Patterico's Pontifications

4/20/2006

Hiltzik’s Blog Suspension Should Not End the L.A. Times’s Interactivity with Readers

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 6:19 pm

The top post at Michael Hiltzik’s L.A. Times-sponsored Golden State blog reads as follows:

The Times has suspended Michael Hiltzik’s Golden State blog on latimes.com. Hiltzik admitted Thursday that he posted items on the paper’s website, and on other websites, under names other than his own. That is a violation of The Times ethics policy, which requires editors and reporters to identify themselves when dealing with the public. The policy applies to both the print and online editions of the newspaper. The Times is investigating the postings.

I have mixed feelings about this.

On one hand, I was very disappointed when I read Hiltzik’s response to my post exposing his mutually admiring sock puppet identities. I had hoped that he would make a forthright admission of what he had done, show an understanding of why it was wrong, and pledge not to do it again. Instead, he erected and demolished a strawman argument, pretending that my complaint was that he had used a pseudonym to comment on my blog:

[Patterico] seems to think that pseudonymous posting is deceptive, though he can’t articulate why that should be, given the abundance of pseudonyms and anonymity on his own blog starting with the name on the banner. He makes a stab at rationalizing his selective exposure of one out of his scores of pseudonymous commenters by complaining that my comments were “acid-tongued” or “insulting.”

Hiltzik habitually argues against strawmen, but this one was especially brazen and dishonest. I most certainly did not criticize the practice of commenting using a pseudonym. To the contrary, I defended it. What I criticized was the fact that Hiltzik and his pseudonyms praised and defended each other as though they were different people. As I said in my post:

Why does this matter — or does it? After all, I’m obviously not objecting to use of pseudonyms by bloggers and blog commenters. How could I be? I mean, you’re reading a post by someone who calls himself “Patterico.” And, while I made the decision to make my real name public long ago (it’s Patrick Frey), many of my commenters use pseudonyms. So what’s the big deal?

Here’s the thing. I am actually a strong defender of people’s right to comment anonymously, or pseudonymously. I myself was semi-pseudonymous for the first several months of this blog. But I don’t think that commenters should use pseudonyms to pretend to be something or somebody they aren’t.

(Note that I identified myself by name in the post. My name has been public for some time now.)

Although I was quite clear about why I had exposed Hiltzik’s sock puppets, Hiltzik pretended that I had “outed” him because of his liberal politics. He suggested that I was disrespectful of privacy — this coming from someone who was once reassigned because he had snooped into his colleagues’ e-mail. He also took the occasion to suggest that I am a racist — because I oppose illegal immigration.

Fortunately, virtually all of his commenters seem to have understood how dishonest his response was. The second comment to his post sums it up well:

Well, if someone starts leaving comments as “MrStrawMan,” we’ll know who it is.

With a reaction like Hiltzik’s, it’s hard to feel too bad about the blog suspension.

But there is a bigger picture here.

Another part of me is sad to see the blog suspended, even temporarily — not because it is (was?) a great blog (it’s not), but because I am afraid that this may mark the end of The Times‘s experimentation with the Internet for quite some time. And that would be a very bad thing.

I firmly believe that a newspaper should interact with its readers. I published two “Outside the Tent” columns in The Times last year. These were columns that allowed critics of the paper to criticize it, on its own op-ed page. It was a great experiment, although it appears to have died a quiet death.

There is no better way to interact with readers than by using the Internet. And last year, when Michael Kinsley began an experiment with interactive editorials, or “wikitorials,” I supported the effort. When the first one was defaced by pornography, many declared the experiment a failure — but I believed that it had been a success, just because the paper had the guts to undertake it.

In my year-end post reviewing the paper’s performance, I praised the fact that the paper had allowed Hiltzik to start a blog, saying in an update to the post:

[H]ow could I have failed to mention that L.A. Times columnist Michael Hiltzik started a blog of his own, hosted at the paper’s web site? It even has comments — and Hiltzik reads them and responds. I hope to see many more blogs like his.

I didn’t know anything about Michael Hiltzik when I said that, or I wouldn’t have made that comment. I don’t really want to see blogs like his — blogs manned by deceptive sock-puppeteering destroyers of strawman arguments. What I wanted to see was blogs manned by honest reporters and columnists of all political persuasions, who would be willing to engage their reading audience on a personal level.

I still want to see that. But I’m afraid that this incident may have ensured that we won’t see any such blogs on the Times‘s web site for a long time to come.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope that Times editors realize that their mistake was not the decision to allow a staff writer to operate a blog — it was the choice of Michael Hiltzik as that blogger. I hope that this is not the end of the paper’s experiment in using the Internet to interact with its readers. It is a noble experiment, and I want to see it continue.

P.S. I think suspending the blog is punishment enough. I explain why here. And I have more on the kind of dishonesty that is truly dangerous here.

57 Responses to “Hiltzik’s Blog Suspension Should Not End the L.A. Times’s Interactivity with Readers”

  1. [...] UPDATE: L.A. Times editors have suspended Hiltzik’s blog. I have mixed feelings about this. I will have more to say about this in a separate post. [FURTHER UPDATE: That post is here.] [...]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Three in One: Michael Hiltzik, Mikekoshi, and Nofanofcablecos (421107)

  2. I’m sure someone pointed this out in the comments to the previous post, but his ridiculous, dishonest response tells you all you need to know about the guy. It amazes me that someone can be so bereft of self-awareness that he will publish a response like that that says, “Hey, I’m either so stupid that I don’t understand the issue, or I’m completely dishonest.” Unbelievable. He should be fired from the Slimes, too. Suspending the blog is not enough.

    Sweet, though, huh, Pat? :D

    CraigC (28872d)

  3. Some of these extreme leftists are becoming increasingly more insane and detached from basic forms of logic and maturity.

    BTW, I found a fun article on how to debate and defeat an anti-American in just a couple of sentences. Debate them on principle, not facts, and they will flee with haste..

    Twok (4f1539)

  4. I don’t think it will, and it shouldn’t, mark the end of the LA Times interaction with readers.

    Why should they?

    By responding quickly to what is clearly the ethical lapse and lack of judgement of an individual, they are handling this responsibly.

    To say that they shouldn’t suspend Michael Hiltzik’s blog when he has clearly breached their ethics rules, professional standards, and even gone a step further by deceptively, embarrassingly making it appear that he and his positions have more support than they do (even using LA Times resources toward this end) would be asking the LA Times to condone it.

    Their response is proper — indeed, necessary.

    If the LA Times blog franchise/experiment is to survive and thrive, it must be seen to have integrity.

    This is important at all times in journalism, as the LA Times would probably agree, and is triply important on the Internet in the community of blogging.

    Much has been said about blogging’s special ethics. Well, it’s true.

    The LA Times is hopefully smart enough to realize that they will not reach their Internet market penetration goals with bloggers who clearly breach LA Times and blogging community ethics standards.

    Fortunately, nothing stops them from moving forward with either a much-reformed Mr. Hiltzik (not only must he not deceptively use pseudonyms supporting himself, he must also stop manipulating his comments… removing abusive or defamatory comments is mandatory… removing well-sourced comments and links, which refute his positions is disgraceful).

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  5. That is a violation of The Times ethics policy“…

    The Times has an ethic policy?!?! Geez! Who knew?…:lol:

    juandos (766154)

  6. Last I heard, WaPo was still planning to replace Ben Domenech with another blogger. (Actually, two bloggers: one left, one right.) Maybe the LAT will follow their lead.

    I don’t think Hiltzik should be fired, either. Blogging’s gotten too dangerous lately.

    Allahpunditkoshi (4ba106)

  7. [...] Patterico responds to the suspension: Hiltzik’s Blog Suspension Should Not End the L.A. Times’s Interactivity with Readers I didn’t know anything about Michael Hiltzik when I said that, or I wouldn’t have made that comment. I don’t really want to see blogs like his — blogs manned by deceptive sock-puppeteering destroyers of strawman arguments. What I wanted to see was blogs manned by honest reporters and columnists of all political persuasions, who would be willing to engage their reading audience on a personal level. [...]

    FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Patterico “OUTS” Los Angeles Times Blogger Michael Hiltzik - Los Angeles Times Suspends Golden State Blog (baa0b4)

  8. Hiltzik & the LA Time Can Run . . .

    . . . but they can’t hide, either!

    Although the LA Times has supposedly taken down the Michael Hiltzik blog, if you know where to look, you can still find his post On Anonymity in Blogland where Hiltzik tries to slam Patterico’s bust on Hiltzi…

    OKIE on the LAM - In LA (e2cef7)

  9. I agree that the blog needed to be suspended…it was a bad blog and needed a time out.

    Actually, it was not a bad blog, blogs are not bad. The blog just behaved badly.

    Well, it wasn’t the behavior that was bad, the real issue was the environment that the blog was raised in caused the blog to make some poor choices. Hasn’t your blog ever made some bad choices? So there. The blog will be rehabilitated, and will return at a later time.

    Oh, and meanwhile, and on a completly unrelated note, Mr Hiltzik is on vacation and will not be able to blog for a while.

    Larry (5bad37)

  10. I didn’t post what is above. I never use the words slimes, bereft or the stupid smily faces.

    Craig C (35a2ab)

  11. What, a guy’s not allowed an ethics violation every 13 years or so?

    Treach E. Rjim (f69e1b)

  12. I have mixed feelings also.

    However Hiltzig clearly cannot continue to blog there. What the LATimes does is up to them, but if it were me the minimum would be that Hiltzig’s blogging under the aegis of the Times is over.

    Surely they can find someone that can be a bit more straightforward.

    I don’t think he should be fired though, people make mistakes and maybe he can learn from this. OK maybe that’s a naive hope considering the type of person he has revealed himself to be. Really though, what media critics want is for newspapers to cut the crap and give us straight reporting. Can Hiltzig be trusted to do that? That’s for the Times to decide.

    My paper, The Houston Chronicle, won an online award this year for best blogging effort by a major daily newspaper. It can be done. Their blogging is quite imperfect but at least it has their staff interacting with their readers.

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  13. Untraceable sock puppets now available! Contact Seumas Milne at The Guardian!

    Sock Puppet (995633)

  14. The whole blog is not gone, yet! Hiltzik’s post, where he is trying to slam Patterico’s outing of him for his disingenuous pseudonym use, On Anonymity in Blogland is still up, for now. Just in case, I’ve got a screen capture, including all the comments.

    Heh!

    OkieBoy (16628e)

  15. I owp your happie know, PraterEgo.

    Puce (995633)

  16. Well, I owp ‘e is 2 happieey, Puce.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  17. Sorry for the double linkage — I didn’t see that the trackback had posted. Doah!

    OkieBoy (16628e)

  18. I don’t see much of a defense for Mr. Hiltzik here. How else can he rationalize his actions to the LA Times? He seems to have seriously damaged what little apology he could mount by, instead of apologizing and acknowledging a clear mistake, choosing to abuse the opportunity to practice further attacks on a person raising legitmate issues of ethics.

    That policy might work for Scientologists, but I don’t suspect the LA Times operates from the same rule book.

    Overall, I like this exchange. I do think that Mr. Hiltzik’s judgement has been demonstratively poor, but the events are important to arriving at a blog strategy that both serves the interests of the reader, in addition to the those of the paper. All of this discussion has been aired on the Internet. Links go back and forth between the LA Times website and those of its readers. That’s terrific.

    Gabriel Sutherland (2f8acd)

  19. I’ve been trying to learn more about Hiltzik’s motive for reading his co-workers’ e-mail at the Moscow bureau, but a Google search isn’t finding much. Maybe he wanted to find out their birthdays so he could plan surprise parties for them. Nothing wrong with that, is there?

    Jet I. Marcher (f69e1b)

  20. [...] — Update 3: Patterico’s thoughtful comments about Hiltzik’s rant are here. [...]

    Independent Sources » Blog Archive » Los Angeles Times Suspends Hiltzik’s Blog for Ethics Violations (dd41d6)

  21. I couldn’t Google that up, either, J.I.M.

    Cheri Ramjet (995633)

  22. Our anonymous host wrote:

    Another part of me is sad to see the blog suspended, even temporarily — not because it is (was?) a great blog (it’s not), but because I am afraid that this may mark the end of The Times’s experimentation with the Internet for quite some time. And that would be a very bad thing.

    No, Mr Frey, this is, in fact, great news. Mr Hiltzik has suffered the penalty of his own arrogance: he thought that he was better and smarter than other people, and he got caught. He won’t go to jail and he won’t have a felony on his record, but he has suffered a huge professional blow. This one won’t go away: the man has just Jayson Blaired himself, in a way that has embarassed his employer.

    I’ve written previously that much of the falling circulation of newspapers is due to the fact that they are eighteenth century technology trying to compete in the twenty-first, but the arrogance and untrustworthiness of “journalists” like Mr Hiltzik surely has an effect. The Times has suspended Mr Hiltzik’s blog, but, in the real world, it is difficult to see how they can continue to even employ Mr Hiltzik; a journalist who trashes his own credibility is toast. When a professional industry struggling to retain the perception of an edge over unpaid bloggers suffers this kind of professional embarassment, the offender simply has to go.

    Were I the editor of the Los Angeles Times, Mr Hiltzik would have been suspended pending dismissal.

    Dana (9f37aa)

  23. Patterico catches LA Times columnist using mulitple IDs (UPDATED)

    This is just incredible. I’d be doing it an injustice if I copied and pasted small snippets of what was said there regarding the multiple IDs that Patterico has caught LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik using.
    Having multiple IDs in and of its…

    Sister Toldjah (3e6668)

  24. I don’t agree with liberals but they make me think. (Even if it takes me two or three weeks to get there). The personal strengths or weaknesses of the proponent are not ncessarily a reflection on the merits of his ideas. I, too, would not like to see a voice silenced over something like this. (Emphasis on “something like this”. Not all voices deserve being heard but that’s a different subject.)

    nk (9abfbf)

  25. Patterico:

    Sachi pointed something out to me. One of your pseudonymous commenters probably mentioned this already in the previous comment thread, but it has about six thousand comments, and I’m afraid to venture back in.

    She frequents Japanese Yahoo bulletin boards, and she tells me that what Hiltzik did is very common on those, probably common on bulletin boards in general: people often create new login names and post messages praising their own previous posts and attacking the critics of such.

    (Sachi admits to having occasionally created a ficticious name in order to attack her own previous posts, just to get a discussion going!)

    That got me thinking: is it possible that Hiltzik came out of the BBS community and literally didn’t know that the customs and traditions of his tribe were not laws of nature? (HT:GBS)

    Admittedly, he would still have to be clueless enough to imagine that, e.g., OkieBoy and Patterico were one and the same (or Dafydd and Sachi). But maybe he’s sitting around stunned, wondering why such a “normal” thing would elicit such scorn and contumely.

    Possible?

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (6e94cd)

  26. No it’s not possible that Hiltzik thought what he was doing was basically OK. He’s not stupid. Not in that way.

    Cathy Seipp (17eb94)

  27. Dumbass

    I defended this guy. Naturally, he turns out to have all the judgment of a teenage boy with the keys to his Daddy’s Mustang convertible. From the LA Times’ Golden State blog:

    Don Surber (59ce3a)

  28. Dafydd,

    The scenario you put forth is possible, but it doesn’t change the outcome.

    If Hiltzik thought that posting from multiple accounts was ok, why not say so when called out on it?

    If you were accused of doing something that you had no idea was unethical, your reply would be a “yeah so what?” If you’re innocent of wrongdoing, why act like he did when confronted.

    Hiltzik, turned and attacked, making it very apparent that he knew his actions were underhanded.

    I’ll bet you any amount of money that he’s fuming that he was outed, not spending time contemplating why he would do such a thing. People like that are hopeless.

    Dark Lord Xenu (af8a25)

  29. Underhanded and dishonest, not to mention against the LA Times ethics policy.

    My guess is that, in addition to speaking to him, the editors of the LA Times read Michael Hiltzik’s deflection/attack/defense and were unimpressed, if not mildly horrified.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  30. Yay, more reason for the silent majority to stay silent – eliminating Anonymous comments. Some of us have jobs and careers where we can’t just post things all over the place under our own names, and have our comments show up in Google for the next 50 years. I’m not that interesting – a low level tech guy, who tends to work with rabid liberals. Just what I need – some guy asking me in an interview years from now, about a post where I praise something on Malkin’s site, which highlights a photo of the guy interviewing me.

    Anyway, I thank Patterico for keeping the comments open; that must be a royal pain in the ass. And no I am not him.

    Wesson (c20d28)

  31. Just goes to show that your average law school grad is more competent than your average J-school grad.

    Jal (b99a88)

  32. Jeez, and last time he got slapped around by a college student.

    Some Pulitzer prize winner…

    Nofanofnewspapercos (0f6d86)

  33. Heh.. and I guess this comment from that post wasn’t so far off:

    Keep your eye out for LA_news_dude52 in the edit history of Wikipedia’s entry “Moscow Trials”…

    Nofanofnewspapercos (0f6d86)

  34. Pat, can you please e-mail me the ISP of the fake me at #10?

    CraigC (28872d)

  35. No. I think the problem is that there are actually two CraigC’s here: CraigC and Craig C. CraigC (no space) is the music expert. Craig C (with a space) may be, but hasn’t proven it.

    Patterico (156eed)

  36. Ha, I missed that. Well, “Craig C,” pllllltttttttttt!

    CraigC (28872d)

  37. Dwilkers

    I will soon be blogging for Chron.com, so be sure and check me (my blogging) out there!

    Rightwingsparkle (39dfa1)

  38. “What I wanted to see was blogs manned by honest reporters and columnists of all political persuasions .. ”

    Time to put down the crack pipe Patrick — at the LA Times?

    PrestoPundit (fa2820)

  39. Dark Lord Xenu:

    If Hiltzik thought that posting from multiple accounts was ok, why not say so when called out on it?

    If you were accused of doing something that you had no idea was unethical, your reply would be a “yeah so what?” If you’re innocent of wrongdoing, why act like he did when confronted.

    Yeah, I hadn’t thought of that. You’re probably right.

    It just seems so strange. I can’t understand why anyone who was actually a writer (of any kind) would ever write under a fake name, unless he was well paid for it (ghostwriting, for example). It seems like such a waste.

    I used to write Star Trek novels (until they ousted me in the coup d’etat against John Ordover). There was another, better-known (in Trekdom) writer named Peter David, whom I never met… but the rumor circulated incessantly that I was just a pseudonym of Peter’s. I received at least fifty e-mails from people asking if I were really he!

    My friend John Barnes gave me a good answer that I use whenever someone asks if I’ve ever written under a nom de plume: nope… writing is so difficult that whenever I manage to finish something, I want everyone in the whole friggin’ world to know I was the one who did it!

    So Hiltzik just puzzles me.

    Say, how do I get into a blogfeud? Does it make one’s SiteMeter go up?

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (6e94cd)

  40. [...] Patterico, in the wake of his impressive sleuthing has expressed concern that the Times might throw the baby out with the bathwater and end their blogging experiment. Patterico also believes that Hiltzik’s brief suspension is “good enough.” [...]

    Hoystory » Blog Archive » Sock-puppetry Pt. 2 (322185)

  41. I will soon be blogging for Chron.com, so be sure and check me (my blogging) out there!

    If you start blogging over there I’ll put it on my favorites and start checking it daily. Deal? That’s exactly what they need – someone with a more conservative orientation and good communication skills that will blog daily. Your being a fine looking female won’t hurt a bit either. ;)

    What bothers me about their blogs is the few times I’ve attempted to comment (their comments are held for approval) my comments never made it through. The guy’s blog I’ve posted on (Earl Campbell) is often ‘away for a few days’ so the topic is stale and the comments never get approved and disappear in the ether.

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  42. Here’s a link to a couple bits on the 1993 Hiltzik e-mail spy case. Nothing in motive in the abstract, i didn’t check the whole article.

    Reporter Disciplined for Reading His Co-workers’ Electronic Mail

    December 6, 1993, Monday
    By CALVIN SIMS, (Special to The New York Times); National Desk
    Late Edition – Final, Section B, Page 9, Column 5, -In a stunning example of growing concern over technology and privacy in the workplace, The Los Angeles Times has recalled a foreign correspondent from its Moscow bureau for snooping into the electronic mail of his colleagues. The correspondent, Michael Hiltzik, a well-regarded journalist who joined The Times’s Moscow bureau…

    And a cite from the book, Netiquette by Virginia Shea where our Mr. Guiltzik is a classic example of what not to do:

    Rule 8: Respect other people’s privacy

    Of course, you’d never dream of going through your colleagues’ desk drawers. So naturally you wouldn’t read their email either.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people would. This topic actually rates a separate section. For now, here’s a cautionary tale. I call it

    The case of the snoopy foreign correspondent

    In 1993, Michael Hiltzik, a highly regarded foreign correspondent in the Moscow bureau of the Los Angeles Times, was caught reading his coworkers’ email. His colleagues became suspicious when system records showed that someone had logged in to check their email at times when they knew they hadn’t been near the computer. So they set up a sting operation. They planted false information in messages from another one of the paper’s foreign bureaus. Hiltzik read the notes and later asked colleagues about the false information. Bingo! As a disciplinary measure, he was immediately reassigned to another position at the paper’s Los Angeles bureau.

    The moral: Failing to respect other people’s privacy is not just bad Netiquette. It could also cost you your job.

    philb (ccdb89)

  43. I’m enough of a “public figure” (in my little corner of the world) that I would need a pseudonymous blog to be able to speak freely without getting the organization that employs me into trouble, so I’m in the process of starting up something that doesn’t reveal my secret identity. If Patterico hadn’t turned Michael Hiltzik into a morality tale, I might have fallen into the same sin of “sock puppetry.” After all, why SHOULDN’T I go comment about the brilliance of my own writing?

    There, but for the grace of God, go I. It is so easy to THINK we’re doing right. As St. Paul put it, “When I would do good, evil is right there with me.”

    Scott W. Somerville (49dea0)

  44. Excellent analysis. What else is there to say?

    Chris A (7fb0c8)

  45. I have read the LA Times for about thirty years. If I cataloged all the paper’s sins over the decades, this post would fill the servers’s hard drive. The editors rarely take firm corrective action. M.H. was treated gently after his last offense. For the Times to maintain the slighest veneer of integrity, he must be fired.

    Tom (8d50f4)

  46. [...] Opps. That post came came to the attention of the LA Times, hence the blog suspension. Patterico’s Pontifications has a followup post.  [...]

    LA Times suspends blog at Bene Diction Blogs On (cf7b4c)

  47. On anonymous posting: I was totally up front about my identity on my blog – until I received a series of very disturbing and scary emails. Some really sick guy (?) had obivously spent some time on my blog reading posts and had even crossed over to my professional website. His email scared me so much, that I called the police and reported him to the FBI. And then I went totally anonymous. It used to be that I used “Lyric Mezzo” as my handle, but if you went to my blog, you could follow links to my professional site and find out who I am. Now I use the same handle, but do NOT share any personal info. There are some on the blogosphere who know who I am, but just a trusted few. You can still see my picture on my blog, but I chose one where my face is much smaller, so that viewers have a harder time identifying me.

    Ironically, I’ve thought of changing my moniker to “South Park Diva” which is the new title of my blog, but I thought my be too confusing for people used to seeing “Lyric Mezzo.” Perhaps I should just reserve that for when I want to agree with myself!

    Here’s a thought, do a comment where you DISAGREE with yourself. Then do a whole debate/dialogue where you gradually change the dissenter’s mind. Brilliant! Much sneakier than just agreeing with yourself and attacking your own enemies!

    Lyric Mezzo (bbd6a9)

  48. Either is a violation of the Times’ ethics guidelines, Lyric, which are pretty black and white.

    He certainly wasn’t posting under multiple identies complimenting himself and criticizing his enemies because he feared for his security.

    It was intellectual dishonesty — something that is the kiss of death to a serious newspaper.

    Ultimately, LAT is being called on to define what it is.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (5d90a2)

  49. “Hiltziknym,” (noun) – A fake name similar to a pseudonym used by unethical bloggers to support statements, arguements, and so called fact’s presented by the blogger under another name. This is done to give the false impression of support and widespread acceptance for otherwise weak and unsupported claims.

    CSC2 (c983e2)

  50. Sorry about the error in my website link. I guess this is where I am supposed to comment that all of your computers must have been wrong because any “student of I. T.” would have been able to access the site. ;)

    CSC2 (c983e2)

  51. [...] So: free Hiltzik. I guess. Now, let’s see what the Times does about a new blog. [...]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » ‘Twas sock puppets killed the beast (3ca10e)

  52. The Repulicans have attempted this all the time:

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/new_hampshire/articles/2006/09/26/rep_bass_aide_posed_as_opponents_supporter_on_blogs/

    And let’s not forget astroturfers like Artisan and “The Blair Witch Project”.

    Anonymity = oh, boy

    Jonah Falcon (c0fd3e)

  53. Er, Republicans. Stupid sticking laptop keys.

    Jonah Falcon (c0fd3e)

  54. good site htmlwc

    ok (d1eb1e)

  55. [...] The practice, it seems, is everywhere.  Hand it hand with it is another trend, one that seems to be becoming common as those with the know-how become more able to track the movements and actions of others online; it’s not a trend that’s been reported or written about.  Rather, the trend is in the reports.  The socially acceptable response to sock-puppeting seems, now, to be for those who witness it to dabble in investigative journalism.  Get caught using sock puppets and you might find yourself reading a detailed – and sometimes lengthy – expose of exactly what you’re saying, and to whom.  One blogger, Patterico,  who suspected a fellow blogger, an LA-Times journalist Michael Hiltzik, of using several aliases to post comments, tracked the other man across at least five separate blogs, comparing time stamps and content and ISP addresses when he could access them, searching on Google for any sites where any of the names Patterico suspected belonged to Hiltzik appeared. The eventual write up, a little over 2000 words long and complete with screen-capurted evidence and links to some of the comments in question, led to the LA-Times suspending Hiltzik’s blog. [...]

    Sock Puppets: On the internet, my own best friend « Nicole Scaro - Digital Literacy (ea1fd5)


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