Monday, February 22, 2010

At Noozhawk, Commenters "Register" Their Protests

Count Noozhawk as being among the latest of the local online news sites to require readers to register if they wish to leave comments.

What prompted the change in policy? In the article announcing the new rules, Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen explained, "To make the user experience a more pleasant one for the vast majority of our readers who respect our guidelines and post by our rules, we’ve concluded this is a necessary step to elevate the discussion we want to foster on our Web site."

Reaction to the change in policy has produced (as of 11 pm Sunday night) no less than 58 comments. They run the gamut from people vowing to stop reading Noozhawk to those who applaud the new rules.

The strong reaction to the change appeared to have Macfadyen scrambling to respond to the commenters. At one point he wrote, "So, like a gas station requiring that you ask for a restroom key, we’ll be requiring that you register with us if you wish to post a comment."

Of course, here at Craig Smith's Blog, the restrooms have never been open to the public. And when Blogabarbara closed down last May, one of the reasons cited by "Sara de la Guerra" were the increasingly mean comments that had to be policed. So, my hat's off to Macfadyen and Noozhawk for continuing to allow comments at all.

And to those of you who complain that blogs that limit or don't allow comments are somehow anti free speech, my response is, I believe in the right to free speech and the First Amendment. I just don't believe I'm required to furnish anyone and everyone who wishes to exercise that right with a megaphone.

Of course you can always send me comments, I just don't routinely post them. If you haven't discovered it yet, at the bottom of each post is a small toolbar of icons.

Click on the postage stamp icon (clever, eh?) to send me an e-mail or a comment.

Speaking of comments, or lack thereof, a couple of readers have written to point out that readers can't comment on the Independent's online article about the lawsuit between its editor-in-chief, Marianne Partridge and publisher, Randy Campbell. Curiously, readers can leave comments on just about any other story posted on the Indy's website.

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Venoco Inc., which wants to begin round-the-clock drilling in Carpinteria, is pouring money into a ballot initiative that would exempt it from the city's industrial development and environmental rules. It's the subject of Michael Hiltzik's column in the LA Times. It's part of a growing trend of corporations bypassing government agencies and going directly to the voters to pass self-interested ballot measures.

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Summerland's Lou Cannon, the former Washington Post reporter and biographer of Ronald Reagan has a piece in Politics Daily on Alexander Haig, who passed away over the weekend. In the meantime, I am in control here at the blog.

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In my post on Friday, I mentioned that I didn't know if either Democratic candidate for 35th Assembly District, Das Williams or Susan Jordan, has signed the Fair Campaign Practices Pledge. According to his campaign manager Patrick Dennis, Williams has.

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Colin Firth ("A Single Man), Carey Mulligan ("An Education), Christoph Waltz ("Inglourius Basterds") and director Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker") who were all here in Santa Barbara for our Film Fest, were among the winners at the BAFTA Awards (Britain's version of the Oscars) last night. Details from the LA Times.

Today's last word comes from Hiltzik, who in turn is quoting Lily Tomlin: "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."
© 2010 by Craig Smith and