@Peter Carpenter, Why hide? quick response

@Peter Carpenter-

You asked  on the thread which suggested a real life Town Square (link #1):

“..:When people post anonymously they are, by definition, hiding something – I wonder why?…”

One answer is – Fear of Retaliation. These issues are not disconnected from the ongoing censoring.These  issues were discussed in many many threads. By the end of the day, it is the Editor’s choice.
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These are just two samples:
1. Two years ago, at the bottom of the thread, You, Steven Levy and I responded to this issue. The thread was restricted to registered users. (link #2).
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2. A year back I  wrote here, thread locked completely  (link #3)  “…Fear of retaliation was not publicly discussed prior to the first OCR settlement becoming public. I asked for feedback back in March, here is a link – (link #4)  …”
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 Other notable quotes: :
“…I feel this is an important area for discussion within the community about the power of censorship in shaping an biasing the discussion on Palo Alto issues…. – Anonymous (link #5)
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“… Lately Bill Johnson seems to be editing for content of speech rather than manner or tone. He appears to have particular ideas about what kinds of arguments “help” the “community” and what do not. This is unfortunate since it appears to be a slippery slope with a lot of deletions occurring. To say he owns the means of expression is a bit unsatisfactory given the expectations set for online communications and free speech in the electronic age. In practical terms it is a big commitment of time and energy for the weekly staff that would be better spent in improving its reporting especially in the area of education…” -PalyDad (link #6)
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2 comments
  1. hey. thanks for the note.
    I am working on something called “Bill Johnson’s ‘Slaughter-house of ideas’ ” contrasting the notion of marketplace of ideas common usage with what actually happens at PAW board, where they do seem to repress dissent. Not only from the news coverage — and I still think I am the only person who both posts under his name and is frequently deleted — but also from columnists like Steve Levy and Doug Moran.

    Victoria Thorpe also has a blog, outside of PAW, where she does not print my comments. She is a product, my understanding, of the so-called Leadership program.

    Please note, if I did not say this prior, that I was editor of the Gunn Oracle two years running, an editor of the Daily Dartmouth, and trained at 2 newspapers — real newspapers – including the Times Tribune so I know what I am talking about in terms of journalism and the 4th Estate. And it’s decline. And how and why neither the Post nor the Weekly should be thought of in those terms (I am undecided about Daily News other than the fact it is no Knight Ridder paper)

    But why don’t you write under your own name?

    Mark Weiss
    650.305.0701

    I said that the Palo Alto Forward were like Ring Girls at boxing match: they look good, but there message is over-simplified, who knows who they actually work for and they are essentially clueless.

    Re Arrillaga two years ago I said calling him a “philanthropist” rather than real estate tycoon –in the context of his plans for 27 Uni and it turns out, according to the Grand Jury report years later, earlier this year 7.7 acres of parkland — is like calling Genghis Khan a pioneer in family planning (Khan famous impregnated hundreds of his citizens, geneticists now claim).

    Re Levy, I quoted the MacArthury Genius grant writer Corey Harris a songwriter something from “Plantation Town” about Peter pays Paul and Paul pays us all, and that got deleted.

    Doug Moran had some idiotic anecdote about my alleged refusal to scoop ice cream at a candidates’ event and deleted my explanation that I was told by Kerry Yarkin that there was no more ice cream until she dashed off to market, and then when someone said “mark they need you back at the booth” gladly returned.

    I am not sure how to put my energy into debunking the bad journalism here versus attacking the bad policy per se, I have I admit an idiosyncratic style of trying to do both or all. But the fix we are in – and I think it is real, and probably not remedied by the so called Residentialists — is complicated by the press and people like Bill Johnson. I claim that the Weekly or Embarc Media or whoever essentially became the people they supposedly cover when they built at 450 Cambridge.

    And they do not merely delete me or under-cover my work or my campaign, they literally sit around scheming up ways to undermine me. They call me “The Agitator” as in “outside agitator” as in what the KKK called Andrew Goodman before they murdered him and 2 others, in 1964, and the Weekly had just written about this months before.

    No one reports that a) my work as Earthwise of Palo Alto consistently since 1994 is about social change here and is arguably more relevant for a aspiring political leader than a business man from the corporate realm now claiming to change his stripes and ‘give back’. b) that besides participating in the debates I am also covering policy and have written more than 100 articles on local policy, a subset of “Plastic Alto” sortable by the “plato’s republic” category button — the blog itself has 500,000 words approx and 1,000 posts, about a quarter is on policy per se.

    Meanwhile I am also producing a panel for PAHA for their monthly meeting Jan. 25 2 pm at Lucie Stern on “history of jazz in palo alto” and there is also a 20,000 word MS for that. I wrote under auspice of Steve Staiger. I am moderating what I hope will be 3 or 4 knowledgable speakers.

    Feel free, meanwhile, to edit this as you see fit. I am co-publishing it under my own blog.

    May I, if I see the utility, co-publish or “re-blog” some of your work on Plastic Alto???

    mark weiss

    p.s. it is true that relative to writing for the Worcester Telegram or Peninsula Times Tribune — or Gunn Oracle even – the internet or my blog or your blog is a different animal. I don’t fact-check some things — Fourth Estate? Fifth Estate? — but it is true that for every fact or obscure reference one comes across online you are only a few clicks away from sourcing is or sussing it as (and bob marley nappy dread i and i say) natty dread I mean

    plus there is that whole thing about “literally” now meaning “literally” AND “not literally” and some theorize that language itself is going to implode. But for know I am holding the fine and demanding eggs salience from our pubic serverts.

    (I was also, for better for worse a humor columnist…weird mix of jokes and truth, but I am referencing Camus who said that he could get things by the censors in WWII frnace easier when he wrote in code…one of my beefs with PAW is that I said “Pat Burt said, in last nights meetings ‘ We are taking the lead here, on this 27 Uni proposal, or that is what John Arrillaga told me to say'”. Obvioulsy I am paraphrasing and mocking and embellishing but since I am mis-quoting a public record obviously that is distant from merely or “with actual malice” and I was right in that Arrillaga did meet with Burt prior , months prior to his statements from the dias, as the GJR shows. The Weekly deleted a thread calling out Pat on this stuff — he physically confronted me about this turn or events and my writing, I call it “bullying” behavior — Bill Johnson by phone said “I cannot take your mere word on this in the criticism of a public official!!!” and I go “Bill, you publish 80 other statements on the subject without verifying their identity of the speaker, and Sullivan v. New York Times says the exact opposite, that citizens are given wider not narrowed room to criticize the elected and public figures!!!!!!!!!!Snap.

    okay, i am making up the snap part.

    Next time I see Bill Johnson I will “snap” him, you wait and see. (I actually just snapped twice in practice, here at Oak Creek clubhouse)

    I am giving you 2-day excloo on this, and will post to Plastic Alto as a xmas self-gift…good Yid that I ism

  2. Thank you for your detailed comment.
    Your “re-blogging” idea sounds interesting – while I am not familiar with the technicalities (and will have to look into those) – re blogging with Plastic Alto makes total sense to me. I was not aware of your blog when i started this blog.

    I started this blog since i wanted to have a place where i, and my comments, cannot be arbitrarily deleted or “edited”..

    As of today – I cannot post on the PAW, my IP address is blocked….

    I have noticed for quite a while the way the censoring, restricting of threads to registered users etc. impact the public discussion. And I did not learn journalism anywhere, just old school ideas etched in my brain by few teachers who did what they said, and vice versa.

    And Here’s, again, to one who knew something about censoring, journalism etc.:
    “…The sinister fact about literary censorship in England is that it is largely voluntary.
    Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. Anyone who has lived long in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news — things which on their own merits would get the big headlines-being kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that ‘it wouldn’t do’ to mention that particular fact.
    So far as the daily newspapers go, this is easy to understand. The British press is extremely centralised, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics….” G. Orwell.

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