MLK Day on Minnesota Democrats Exposed

I saw this earlier today on Minnesota Democrats Exposed and figured I’d give Andy Post and Ryan Lyk 12 hours or so to clean up this offensive MLK Day comment that was posted to their site. They have not:

Racist MLK Day Comment on Minnesota Democrats Exposed

On The Deets, this comment wouldn’t fly because it’s racist, offensive, and off-topic (it appeared on the post where Ryan Lyk had posted a stolen photo from the Duluth News Tribune). It’s also not the sort of thing I’d expect to hear out of a regular Deets commenter.

Andy Post and Ryan Lyk are free to create whatever type of community they’d like over at MDE. I’m no Michael Brodkorb, but seems like they’d benefit more, politically, by creating a respectable community that would be respected by respectable people rather than providing an outlet for racist commenters. This isn’t Alabama Arizona.

If hosting racist comments is their thing, their actions speak for themselves.

Dealing With Multiple Personality Disorder Commenters

One of the saddest forms of behavior I see from blog and newspaper comments is the use of different usernames depending on whether the person is willing to stand behind their comments at the time.

On The Deets, all first-time commenter’s comments are held in moderation. This achieves three things:

First, it prevents spam comments from going live, with the exception of approved commenters who decide to get a bit too commercial down the road (rarely happens).

Second, it brings civility to the site by not providing a platform to the downright rude and offensive. They can head over to Minnesota Democrats Exposed or start their own blog if that’s how they want to behave.

And third, it throttles the comments of normally civil commenters who suddenly decide that they’re not willing to stand behind their own words.

Here is an example of this in action. A commenter who appears to reside in Fargo, ND who may be named Nick Thornton left a comment on this site that I considered to be civil back in August. I approved it. Recently, a person from the same address using a fake name commented here. That was held in moderation since he didn’t use the same name he did the first time. I approved it and responded to his comment. He left a second comment under his newly created handle, which went live right away. I responded to that as well. But then he decided to create yet another username for his next comment, which through him back into a moderation queue.

Below is a screenshot that shows the same IP address, a variety of made up usernames, and the made up email addresses he provided:

Nick Thornton Comments on The Deets 24.119.178.42

While this may be acceptible commenting behavior on some sites, I’m not a fan of it. And, this is my site, so I get to set the rules. Commenters who think this is unfair are welcome comment elsewhere or create their own blogs. By the way, if they choose to create their own blogs, consider sending trackbacks to posts you mention here. If you write at a consistent location where you’ve chosen to stand behind your own words, there is a good chance that you’ll write something worth citing within the comments here. I welcome the debate.

As I see it, you wouldn’t give a person the time of day at a party if they kept popping into conversations in different disguises, so why put up with that behavior at this online party? It seems unfair to people who are capable of acting like adults. Given a choice, I’d rather have respectable readers who are capable of leaving respectable comments. There are plenty of other homes for people who can’t live up to that standard when they’re behind a keyboard.

You’re creating more work for me and generally less value for my readers. That makes you the problem. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

By the way, the question asked in the unapproved comment was already addressed here.

Minnesota Democrats Exposed Censors Copyright Infringement Accusations

Yesterday, I called out both Ryan Lyk and Andy Post within the comments of MDE and here on The Deets for using copyrighted images from the Duluth News Tribune and Getty Images within their blog posts.

On Andy Post’s post, where he used a photo from Getty Images that he found on The Telegraph, I commented:

Copyright Infringement Question for Andy Post

On Ryan Lyk’s post where he used a photo from the Duluth News Tribune, I commented:

Questioning Ryan Lyk's Duluth News Tribune Copyright Violation

Not long after leaving that comment, Ryan Lyk scrubbed the copyright violating photo from Minnesota Democrats Exposed while leaving my comment in place. That made my comment irrelevant, so I left a follow-up comment:

Following Up on Ryan Lyk Copyright Infringement Comment

At that time, I had the three most recent comments on MDE. A scan of the site’s comments feed verified this:

Ed Kohler Comments on Minnesota Democrats Exposed
Click for full-size image.

Within a few hours, my comments disappeared from Minnesota Democrats Exposed. Here is a screenshot verifying that:

Missing Ed Kohler Comments on Minnesota Democrats Exposed

After that, a loyal defender of Ryan Lyk and Andy Post named Erik Leist hopped on the comments here at The Deets to explain that, under his liberal definition of Fair Use, stealing photos is Fair Use as long as you mention where you stole copyrighted photos from. This was after Ryan Lyk quietly removed from MDE the photo he had stolen from the Duluth News Tribune. So far, Andy Post has kept up the photo he stole from Getty Images via The Telegraph.

This makes me wonder:

1. If Ryan Lyk agrees with Erik Leist’s definition of Fair Use, why did he pull the copyrighted photo he has stolen from the Duluth News Tribune?

2. If Andy Post agrees with Erik Leist’s definition of Fair Use, why did he pull my comment rather than simply explain his position?

DEVELOPING…

Andy Post Steals $49 Photo from Getty Images

Minnesota Democrats Exposed blogger, Andy Post, found an interesting way to get around paying Getty Images for a use of a photo they took of Keith Ellison in 2006. He stole if from The Telegraph.

Here is the photo, as Andy Post published it to MDE:

Photo Stolen by Andy Post

Notice the Telegraph citation? Like Ryan Lyk, Post does a nice job thanking his victims for their photos. But, you may also notice a Getty watermark on that photo. The deal here is that the Telegraph, being a credible news site, licensed that photo from Getty Images. That costs money. Post then stole that licensed photo from the Telegraph.

Post claims the photo is from 2007. That’s not true, although the Telegraph may have licensed the photo for use in a story they ran in 2007. That actually comes from October 12, 2006. How do I know this? Because the photo is still available at Getty’s site for licensing. It was taken at Logan Park in Minneapolis.

Licensing Terms for the Photo Andy Post Stole

In this case, $49 is the cost of being legit.

I’ve asked Post to clarify:

Asking Andy Post About a Stolen Photo

DEVELOPING . . .

Ryan Lyk Steals Copyrighted Photo, Thanks Victim

I thought this was an interesting citation to an image posted on Minnesota Democrats Exposed by Ryan Lyk:

Portion of Photo Stolen by Ryan Lyk

“Photo courtesy of Duluth New[s] Tribune”? Really? That sounds strange. I didn’t know that the Duluth News Tribune was in the business of giving away news content, including photos. One would think, at a minimum, that the paper would expect a link back to the relevant article, or at least the website the photo was “courtesy” of, but that didn’t happen ether. (Admittedly, the Duluth News Tribune is one of the more difficult sites to link to since they bury their stories behind a pay wall, making the site much less relevant to people who enjoy linking to news they find interesting.)

So I asked Ryan about this in the comments on MDE:

Question for Ryan Lyk about Photo Theft

Within an hour of posing that question, the stolen photo was quietly removed from Minnesota Democrats Exposed.

As usual, MDE decided to quietly revise history rather than update their post in a manner that would allow people to realize that what was originally posted had changed.

Granted, Ryan Lyk is one courteous thief. How many thieves are willing to publicly thank their victims? It takes a special kind of thief to do that.

minnesota.cbslocal.com Removes Comment Without Explanation

Local news site, minnesota.cbslocal.com, ended up removing the hate speech they hosted for 5 hours, but in doing so, created a new problem that’s common among websites using reactionary comment moderation policies. Take a look at the comments now:

Disappearing Comments

The first comment is a pingback from TLD30.com, followed by my comment, and then the pingback to my previous post on The Deets. (Many blocks include a feature called Trackbacks, where the sites will automatically alert other sites that you’ve written about them. This triggers those sites to add a link back to the commentary in the form of a pingback.)

The issue here is that my comment no longer makes sense on minnesota.cbslocal.com since the comment it refers to is now missing. minnesota.cbslocal.com did not leave any hint that they deleted the hate speech they had hosted for 5 hours.

I now have no ability to clean up that comment, received no alert that a comment I commented about had been removed, etc. There was no “engaging of the engagers” either (whatever that means).

One mess led to another.

If a minnesota.cbslocal.com employee could erase my comment, that would be great. Let’s work together to make minnesota.cbslocal.com better.

This is the mainstream media at work near the end of 2010. And this is on minnesota.cbslocal.com’s recently update site.

Closed circuit to frustrated minnesota.cbslocal.com employees: things may seem pretty dark at times like this, but it will get better. I hope.

The Deets vs. minnesota.cbslocal.com’s Comment Policies

Here is an example of the difference between the comment policies on The Deets vs. minnesota.cbslocal.com’s site:

minnesota.cbslocal.com Comment

That is a comment from someone using KKK within their username threatening to kill a black man who’s a person of interest in two recent local robberies. Get it? Someone who is black is kind of, maybe, suspected of something so KKKevin is volunteering to kill him via electric chair in the comments of a story on minnesota.cbslocal.com.

I grabbed the screenshot of the comment four hours after it was posted. Another hour later, it’s still up.

While this may be considered an acceptible comment on minnesota.cbslocal.com’s site, it would not fly on The Deets. In fact, it never would have gone live in the first place. Why? Because first time commenter’s comments are automatically held in moderation. This helps prevent spam from showing up on this site, and prevents the kind of rubbish you see every every day on minnesota.cbslocal.com, TwinCities.com and the StarTribune.com’s comments. If someone commented here using the name KKKevin with a post like that, it wouldn’t see the light of day.

It would be nice to see mainstream media sites raise to the bar set by bloggers. MinnPost.com manages to do it. Their standards for comments are very high (you must post under real first and last name), so KKKevin either posts, civilly, under his real name, or only comments where his hate speech is lackadaisical reactionarily policed, if at all.

For another example, check out the comments minnesota.cbslocal.com has allowed on a story about a woman that threatened to kill herself.

Horrible commenting policies attract horrible comments. Minnesota.cbslocal.com probably makes some proactive filtering efforts such as looking for common profane terms and the IP addresses of hardcore spammers. Regardless, minnesota.cbslocal.com has hosted this comment for 5 hours and counting.

Minneapolis.cbslocal.com does offer a “report comment” feature, which I did click, yet received no assurance that it actually does anything. One thing that would be cool is to see sites create credibility systems where news consumers would be trusted to clean up comments like this. My guess is that my clicking of the alert triggered an alert to some intern who’s going to make eventually make a judgment call. Or, perhaps the comment will be auto-removed if enough people click the link?

Better yet, minnesota.cbslocal.com could be proactive in their comment moderation in an effort to create a respectful community on their site. I imagine some people at minnesota.cbslocal.com would agree with that concept, while others think that the money derived from increase page views from racists justifies hosting hate speech.

It does make me wonder whether Ace Hardware, UPS, and Lennar realize that their ads are being shown alongside such rubbish.

Update 12:22am: Within 10 minutes of publishing this post, KKKevin’s comment was removed.

When a Story is an Ad on WCCO News

Here is a sample of the comments on a story Bill Hudson did for Channel 4 regarding a paid credit score analyzing service:

annmartina
This is news? Seems more like a free ad for this service

jwahlberg
Agreed with annamartina – this is what I call “rip-off journalism.”

dan
This is basically an ad for a credit repair service- A real story would explain the mechanics of the credit score- and explain the only “quick fix” is to lower the debt to credit ratio, and not be bait for the “service”. The other quick fix- the “authorized user” loophole has been closed. Clearly this is an ad.

B
As a loan officer I can tell you this is simply an ad. You should never have to pay anyone to improve your credit score. Simply make your payments on time, never advance up to your limit, and try to keep the debt you carry on those cards no more than 50% of your limit. Managing your finances is in no way rocket science, it’s basic common sense.

What if Bill Hudson had asked the mortgage broker what are the three most common things people could do to improve their credit score? You know, provide some value to viewers rather than turning the newscast into an infomercial. Is there a reason he didn’t? Would that have basically given away everything that the people selling this services are attempting to charge people to tell them?

I hope WCCO was paid well for this ad.

Hyperloko Content on CBSLocal.com

Longfellow News on CBSLocal.com

WCCO’s new site at minnesota.cbslocal.com has neighborhood pages, including this one for Longfellow.

Is CBS hopping on the hyperlocal train?

Mashing up APIs?

Going Web 2.0 (or is it 3.0)?

Syndicating RSS?

Call it what you will, but in practice, it’s not fit for hyperlocal consumption. They appear to be pulling content from sources including Outside.in, who tries to aggregate content from across the web that’s relevant to narrower geographies than metro areas. And, in some cases, they get it right, like the syndication of a nugget from Brian’s blog about a recycling program Longfellow.

The signal to noise ratio is rather hosed at this point.

I see this in real estate as well. Boardroom conversations get across the concept that “content is king” which leads to a quick conversation about “how can get get more content” with little thought going into the quality of that content or the user experience.

Let’s face it: It’s easier to automate crap than to curate quality. There is no way that someone would look at the Longfellow Neighborhood page as it exists today and say, “we’re providing a quality news experience to people interested in Longfellow.”

Mary Lahammer and Bob Collins’ Disappearing Tweets

Update: Bob Collins has posted an explanation for what happened to his account in the comments here.

Looks like some local media folks may have been a bit too social on Twitter yesterday regarding the future of TheUptake at the state capitol based on the scrubbing of Tweets I’m seeing today.

For example, TPT’s Mary Lahammer has scrubbed out recent mentions of The Uptake from her Twitter account, including a few I was able to find elsewhere:

Mary Lahammer's Disappearing TheUptake Tweets

and:

Mary Lahammer's Disappearing TheUptake Tweets

Did word come down from above that you shouldn’t talk publicly about efforts to kick your scrappy competitors out of the local press pool?

And what happened to MPR’s Bob Collins? That guy has an opinion on everything, including quite a few yesterday about TheUptake that have now disappeared after Bob apparently quit Twitter:

Bob Collin's Missing Twitter Account

Here are Bob Collins’ tweets from yesterday where he was discussing TheUptake and related topics:

Bob Collins' Missing TheUptake Tweets

Bob Collins' Missing TheUptake Tweets

Bob Collins' Missing TheUptake Tweets

Bob Collins' Missing TheUptake Tweets

It looks like the first rule of fighting The Uptake is don’t talk about The Uptake.