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A Minor Scandal
Posted by: Dale Franks on Friday, February 16, 2007

Cathy Young, writing at Reason's Hit & Run blog, rounds up a minor blog scandal.

Apparently, a commenter at the Liberal Avenger blog left a comment that the Liberal Avenger didn't like. So, the LA changed the comment to make it appear as if the commenter had engaged in incest with his sister.

When confronted with the change by Patterico, the comment disappeared. The LA responded to Patterico, writing: "I don't know what the big deal is. The comment appears to be gone. I never saw it. I have no reason to believe that it ever existed in the first place."

When confronted with further evidence, LA fessed up, admitting that he had, in fact, personally altered the comment.

LA claims that he was just kidding when he wrote his initial denial.

If you want the full details, follow the link to H&R above.

I find this most troubling.

As you may know, we here at QandO—just like almost every other blog—can change reader comments at our pleasure. It certainly isn't something we do, however, and for good reason. I can't image anything that would stifle debate, and prevent people from making comments than going in and altering them to make the commenter sound foolish.

This would seem to be the kind of thing that all bloggers, left or right, would condemn. Altering reader comments and subverting their meaning is an essentially dishonest practice. I don't see how anyone who does it can maintain any respectability or credibility. And who would want to comment at a blog where the admin can dishonestly hijack your comments?

I think it also speaks to a fundamental lack of confidence on the part of a blogger who feels the need to subvert comments from opposing people. If you can't engage in give and take with commenters without hijacking their comments, then maybe blogging isn't the hobby for you.
 
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Yes, well, his defenders on the left (as in Pandagon - figures) are busy laughing it up.

You have to realize that their goals and yours for blogging are utterly different. Their’s is the war eternal against the Chimpy Haliburton, loose change hegemony or something. There is no interest in debate of ideas.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
I know you’ve titled this post "a minor scandal" but I think it’s a major screw up. You get ONE bite of the apple when it comes to something that dishonest and insecure. From now on, how can anyone read anything at that site and not wonder "is that really what that person said? Or has LA jumped in to make himself look better?"

If the sock puppetry of Greenwald is bad, it should be obvious that forcing another person to loan you his name and persona to serve your sock puppetry is much worse.
 
Written By: Jinnmabe
URL: http://
Wow! Not that a minor scandal happens, but that Patterico has been reporting on it for a while, and it’s just now come to your attention. Oh, Reason spoke of it, thus legitimizing the story.

Yea, I bear a grudge. Back when Patrick Frey was trying to unearth sockpuppet comments, this site adamantly declined to help - even when the preponderance of evidence suggested that a commenter here may well have been a well known blogger pretending to be someone else.

Perhaps now you will pay a bit more attention when a Los Angeles Prosecutor/private blogger sees something that gets his panties in a twist. And maybe you’d help him expose charlatans.

 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Wow! Not that a minor scandal happens, but that Patterico has been reporting on it for a while, and it’s just now come to your attention. Oh, Reason spoke of it, thus legitimizing the story.
Why "Wow"? I don’t read Patterico. Nothing against the guy, I just don’t follow him. I’ve probably looked at his blog two or three times in the past year. I do occasionally look at H&R, on the other hand. Patterico could’ve been talking about it for months, for all I would know. If I hadn’t seen it on H&R, I doubt I’d have ever heard of it at all. Whatever makes you think I read Patterico? Reason didn’t legitimize anything. It just happens to be where I saw it.

In fact, how often do you ever see me link to another blog? You know why? ’Cause I don’t read blogs much. Except for Radley Balko, because I have a lot of interest in his work on police use of excessive force.
Yea, I bear a grudge.
Then why do you still come here to read and comment? If we’re all such asses, why don’t you get lost?

Hey, wait, aren’t you the guy who jumped up to accuse me of having to redact a post at Jon’s command?

Just where do you get off making assumptions about my motivations in posting a blog entry? Especially when you don’t know jack about them?

In fact, now that you’ve brought yourself to my attention again with inappropriate comments about my motivations, I’m kinda wondering why I don’t just ban your ass from commenting.
Back when Patrick Frey was trying to unearth sockpuppet comments, this site adamantly declined to help
Yep. Sure did. Had better things to do, especially since I didn’t care much about Glenn Greenwald one way or another.

But, I think there’s something a lot more unseemly about altering others’ comments in order to subvert them, than there is about disguising your identity online.

By the way, is "bains" your real name?
Perhaps now you will pay a bit more attention when a Los Angeles Prosecutor/private blogger sees something that gets his panties in a twist. And maybe you’d help him expose charlatans.
Yeah. Maybe. If it happens to come to my attention. And if I feel like blogging about it at the particular moment I see it.

But I doubt it.

In any event, I don’t consider it my responsibility to to blog about anything other than whatever happens to catch my attention at any given moment. Apparently, Patterico’s deal is to be on the lookout for stuff like this. Good for him. Doesn’t mean I have to jump on that bandwagon.

Hey, here’s an idea, if you think it’s important to track that kind of stuff, why don’t you get your own blog, instead of kiting in here and telling me what you think I should blog about on mine?

Nobody’s holding a gun to your head, forcing you to read QandO.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
I remember the whole sock-puppetry and comment-rendering being discussed here mid 2006 in a bit about what makes a blog credible/worth reading. I also remember it being made clear that the particular discussion we were having was the only light in which QandO wanted to discuss the Greenwald snafoo.

I think changings comments was one of the top reasons not to read a blog. I hope he crashes and burns now. His reaction is as childish as his original action.
 
Written By: ike
URL: http://
You guys don’t alter comments? So these leftists who comment here are actually that moonbatty?!

But yeah, there’s no quicker way to make your comment section an echo chamber than by doing something like this. This is far worse than even deleting comments. You won’t dare have anyone show up who disagrees with you if you do this sort of thing...
 
Written By: Brad Warbiany
URL: http://unrepentantindividual.com/
LA’s gone from "Patterico made it up" to "Can’t you guys take a joke" to "We’re wasting $2B a day in Iraq, and this is what you guys are worrying about". What a putz.

Of course, you can’t buy this kind of publicity, and he/she/it probably gained a lot of leftie readers.
 
Written By: Fred
URL: http://www.fredochsenhirt.com
Very creepy.

The fake comment doesn’t look like it was constructed as a misguided attempt at a humorous prank. It looks more like the author was striving to make it sound authentic, possibly by drawing on personal experience.

In any case, once he was called on it, one would expect to LA to simply apologize and/or defend himself if he imagines that this type of behaviour is defensible. Instead, he accuses Patterico of Photoshopping the screen capture. If there was any doubt before, at this point it is clear that we are seeing some serious pathology.

Once he had levelled a charge of forgery at Patterico I would expect the tone to get even more serious, but once again my expectations were confounded when he suddenly reveals that the whole thing was a big joke, and then he and his liberal audience begin slapping their knees and guffawing at all the uptight prudes who couldn’t see the hilarity.

Here is one of my favorite examples, from the comments section of Patterico’s blog:
I can’t help but wonder if you’re somehow ENVIOUS of liberals that are able to express themselves sexually while still accepting themselves for who they are.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Wait, I get it: since we don’t have cues to know when Liberal Avenger has edited something, I guess we should consider his entire blog one big joke.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
Perhaps the big deal there, isn’t that the post was edited. As is pointed out, just about any web site has that ability.

I wonder, rather, if this isn’t a situation where we should be paying attention to what was edited in... it seems rather infantile, at least.

I should also say, that if this can be taken as an indication of the level of discourse the left is capable of.. (And I think this and other indications are just that)...that given their current political domination of these United States, we’re all in serious trouble.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Then why do you still come here to read and comment? If we’re all such asses, why don’t you get lost?
I did not say all of you were asses, merely that I found your refusal to assist another blogger seeking information rather petty. This happens to be one of my favorite sites, irrespective of and, in fact, in spite of your infrequent vanity posts Dale. For the most part, posts here are well thought out, and then respectfully argued within the comments.
Hey, wait, aren’t you the guy who jumped up to accuse me of having to redact a post at Jon’s command?
Yes, that was me. I also apologized for it immediately once my mistake was brought to my attention - an unequivocal apology that at least McQ noted.
Had better things to do, especially since I didn’t care much about Glenn Greenwald one way or another. But, I think there’s something a lot more unseemly about altering others’ comments in order to subvert them, than there is about disguising your identity online.
WWhat is important to you may not be important to others, and similarly, what they think is important is not to you. Greenwald’s sock puppetry had nothing to do with anonymity, but every thing to do with his propensity to create persons solely to applaud his own genius. Speaks volumes to the character of someone who claims to be a champion of libertarianism.

Of course there is "something unseemly" about altering comments within your site. And you are free to call attention to that. Yet when another blogger finds something else reproachable, you’re too g_ddamn indifferent to provide info which may confirm, or even refute.
Hey, here’s an idea, if you think it’s important to track that kind of stuff, why don’t you get your own blog, instead of kiting in here and telling me what you think I should blog about on mine?
Again Dale, it’s not about what you, or the QandO staff, blogs about, the grudge is that you refused to help another blogger blog about what he wanted.

 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
I’ll add that now that I’ve aired my greivance, its no longer a grudge. In fact, more like a splinter that festers until the body expunges it.
Or...
Gone like a fart in the air.
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
the grudge is that you refused to help another blogger blog about what he wanted.
I think I can guess what Dale’s response is going to be.

Why hold that as a grudge (or let it fester)? While I might, for accountability’s sake, have confirmed or denied that a certain IP matched one of my commenters in that particular instance (sock puppets beware), it’s not incumbent on any blogger as a blogger to help someone else with his hobby, particularly if that hobby is online headhunting/character assassination (legitimate though it may have been in that case).

And now that some time has passed, what would have changed for the better if Dale had provided that info? Greenwald would still be posting, all the people who follow him would very likely still be following him, and it would have taken maybe an extra few hours to blow over. So, what would help extract that splinter for you, if not that?
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
I’m pretty sure it was the Liberal Avenger who got busted lying about his father’s service in Vietnam. He had made claims about how his father served in the war and how it had affected his family while the LA was young.

Lo and behold, someone came across several stories he had made previously while posting on another blog that discussed how his father had to leave the military after only a few weeks of service and how that had affected his family.

I also personally busted him on lies he continued to make concerning the US military’s use of WP in Iraq.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
His credibility’s shot among everyone who cares about such things. That’s pretty clear from a short look at his commentariat.

I have a personal policy: when you find an echo chamber, just back out quickly, shut the door, and swat the bees down whenever you catch them trying to pollute other parts of the ’sphere.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
think it also speaks to a fundamental lack of confidence on the part of a blogger who feels the need to subvert comments from opposing people. If you can’t engage in give and take with commenters without hijacking their comments, then maybe blogging isn’t the hobby for you
In general, the blogging left doesn’t care about that. It’s about opposition research and fealty to Kos and fighting the real enemies (Bush and the GOP)

Debate isn’t the goal on that side. Sorry.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Again Dale, it’s not about what you, or the QandO staff, blogs about, the grudge is that you refused to help another blogger blog about what he wanted.
Well, cry me a river.

Hi, I am engaged in a project of personal importance, that you may not care about at all. But, I want you to take your valuable time, and go through your server logs to try and track down a commenter’s IP address for me.

Uh, no.

I have no responsibility whatsoever to provide such assistance, nor would I have the temerity to ask another person to devote his valuable time to researching my petty bugaboos.
Yes, that was me. I also apologized for it immediately once my mistake was brought to my attention...
And yet, having done so, you apparently learned nothing from that episode, and so you bounce in here again to make up stories about my motivations, which you clearly know nothing about. You don’t know dick about why I post something, and to come in and create fabrications to explain it is not appreciated.
What is important to you may not be important to others, and similarly, what they think is important is not to you.
At last, a little frickin’ daylight shines through.
Of course there is "something unseemly" about altering comments within your site. And you are free to call attention to that. Yet when another blogger finds something else reproachable, you’re too g_ddamn indifferent to provide info which may confirm, or even refute...the grudge is that you refused to help another blogger blog about what he wanted.
Yeah. That’s right. I refer you to your previous point. It wasn’t important enough to me to burn the time it would take to look it up.

I have no obligation at all to help another blogger with anything. If I provide any assistance, I do so out of the goodness of my heart, because I’m such a prince of a guy.

And because it’s important to me.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
because I’m such a prince of a guy.
Well, actually my impression now is that you’re a petty, self-absorbed SOB...
 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
You expect someone to devote time to another guy’s crusade/hobby for no better reason than you think he ought to and you say that Dale is self absorbed????

 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com

 
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