out of the 'media closet', there seems to be a tendency for some, but not all, to look over their shoulder and make remarks about others not so different than themselves. Is a toll booth more valuable than a troll booth? Come on G! You are setting yourself back with this letter. The fellas egging you on are maybe morons who don't care about you, I am guessing. Maybe this is the real you, establishing the tone,  like Danny Williams calling down Bill Barry?The intelligent schemers of the world seem to find a target much like they themselves once were as neophytes in the public eye, and pounce to prove their mature, progressive nature, by depegging them. Status. You were a little tiny bit of a troll-like challenger-character not so wayback when, running for office. As a relatively unknown who parachuted in on an outlandish platform that was more about Doc's systemic failings, than your individual plan for success.  Maybe the Telegram can put a Troll Booth in the village mall and encourage comments from those without a voice, nor a Toonie to spare that isn't earmarked for the Metrobus or Dollarama. Let the courageous populists like Geoff, and Wayne Bennett and the rest of the brave, non-anonymous heroes fight for our future, at the pleasure of their own agenda, and hidden master's? No. My unofficial social experiment has shown us what makes it, and what gets banned from Telegram comments. The Telegram staff has a responsibility in what they induct, accept, post, and also, in selecting relevant Letters to the Editors. Cashin Delaney is a comment section test driver. The minds behind him believe in a reform of this comment section, like G does, but in a less puny(ative) militant manner. Having to log in may be one measure to adopt. Wait. We will lose some insightful one timers. However, the system as is, with a disclaimer, and a much better defined and visible code of conduct will warn the faint of heart slanderer's, defamers etc and better prepare the communicator with an affirmation of Telegrams values. Put up a poster in the mall next to the Troll Booths; Troll Ethics. What are Telegram values?  Coleman is getting raked over'em, and so long as the vile bile never manifests itself as intelligent insight, the Telgram seems to be a'ight with it. Canadian Media leads trolling by eavesdropping on Hilter Putin fantasies of crass, spider-eyed Crown Starved Royals. Prince Charles visit is a dipstick, to see how oiled we are for War. See? This jest is as old as politics & press. What are we not allowed to say, that our finest denizens, our elites of associated journalism, and partisan politics have not broached first? What are the editorials, and "silly MachoFlashing columnists" but the celebrated plain clothes trolls of our society, putting their talent in the toilet for peer-cheers? The word bully used to mean jolly good, first-rate, or at least canned beef, in Teddy Roosevelt Days. Coward, well, we all live up to that from time to time. We are ranters G. Guilty as charged. We are democratic dissenters. You can't muzzle us G, it 2014! We are foaming at the mouth, with timely advice. My Wife, she gets right vicious, when she is at the dishes, and I am on IPad, or reading, so, we are taking a break from commenting. I will be getting over my palmolive cowardice, until October 23, 2014. If my essays are passed peer review, and cleared with our priest, then a website will be launched, or something. I am fascinated with Troll Culture. I am somewhat addicted to commenting, and my team recognizes this as a mild pathology, like not being able to go to bed without having brushed your teeth, or having a teddy. It is freeing for me to project my "vicious" wit (delusions of wit, to be reviewed). Jonathan Swift. His works were injected into the mass circulation, with many taking Gulliver's Travels for a real travel pamphlet, as it was styled and printed that way. And the eating of infants, was presented likewise from his female pseudonym, to much shocked debate! The/A moral of the story is, we know all this is all bullshit, and comments MUST be discriminated against, in your mind, as you read! Social media is a great tool. I have witnessed University presidents go toe to toe with Rural educators over it. It's all in how we use it. I just want to up the ante on the Telegram, that's all. That is direct democracy on a stick., isn't it? Venezuela has oil G, but we can't have their style of media. No. It's a slippery slope, and I'm dropping er down to 4-low. :: 4 Geoff, and his many others, who don't care for my contributions, and for my own sanity. This forum is all you now G - you bullied me out G! Way to go, set me back in group therapy...I forgive you G, no biggie, I got to do the dishes. That's where Agatha Christie came up with her best work. Sure, I can go down to the republic and read old ray guy rants to John Crosbie Sat. Evening, get on the pony piss, then the whiskey, and call it ocracy! Lawsuits on moose, Auto Section B loophole and tapping old Harry is worse than Atlantic Anarchy. If you read all this, you must have a job, not work ahead of you! Like me.

  • Uncle Dolf
    May 27, 2014 - 09:47

    Regardless of online content, I'm invariably found waiting for the corner store to open on Saturday morning so I can pick-up The Weekend. Yes, I have to go all over "The Paper" to find 'em lately but I can live with that. As for Mr. Chaulk's comments regarding unsigned comment, especially political, he obviously doesn't have a relative still employed by government.

  • Ken Collis
    May 27, 2014 - 08:55

    I think that the likes of John Smith couldn't submit the bill for access for fear of being caught out due to access to info requests so the reading of comments is much more realistic and relaxing.

    • James J.
      May 27, 2014 - 11:29

      I am quite hopeful, Ken, that in the wake of this government's defeat next year, we will finally get some accounting of the concerted disinformation and discrediting campaign carried out in support of Muskrat Falls. We will no doubt find that the pseudonymous John Smith, who was responsible for some of that vicious cowardly comment Mr. Chaulk talks about, was an agent provocateur. Whether or not you support Muskrat, no intelligent fair-minded Newfoundlander would support the use of public resources to attack and denigrate private citizens (even prominent ones like a former minister of finance) simply because they express a view contrary to that of government. Surely that is what democracy is all about. While I agree that some anonymous posters like Smith go beyond the pale in their commentary, banning them would be an over-reaction. Even anonymous posters should realize they are ultimately liable for anything that is libellous. That said, I'm not sure the general public understands the very real concern that some people have that they will be targeted in various ways by a vindictive government if they cross it in any way. I have been around long enough to know it isn't just paranoia.

  • Rob Thomas
    May 27, 2014 - 07:34

    I offer another point of view. The reason there are fewer is comments is probably because many people are doing what they said they would do when the Telegram announced the new fees - they're gone elsewhere for their news. I understand your comment about the anonymous comments but I'd like to point out that the biggest "rant" in the Telegram, the Editorial, is also anonymous.