February 22, 2007

New Policy

In light of the number of folks who apparently have nothing to say about the issues raised here, yet still feel the urge to leave comments, I've resorted to a new policy here.

I'm reinstituting a policy which was in effect in the past, but which I'd hoped I wouldn't have to resort to again. Sadly, it's necessary.

Given that most comments are from people who have nothing better to do than attack, slander, and attempt to intimidate me, I'm simply done with it. I've dealt with it literally every day for nearly two years and I'm tired of their tedious and boring drivel.

So from now on, in order to leave comments, you must be a registered member.

I truly hope that those who have something to contribute here besides contant and incessant harassment, threats, and attacks will take the time to register.

After some consideration and in light of some feedback from a loyal reader, I've abandoned the "registered user only" policy and restored the anyone can comment policy as before.

The difference is that from now on, I will not comment or respond to comments.

Apparently I'm a bit too strong for some folk's sensibilities. And in light of the fact that I never wanted to be the only person arguing against right wing positions in the first place, and only did so because no one else seemed to step up to the plate, I gladly use this opportunity to step out of the picture.

From now on, if there's some comment that's blatantly false or which unfairly smears a Democrat or anyone else, it'll have to just sit there unchallenged unless one of you wants to take it on.

All those who have gotten into the habit of writing in and addressing your arguments to me specifically, don't. From now on, address it to all readers.

If no one responds.... well, guess that's too bad.

From now on it's your show. Make the best of it.

And good luck.

Comments will still be moderated and those whose comments amount to nothing more than, "You suck" or psychotic remarks about the bizarre, incredibly extensive, and almost comic lengths you've gone to to try to find ways to intimidate me will, as always, never see the light of day.

If this doesn't work out, then the option to simply not allow comments at all will be considered.

The bottom line is that a handful of people, including elected public officials, have been reported to have hired private investigators, tried to gather and analyse fingerprints, spent countless hours trying to analyse computer records, snooped around and investigated people suspected of being associated with me, arranged for a person in another state to send a large contribution to the blog in hopes of finding information, and who knows what else.

I suspect this may be criminal, especially since it appears likely that they've used government resources to do this.

And why their obsession?

Other than being a bunch of dim-wits who want to stomp out any sort of criticism or honest opposition, and who choose to do so by acting like some juvenille B-movie mafia, I have no idea.

I've been told by a couple commenters that the paragraph above is too rough. They suggest that I really can't complain about any abuse I may get when I use such language, as if that means whatever anyone does to me, it's justified.

I find it rather disturbing that the idea of elected officials hiring investigators to go through all sorts of records to try to dig up dirt on someone and their family, including interrogating those who they suspect to be associated with them and gathering fingerprints, for God's sake, doesn't seem to register. Trying to publish what dirt they can dream up anywhere online they can find which will let them, manufacture lies and threats all designed to try to intimidate an individual into either giving the blog up completely, handing control of the blog over to them, or writing what they dictate, they can overlook that.

But what really bugs them is when I'm not polite to the people who have done all these things and more for nearly two years.

They're more concerned about my calling these people "nit-wits".

Makes me wonder why I try, seriously.

Rough language, bad. Blackmail, intimidation, threats, and non-stop harassment for nearly two years by elected officials? No big deal, after all, I call unspecified anonymous attackers names. WTF??!!

Forgive me if that makes me a bit naseous. Guess no one grasps the principle that anyone should be free to say what they want, as long as it's not simply a smear against an individual personally. And the idea that people in positions of power shouldn't abuse that power by using it in efforts to intimidate, threaten, and attempt to blackmail people into not being able to freely publish facts and opinions regarding those same public officials? Am I the only one who thinks that principle is very important?

Must be just a quaint old-fashioned idea, eh? Well, if you choose thugs over independence, then you get thugs. If you side with those to try to stomp out any dissent or opposition, then you get ruled by thugs. And if you aid them in their efforts at personal destruction, you become a thug yourself.

I'd rather not have anything to do with thugs. Even if it means not being polite to them.


At 2/22/2007 5:35 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Dope, I love the blog and agree with you on a lot of stuff, but I've almost stopped reading it over the last few months. I think the way that you respond to the idiots is just making it worse. Saying stuff like "Other than being a bunch of dim-wits who want to stomp out any sort of criticism or honest opposition, and who choose to do so by acting like some juvenille B-movie mafia, I have no idea." is just sinking to their level.

Sometimes when someone posts something you disagree with, you really go after them, calling their viewpoint stupid, etc. I'm pretty sure you can debunk most of the stupid positions without resorting to insulting them. I hate to criticize, because like I said, I agree with many of your views. I'm not sure what the solution is, but sometimes you have to stay above the fray.

I doubt that will fix the problem, but maybe it will move the tone of discussion in a better direction. Or maybe its just national politics is that much worse than Davenport politics.

At 2/22/2007 7:22 PM, Blogger Robbie C. said...

zomg!!! Your so wrong for taking away my freedom of speech!!! You don't know what your talking about!!!

Just kidding. Whatever it takes to keep the blog under control. Sorry people can't act like grownups.

At 2/22/2007 8:38 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Fair enough QCI, and I appreciate your view.

I have asked over and over and over and over again every way I could possibly think of for people to send in any constructive criticism or what they liked or disliked about TID.

I've never heard a peep.

So thanks for being the only one QCI. At least I got one bit of feedback, and I appreciate it.

I'm not sure anyone has any inkling of what I'm talking about when I react angrily to these attackers, probably because I can't talk about it openly without spreading their garbage myself.

Try to keep in mind that I've received literally thousands of threats and attacks, not against me as The Inside Dope, but against who they think I am personally. It's included everything imaginable. They've spent a lot of time and money digging up garbage, up to and including dragging this person's family and young kids into it.
They've even reported using fingerprint analysis to try to ID who I am. Pure whackadoodle.

Now I laugh off most of it, but the fact remains that they've provided enough detail, and I've received enough information from others, to know that this weirdness is very likely true. I'm not just some paranoid here.

You can believe me or not, that's your right. But I would like nothing better than to think it was all juvenille bluster from someone trying to scare me, after all, it's preposterous and I wouldn't believe it if I heard it either. But unfortunately I very good reason to believe most of it, if not all is very real.

It's vile, disgusting, and coming from those who enjoy the public trust, reprehensible, petty, and unjusified.

This is not about me getting prickly with those who disagree with me or don't like the blog. Not in the least. Far from it.

This is about people who have gone way over the line in attempts to personally attack the person they think I am and threaten and intimidate me in private as well as the depths they've stooped to in that effort.

I'm also very disappointed that this blog has somehow become a sort of "debate the dope" forum for some conservatives and others as well.

This is NOT me against all comers, even though it's apparently turned out that way, much to my regret.

The idea is to debate everyone. But far too often, I'm the only one to respond to comments, despite my repeated pleas to all of you to please participate.

When I read and post something that is just begging to be disputed, I find it hard to just let it sit there without the response it deserves.

So when I respond to a comment, then they respond and argue with me and me only it starts things down the wrong path. It's not me vs. whoever, or at least it shouldn't be all the time. But no one else seems to jump in on either side 99% of the time.

If you don't like my responses and think I'm too rough or something, then jump in yourself, for heavens sake!

I've said until I'm blue in the face, YOU can make this blog like you want it, but not by sitting back and saying nothing. If I'm the only one responding and writing, then yeah, it's going to reflect my tone. But if I were only one of dozens of commenters, it wouldn't be that at all.

Commenters often write in addressing their challenges to me, as if I'm the only one here.

I then have two choices. Either not respond at all, in which case things that I know to be false or wrong are left there untouched and unchallenged, or it looks like I'm ducking the argument.

Or I can respond as an individual and hope others participate as well.

That's what I've done up until now.

I really haven't liked the fact that I appear to be the only one responding, but I've not known what else to do until now.

But I want it known that I do NOT enjoy having to be the only person to represent the Democratic or liberal point of view. I DO NOT enjoy spending my time arguing or rebutting nearly every single comment.

It's simply that no one else steps up to the plate.

I will GLADLY resign the role of punching bag or the sole representitive of the entire Democratic party or "liberals" or whatever you want to call an anti-conservative, as I never wanted it to begin with.

And more importantly, I'm NOT a representitive of the Democratic party or all "liberals" or anything else. I only represent my own views, period.

Besides, having to debate all comers is tedious, fruitless, and agfrevating. I've got better things to do, frankly.

I only fell into that role to try to keep things lively and move the debate along in hopes that others might join in.

That rarely happened, unfortunately.

So.....from now on, if you have some argument to make, address it to all readers in general, as I will not be participating any longer.

If a thread or topic just sits there and dies, so be it. If some piece of right wing clap-trap sits out there unchallenged, then I guess that's just the way it is.

So in light of all that and QCIs candid observation, I'll both open comments to all again, and refrain from commenting myself until further notice.

All comments directed specifically to me stands a good chance of not being published. If you have any questions for me that need to be addressed, you can contact me by e-mail.

Since apparently I'm a bad influence on you all, from now on, it's up to you readers to keep the conversation and debate going.

We'll just see how it goes.

Good luck.

At 2/22/2007 9:14 PM, Blogger Dave said...

"With great power comes great responsiblity." I think that came from Spiderman but it holds much too think about. Your volume of regular readers dictates that you take the high ground without sinking as low as some that you've mentioned above.

You have many readers, some who disagree with you more vicerously than others. I think that's one reason so many people come back. The debate is the lifeblood of your blog in my opinion.

While I don't see eye to eye with you on some issues you lay them out with good thought and reasoning. I come back to view this blog so I can see several sides of an issue.

I hope your new policy doesn't scare too many away from debating and discussing the issues. Your viewpoint won't lose its meaning if you stay on message and keep away from the personal, as QCI mentioned.

Here's to the open debate! ...and hopefully more 'grown up' conversations!

At 2/22/2007 9:39 PM, Blogger latinv said...

I applaud this move. Good Luck, God Bless. I hope Diehard, and Maybesomeday come back.

At 2/22/2007 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty sickening when people are more concerned with the Dope's raw language and passion than they are of public officials acting like petty tyrants.

Why even bother Dope? These people don't deserve it.

At 2/22/2007 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What scared you off LatinV? Intimidation?

Maybesomeday and DieHard never left. They've commented a few times recently.

If you were afraid of the Dope's comments, maybe you'll feel safe now, especially if those whose approval you need return as well.

At 2/23/2007 6:31 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

I wasn't saying you shouldn't comment Dope, I just wish people would attack arguments instead of people on the other side. Read back through old posts and you'll see a lot of "you're a fool if you believe that" kind of statements flying in both directions.

I know a little bit about the idea of commenters vs blogger, as many people over at QCI aren't fans of what I say, so I end up holding up my side of a debate against bunch of negative comments. If someone flat out attacks me for being stupid, or whatever, I just ask them why they're spending time reading my blog. If they're making actual arguments, I debate their points.

The whole name calling, mean-spirited attitude that I see on BOTH SIDES of partisan politics is a big part of why I'm registered Independent. I know that commenters are still going to keep being asses, but show 'em that you're better than that. I believe that you are.

At 2/23/2007 10:45 AM, Anonymous Will said...

Its the Rush Limbaughization of political discourse. Instead of civil debate they only know how to intimidate and make childish attacks. Its the sign of a weak mind and an ugly personality.

I've dealt with it too from County employees who decided to slander me personally for criticizing county government. One of them regularly reads my blog from work at his county job. There will always be people like that who never grow up. I'm not sure there's much you can do about it.

At 2/23/2007 3:14 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Will, that's all true.

But I can handle attacks and name calling when it's directed at me as a blogger or writer. If it's specifically about something I've written and offers evidence or an argument against it, that's fine and to be expected.

If they attack me as The Inside Dope for anything I've done here, it's sometimes infuriating, but that's not what I'm complaining about.

I hope that's clear.

It's rather a few people in positions of power who have gone far beyond that and chosen to employ bizarre means and go to crazy extents in order to find out who I am, and beyond that, to dig up information which has absolutely NO bearing whatsoever on what I write or the blog. And then beyond that, attempt to use this personal information to threaten, attempt to blackmail, and try to falsely smear me as an individual, NOT as The Inside Dope.

They don't address anything I've written here. They don't rebut or dispute anything. They simply have gone to great lengths to try to attack me as a private citizen.

This is what I find pretty amazing and disgusting. And I may be wrong, but I think most people would share my opinion.

At 2/23/2007 7:26 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Certainly I agree with that.

My thing is a separate issue then. I was pretty much addressing why I don't comment around here as much anymore. I have a hard enough time with the QCTimes.comments people, so coming to this blog and reading a bunch of personal attack-style debate just turns me off.

At 2/23/2007 10:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that your behavior tword Jim Moen has been unfair mean spirited and down right negative. He is a strong commentor and I think he would be a great guest dope if the stress becomes to much for you. Good luck and bless you.

At 2/24/2007 1:44 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I got ya QCI.

To each his own, and thanks for the honest opinion.

But when I'm the only one fighting off these trolls and those who only comment to attack, antagonize and disrupt, it's kind of hard to accept criticism for being "uncivil" in response.

If I had readers that gave a damn, they'd be doing a lot of the policing themselves and I'd blessedly have nothing to do but occasionally comment and weed out comments that don't even approach worthwhile.

Readers set the tone, and if they don't care enough to particpate, or if not enough do, and if they react to seeing harsh language and arguments they find offensive by fleeing and giving up...well, I guess you get back what you put in maybe.

And how someone can read comments, think they're uncivil or offensive, and then, rather than leaving their own comments perhaps chiding the person who first got ugly and at least contributing something civil and rational, they instead simply decide not to read anymore.... therefore guaranteeing that the bozos will dominate, well... I guess I understand, but it's certainly guaranteed that they're not going to be helping the cause.

To me, it's then that I wish readers would feel the need to participate more, not flee and not participate at all.

Look, there must be a thousand intelligent people who are knowledgable and interested in the topics presented here.

If even a quarter participated only a few days a week, the place would be hopping and I'd be over the moon.

But if they all sit there as if this isn't for them... well, it's a vicious circle.

They don't participate, there's less intelligent discussion, there's more 'uncivil" arguments, and things are more antagonistic and the fights get more heated, and the comments get more personal, and ...... then folks like you go away.

And when folks like you go away instead of standing your ground and saying that you want to be able to comment and have a civil discussion, then you in effect ensure that it will never happen.

But if only 50 of you at any given time commented even every other day, the discussion would be rolling and it would snowball and the blog would be fun and interesting, and I'd be over the moon.

That's why it's disheartening to hear that you and likely others choose to not participate precisely when you're needed most.

If you find the threads often not to your taste, then rather than accepting that as the way it is, why not try to change it? If more people did that, then the shrill arguments would be rare and I could have more latitude as to what and how many comments I approve.

As it stands, if I only published just the comments of the sort I expect or hope for, I'd be publishing very few comments indeed.

If I had more decent comments, I'd have plenty and could afford to raise the standards for what got published and what didn't.

It would all be a snowball effect.

But I've never had the critical mass to do it, and that frustrates me to no end.

I know there's some great contributors out there, you among them QCI, as well as dozens more. But if they only read and don't write... well....

Don't be surprised if it's not what you'd prefer.

At 2/24/2007 2:38 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I seriously think Jim Mowen has a terminal case of blog envy. He really needs to get the notion that he can somehow come along on my blog, dictate the issues and then demand that I spend hours engaging in fruitless and literally ENDLESS "debates" with him out of his head.

I was game the first few times, but then it became clear that it was nothing but an exercise in futility and a waste of time. And I'm far from the only one who's dealt with him to come away with that conclusion. Frankly, I've got better uses for my time.

I didn't start TID to provide a forum and to be a personal foil for Mowen to indulge his need to see his own pronoucements in print.

If he feels the need to hitch a ride on someone else's blog, he can find another. Like his own maybe.

Oh wait, he's already HAD his own blog, hasn't he. Almost no one found interesting, he quit, and it failed. That's right.

But since you've now writen about a dozen comments (all dumped for good reason) with the absolutely zany suggestion that I hand over my blog to Mowen, perhaps you could answer the obvious.

I relented and posted your comment for one reason only, and that is to beg you to answer the following two questions.

1. Please explain how Mowen deserves to be handed someone else's sucessful and long running blog when his own effort at writing a blog was a failure.

2. Please explain why you'd think that any sane person would do as you suggest.

And two bonus questions. Are you Jim Mowen? And did you really expect me to publish such insane comments?

I hope to hear the answers, as they would have to be a work of art, not to mention hilarious.

At 2/24/2007 3:28 PM, Blogger UMRBlog said...

I will pinch-hit and respond.

Question One: Because he is really a superhero. He changes into pink tights and Becomes "Psychoabortionguy" whenever the need arises;

Question Two: Because at least 50 Million abortions are being performed every day in Rock Island alone, and that's just at the drug stores!

Bonus Question One: I'll get back to you on that one as soon as I have a lucid interval;

Bonus Question Two: Of course I do. Otherwise I'll call you a baby-killer. Besides, I am a free enterprise guy so I believe in your enterprise featuring me for free.

Disclaimer: This reply, while fairly depicting Jim Mowen responses, has not been authorized by Mr. Mowen, his campaign for whatever, His Blog or its estate.

At 2/25/2007 11:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I answered your questions to the best of my ability, but you refused to post my comment. Why?

I think is the thing that is killing our blog. You can't be the judge and jury! Don't fear freespeech!

I thought you were going to post comments and let them fall or stand on their own?

At 2/25/2007 12:55 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Again you've apparently had difficulty with reading comprehension.

If I didn't post your comment, it was either because it was
A. Stupid
B. Nothing but an attempt at an insult
C. Didn't answer the questions at all
D. Or I possibly overlooked it.

Evidently you're confused about the comments policy. I said I'd again allow everyone to comment, meaning that I would not require them to be registrered users. But I also made it clear that I would still moderate comments.

As a matter of fact, I've stopped trying to please everyone, most especially those who do nothing but attack the blog or attempt to drag it down and intend to be even more aggressive in which comments I publish.

I suggest you get used to it.

It's not difficult to write a comment which shows some thought. Even you can do it.

At 2/27/2007 9:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get back to work Dope. Write better stories. And please add one of those nifty brain-teasers!

Doesn't it seem wierd to you that YOU are the person determining what people can and cannot say?

At 2/27/2007 9:57 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Does it seem weird that I determine what is published on my own blog?

Not at all.

Does the owner of a car dealership let random strangers decide which cars are displayed on the lot?

Do they just let anyone show up with any old, rusted out pile of junk they want to display and park it in front of the dealership? Somehow I doubt it.

Does the publisher or editor of a newspaper let anyone that feels like it write whatever crazy stuff they want and then publish it on their front page? Not the last time I checked.

Who do you think should determine what gets published here? You?

That ain't gonna happen.

So yes, I determine what appears here because that's the way it has to be. And there's nothing unusual or improper about it in the slightest, as you'd know if you had any familiarity with blogs whatsoever.

At 2/27/2007 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tis blog is about the people and for you to keep the truth from people is a slap in the face of the people. Be with the people and not against the people.

At 2/27/2007 11:29 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I AM with the people. That's what the politicians hate and that's why they've gone to such bizarre and shocking lengths to try to attack me.

Don't talk to me about being "for the people".

The only problem you have is that I do allow various viewpoints to be expressed, as long as they're somewhat rational and make sense.

But here's a clue. Comments like yours above don't add anything to the discussion and don't educate anyone about anything.

If you have complaints or questions, the proper way to contact me is by sending e-mail so I can respond without taking up time and space here.

Such comments here will not be published for the above reasons.

At 3/01/2007 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are not going to post the above comment why did you?

At 3/01/2007 4:21 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Um.. to explain the obvious, to make a point. One obviously lost on you evidently. Tsk, tsk.


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