Michael B. Duff

Lubbock's answer to a question no one asked

Extended forum downtime

Lubbock Online has decided to discontinue its forum service for now.

We apologize for the inconvenience and we still welcome reader feedback in the form of story comments, blog comments, email and letters to the editor.

Written by Michael B. Duff

May 19, 2009 at 11:24

Posted in Admin

23 Responses

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  1. Too bad!!!


    May 19, 2009 at 11:56

  2. Sorry to hear this. I was afraid this was the case from day 1 of no forum website.


    May 19, 2009 at 11:58

  3. The link below is to a pretty good forum.



    May 19, 2009 at 12:39

  4. That forum sucks….hard.

    The citizens of Lubbock are better off without a “forum.” It says full of still-pissed-off right-wingers who are still licking wounds sustained in November, idiots who think they’re smarter than just about everyone else, and a lot of disgruntled women who just complain. (No wonder there are so many single women in Lubbock– what man would want these specimens?)


    May 19, 2009 at 13:35

  5. I love Jeff Mayo


    May 19, 2009 at 13:38

  6. Is this the future of LOL and the paper itself? A sign of things to come? Too bad.

    Fat Boy

    May 19, 2009 at 14:12

  7. I really wouldn’t read too much into this, guys.

    We didn’t have story comments when we started the forums so that was the only place people could talk about current news.

    We’ve been very pleased with the quality of discussion taking place in comments recently and we hope this will continue.


    May 19, 2009 at 14:19

  8. plus less babysitting work for the admin staff


    May 19, 2009 at 14:38

  9. The forums were uncontrolled discussion that could be accessed without even visiting the AJ website. As for me, I like the opportunity for in depth discussion rather than one shot uneditable comments. Talk Lubbock, btw, has most of the regulars from the AJ forum on it, and a wide range of political orientation. No big forum fights yet, but that will come.

    El Alacran

    May 19, 2009 at 16:12

  10. AlleyDweller

    May 19, 2009 at 17:26

  11. Yes, it will be very interesting to see how many people have the guts to express their extremist views right on the story comments.


    May 19, 2009 at 17:32

  12. A person can’t express one’s thoughts on the newspaper website. Hence the need for an adult forum. Fortunately, someone has stepped up to fill another retrenchment by the newspaper.


    May 19, 2009 at 20:03

  13. Similarly, I have decided that at this time I can no longer justify investement in advertising at Lubbock Avalance Journal and hope that this action and the similar actions of my constituents will be done with equal restraint.


    May 20, 2009 at 07:46

  14. I’ve had to moderate some very ugly obscene, racist comments on this thread.

    Lubbock Police can identify people by their IP address and local ISPs (including Suddenlink) usually cooperate.

    I try to give people the benefit of the doubt if it’s just an occasional outburst, but this stuff crosses the line into harassment.

    If it happens again, I’m reporting it.

    Michael Duff

    May 21, 2009 at 08:41

  15. So, what exactly will LPD do with IP addresses? Arrest people for being racist?

    It’s the internet, people. There are people there who disagree with you, and they will let you know it. If you can’t handle it, go play somewhere else.


    May 21, 2009 at 21:34

  16. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

    But harassment of a specific person is against the terms of service for most Internet Service Providers as well.

    In this case it’s probably a Class B Misdemeanor: http://www.haltabuse.org/resources/laws/texas.shtml

    Michael Duff

    May 21, 2009 at 22:58

  17. Just another reason the anonymous aspect of forums makes for bad things to happen. If everyone knew one another’s identity it wouldn’t happen. I believe in saying what I think so I have to think better things.

    Joe Speegle

    May 21, 2009 at 23:40

  18. First Mr. Duff, the law states “intent”, a hard case to prove and prosecute. Most laws read knowingly, willingly and intentionally , which I doubt that any prosecutor would waste his time on over a public forum and issues of being racist, supposedly harassing and so forth. Besides, anybody that knows anything about IP addresses can easily disguise an IP address that would take endless hours to identify. I am totally surprised you don’t know that.


    May 22, 2009 at 07:03

  19. I don’t think the threat of legal action is the primary deterrent here.

    Most stalkers will be deterred by the threat of having their real names discovered and entered into the public record.

    And even if the public doesn’t care who the person is, most of them would not want their identities revealed to the victim.

    As to faking IP addresses, of course it CAN be done, but most people don’t bother.

    You can do all kinds of things with proxies and redirects, but this IP address isn’t some anonymous Russian spam proxy. This is a local Lubbock address.

    Most people don’t start their accounts PLANNING to get in a flame war and stalk someone.

    To be truly anonymous it’s not enough to obscure the address of the last couple posts, you have to fake everything you post under that username and be careful where you use your signup email address, even if it’s fake.

    Once we decide to take a complaint seriously, we can search our logs and match things up from the first time you said hello.

    We find most people simply by searching for their email addresses in the Lubbock Online registration database.

    Being anonymous online requires a degree of advance planning that most people aren’t willing to do.

    Many abusers are children or college students who can be deterred simply by having police call their parents. And if they’re adults, wives and girlfriends tend to get curious when the police come by.

    Michael Duff

    May 22, 2009 at 07:32

  20. Mr. Duff has a tough job as a censor walking the line between free speech and injury to the newspaper’s image or the AJ’s possible liability should an online threat be carried out. I sympathize. You don’t spit on the floor when you are invited as a guest to a friend’s house. Why should one be able to make scurrilous or obscene posts while they are guests here? [I started to write something about Big Brother and trampling on the rights of free speech; then I realized that MD was right.]

    El Alacran

    May 22, 2009 at 09:20

  21. Oh, Michael, thanks for the tip on how to stalk the internet anonymously. 🙂

    El Alacran

    May 22, 2009 at 09:22

    • It looks like a howto guide for stalkers, doesn’t it? But my goal is to deter our regular posters and commenters from doing anything stupid by reminding them that the Internet is not as anonymous as they think it is. The people who cause the most problems are people who have been in the community for a long time, flinging the same insults at the same people over and over again.

      Ironically, even the most antisocial posters expect attention and “approval” from the community when they lash out like this. And most abusers desperately want a response from their victims.

      Peer pressure can be very effective in curbing these things. Once someone is identified as a problem word spreads to other forums and community groups. And Google never forgets…

      Michael Duff

      May 22, 2009 at 09:32

  22. Dude, What r u talking about? No one know what comments ur talking about. What was said that caused so much commotion?


    May 22, 2009 at 13:19

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