Jun 5, 2008

Molovinsky Post goes Poof

Last evening I joined the ranks of poof blogs, and deleted a posting from earlier in the day. Certain aspects of that posting had deeply offended a third party. I made a decision to put that person's feelings ahead of my desire to pontificate on a certain subject. Although deleting a post is nothing to take lightly, it happened. In this current exercise of rationalization, it seems to me there are worst offenses; plagiarizing, lying and misrepresenting. Considering how much of the blogosphere is anonymous, to whom am I apologizing? Although I will not let any comment stand referring back to the original content of the deleted post, feel free to comment on the concept of deletion.

23 comments:

Bernie O'Hare said...

MM,

As you know, I am opposed to the idea of deleting posts. A newspaper can't take back a story once it publishes and we need to hold ourselves to similar standards. The wholesale deletion of posts tends to destroy the integrity of the network. It also destroys the blogger's credibility.

I can see some (very few) instances in which the deletion of a post might be appropriate. LOLV, of course, had to do so bc of some Internet stalker. Your post was very objectionable to someone who is important to you.

But there's a pretty big difference between that and a person who takes down all his post because he's afraid he'll be caught making statements then that are inconsistent with statements he's makijng now. There's also a big difference between a rare deletion and a blog that does so regularly.

Mrs. Dottie said...

RE:
"A newspaper can't take back a story once it publishes and we need to hold ourselves to similar standards."

I disagree.I hold myself to a higher standard than the newspaper. Striving to be a thoughtful and compassionate human being is one of those higher standards. Apologizing when I am wrong and acknowledging mistakes is another.
I think MM did what he believed was the right thing to do, and that was to delete the post.

michael molovinsky said...

perhaps bernie is referring to the ideal standards that are taught in journalism courses. the morning call is very liberal, democratic leaning and certainly manipulates the news. in my campaign in 2005 coverage of my major press conferences were omitted and my photograph never appeared in the paper. certainly fox news is conservative, their "fair and balanced" is just an ironic slogan. it seems now, used cars and news are both a buyer beware item

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think MM did what he believed was the right thing to do, and that was to delete the post.

I'll agree MM did what he thought was right. If he did it repeatedly, I'd have a different view.

Books don't change. Neither do journals. A new edition is noted as such.

When we publish a post, there is a link to it, and that is an invitation to others to link to it. If I post blogs referring to other blogs that are habitually deleted, my own blog begins to look bogus.

On top of that, deleting a post creates the impression it never existed, and that's simply untrue.

So, as a general rule, I consider it unethical to delete or change a post. Like anything else, individual circumstances may make it necessary. The LOLV incident would be one of them. A blog that violates a confidence with someone or reveals private information might be examples. But when that happens, there should alwys be an explanation, as MM has provided.

But I have no repect for polibloggers who will habitually publish a post and then delete the whole thing simply because things get hot or heavy. It is even more annoying when there is no explanation. When archives are made completely unavailable, it destroys their credibility.

I will no longer link to any blog that has deleted too many posts.

Anonymous said...

I'm with MM and Dottie on this - I'm anonymous (I recognize the point and apologize for that, but I feel I have to be), there are higher principles of civility and decency here. I did not read the post, so I can only take MM at his word that this was the right thing to do, and as a reader and occasional poster I'm ok with that.

Bernie, I hear your point, and I agree that if someone habitually deletes that's a whole separate issue. I do feel though that w/ MM acknowledging the deletion and why, he's not ducking or destroying credibility - in fact, he's increasing his credibility. We should all hold ourselves to that higher standard.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I do feel though that w/ MM acknowledging the deletion and why, he's not ducking or destroying credibility - in fact, he's increasing his credibility. We should all hold ourselves to that higher standard.

Anon, For what it's worth, we agree.

A.J.C. said...

MM -

It's your blog and you can do what you want to. Though you may feel the need to explain yourself, it's not like you're upsetting a group of paid subscribers. It's your blog and you can do whatever you want, lol.

Whenever I publish a blog, I try to consider the responses I'm likely to receive. When pushing that "publish post" button, you have to be willing to accept whatever follows.

MM, you're a very good writer and a very respectable blogger - credibility is not an issue here. Again, don't feel the need (or obligation) to explain yourself, but that you for doing so.

Bill Villa said...

"A newspaper can't take back a story once it publishes ..." -Bernie

Au contraire, O'Hare.

I have hard copy of a Morning Call story on a DUI homicide case that is dated 9/25/07. You won't find this story in The Morning Call archives ... because it has been deleted.

michael molovinsky said...

an article to today's call stated by corporate decree they will be cutting back on news and reporters, i suppose they could just have the politico's issue and print press releases

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bill,

If the MC has really deleted an article from its archives, how does that make you feel? I know how it makes me feel. That's because it's unethical and that's my point.

That's why deletion is poor practice. It undermines credibility as well as the integrity of the entire network. Of course, there's the "it's my blog" argument, advocated by AJ with eloquence. That's not the point. The point is whether you want anyone other than you reading it. Blogs that play games eventually suffer.

I am speaking generally, and not w/ respect to this specific deletion, which I understand. I also disagree w/ AJ (sorry) on whether you need to explain. In my view, you do. Once again, it's a question of crdibility.

If AJ, MM or LVSomebnody made a practice of regularly deleting or making wholesale changes to posts, they'd soon find they have no readers. You all know this. You could all still claim it's your blog and you can do as you wish, but would have no impact bc nobody would read you. As it happens, I can't recall a single instance in which AJ has ever modified a post. Mrs. Dottie is much newer, but can make the same claim. With MM, it's averaging about one every year, and he explains, which is to his credit.

You folks already haver credibnility and I believe you instinctively already know it is poor prasctice to delete posts.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, we seem to have all staked out our positions on this subject, but let me repeat. the newspaper comparison is difficult, because it's harder and harder to find a newspaper adhering to journalism 101. there has always been the globe and tabloids, also informational journals. is an unethical blogger better when he subscribes to blogger "ethics", than a ethical person who does not? it's admirable you have a code, but I'm not sure what is written in stone.( and who wrote it)

Bernie O'Hare said...

Michael,

You are right. There's no set rule for this genre. It's also a mistake for me to use newspapers as an analogy be they are less and less impressive.

But let's look at this reality. You have personally suffered as a result of the practices of several unethical bloggers. We all know instintively there's something basically deceitful about publishing a post and then taking it down. Bloggers who do that regularly also tend to be the very persons who engage in other unethical behavior.

I have staked out where I stand on this matter. I am sorry to appear dogmatic about this, but feel it is necessary for our credibility.

Bill Villa said...

"Bill, if the MC has really deleted an article from its archives, how does that make you feel?"

Let's be clear: they really did delete it. And (coupled with TMC's refusal to delete hateful comments from its Forum),this makes me feel like it's sorta silly to be admonishing MMolovinsky when we should be staging a massive subscriber and advertiser boycott of The Morning Call.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bill,

I did not admonish MM about this. I merely claimed that if it became a pattern here or on my blog or any other blog, we would lose credibility. From what you tell me, and I have no reason at all to doubt you, the MC has deleted one online entry. The only reason I am equivocal about this is bc I have not checked myself. That is enough to damage their credibility in your eyes, and mine as well. That's my point, Bill. Please don't construe this as an admonishment of Mike.

AJ and I both attended the HRC meeting about hate and made our concerns about the MC reader forum quite clear. Perhaps the HRC will do something. The next step for me will be to approach some of the religious groups as well as the ADL and NAACP.

Bill Villa said...

"Bill. Please don't construe this as an admonishment of Mike."

Okay B, I won't ...

"The next step for me will be to approach some of the religious groups as well as the ADL and NAACP."

I'd be happy to help this effort in any way I can, keep us posted ...

michael molovinsky said...

is there not a little irony in the fact we wish posts and comments to remain on blogs, yet those we deem hateful, we admonish the morning call for not deleting? certain words, i.e, the "n" word are hateful, but there could be a whole range of distasteful commentary which is the "ears" of the beholder.

Bernie O'Hare said...

is there not a little irony in the fact we wish posts and comments to remain on blogs, yet those we deem hateful, we admonish the morning call for not deleting?

Not at all. Blogs are interactive and involve true exchanges between reader and writer. The MC Reader forum claims to be interactive but is not. There are no real exchanges, and it quickly deteriorates into a lowest common denominator form of communication.
If anything, it is a slap across the face of readers because the MC apparently does not even make a point of reading the comments.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, the commentary on blogs may or may not be between the reader and writer. certainly, often it is between reader and reader. although everyone seems in agreement "hateful" comments should be removed from both blogs and newspaper forums, as you know, recently a local blog removed "inciteful" comments. i continue to see these guidelines as a work in progress

Bill Villa said...

"... the MC apparently does not even make a point of reading the comments."

Bernie, my experience and that of "Retired ASD Teacher" who has also gone on record on this issue indicates that the MC reads its Forum comments quickly and carefully, because they routinely delete comments that go against their agendas or their favorite politicians.

A few months back, I e-mailed you documentation of TMC Forum having deleted 7 of my comments from a single article. None of my comments contained any profanity or anything that could be construed as offensive but all were critical of a county official The Morning Call has historically demonstrated it will not question or scrutinize no matter what this man does or doesn't do. They will not lay a glove on him. Which is very curious, i.e., what are they gaining in return for this preferential protectionist treatment?

As you know, I've had comments deleted from the TMC's Forum, TMC's Bill White blog, TMC's John Micek blog, and TMC's Queen City Daily blog-- with MC web producer Ted Williams having confirmed the blocks and deletions of my comments by way of e-mails informing me that the blocks had been removed.

Bernie, The Morning Call, quite apparently, makes conscious and calculated decisions to keep racist and hateful comments up there at its Forum, because we know they are reading each Forum and blog comment carefully and quickly.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bill,

There is no question that anything you may post is quickly examined and deleted. Retired ASD Teacher reports similar experiences. They are probably flagged for comments from you. They obviously don't have the same attitude about racism or anti-Semiticism as they do about comments from you.

I am very anxious to see whether the Human Relations Comm'n in A-town moves on what we have said.

Bill Villa said...

I'd get the Black Panther Party involved too ...

Anonymous said...

hey, if you won't stand behind what you wrote....don't write it!

as a writer, your first instincts are usually correct.

Anonymous said...

Mike M;
I agree with your take on credibility, and accept your explanation. But Mr. O'hare often takes statements from other blogs, reprints them out of context, and uses them for his personal agenda. He has done this to Bill White and John Micek repeatedly. I don't question your credibility, even though I don't agree with you. I do question OHare's however, as he openly practices selective amnesia and to subvertly attack those he doesn't agree with. I respect John Micek for pulling a post or comment to protect hinself from O'hare using it out of context, I don't respect O'hare or give him any credibility for the way he does that to others.-anonymous for my own protection.