The New BlueOregon: where everybody knows your name

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

It's a new day here at BlueOregon. After 7885 posts and 197,736 comments, we've completely overhauled the site!

Nearly six years ago, we launched this site and declared, "BlueOregon will be the water cooler around which Oregon progressives will gather." At first, we weren't sure what we were building exactly. But it became clear very early that our community needed a place to hang out - and BlueOregon became that place.

Unfortunately, BlueOregon has also become a place where trolls have shown up - from all sides on the political spectrum - to throw stinkbombs and create havoc. We've been deluged with folks who aren't interested in chatting around the water cooler, just barging in and screaming at whoever's in the room.

The first foundation of community is identity. Whether your metaphor is a water cooler, or a small town, or a bar called Cheers, you have to have a place "where everybody knows your name" if you're going to create meaningful relationships.

We know this will be controversial. When we first started BlueOregon, many of us defended anonymous comments. After all, anonymity has a long and respected history in American politics. And we were building one of the only places for people to talk about Oregon politics.

But today, there are lots of places. And lots of ways for someone who is dedicated to anonymity to have their say. Here at BlueOregon, we've decided that the benefits no longer outweigh the costs. It's not even close.

It can be pretty demoralizing when you spend time writing a thoughtful post or comment, only to see an instant visceral reaction from an anonymous jerk hurling unfounded charges, insults, and rhetorical nonsense. And a lot of our contributors have stopped writing as a result.

So, on the jump, here's what you'll find on the new BlueOregon:

It's a whole new BlueOregon. We've spent months strategizing and building, designing and redesigning, testing and tweaking. We've set launch dates too many times to count. But we're finally here. There will still be speed bumps, to be sure, but as we enter a new world - where everybody knows your name - we hope you'll stick around.

At least, those of you who aren't just here to throw stinkbombs.

Comments

    • (Show?)

      How do you search old posts?

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        Well, you can search on Google, but their database is pointing to the old links. That'll get updated shortly (and frankly, because of some of TypePad's failings, a lot of over-a-year-old posts weren't searchable any more.)

        In the meantime, if you know who the author was, and roughly when it was, you should be able to find it by surfing through that contributor's page (over on the right sidebar.)

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          Call me old-fashioned but I like a search box in the site. I like the new system, Kari, I know you've worked really hard.. ...but can we have a search box please?

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            Yes, we'll add a search box - once Google updates its database. It'll be more frustrating to have a search box that doesn't actually work.

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      I've been quasi-anonymous here, just because my first postings happened during my district's teacher strike. However, I applaud this move because you're right, the troll factor has gotten too huge.

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      I think that anonymity in the form of a crafted pseudonymous persona is still possible, as is the American tradition, ala Publius. But the turn and burn style of anonymity, not concerned with building an ongoing ethos, that characterizes so much of the most inartful comments are put in check, which addresses both concerns no?

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    Really excited that the new Blue Oregon is finally here and appreciate everyone who spent countless hours making it happen.

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      I like this redesign and move away from anonymous comments as well. I actually think that the larger online media needs to adopt policies that minimize or eliminate anonymity. It is only on a rare occasion that anonymous letters or sources are used , and if folks want to have anonymous discussion there are plenty of other venues. Beyond the ethical issues, particularly in Oregon, the racist attacks are frequent, telling, and generally unnecessary to news reporting and dialogue.

      Thanks so much everyone. Site looks great.

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    Great job!

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    Delighted with the new BlueOregon. Grownups use their names and take responsibility for their comments. Thanks to all of you who worked together to bring BlueOregon back to the place where discussions really made us think, reconsider and learn.

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    Love, the change, but this entry box is not available on my screen until I click on the post. Then it says "this field is required" and the box appears.

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    Definitely easier to keep the players straight when they're wearing names on the jersey.

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    More kudos. Kari sent out a beta version of this site before going live, and I didn't notice how fast it loaded. The old Typepad-based site was super slow to load (especially on iPhone). This new version is really sprightly. Congrats to the techies (I believe Kari had some help with that part). You've created a site that doesn't creak and wheeze along as it loads.

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      Jeff,

      I had noticed the slow load, but more significant to me was that the site sometimes would not load at all. The only "cure", often temporary, was to reboot my connection to the internet. The problem only happened at home and I could never figure out what caused it. With the new system, I hope that problem is gone!

      Kari,

      Thanks for all the work!

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    Thanks Kari! I'm excited by the new BlueOregon.

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    Thanks so much, Kari! So, if you don't have a FB account, is there a way to comment?

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    Great stuff Kari! Congrats on a really cool site!

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    Blue Oregon 2.0! This a Facebook App, right?

    Hot beans.

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    It's going to be interesting to see how many quality commenters no longer post here.

    I know I will now have to censor what I say from this point on. Heck, for all I know, this might be my last post....

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        It has nothing to do with being embarrassed or ashamed. It has everything to do with having an opinion that might be unpopular. There are a few topics that are discussed here where I and others have a very different view. I for one will be less likely to engage in debate now. Or is that the point. To make BO nothing more than an echo chamber?

        I hope not, but only time will tell if we are able to engage in polite debate anymore.

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          I see it the opposite way. I think that dissenting viewpoints will have greater weight when there is a name and face behind them. I also think you're then far less likely to be the target of pointed and often personal attacks from people hiding behind some pseudo-anonymous moniker who disagree with you. And I think that people will respect anyone who is willing to voice their opinion despite being the minority as long as they are thoughtful and respectful.

          If you are uncomfortable voicing your beliefs when you have to do so in the open, that's certainly your prerogative. But I think you'll the new site will be a better place to do so than before.

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          Well, it's a testable hypothesis--and one we're about to test. Though actually, I think the data's pretty much in. In the early years of BlueO, we had very robust discussions. My LNG post was a great example--the discussion there was so good I changed my mind.

          Trolls arrived a couple years ago (and the right-wing outrage has made them really virulent), stopping a lot of conversation. The definition of a troll is someone who wants to stop conversation, not someone with something controversial to say.

          That doesn't mean there's not downsides. Sometimes people want or need to stay anonymous for their jobs; we'll lose their input. Others just want to engage anonymously, but do add a lot to the conversation.

          But there is no downside-free solution. Given the damage trolls managed to do to discussion, this is going to be a nice improvement on most dimensions.

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            Just curious, did you ever do any IP blocking with the trolls.

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              Absolutely. That and more. But it's almost impossible to block someone who really wants to troll.

              BTW, apropos of your post downthread, it's cool to put a face to MP97303. That's another virtue of the FB system--at least on this end--I can relate a lot more to someone named "Michael Pingree" than MP97303--though you and I chatted regularly when that was your handle.

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                I know t.a. would say I'm just being perverse to make the point, but my personal experience is just the reverse. When I look at side by side comparisons of my own ID and "Zarathustra", it definitely looks like I'm more socially acceptable when using a pseudonym. I know that I definitely think about "do I want to post that" when it's anonymous, but when I'm signed in with the real ID, I just say whatever comes to mind.

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      I don't know about "quality" commenter that you won't see again. I do know there will be a bunch of "quantity" posters who have been camping here for years that will never be seen again.

      I'm fairly sure that some of them kept multiple accounts here and were making their opinions look more popular than they were. I'm fairly sure a good chunk of so-called regulars never stepped foot in the state of Oregon. A few of them were probably getting paid by the post by certain lobby groups who've been know to shell out bucks for astroturfed opinion placement.

      There's gonna be a whole buncha concern trolls never seen again.

      I've gotta some nice new trees that just got planted outside my apartment windows by the bldg. management.

      Feels like spring around here, too.

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    Well, I guess my trolling days are over. Thank you Kari!!!!!

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    Well done, team! Kudos to everyone, front end and back end, who made this promise a reality.

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    I like it. You have accomplished much good sir. All you must do now Kari is deal with the Sheepsqueezers of Splatticon Five.

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    Congrats on the new design, I like it. But please tell me full RSS feeds are coming back?

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    This is great news! As someone who's been hanging around here for a year or so but only commenting for a few months, I can say that one of the reasons I was reluctant to spend time in the comments was having to wade through the insults and "rhetorical nonsense" to get to the good stuff.

    To be clear, I don't want an echo chamber -- if no one ever disagreed around here, it would be a pretty boring place. I love discussion and debate... But, I do want thoughtful dialogue (or, at least, as thoughtful as you can get on the internet). And my first impression when I initially stumbled across BlueOregon was that there were some great commenters, but that the trolls were in danger of overshadowing them. I've since come around, but I think these changes will make the site even better...

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    Kari, where is the 'dislike' button for this?

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      Subscribe to the "100,000 strong for a dislike button on FB. http://www.facebook.com/pages/everywhere/100000-strong-to-gain-a-dislike-button/98752523874?v=wall&ref=ts

      That would go to the point of the question about this being a FB app.

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    Not sure if I like this new format or not. I think debate will be stifled to some extent, in all honesty. I suppose only time will tell, but anonymity is often a big part of being empowered enough to speak one's mind honestly. It does work the other way, also, but like I said, I still think the new format will lead people to curtail what they might otherwise say.

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      There are lots of places where folks can have their say anonymously these days. That was true in 2004, but not quite as easy.

      Today, you can just fire up a Twitter account and start messaging people.

      Yes, there are costs with ditching anonymity - but the benefits are huge.

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    I'm sorry to say this will be my last post here and BO has been dropped out of my Google Reader subscriptions. I don't post here often (maybe once a month), and when I do, I strive to make a concise and clear point, and do so respectfully. A few reasons: 1) My identity is a valuable thing. My professional life requires my clients to see me as impartial and politically disengaged. That means any posts here under my real name discussing my political views would potentially undermine that requirement.

    Beyond professional reasons, I value being able to have parts of my life siloed off from other parts. I don't want my political discussions here impacting my personal conversations with my friends and family unless I want them too. Requiring a hard identity undermines that.

    2) Even as a regular Facebook user, I do not trust Facebook. The company has a long history of playing fast and loose with the privacy of its users and I resent it's sweeping encroachment and entanglement into every corner of the web.

    I understand the need to keep the commentary clean and reasonable, but this step goes way too far.

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      Enquiring minds are wondering what you used as a pseudonym.

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      I get your point about Facebook. We thought long and hard about it, but as the only substantial real-identity place online, that's a choice we decided to make.

      As for #1, I find it interesting that you say that it's important to your clients to see you as impartial and politically disengaged -- but that you comment anonymously precisely because you're not impartial and politically disengaged.

      In other words, your marketing doesn't match your reality.

      Are there costs associated with this shift? You bet. We're going to lose some of our best commenters. But we believe the upside will be way beyond worth it.

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    The exclusion of anonymous comments provides a good incentive for people to be more forthcoming all around.

    Out here in the Big Room, real world business owners are often terrified that their employees or customers will take retribution on them. Maybe they will be inspired to put their opinions and theories out to a broader audience. The risk being that they may be forced to change their minds on this or that point of long cherished Dogma.

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    Fabulous! Joe, I respect your point of view, but, ultimately, I think that all of our personal and professional identities will end up being merged, which I think is a good thing. If someone doesn't want to do business with me because of my views, I don't think I want to do business with them. Enhanced transparency and authenticity is good for everyone who values those things--not so much for those who don't!

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      The problem is that state employees and political staff members, I expect, have the most relevant and insightful views. But those are exactly the people that cannot make a "career limiting move" by putting their real names on their posts.

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    Now that many of us have changed identities, I don't know who most of you are anymore.

    I was mp97303

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      I have always posted as lestatdelc (and for a very long time I included my real name in the post itself here, which is automatic in my sig line when I post over at the Daily Kos).

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      Nice to put a face to the handle.

      I've been jrw all along. Easily findable, especially when we had e-mail links, but you had to know me to know that.

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    One more thought on the whole anonymous debate. Clearly not everybody is going to like the change, and I respect that. That being said, I've been posting on this site for 3 years now since I was named the Fellow, and all of it under my own name. Granted I haven't been as prolific as many other authors, but I can honestly say that none of the comments or posts that I have authored have ever impacted the rest of my life in the least (beyond occasionally meeting people at progressive events and having them mention they've read my posts). I suspect that the rest of the contributors (or people who have been posting under their own name all along) would tell you that the only effect it has had on their life has been positive, if any.

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    Really like the snazzy new look! Great work all who took the time to create this!

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    My biggest hope is that people will still offer their political views without the negative, name-calling, trash-talking that they would never do in their business or community group. I have always used my real name and thought about how my comments would be taken if they showed up in the Oregonian (or how my mother would take them if she read what I write.) A good rule for all who post.

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    Ugh, guys. What about OpenID?

    I use Facebook to keep up with friends and family but I don't particularly like or trust it given its record at mishandling privacy issues.

    I'm fine with more moderation -- often, successful online communities are heavily moderated while (if they can) respecting dissent. And I'm fine with a no-anonymity requirement. It's your site and some way of implementing these policies may very well improve the quality of discussion here.

    I just don't think this is the way to implement it. I'll be bowing out from posting comments, no matter how tempting the occasional post may be, at least until the system changes.

    Best of luck!

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      OpenID as currently implemented is a huge failure. You can keep as many OpenID identities as you keep track of online email accounts.

      Just has not worked at all as well as was claimed

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      OpenID is a nice technical trick, and one of our developers used to be deeply involved in that technology -- but as Adam notes, it's not a method of determining real IDs.

      I spent a long time trying to find a way to authenticate people to their real names.

      One option we considered: requiring a one-time payment of $1, which would authenticate your real name and your zip code. That would have been nearly rock-solid, but would have required quite a bit more technical infrastructure.

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    I appreciate your rethinking the anonymity issue, Kari & crew. While I understand some folks' valid reasons for choosing to post under assumed names, the tone of "discussions" had really become degraded.

    I'll also be interested to see how the threaded reply feature works. This could be a big improvement in helping keep discussions (or side-discussions) more focused.

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    I'm fine with the new approach, but BO never struck me as a blog where the trolls would take the opportunity to cyberstalk me. Other political blogs have been infested with such vicious and threatening trolls that I've needed the safety of an online identity.

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    Out from the cover of Mike M., but all my posts had revealed to the administrators my true email address.

    An interesting observation, though. Either there is a difference in how access works - IP filtering - or there are two different blueoregon.com websites still active today.

    I normally access the internet from my home office via Verizon's FiOS service. Accessing right now via FiOS with that IP address, I still get the old website along with a few posts by TA and Steve Novick that don't show on the new site.

    Accessing the blueoregon.com website with my iPhone or via Comcast on my other computer, I get this new website.

    In any case, there are advantages and disadvantages to using real identities. Overall the discourse should improve, and the snark will likely be less. Hopefully the foul language will be left behind, too.

    I'm one of those NAV people who like to read many sides and opinions. But I will admit to leaning towards the conservative side of things, as there are many issues I do support - just don't label me a Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Libertarian, or Progressive. Each belief system has a few issues that I support. And yes, sometimes they conflict. Life is rather complex these days.

    Mike

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      Resolved. It is a FiOS issue. Can access using http://74.207.254.220 but Facebook IDs don't show for anyone.

      It will probably fix itself when nameservers are updated overnight.

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    Many BlueOregon readers work for an elected official or a politically active organization, which puts us in a bind. Even if we say, "I speak only for myself," our personal opinions will inevitably reflect on our employer.

    For me, I'll err on the side of caution and wear my "work hat" whenever I post a comment. While I think that's the most professional thing to do, it leaves me with no way to put my personal opinion out there.

    So I get why this is important -- trolls have turned me off, too -- but I think there will be a loss of insider voices because we're limited to what we'd be willing to say on behalf of the elected official or organization.

    Damn trolls.

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      That's a totally valid point, Jennifer. As a former spokesperson for electeds, I sympathize completely.

      However, the situation you describe is a consequence of one's chosen line of work. You give up the privilege of publicly expressing your own contradictory opinions when you are employed in a political position on behalf of an organization, candidate, or elected. We all like to believe that our freedom of speech is unassailable, but the truth is that it isn't.

      The weighing of personal consequences associated with unpopular expression against the value of that expression is one everyone in the political community should consider. It results in a more vibrant and civilized debate when you're forced to back your opinions with your identity. The lack of that consideration is what has led many, myself included, to spend very little time in the comments section of BlurOregon and other blogs. Without an identity requirement, the comments just aren't useful at all. Now, hopefully they will be.

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        Russ said:

        You give up the privilege of publicly expressing your own contradictory opinions when you are employed in a political position on behalf of an organization, candidate, or elected.

        And Jennifer says:

        I'm not worried about contradictory opinions, because I'm fortunate in that my work is in close harmony with my personal beliefs.

        The problem for me is when I have a very strong personal reaction to an issue or person, I'll have to keep that to myself. With my work hat on, I'll say, "We're pleased to endorse so and so because..." But now I need to leave out the part where I say, "And I thought it was inappropriate when the opponent bla bla bla."

        I'll leave it up to the leaders of my organization to state their own strong opinions if they want to, but I won't get out ahead of them with my own.

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    I love the new site Kari! When I grow up, I want to be just like you!

    Fred

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    That's interesting; a note about functionality. If you use the open comment box at the bottom of the page, your comment goes in in time series order. If you use the "post a reply" arrow, your comment is posted immediately after the post that you hit the reply arrow on.

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      That's really cool, because it let's you skip over entrenched debates between a few people, as long as they reply on the original irratant's "Post a Reply" arrow.

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    This is a good step, the site has seriously taken a downward step in terms of civility (mirroring our broader politics I suppose). While there are some downsides to this approach (Jennifer's points are well taken) it will enhance the dialogue by encouraging civility. My experience in life suggests that the over the top comments likely have dissuaded many from participating. Those folks will now feel more comfortable around the BO "water cooler".

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    Thanks, this will make a big difference.

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    Looks great.

    I guess I'm one of the few that became more anonymous in the switchover. There's almost as many Adam Smiths in the PacNW as there are Starbucks. ;)

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    Testing... 1... 2... 3... (taps microphone)

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    Great work!

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    two thumbs up.

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    Hmm.

    I like the new design, though I would like to see an option where you can have the posts shown unthreaded... it's hard to see the what's new on a post when the new ones are mixed with the old.

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      Good call. I'm feeling that too. We'll put that on the list. Either that, or some way to highlight the "new" stuff since you've been on the site.

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        Well... if you want it, I've got a snippet of JS that can flatten / re-thread the comments based on what I could tell out of their structure.

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        There's another one...

        Looks like the site is making one request per post/comment on the page to determine how many people like a post...

        Any chance at tweaking the server-side bit to take multiple comment/post IDs, and the client-side bit to perform a single request instead of one per comment / post? The number of requests (on top of waiting for FBML to render) is causing my iPhone to attempt to defecate masonry - at least on this post, which tells me that on any busy post later on, something similar is likely to happen.

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      On one of my industry forums, each new comment has a red (NEW) tag on it. That really makes it easy to see what has changed since the last time I was on.

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    Its about time. Now we can all laugh at each other and scare the crap out of the trolls by trolling their Facebook wall. Good choice.

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    apart from those who represent another person in their professional life, there is almost no need for anyone to post comments anonymously. if you have something so hateful, or accusatory, that posting it would cause you to fear for your safety, you have no business posting that at all. no one's going to lose their job because of posting here (but if you do, let us know because we will take up your cause).

    the anonymous commenters proved themselves unworthy of that responsibility over the years. i'm not talking about a handful of people who were regular, tried to write intelligently and generally avoided acting like dicks (mp97303 comes to mind, who may have argued vociferously, but tried to make good points in the spirit of open debate). the proliferation of arseholes just got to be too much, and it was driving readers & participants away. any of us who are associated with BO (i am, as a long-time poster) have heard many comments to that effect. it was dragging down the brand's value.

    FB isn't the perfect solution, but it's a huge improvement. i'm looking forward to carrying on discussions with real people, and not cowards who refuse to own their own damn words.

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    Kari. no. seriously? censoring our comments?

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      Huh? I don't want you're referring to.

      In any case, I suspect this new system will require substantially less hands-on management.

      That's always been one of our challenges -- we're an all-volunteer operation that has revenues of some $500/month.

      The solution that many larger operations (and suggested upthread) is hiring lots of people to do "active" moderation.

      That would have been an excellent idea, assuming two things: 1) Somebody ponied up the cash to hire people, and 2) That we could come to some agreement about what the criteria should be.

      People already accuse me of having the thumb on the scale because of my professional affiliations - I'm pretty sure that "active" moderation would not have been well-received.

      Now, as long as you're willing to put your name to it - and aren't making violent threats or hateful comments - you're welcome to have your say.

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        One approach that has been successful, at least for BoingBoing has been disemvowelling the trolls. I participate on the forum that pioneered disemvowelling--Making Light, by Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and it's been effective. That said, the Fluorosphere caters to a particular group that, while political, is also rather focused and somewhat verbal(sf fandom).

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      it wouldn't let me write "a$$hole" but did let me write "arsehole"

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    Thanks Blue Oregon. I suppose that there are a number of cowards you will never hear from again.

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    Congratulations on making this change. It will change the atmosphere noticeably, I think.

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    I am so happy that Kari and Co have done these changes to try to limit the trolls. The anonymous comments have been very frustrating. Thanks Kari!

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    I like the new look... I've always posted on BO under my own name, so the link to my Facebook account is no big... When I first went on the internet back in 94, I used to post to usenet from a proxy server in friggin Finland to protect my anonymity. I got over myself...

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      Could we at least have a statement of what will get you banned, rather than leaving it to the whims of the editor of the day?

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        Use a fake name and you're outta here. Violent threats and hate speech, too.

        In the past, sockpuppetry and obnoxious trolling. Sockpuppetry is now a thing of the past - and we'll see about trolling.

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          It's not violating either. There are lots of NPs that are "persons" on FB, not just pages or causes. The responsible ones put the owners' names in the info. If you look at the page itself, you will find that plenty of FB users interact with that with no problem, and no one has reported it or suggested it violated terms of service in three years. The person that offered to go out to dinner last week-end surely took the corresponding secretary seriously enough.

          OLCV is a good parallel (http://www.facebook.com/oregonlcv?ref=ts) So, OLCV would have the same treatment?

          Will never understand why one person using multiple names upsets you more than multiple people speaking one opinion. Both useless in my opinion.

          BTW, another "rule" is that you have to have at least 10 FB friends, so it's not just "sign your work and don't act up".

          If you want to keep making it up as you go, that's your business. I have mine. Bottom line is that you've banned the very first responder to the new BO, because you felt like it.

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            Facebook's terms of service are VERY clear. Every human gets one and only one profile. Organizations and brands should be on pages.

            Our goal is to have every single comment here identified by its human author -- not an organization, not a blog, not a brand.

            To that end, Facebook's terms of service are perfectly matched up with our goals.

            Don't like it? Fine by us. We understand the arguments against our approach, but it's our call - and after years of deliberation, we've made it.

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      "Cow Corner"?

      Isn't the reason obvious? REAL IDENTITY.

      "Cow Corner" is violating Facebook's terms of service - and ours, too.

      Use your real name, and you're welcome here.

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    Kari - Brilliant. Innovative. Kudos.

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    I'm far more interested in seeing how this goes viral. Kari is going to get an award and probably a lucrative offer from Facebook or some other social networking site for this innovative renovation.

    Folks who are worried about getting banned are missing both the point and the opportunity. Just sign your work and act responsibly and you will never have a problem.

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      I was talking about someone that already IS banned without doing any of the aforementioned. The corresponding secretary tried to use his named account to reply, and the post was rejected for having too few Facebook friends.

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        Yes, brand new Facebook accounts won't get access until they've been around awhile. Still fine-tuning exactly what that threshold is.

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    damn i hate when things change! LOL i know i dont sound so progressive but it is true. anyway, i'm more then willing to give this new format a try because of my personal disgust with the trolls who have invaded. i welcome the opportunity to read through thought provoking posts instead of the slimely troll attacks. kari, i salute the effort even while i'm grumbling becuase it has taken me out of my routine comfort zone. peace

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    reading back through some pre-change comments, and hoping that additional verification screening will get Bill Bodden, Bohica, and some of the other smart lefties back in the game.

    The Cascade Policy Institute crowd will need to decide on the facebook tie in, and hopefully, we'll see Todd Wynn 'n 'em staying in the game as well.

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      We at Cascade have always had a policy of using our real names when posting on any blog. We appreciate the opportunity to continue commenting here when we think we can add value to the discussion.

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      Given that my name is identical and rare, and my FB page specifically says "Zarathustra on finer blogs everywhere" that a good deal of the "oversight" was just another shot at the real progressives. As you point out, they've been treated largely as trolls.

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        I'm doing some cleanup this week. I honestly had no idea that you were Zarathustra until very recently.

        Your sense of self-importance is rather exaggerated.

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          Your constant projecting of various motivations onto me is rather old. I was going strictly by the numbers and thought that more than 1,500 posts would make me a candidate.

          I think someone already covered the obvious answer. Must have been one of those quantity over quality posters.

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            Looking at the numbers, the two biggest losses were the Bobs, with about 3,000 comments each. Combining them with yours, that totals about 3% of all the comments. If you accept Carla's hypothesis, that Z had numerous sock puppets, and add them in, he's up there with the Bobs. Anywho, that makes 4-5% coming from what we would have called "real progressives". I mention that because isn't that about what they always pull in the general election? For all its failings, I think the old format may have succeeded in mirroring the population, in its sample.

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      BOHICA is me.

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    I really like the new look, and the pics for everyone's comments are nice to see too. I'm really looking foreward to reading the discussions from now on.

    Great job Kari! Two big thumbs up!

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    Thanks Kari those bridge underlings were really getting tiresome. Keep up the great work.

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    I think this will be great. Looking forward to it.

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    Thanks for the change, Kari, and all the work putting this together. I think the site will lose something of value without the anonymity, but it stands to gain much more.

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    I think it's a great idea. I haven't posted in the past, mainly because I've seen how threads often get hijacked and I didn't want to waste my time putting up a target for some troll. Now there is less chance of that occurring I will be more likely to post. Not that I'll know what I'm talking about, mind you.

    Great job on the new site!

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    has anyone else heard this ...a friend from germany says that they call FOX NETWORK... THE GOBBELS NETWORK because of the stuff they put out????

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    Thanks a lot Kari, I could have gone decades without facebooking myself.

    I think it should really improve the quality of the conversation.

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    Yuck. FB is run by a megalomaniac who doesn't think anybody should be concerned about personal privacy. I can't imagine why personal identity is so important that you'd want to make your blog essentially a Facebook app.

    There are plenty of people who feel that privacy isn't an issue if you don't have anything to hide, so I'm sure things'll keep humming around here.

    It is an issue to me, which is why I make only limited use of Facebook and won't be coming 'round here no more.

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    ...completely in agreement with this new direction...those who are unwilling to honestly identify with their comments, well...they have no skin in the game...no credibility...

    thanks for all the hard work...blue oregon...LEADING FROM THE FRONT!!!

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    As someone who complained about anonymous trolls and morons a lot, thank you! You really did listen, and this will be a major improvement.

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    I like the new system Kari. Nice work!

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    Anonymity is the new smoking!

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    Now I probably won't worked up so much flaming the anonymous trolls that used to try to hijack nearly every discussion.

    Which is a good thing, overall. I think we were all getting tired of it.

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    Good on you! Sites need to stop empowering trolls. Websites are not public squares. They are paid for by the site owner and maintained through the hard work of the site owner and the contributors. Too many Portland sites have been incompetent in managing their communities (e.g. Willamette Week, The Oregonian). They allow a toxic environment to thrive and give permission to the haters like overly permissive parents.

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    Since the PPD, DHS, the FBI and every other agency knows who I am, why not BO.

    BOHICA, just another leftover DFH.

    What's the capability of html code now? I use BBCodeXtra to format posts.

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    This thread should have been entitled "Identity Crisis"!

    Glad to see concession around the point that "don't feed the trolls" doesn't work. I beg to differ though with the "identity is the basis of community" statement. It's important, but knowing exactly who guns us down in the PPB doesn't make us more of a community. Respect is the first foundation of community. One could easily say that using IDs was easier than taking a more respectful attitude than in the past.

    I have one procedural question about the new rulz. There are a number of FB pages, 100% indivual's personal pages, but they give it a title other than their name. I know a guy that is a very well regarded astronomer at Cambridge that goes by "Mothership Landing". As I read the rules, he couldn't post. Doesn't matter he has 2583 FB friends that all interact with the page as him, right?

    A similar case would be, as Kurt mentioned, for groups. He missed the obvious example, Blue Oregon! So you're saying it's OK for Kari Chisholm to post, but if Blue Oregon posted, it would violate the rules, right? While I can go most the way with that logic, it seems awkward and impractical. In the past, if the Sierra Club wanted to post here, an individual would do it and say, "and I speak for the Sierra Club". With the new process, the Sierra Club page couldn't post. That requires the spokesperson to create an ID, just to post, then say, I'm posting this on behalf of the Sierra Club. Wouldn't it be easier to allow the Sierra Club to post, and have it say, "hi, I'm whoever", just like in the past?

    Obviously that would mean campaigns can't post. The confusing grey area would be the FB category "public figure". Is that a group or a person? FB regards it as identical to a NP set up as a person, so you would say, "no", if consistent. I can't believe that if Gordon Brown tried to post, a "public figure", that you would make him take out a personal page or ban him! I won't get picky, but , technically, you've said with this that people that have one page for a family aren't welcome either. If you say not, then I will press you on the point that many small non-profits regard themselves and function no different than families. No different.

    FWIW, my great-aunt tried to post and couldn't because there IS a 10 friend minimum. I only mention it because I know many elderly seldom login, and often only have one or two FB friends, which is all they joined for. This is definitely skewing the debate toward the lower ages. Kind of like cranking Usher around the water cooler and insisting that the professor emeritus should feel welcome.

    One bug to note: she was able to vote on everything! Sounds like a straight bug.

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      Dil --

      Right, "BlueOregon" is not a person. Neither is "Sierra Club". Or "Kitzhaber for Governor".

      One of my biggest pet peeves in the world is "The White House said today..." Sorry, but the White House is a big marble building. It doesn't speak.

      We've made a decision that only humans should speak here. Multinational corporations shouldn't have free speech rights, and they can't post on BlueOregon either.

      If you're authorized to speak on behalf of some organization, fantastic - just say so.

      And yes, your friend "Mothership Landing" is violating Facebook's terms of service - and ours, too.

      I don't know why folks seem to want to make this more complicated than it is.

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        Maybe because there's already been legitimate confusion? Blue Ora emailed me to tell me she's been banned from here. She also had a good idea about that "new account threshold". Hopefully I have standing to speak, as I have 90+ FB friends and use the account in conjunction with my business where, and most friends are my clients.

        Her first point was that the FB process of doing "hard validation" uses a person's cell phone to validate the account. The names have to match. She has done this, and, if someone else has, why should they have a friend minimum?

        Her other point for "personhood", ist that she posted here, using her real name, 4 1/2 years ago! And got a response from the eminent Randy Leonard!

        To whit:

        "Comments

        Posted by: John Dunagan | Aug 18, 2005 12:00:46 PM

        This is beginning to look like a run for Portland Mayor, what with the ever-increasing list of candidates.

        Hope (you) get it sorted out by the primary, with a minimum of hard feelings after, since it looks from here like the Repubs are clearing the decks for Mannix.

        And if you can't come together to keep that guy from winning, letting Minnis run wild in the House is gonna be a much smaller problem in comparison.

        Oregon, in that scenario, could be as bad as Florida.

        Posted by: Blue Ora | Aug 18, 2005 12:20:50 PM

        Isn't it odd how capitals' livability/coolness vary inverseley with the state as a whole? Consider WA, OR, CA vs. TX. Wouldn't want to damage Portland's karma.

        Posted by: Randy Leonard | Aug 18, 2005 11:02:58 PM

        Good point, Blue Ora. I guess I am just out, period.

        Keep Portland cool."

        And you can note that she's talking about Salem, and her FB page gave that as her location before she posted here.

        She's also over 40. That pretty much limits the possibilites.

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          Are you really claiming that "Blue Ora" - whose friends are 100% all profiles with pictures of cats - is a real person?

          I don't buy it for a minute.

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    Well, here's the brave new world of Blue Oregon. Nice job so far, and good luck to you and all of us – every one.

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    I'm really looking forward to what this site will now become...and I think instead of stifling the diversity of opinion, the use of real identities will increase it.

    There are many folks I know who don't even participate in the blogging world because they think it's too nasty and virulent. Considering that I've been called a prostitute and a bad mother just for expressing political viewpoints, I can understand where they're coming from.

    Now, the people who actually want to participate in a rational conversation might start to actually do so, without fear of being slammed by idiotic cowards...

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    Kind of late to mention now, but I was thinking it would be nice if everyone could mention their old aliases when commenting on this thread. Quite a few said, "I used to post", but the name wasn't obvious and that aroused my curiosity.

    I've posted about a dozen times as "Blue Aura Gone".

    I think this is a nice change. I used to have a half-brother that would say that someday he wanted to be rich enough to own enough land that he could open the back door and yell "fck you" at the top of his lungs, and no one would hear him. I think that for many, when it was anonymous, it was that place to yell "fck you". The people "not being real" was much like having no neighbors. Now it's more like going down to the pub for a cold one. If you don't want to meet John and talk about the Blazers for the 1,334,442 time, you go someplace else. If you go, you smile and have a conversation.

    The voting is a little wonky. Where I'll draw the line is if FB starts showing contributors in different colors, depending on how many friends they have (not that I have any reason to complain).

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    Good luck with the new format. Comments are the blessing and the curse of the blogosphere.

    Are people prevented from setting up fake Facebook sites to do their trolling from?

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    In the past I have posted on several different threads. I am very proud of some my posts and extremely ashamed of some of my posts. I remember back in high school, I wanted to post a column about some issue and when I submitted it to Kari, I got a very polite response saying remember that you are putting name to this post make sure you are proud and willing to be held accountable for what you wrote. I thought about I read and decided not to submit it again. For me, when there is no way for me to be held accountable it is very easy to say things that are inappropriate and not constructive. I don't post very often because I am a very busy college student but am likely to contuine posting on columns that I find interesting and thought provoking. I work on political campaigns during election years so I don't antipicate posting on BlueOregon posts that are linked to the campaigns I work for without the explicit permission of the candidate.

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    Actually, something just came to me. If you can, I hope that you can come up with a less-generic look to the graphical header.

    I remember in the salad days of Blue Oregon you had a little graphic that was randomly selected. My favorite one was the little "Pacific Wonderland" licence plate.

    Some sort of rotating graphic would be nifty, something Oregon-the high desert, coast, volcano, something.

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      As a designer by vocation, I suggest we not touch the new masthead graphic. Clean, simple, and apropos. Less visual noise = better website (from a presentation perspective that is).

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    The site looks great. Anything that helps minimize the anonymous trolls is a good thing.

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    This is a great and welcome change

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    Time for folks to cowboy up! I look forward to the open debate and intelligent conversations that should be able to occur with a lot less snarking going on. I'm thinking this will lead to a little more civility amongst those who come here.

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    Are you really going to rely on just Facebook users? That shuts out a lot of people who legitimately think FB is bad for their internet privacy. I've long ago given up that consideration, but a sole-source identity machine will just serve to narrow things down even more than they are now. Well, it's an establishment/corporatist move, so I guess it's right in line with BlueO's perspective.

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      I'll use any service that requires real identities and has millions of participants.

      Any suggestions?

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        If it's OK I'm going to combine my comments rather than respond on both threads as the other one is a minor point. Re: "Mothership Landing" We were talking about it and looking at profiles and there's a simple way to have it both ways. Simply add your name in parenthesis after the alias, as "Mothership Landing (Prof. Matt Pettini)", for example.

        I agree 100%, Kari. I read this first, then saw the "Blue Ora" discussion. You're right; this should be simple, but now I'm confused.

        Agreed about real identities, millions of participants and strict enforcement. TEK's point is taken about the cell phone confirmation, which is about as secure as it gets, short of using SSNs. But, looking at Ms. Ora's profile, she has one friend with more friends than Blue Oregon (and they're 100% feline looking profiles too)! All "people" pages. Something isn't logically consistent. I think the only obvious conclusion is that they are not cats. That amounts to censoring them because they like to talk to each other like cats.

        And, looking, 100% of your friends are donkeys.

        Out of curiosity, how valuable would a service be that provided the leg and gruntwork technical infrastructure to use voter registrations as the validation?

        (Oh, and I used to post as Lord Beaverbrook. It's a British Raj thing.)

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        I unblocked the BlueOregon app just long enough to post this, because Facebook is about to be embroiled in yet another privacy flap: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/facebook-further-reduces-control-over-personal-information

        My suggestion is to stop depending on a third party who does not have its users' best interests first and foremost. Facebook is the motherlode for data mining, and it's that way by VERY deliberate design. Many people have quite legitimate issues with how the company conducts business. Some refuse to log in, and they are silenced here. Others choose to silence themselves here because they have no desire to contribute more data to Facebook's giant directed graph of information about them, or to give the BlueOregon app access to their profiles.

        The alternative is to empower more trusted members of your community with moderator status and declare open season on the trolls everyone is complaining about. Disemvowel them if you're worried about accusations of "censorship." Or just nuke their posts if you're not. It's your privately operated site, and nobody is entitled a right to free speech on it, after all.

        Just don't depend on an untrustworthy third party identity hydra to do a job at which more active moderation has succeeded in the past for many an online community.

        Whatever happens, again, best of luck. Now I reblock.

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    i love the new setup.it will be good to have open debate and disagree from time to time on here whether we are progressive or conservative.

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      I valued your passion, if not always your logic. And you're "get off yer butt and actually do something" attitude. Congrats. I think you're the only solid right winger that made the cut.

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    Guess we'll see how this experiment works out. I wonder how milquetoast the conversation will become - here's hoping for the best. I like the new layout - and by the by, I rarely posted as The Skald... though I did self identify a few times.

    Cheers all.

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    Bravo!

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    Another interesting functionality note: If a comment is deleted and you want to see it (yes, I know, how would you know- at least checking your own, what happened to it), if you click on the person's avatar, you will see all their comments, including the deleted one. imho, that's the best of both worlds.

    Oh, I guess two notes. The time for the page to load that Jeff mentions is certainly quicker initially, but seems to really bog down when it has to pull 100 FB profiles. Again, I like it. I can only remember once or twice when anything worthwhile happened after 100 comments, and then the good stuff couldn't get a hearing because of the volume.

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    Yeah! Thanks Kari and everyone at Blue Oregon. The updated site is terrific!

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    not showing on facebook?

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