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Don’t Encourage the Campaign Trolls
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, April 11, 2008

LGF and Ace 'o Spades are poking the Barack Obama campaign over a weird, anti-semitic rant posted by a user (User: Ikey G-Khan Galacticca...really) to the community section of the Obama campaign website. Meanwhile, Real Debate Wisconsin is criticizing the Obama campaign over a community blog post (User: Ejike from Canton, GA) that encourages McCain to "pay a deserved visit to the undertaker".

I don't think anybody would dispute that the posts are objectionable. But does the Obama campaign deserve criticism for things posted to the community section of their website?

This is a dangerous path to go down.

  1. Honesty Do we really want to feign offense at this stuff? I think everybody understands that the people posting that do not speak for the campaign. Let's not pretend we're really worked up over the rants of anonymous and insignificant kooks on the internet.


  2. Blowback: If we make hay over jerks trolling opponent's sites, then what are the consequences when jerks troll our own sites? Because they do. And they will. We do not want to set that precedent.


  3. Community: Negative blowback for unfortunate stuff left on community site will cause campaigns and organizations to shy away from community sites, participatory campaigning and public engagement. Is that where we want to go? Punishing people from being open and participatory on the internet?

We will lose that fight. You might score a minor point now and then, but the results would be bad for all of us.
 
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Actually Jon, from the world of Media Matters where they look for the smallest wedge issue at every opportunity to use againt conservatives, I could not disagree more with your premise.

The Obama campaign should look into who is writing on their website and what they are writing. By offering it up in that manner they open themselves up to criticism.

The undertaker comment was removed but the same author has numerous other comments equally inflamatory in nature.

I find the fact the the campaign did not bother to look at the author’s other writings equally troubling.

Like it or not Jon, they are already playing gotcha, you may not like the game but to completely ignore it is to give up before the fight is over.
 
Written By: Fred
URL: http://realdebatewisconsin.blogspot.com/
I don’t think anybody would dispute that the posts are objectionable. But does the Obama campaign deserve criticism for things posted to the community section of their website?
I’m with Fred, here.

First, (And remembering that I maintain a site of my own...) are you and the others responsible for what goes on on THIS web site? What action do you suppose you’d be taking were such posts to show up here?

Secondly,and perhaps of greater import, the central issue is not of Obama or his people directly, but of his supporters. Why is it than this stuff always seems to show up with the Democrats? Do they not take action against this stuff because they recognize that a large portion of their following really thinks that way? (THe amount of similar postings that show up on DU seems to give some weight to that concept)




 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
It is a dangerous path. But here’s my question to you: do we shy away from it to preserve a civilized debate, or do we go down that path because we have a duty to go there?

When leftists cave in to Muslim extremists and censor criticism of Islam out of their (the leftists) own anti-American sentiments, is it not dangerous for us to criticize them? We risk being accused of Islamophobia, but we have a duty to criticize the global institution that is Islam.

When leftists associate with anti-Semitic dictators out of anti-Israeli sentiment, is it dangerous to call them on it? Maybe we are being influenced by Israeli propaganda, but we have a duty to stand in solidarity with a freedom-loving people in a hostile part of the world.

When leftists accuse our soldiers of being murders or worse and go on the next day to ghoulishly revel in the latest casualty figures, is it dangerous to accuse them of being unpatriotic or worse?

I could go on to touch on just about every major issue today. The debate isn’t very civilized or pretty precisely because many of the issues are quite serious. And this isn’t to say that we have to take an attitude of grim determination in everything we say. But we do have to realize that the people we’re debating, in the rare cases where they do play fair, only do so because it’s convenient to them at the time.
 
Written By: ben
URL: http://
Actually Jon, from the world of Media Matters where they look for the smallest wedge issue at every opportunity to use againt conservatives, I could not disagree more with your premise.
Media Matters didn’t start that game. The Right and Left has been doing that for as long as there have been a Right and Left. Let’s not pretend we’re being forced into stupidity.
The Obama campaign should look into who is writing on their website and what they are writing. By offering it up in that manner they open themselves up to criticism.
No, no, no. That’s exactly it. They’ve opened their website up to tens, hundreds of thousands of people to comment, post and create content. They cannot possibly monitor and control everything that happens there. Do you really think they’re monitoring everything written and checking the backgrounds of people who write? Do you have any idea what you’re talking about here?!?!

If they had to do that, they would have to shut down that kind of openness and collaborative engagement with voters. And if you demand that, that’s exactly what will happen: organizations will conclude that they shouldn’t engage online, because jerks will come along and try to hold them accountable for anything that happens within their property, even if they were not, in fact, responsible for it.
First, (And remembering that I maintain a site of my own...) are you and the others responsible for what goes on on THIS web site? What action do you suppose you’d be taking were such posts to show up here?
No, I’m not responsible for commenters. Stupid people post stupid comments on this website all the time. What you say is not our responsibility.
Why is it than this stuff always seems to show up with the Democrats?
It’s because you have a terminal case of confirmation bias. You don’t notice it when it happens on the right. If you think equivalent stuff doesn’t happen on the Right, you’re either naive or stupid.

The result of your stupid gotcha games would be mutually assured destruction. All so you can try to generate some buzz over some jerk who wrote something stupid on a site where anybody - including you - can write something. Great work!
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
No, no, no. That’s exactly it. They’ve opened their website up to tens, hundreds of thousands of people to comment, post and create content. They cannot possibly monitor and control everything that happens there
I don’t recall there being any restrictions being placed on first timers, posting here. Yet despite several thousand people a day going to this site, and being encouraged to comment, I don’t recall there being a great deal of problem keeping it under control, doing a rather good job of it, save for some automated spam of late.

Then again, you guys have the desire to keep it under control. What then, might we say about Obama’s people?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
It’s because you have a terminal case of confirmation bias. You don’t notice it when it happens on the right. If you think equivalent stuff doesn’t happen on the Right, you’re either naive or stupid.
Never said it didn’t happen on the right. Indeed, I’ve spoken out against a few such cases where they HAVE come from the right, as you should already know. But it does seem to me the vast majority of it comes from the left.

You see, the truth, Jon, is never non-partisan, and very seldom does it defeat both political sides equally.


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
It’s probably Richard "Lucy" Warman setting the Obama campaign up for a section 13 conviction from the CHRC, after all an offended person might view the website in Canada.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/

 
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