An Apology

Dear Readers,

I owe you an apology.  Someone has taken advantage of my lack of attention and wormed their way into the comment system.  They were posing as several different people (mostly Greg G and Mesaeconguy) and intentionally posting inflammatory things in the comments.  I allow a great freedom to my commentors in that I do not screen or block comments.  Nevertheless, this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated.  I have blocked that person from commenting on this blog and the offending messages have been removed.

I do apologize for this unpleasantness.

68 thoughts on “An Apology

    • This guy was posting anti semetic and anti liberal ramblings. Plus he was playing both sides. I do not like being made a fool, and I’m sure no one else here wants improper things attributed to them

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      • You can’t pull the wool over our eyes so easily, Jon.

        Anti-Semitic; fair enough, but you have allowed several of your other commenters to post anti-liberal rants, and you, yourself, in your posts, have done the same in the not so distant past.

        You and your readers have gone out of your way to use juvenile insults against liberals and others who have disagreed with your point of view. Unless by “anti-liberal” you mean anti-“liber”tarian, do you expect anyone to believe after reading your blog that you are suddenly going to delete comments because they are “anti-liberal”? Walt alluded to it, and no one is willing to call out your response, so I will: You deleted these comments because you fell for the trick and it hurt your ego. Nothing more. (btw, If you want to delete posters because they are “imposters” you have a lot more cleaning up to do than that guy)

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        • I have almost no regulation on my blog of comments. Commentators can post anything they want. What I object to is people stealing other people’s names and making them say things they never normally would say. It is the equivalent of identity theft in my eyes. It is one thing for someone to come onto this blog and claim everything is the Jews fault or whatever. It’s all another something different for someone to actively copy people’s usernames, post slurs under their names, and purposefully instigate conflict by posing as other person. That sort of behavior is unacceptable and will not be allowed on this blog.

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        • Smithwicks,

          >—“(btw, If you want to delete posters because they are “imposters” you have a lot more cleaning up to do than that guy)”

          Which comments are still up that you think were written by imposters? I am not aware of any but if you have some in mind I will take another look at them.

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    • Yup. The inmates took over the asylum.

      I feel like the substitute teacher who couldn’t keep the class from running wild.

      Thanks for restoring order Jon.

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      • But I’m guessing (without counting) that you have single-handedly attracted more comments to one post than all previous posts combined. It seems most visitors, myself included, generally agree with Jon’s posts & have little reason to comment. You have broken that trend.

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        • Ron,

          Yeah, some people like yourself are happy for a chance to debate these issues. Others are outraged that the circle jerk, echo chamber effect they were seeking was ruined. Either way, more people get involved.

          In any event, it’s Jon’s blog and he was clear about wanting to give some space to opposing views. I think we created some additional interest in the blog. Jon told me he got a records number of hits for the blog. I had fun and may do it again at some point.

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          • “Others are outraged that the circle jerk, echo chamber effect they were seeking was ruined. Either way, more people get involved. ”

            Well said. It seems that Jon has taken a turn for the better. I applaud the effort for inclusion that was previously denied in this blog. But he still has a lot to prove if he doesn’t want to be remembered as the libertarian Rush Limbaugh.

            I sincerely hope your post, Greg, is a sign for things to come rather than a fluke.

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  1. How does it differ from the anti-liberal inflammatory ramblings that Mesaeconguy actually made? They both differed in rhetoric, though I can’t find one or the other that isn’t as bad as both. I found even before the use of a sockpuppet was used, Mesaeconguy took half of his post devoted to personal attacks and support of killing people he hated off.

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    • It doesn’t differ at all, which is part of the inconsistency of Jon’s retort. There’s also no point in blocking imposters as almost no-one posts using their real names on the internet any ways. I guarantee you that there are also users who use multiple names to make different arguments or get away with slander. Are they any better?

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      • Again, that is NOT what was happening. This person was posting pretending to be other commentators. I found out about it because one of my commentators emailed me and said “Someone is pretending to be me.”

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        • I spent years reading crap, some legally libelous, put out by anonymous people during union election time and find the same rampant thing on blogs now. Do anonymous posters really deserve the right to complain about impostors if they won’t own their own writing?
          It’s your blog, Jon, but it is not difficult to enforce a no personal attract rule, and as a blog owner it could keep you out of legal trouble, too.

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  2. Walt

    Two things:

    1. The user name Walt Greenway is no less anonymous than any other. As far as I know, it does nothing to help identify you to anyone here. To those who have seen a lot of them, the style and content of your comments identify you better than whatever name you post at the top.

    2. Jon has information about posters, including their IP address, that the rest of us don’t see, so he can more easily identify anyone pretending to be someone else.

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    • Ron,

      1) I had to back off posting on CD because I use my real name and my students wanted to know why I accepted personal attacks but did not allow it on their discussion boards. My personal experience is that anonymous posters can be much more uncivil than posters who use their real names.
      2) I am a Web content adviser and a Blackboard instructor for a college with responsibilities for a few hundred students and usually more than a dozen instructors. I am aware of how to link names to poster comments.

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      • Walt,

        I agree with everything you’ve said. If the name is connected to a legitimate email it’s far more easy to regulate. And a clear set of rules with consistent enforcement would be nice. It’s apparent that enforcement of identity theft is one directional: He won’t allow strangers to impersonate friends, yet he’s willing to allow friends impersonate strangers. If it’s not tolerated, don’t tolerate it across the board!! He also mentioned the stranger went on “anti-semetic and anti-liberal ramblings” but he has allowed his friends to do the same. Consistency is the key to any effective regulation.

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        • I think Jon’s heart is in the right place, and he is definitely wicked smart. I take great pleasure reading his writing. This blog is a valuable resource of intelligent information

          There’s a learning curve in the leadership role a blog owner has to assume if it is not to be a free-for-all. Unchecked, bad behavior seems to seep out of many people. It’s not always easy having to be the bad guy with the rule book that has to show someone the door.

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          • He has some interesting theories and creative connections to pop-culture, I’ll give you that. But you’ve even commented on how this site is a libertarian circle jerk. His content is obviously a work in progress as well. It wasn’t too long ago that this site was essentially a Robert Reich hate blog. It’s always been a machine to promote libertarian ideals, carpe diem and cafe hayek. His treatment of commenters who express different points of views is atrocious. Allowing Greg’s post was certainly a step in the right direction, but the aftermath shows he’s not ready to truly be open-minded. I can share your vision of potential, but he’s got some major bias issues to work out if he wants it to be a valuable resource or a source of intelligent information.

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            • Dave,

              I appreciate your support but, if you are going to frequent libertarian blogs, you shouldn’t be surprised if you see that the the blog owner and commenters overwhelmingly support libertarian ideas. Open minded doesn’t mean failing to take and promote a position consistently. By the standards of libertarian blogs (or the internet in general) what you have seen here from Jon (and even from most commenters) has been mostly quite mild stuff.

              Most people prefer discussing politics and economics with people holding views similar to themselves. It’s not just libertarians who incline that way. In my experience, libertarians might be on average a bit more inclined to engage with people they disagree with.

              Jon has invited me back and I will write another guest post at some point before too long. I know he is seeking other people to do opposing guest posts. That doesn’t mean he needs to accept everything that is submitted. Moderating and writing a blog is a lot of work. I didn’t see any comments other than the ones that Jon deleted that I thought were by imposters. You and I might make some different choices about what to tolerate if this was our blog but it’s not.

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              • Greg,

                That goes without being said. I fully expect to see libertarian rhetoric when visiting libertarian blogs. I was merely commenting on Jon’s evolution and how I think he expects to be viewed vs. how he is actually viewed. My take on it is that he should put more of an effort to be open-minded and encourage others to be open-minded if he truly wishes to be viewed as intelligent. I think Walt said it well in the post below.

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        • This IS consistant enforcement. The crime this fool committed was identity thrift. If someone was claiming to be you and posting things in your name without your permission, or claiming to be Walt and posting things in Walt’s name without his permission, he’d be blocked, too. No one, but that troll, has done this so no one, but that troll, has needed to be blocked.

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          • As I said earlier, identity theft of any kind will not be tolerated. If you have any claims, let me know (there is a contact me button so you can report it anonymously) and I will investigate. If someone is doing it, they will be blocked.

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          • Smith

            Jon has stated quite clearly that “…identity theft of any kind will not be tolerated.” What part of that don’t you understand and why are you questioning Jon’s integrity?

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              • The part we just found out is that Jon has blocked a stranger for impersonating other people on the blog, but has allowed me, one of the most regular commenters on this blog, to post messages under a fake name using a fake email.

                If Jon has access to commenter information he knew who I was before he even responded to my first post. Yet, he allowed it to continue and argue both sides. I didn’t do it spite him, but to prove that if he is insincere in his convictions the problems will continue and could potentially get worse.

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                • There would be no reason to access commenter information unless there is a problem or someone complains. It would be very time consuming to check every comment. As long as you let the public comment, impostors will be a problem. I’m glad the blogs and forums I moderate only allow registered users.

                  Jon has very clearly explained his rules (no rules) whether you agree with them or not.

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                • Smithwicks,

                  Now you are being ridiculous. You must have way too much time on your hands. Jon’s failure to detect your fake post doesn’t demonstrate insincerity. It demonstrates that he is way too busy to hunt down your harmless pranks. Walt has it right. There is no reason to check comments when they don’t look suspicious and no one is complaining about being impersonated.

                  You can start your own blog any time and run it any way you want. Now that you know how this one is run, think about whether or not you can live with that when you decide whether or not to come back.

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                • Smithwicks/Daniel/Whoever

                  What a fun game!

                  I wouldn’t be so sure that someone named Scott Brown is seething in silence about your childish prank. It’s more likely that the email address you have chosen isn’t monitored.

                  It’s also possible that the account belongs to the former Senator from Massachusetts who uses that name. he may consider that annoyance a breach of national security, and the Eye of Sauron may be slowly but steadily turning your way. You won’t need to listen for the knock on your door, I’m sure you’ll hear the NSA team entering as your door disintegrated. I hope you don’t have a dog.

                  Another possibility is that the extremely tolerant and patient Jon Murphy might decide to add “people who annoy me” to his tiny list of reasons to block people.

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                • Ron,

                  Scott Brown is an incredibly common name. The chances that either of your theories is correct is slim to none. Perhaps Scott has junked the emails he received, but I doubt he’ll think it’s a “minor annoyance” from a “childish prank” if they keep on coming. Smithwicks (or whomever) has clearly gone out of his way to prove the inconsistency of the law here, and unfortunately for you, you’re just revealing your questionable intgelligence by persisting.

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      • Dave

        You are assuming that quality was ever a consideration, and as a result you jumped to an unwarranted conclusion. Obviously there is a large quantity of low quality comments on this thread. I didn’t think it needed explaining, but I forgot you were probably still reading.

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        • So creating a post in where several commenters have questioned Jon’s leadership ability, exposed themselves as con-artists, and criticize the lack of security of the commenters section is worth a pat on the back? ….. riiiiiight.

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  3. So, wait a second. Let me get this straight. I can use somebody’s email address to make anti-semetic, anti-liberal comments, but as long as the original owner of the email address I stole doesn’t complain to Jon, I’m off scott free? Where the fuck is the logic there? How is that NOT the same thing that the blocked commenter did?

    And Greg, Walt did say that he’s glad he uses blogs that ONLY ALLOW REGISTERED USERS. Which was a suggestion made by multiple users.

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    • …but as long as the original owner of the email address I stole doesn’t complain to Jon, I’m off scott Scot free?

      Essentially yes, but I’m not sure why you haven’t figured out why that’s not a problem. Commenters on a particular thread would recognize that their user names were making comments they hadn’t made themselves, and they would complain to the host. Someone who never visits this blog wouldn’t know it was happening, and wouldn’t complain. In other words don’t pretend to be someone who can see you doing it. That’s what happened to the blocked commenter here.

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      • “Identity theft in any form will not be tolerated”

        That’s the issue here. And what makes you so sure that they don’t know. What if they do know, but they don’t know where the mysterious emails are coming from? If I steal something from you or hurt someone you love, but you never find out or complain about it, am I not still in the wrong? ….. You know what? You’re not even worth my time.

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        • You know what? You’re not even worth my time.

          LOL. A little blustering in a futile attempt to cover your failure to understand the subject being discussed, eh? Nice one, Dave. By the way, how old are you? Just wondering.

          Here’s the thing Dave, you’re missing something important here, and you don’t seem to care.

          Let me modify your quote a little so perhaps you can understand it better:

          “Identity theft in any form – at this blog – that I become aware of – will not be tolerated”

          Is that clearer? I doubt that Jon is hunting identity thieves world wide, so unless he notices something , or someone complains, he will probably not punish anyone. Dooo…youuuu…understaaand?

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          • 1. I find it incredibly ironic that you are calling someone out for not understanding when it is clearly you who doesn’t get it. Answer the question: If someone steals from you or hurts somebody you love, but you never find out about it, are they not in the wrong? You might find part of the point [i]you[/i] are missing.

            Here’s something else that you are not understanding: At least three commenters directly asked Jon if he would treat all identity theft equally. He said yes. Then someone (like an idiot) came clean about his. He was rightfully mocked for his idiocy, but he was not blocked. Another part of the problem is that Jon claimed to block the user for “anti-semetic and anti-liberal ramblings,” but he did not hold the same standard for Mesaeconguy. That’s what Dave and others are angry about. You can disagree with that assessment if you want, but don’t be so quick to mock when you are apparently having trouble understanding what others are trying to tell you.

            2. Let’s have a lesson on proper debate skills:

            “Let me modify your quote a little so perhaps you can understand it better:”

            If you’re trying to prove something to someone the last thing you should do is fabricate quotes.

            “I always laugh at people who…” “How old are you?” “It appears you have a lack of understanding of..”

            Insulting others only proves that you are insecure about your own arguments. Instead of intentionally skipping over the segments of the argument that prove you wrong and insulting the author over something they disagree with you on, back up your argument like a civilized adult.

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    • Dave, you can be any Dave you want to be except a Dave that is already a Dave. You do know Jon has a job other than this blog, right?

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  4. And Greg, Walt did say that he’s glad he uses blogs that ONLY ALLOW REGISTERED USERS.

    Which of course i just one more step, and does nothing to prevent people from registering with someone else’s email address.

    I believe the blogs Walt refers to are internal, where proof of association with that group is required. and which aren’t open to the public.

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    • Ron, most blogs/forums will have an admin dashboard where you can check a box to allow no comments, allow comments from registered users who ask for approval (has a delay if admin approves), and allow comments from everyone who supplies a username and email address with instant comment approval. In addition, all comments can be approved through moderation before posting and/or put through different types of filters and blocks (that one’s a lot of work).

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        • My blogs/forums registered users require validated email addresses. They apply, get an email, and reply to that email to be approved (I can choose to auto register or moderate register). I’m not familiar with WordPress’ blog admin choices.
          You’re doing a great job, Jon. Ignore the noise — even mine 🙂

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      • Yes, thanks Walt, I’m aware. My point was that registering on a public blog only adds one more step to the process of making a comment, and can prevent random, drive-by comments, but doesn’t keep anyone from registering with a fake or stolen ID unless the blog is internal to a company or organization and not accessible by the public such as a company email system, which requires positive ID as a member of that group,

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        • The blog owner, even on a public blog, picks up a record there is a legitimate email address tied to the username along with an agreement to follow the blog rules and a legal disclaimer the user and not the blog owner is liable for the poster’s comments. It’s also a great opportunity to inform the new user personal attacks and copyright infringement will not be tolerated.

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  5. Walt

    The blog owner, even on a public blog, picks up a record there is a legitimate email address tied to the username…

    Yes, I’m aware of that also. Legitimate email addresses are not scarce or hard to get. For no particular reason I have 28 legitimate email addresses. It wouldn’t be hard to create any number of legitimate user IDs on various blogs if I wished.

    …along with an agreement to follow the blog rules and a legal disclaimer the user and not the blog owner is liable for the poster’s comments.

    There is no need for a user agreement unless it makes you feel good. A blog is the ultimate example of libertarian private property rights. The blog owner can allow or not allow comments, can set any rules he wishes, allow or disallow anybody he wishes for any reason, block some people for certain behavior and not block others for the same behavior, The blog owner is king, everyone else is a guest whose every privilege is at the whim of the king.

    I always laugh when commenters find it necessary to tell their host what they *must* do on their own blog.

    It’s also a great opportunity to inform the new user personal attacks and copyright infringement will not be tolerated.

    If those are things a blog owner doesn’t wish to tolerate, yes.

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    • Ron, the king is legally liable for content on their blog whether they wish to tolerate it or not. Rules, regulations, or other boundaries often protect both sides. What the verified email address does is give the blog owner a way to contact the commenters about a problem privately without spanking them in front of the other commenters.

      A no-rule blog policy is just a disaster waiting to happen because someone at some time is going to push it and show you that you actually do have rules at some point where everything has already gotten out of hand. But this is Jon’s blog, and we can let him find that out for himself (maybe with Dave in a few days)

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  6. May I make a suggestion that we all act like adults and move on? Jon has declared that he is willing to have a double standard and that’s fine. Let him. It’s his responsibility if things come to bite him in the butt. But there is nothing the rest of us can do about it.

    Smithwicks (or whoever): I don’t know what you’re thinking, but it wasn’t smart.

    Ron: You’re quick to call people out, but you are acting like the biggest idiot on this thread.

    Dave: You’re getting too angry over something you can’t control.

    Walt: You’re the only one who’s making any sense in this entire thread, which is why I’m surprised you keep getting sucked back into it. Don’t deal with these idiots and move on.

    Jon: You are doing a good job with the blog. I understand that you are trying to give your readers freedom to say what they want, but the thing you don’t quite get is that you are responsible for all the content on your blog, that includes comments. If you allow this kind of behavior, and you set a standard that your friends can get away with anti-liberal ramblings and posing as others, but new comers can’t it will only hurt you if you want to ever do something with it.

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  7. I see that the masses have gotten what they want: comment security. I think you’ve made the right decision, Jon.

    The only question that remains is why the only comment you decided to delete was one by someone actually using their real name? You didn’t delete any of smithwicks messages and I have my doubts about Dave being real, but you deleted my message calling for an end to this ridiculousness.

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  8. Ah, I can see where the confusion was. But then, why didn’t you do the same for Smithwicks? His icon changed, which is surely a sign that either his email or IP address changed? And he’s been commenting with that new ID for ages.

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    • Based on experience, the one thing I would suggest you NOT do, Jon, is ignore this post. Take the lessons learned from your recent past and act on it. Now that you know Smithwicks was a fake user, delete his posts. If you don’t and Jen’s concerns are real, you could now be facing accusations of gender discrimination, which is a violation of Wordpres’s terms of service.

      Best case scenario: you get another 50 posts on this thread and others repeating the same idiocy as before, which detracts from your actual work and potentially hurts you professionally; worst case scenario, you lose your blog.

      This is your blog and you can do as you please, but I would strongly consider this advice if you want to focus on the quality of your work rather than your annoying commenters.

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