Hurling Stones from the Peanut Gallery

Q: What do you do when you find a blogger burried up to his neck in sand?

A: You go get more sand.

That’s just one of the bad jokes I didn’t tell at Wednesday night’s Times Union Media 2010 blogging forum. Moderator Steve Barnes kept us so busy answering actual questions that there was little time for my nonsense. He deserves a big thank you from the audience for keeping me away from my two pages of corny material. I could tell that not everyone finds me funny.

It was also good because we got to discuss the topic of anonymous comments. If you’re reading this, you know that commenting on Times Union blogs doesn’t require any registration or verification. This is great because it encourages participation, but also opens up a dark and vicious side of people that doesn’t usually surface.

These are sometimes simple insults, like those made against Bethlehem blogger Jeanie DiNapoli — to vile and hateful attacks. The most virulent of these I’ve seen lately are leveled against Libby Post. These people aren’t just getting more sand, they’re swinging the shovel.

Libby Post writes about civil rights and GLBT issues, and Wednesday she stood up and talked about the nasty remarks hurled her way in the comments section.¬†She said that she’s used to people lashing out at her because of who she is and her beliefs, but the anonymous comments are like nothing she’s ever seen.

This doesn’t stop her from writing. And that takes courage.

If you comment, you should probably know that we can sometimes tell where your computer is located. This means it’s a bad idea to comment from places that could be embarrassing — like your office. It’s also transparent if you’re using multiple identities from the same computer.

It’s funny sometimes to see where people are commenting from. For example, I’ve gotten several critical anonymous comments from right inside the Times Union building. That’s the thanks I get for working for free?

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