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Removing Names: “DK’s Ephblog” or “Everybody’s Ephblog”?

(I emailed this to DK and he asked me to put it up as a post)

Dave,

I’m a bit bothered by your seemingly unilateral removal of the full name of Bong Hits 4 Hitler from this blog, all comments, and your statement that any future posts/comments with her name would be redacted, coupled with your offer to remove Rob’s name from EphBlog based on an exchange that you feel is of equal value.

Back when I was sniping at PTC for what I saw as spamming about marginally tangential (at most) Democrat/anti-Bush/anti-war/populist politics and policies around the country, you corrected my statement that this is “DK’s Blog” by responding “And, for the 237th time, this is not my blog. This is our blog.”

If that is the case, I have a real problem with your unilateral decision to go ahead and remove Julia’s name from the posts and comments, without even asking the rest of us for our opinions on the matter before you did so or even informing us that you were considering it. In the same vein, I have even more of a problem with offering to remove Rob’s name based on your “deal” with him.

If this site is not just your blog, you do not have the right to make that decision on behalf of all of the other authors and commenters, particularly when it seems that you are in an extremely small minority. If it’s your EphBlog, then you do — but I really don’t think you can have it both ways here.

Nobody is forcing you (or even necessarily asking you) to use her name or Rob’s now or in the future. But I find it strange, to say the least, that you proclaim that “this is our blog” but then go on to change the rest of our entries and comments about Bong Hits 4 Hitler, set an editorial standard for future posts about Bong Hits 4 Hitler, and propose to do the same for posts about Robert Shvern.

If it’s “our blog”, then you don’t have the authority to bind us in your agreements or make the decision to remove Bong Hits 4 Hitler from all comments and posts here. You have not consulted us, asked for our opinions, or apparently recognized that most if not all of the rest of us disagree with you on both of these points.

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Comments Disabled To "Removing Names: “DK’s Ephblog” or “Everybody’s Ephblog”?"

#1 Comment By ephmom On May 1, 2007 @ 3:12 pm

It seems to me that, even though David says it isn’t his blog, it really is. He would probably prefer reading, writing, and talking about All Things Eph to spending his time in lawyer’s offices.

#2 Comment By alex On May 1, 2007 @ 4:03 pm

Many people contribute, but truth be told David is the main force behind the research, articles and opinions and we are thankful for it. Who else has the time to make so many detailed posts between job and family obligations? David’s obsession with All Things Eph has its place and anyone wishing to contribute further is of course welcome.

#3 Comment By Loweeel On May 1, 2007 @ 4:21 pm

I’m not disputing his obsession, nor that he’s the main force behind it. I think that I’m one of David’s defenders far more often than not.

I’m only suggesting that it’s disingenuous to say that it’s not his blog, but our blog, on one hand, and then going around making fairly major decisions of editorial policy for everybody’s posts and comments completely on his own, on the other hand.

#4 Comment By David On May 1, 2007 @ 6:29 pm

Lowell writes:

If that is the case, I have a real problem with your unilateral decision to go ahead and remove Julia’s name from the posts and comments, without even asking the rest of us for our opinions on the matter before you did so or even informing us that you were considering it.

1) Do you have a problem with the score or so times that I have done this in the past? We have talked about the issue many times. We have posted many references to the FAQ. The only complaints I have received in the last 4 years have come from people thinking that more stuff should be deleted, not less.

2) What policy do you suggest going forward? Please be precise. We have a FAQ now. How exactly do you want it to read?

3) Independent of how the FAQ should read going forward, is there any doubt about what it says now and what it has said for at least two years.

Just ask! EphBlog will delete almost any post or comment which mentions a specific individual at the request of that individual. We have been asked a dozen times to delete specific material and have complied with almost every request. This is not to say that we will delete anything that anyone wants us to. For example, important, news-worthy topics (e.g., here, here and here) will be covered even if that coverage makes the subject uncomfortable.

Now, admittedly, this does not cover Julia’s precise request. But, in spirit, how could we not remove her last name at her request, given this statement? We still get to cover all the important aspects of the story. No “news” is lost.

Given the FAQ, what justification is there for not removing her last name? Does the FAQ not apply to your posts as well as mine?

#5 Comment By rory On May 1, 2007 @ 7:11 pm

It seems, considering her public stance in the Williams Record and via her own public sending of her letter, that she wants to delete her name in specific locations.

Along with David’s solomonic effort (if, as some have argued, misguided) to find a middle ground with Rob Shvern (to whom I plan to give not an inch…as though that matters, as I’m not even an author), perhaps in this case there is one.

As a fellow eph, Julia might deserve more empathy. So here’s what I propose: she apologize for the unnecessary harm she caused, schedule and hold a public event of some sort in which she apologize (I want to hear the words, not just read them. its much harder to sound falsely sincere when speaking than when writing) and then ephblog removes any full name reference to her. Let this be another learning experience and then we can all drop it, having salvaged what we can.

Considering the importance of anonymity and its eventual removal to the original news story, to revert to it would be inappropriate. I believe the FAQ never expected nor does it properly deal with this specific situation (as no FAQ is going to get all things covered). I do not believe any policy will adequately clarify things for future cases, nor should one.

#6 Comment By outed anon On May 1, 2007 @ 7:14 pm

Loweel-
David Kane is the man. We do not agree on a much politically, except of course, first amend rights- but he has to do what he thinks is right to monitor this place and keep it clean. It is not “his blog” just because he chooses to take steps to avoid liability and to protect others by deleating potentially dangerous content. He has always said, that anything abusive or what could lead to abuse will be taken down. This woman has put herself in a tough spot, and Dave rightfully wants to keep her safe. This content is potentially dangerous.

Now that the Williams collective has pulled their heads out of the sand and outed this person, one has to ask, what next? I believe Kane is thinking about that very thing, right about now. How does this play out?

Not everyone is going to be nice to a person who defends a Nazi boyfriend plastering Hitler posters around the place, especially when they back up his threats of violence and refuse to apologize. These kids are just naive. This one is a pressure cooker, it plays on peoples emotions in a very tough way. Hitler was responsible for the deaths of a lot good people, not many Americans escaped his wrath without having close members of their family and/or friends killed during the war. The truth is (thankfully) that the people who push this kind of hatred are a tiny minority, especially in rural New England.

The odd thing is, that in Kane’s desire to find an explanation other than the probable ugly truth, he most cetainly destroyed her one defense, youthfull indescretion in a search for knowledge.

Do any of you believe that these two are going to feel welcome having a drink at the legion anytime soon? How about the VFW? I doubt it. Williamstown is a small place and there are a ton of veterans there. There is a sub culture of elite military people as well. Williamstown is just the surface…. you think they are going to love these two in Boston, NYC??? Kane is smart to create some distance… for the sake of the young woman and her “tough” boyfriend. He actually believes that the only people they offended with this stunt were Williams College students? Dude, they offended the world. He and Julia have been living in a bubble. That bubble, is broken. Wow they have been sheltered. So naive. So dumb, so dumb.
I’d feel sorry for them but…… naw.

My advice to David (after looking at this whole event and wondering “what next”) is that he take it all down. Every post. Forget about the last name bit. This has the potential to move beyond speech at this point. Those that need to know, do.
Nothing positive comes from keeping the names public now. Nothing.

#7 Comment By Anonymous On May 1, 2007 @ 7:33 pm

It figures that a bully would try to go after the easiest possible target. I wonder if Fark or National Review or the Williams Record will be quite so easer to accomodate (appease?) Hitler girl.

#8 Comment By rory On May 1, 2007 @ 7:40 pm

outed anon–

Your empathy for the two is remarkable and I’m moved to consider that perhaps their names serve little purpose (except, of course, if they do push this threatened lawsuit. then its a different story) except for the desire to have someone to lash out at for disturbing our idyllic image of Williams.

However, in one of the moments of calm thought that I fully agreed with but got washed away in the heat of the moment, one poster (I’m too lazy to remember who–was it Jonathan Landsman? I’m 95% sure) pointed out that for at least seven years, sometime in the spring a crazy embarrassing moment like this happens at Williams in which community standards are challenged by someone on a righteous first amendment push without fully considering the pain speech can cause.

This incident is, from what I’ve seen, one of the worst and most blatant examples. And I believe part of the reason such incidents are so cyclical is because after every one of them, Williams as a community sighs and agrees to forget about the incident. We need to create a memory as a community that this type of crap happens in the hope that such a memory may help us avoid another such incident next April.

So names I can be swayed on, but the story MUST live on.

#9 Comment By Anonymous On May 1, 2007 @ 9:38 pm

I say leave the names. Shvern is acting tough to try to continue to intimidate, something he has worked at to perfect for so many years. If you back down now, he will have won — and will not have learned anything except how to continue to be a bully. I say call his bluff, and thereby show that the true strength and goodness of the Williams community is not subject to barter.

#10 Comment By ephmom On May 1, 2007 @ 11:25 pm

“she apologize for the unnecessary harm she caused, schedule and hold a public event of some sort in which she apologize (I want to hear the words, not just read them. its much harder to sound falsely sincere when speaking than when writing)”

Is there any indication that she will address the issue (not in writing) as the College stated in the letter to the community?

#11 Comment By Eric On May 1, 2007 @ 11:32 pm

I think it would be way easier if Robert would just change his last name to Smith. Talk about problem solving, I’m awesome.

And I should know – you Google my name and whoa, talk about drinking from the fire hose.

Also, in regards to having the girl speak and come across as more genuinely sincere – I believe someone said she is a theater major. If she’s a good theater major, then maybe it doesn’t matter so much either way.

#12 Comment By outed anon On May 2, 2007 @ 3:15 am

“Williams in which community standards are challenged by someone on a righteous first amendment push without fully considering the pain speech can cause.”

Rory- I really wish the Ephs would stop repeating these disproven talking points. The only reason anyone is still talking about this speech nonsense is because the administration is considering punishment and many still want to cling to the “idyllic image of Williams.” I do not believe these two did it to demonstrate speech. Do you? That excluse/explanation for this behavior has been proven bogus by Kane’s leg work and the lack of any apology. In fact, they have gotten more belligerant since.

If you are going to be true to your desire “to create a memory as a community” then you must be honest about what was done here, and who did it. Repeating this false excuse to protect the Williams image does not serve your desire for honesty.

That is what makes this so hard. It is not about speech, it is about having the stomache to show tolerance towards a neo Nazi Williams student and her friends. Even when they are in your face, menacing you.

#13 Comment By JLev On May 2, 2007 @ 6:23 am

outed anon,

I don’t see what your point is other than to assume a condescending tone and establish that there are nazi’s among us. I think you’re getting at something more, but I’m not fully sure what.

Also, if she is a neo nazi we’ve established that bigots can be nice people too. So we will tolerate her for as long as she will tolerate us. But at the moment she has shown a distinct lack of tolerance…

On other items of interest, its seems that DK has the right to prevent himself from being sued even if its everybody’s blog, until everyone can get sued, those being threatened have the right to protect themselves (we can chime in as to whether the threat is real).

The previous covers responses to Rob S. As for Julia, I agree with Rory, if she’s learned, the things which taught her needn’t hang over her forever, though they are newsworthy and should be preserved.

#14 Comment By rory On May 2, 2007 @ 9:29 am

outed anon-

Trust me, I’m not denying the specifics of any of the issues in this situation. But what is holding the college back is its respect for the first amendment and the spirit of that amendment coupled with a bunch of asses hiding behind it. Were there no first amendment concerns–even as they were not central to the act, just a covering agent–this would all be different.

#15 Comment By frank uible On May 2, 2007 @ 11:55 am

If we would have the good judgment and discipline to merely socially ostracize and otherwise ignore these two, I bet their presence and consequently our sense of it would shrivel, dry up and blow away, and then we could devote our energies to productive and very possibly pleasant pursuits.

#16 Comment By outed On May 2, 2007 @ 1:53 pm

Jlev- Not my point at all. I do not want to rub your nose in anything, but when people are making excuses for these two, and the college paper is in complete spin damage conrtol mode, one has to ask, which is more important, reality or image? That is the question here, it has nothing to do with rubbing your nose in it. We live in an age where politics often superseeds the reality of situations. An age Where people are manipluated and bombarded with propaganda. I applaud David’s courage and honesty. If no one points out the reality, then it is lost in the static.