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This is My Last Blog Post

My Last Blog Post

This is my last posting on the Patch – and I will be dropping my subscription and account as well.  The reason for this is that I found out last week that two of the frequent commenters on the Patch who tend to be hyperbolic in their rhetoric are actually sponsors of an organization that has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.  Just type in the word “cfiile” (two i’s) and you will see what I mean. 

Some other posters and bloggers and I attempted to bring this information to the Patch readers via comments on blog postings and our contributions were rejected as being inappropriate, whereas the commenters in question continue to be free to hijack conversations with mean-spirited and personal comments that promote hate and extremism. 

For example, these commenters “accused” me of being gay because I support equal rights for homosexuals and do not think that gays are sodomites who will be subject to retribution of Biblical proportions.  Most reasoning people would think such comments violate the Patch’s Terms of Use policy in the following manner (words verbatim from that policy):

  • is defamatory, abusive, obscene, profane or offensive;
  • is threatening, harassing or that promotes racism, bigotry, hatred or physical harm of any kind against any group or individual; promotes or encourages violence;
  • is inaccurate, false or misleading in any way;

 

Those kinds of posts are OK, but telling Patch readers the motivations of these commenters – well, that violates the Patch’s “Terms of Use”. I personally think this is insane.

Please note that I am not personally hurt by these sorts of comments – I think they are ridiculous and silly – after all, I am a mature adult.  Now that I know the motivations of these commenters – I find the comments disturbing as well.

I do not dispute the right of anyone to free speech and these commenters can post as often as they like – but I also think that readers have the right to know who they are dealing with.

The Patch thinks otherwise. I cannot abide that position and thus will no longer assist in bringing revenue to the Patch by putting in uncompensated personal time and effort to write blog posts which earn the Patch advertising dollars when people read them.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

David Nolta August 13, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Did I already say my recent post, in which I named the Rizolis as disseminators of bigotry, was rejected by The Patch powers? Shabby at best, disgraceful and unacceptable by any means...
Ron Goodenow August 14, 2012 at 12:00 AM
I see one at 7:22 which is pretty explicit. Was it another one? And I did see your list. Did you get an actual reject. Please send it to me at rgood@netzero.com. I want to compile a folder. LOL this is crazy. May be time to write Arianna Huffington.
David Nolta August 14, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Ron--Here's the post. When I removed the Rizolis' names, I reposted, and that time it went through. Amazing! "As usual, Dave, you are a model for us all. I love your open-mindedness. But I have to say, the Patch "intelligentsia" clearly have no consistent rules, and there is no real supervision--not to mention any clearly stated or enforced policy--when it comes to the relationship between advertising and posting on this site. I and several others have been called "gay" and "pro-illegal" in the past several weeks, and vaguely threatening and insinuating comments are regularly made here. The Rizolis and others love to "look people up" and then, in vaguely threatening ways, suggest they "know" people, and they stupidly think that free speech means that you can lie about anybody whenever you want, and quote Scripture if it backs up your HATEFUL agenda. The Rizolis are to the local Patch what the Kardashians are to the E Channnel--they keep people coming back--but to what? I would only like to say that as with the Kardashians, it is the lowest common denominator that is best served here; the grotesque recurrence of anti-gay, anti-Braziilian, anti-Chinese, anti-liberal, anti-democratic, anti-education, anti-Semitic, anti-scientific-evidence posts, keeps people hopping. Whereas actual progress--in my humble opinion--depends on putting all those anti's behind us, and moving FORWARD."
Andy Koenigsberg August 14, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Mr. Rizoli - your web site is extremely relevant to what is goes on here - as it provides deep insight into your character and the motivation behind what you write. Now that you have been "outed" (a term I am sure you love) for what you are, I hope that readers will take it into account whenever they read your comments.
Ron Goodenow August 14, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Thanks David. I fear all the 'anti's' you revealed so well are of no concern for this America On Line version of the penny press. All we ask is that people like Andy get a fair hearing and hate mongers be gone. They have no constitutional right to be here and I am sure that AOL can figure out how to make money without them. Though AOL has been pretty sorry about money making lately.
Linda Worthy August 14, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Southern Poverty Law Center report: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2008/spring/brazil-nuts I frequently click "Flag as inappropriate" when a Rizoli post appears and have encouraged others to do so. My understanding is that if enough people flag the post, the software is designed to automatically remove it. The SPLC report on ccfiile as a hate group is stunning. As Andy said above, their "web site is extremely relevant to what is goes on here". And the Patch editors allowing the Rizoli's to include their ccfiile email address makes them complicit in spreading the venom. After a day and a half, Andy's announcement of his departure has garned 30 comments and those are mostly from fellow bloggers. After 2 days, the breast feeding 'poll' has garned 145 comments.
Ron Goodenow August 14, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Right on Linda! It says something about our culture that the numbers are what you say. I did a screen shot today of a string of local voices referring to peeing in public. This is what the Patch, and so much of American culture, is coming to. I am of the naive belief that the media has an educational responsibility. As an old professor I would have to give the Patch an F. They should be thrown out of school for being complicit in the hate you mention. Its disgusting. At the end of the day heads should roll. I don't think these guys are in a corporate culture that knows what it is doing aside from checking clicks. On that one peeing and the one I predict about walking around with one's fly down will win!
Myd Nevins August 14, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Its not just the SPLC that has labeled them as a hate group. Numerous entities have including the Anti-Defamation League. We have been fighting them both here and other websites for a long time. Long before Patch. Dave Nolta could spend hours listing the attacks on society from the brothers. He didn't even touch on how they sided with the the Westboro Baptists or how they lobbied for a white neo-Nazi to not be deported which was ironic as they rail against immigrants of other races. Everyone seems to see it other than Patch upper management. I'm not talking about the editors. Mary and Susan do what they can. Its the higher ups that seem to be happy harboring the racists. I didn't know about the AOL connection but it makes sense. Patch seems to be content trading contributing members for bigotry. ts more than just our disgust with them. This is a website. Its not just national. Its worldwide. Its the world wrongfully associating us with them. My parents don't live here. But they frequently check out the Patch to see what is going on in my area. They've even made comments about relating those two with the whole of the Framingham people.
David Nolta August 14, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Does anybody know exactly how many ""Flag as inappropriates" it takes to make a post disappear? The Patch people are very vague about that--why so? As to the breastfeeding blog, what're you gonna do?
Jim Rizoli August 14, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Gee...I see the witch hunt is alive and kicking here. Our lives out of Patch are really none of your business because we keep our outside life separate from Patch. Don't like what I read or watch then don't reply. We have opinions that some agree with and some don't, no different than some of you. Jim@ccfiile.com
Bob Tripi August 14, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Sadly I have to agree with Andy. I see total lack of enforcing their own policies on postings and I have to wonder if they are only trying to raise their rates by this action. I can get along fine with other news sources
Amy Buttiglieri August 14, 2012 at 10:17 AM
So, Y'all - where does one go for news and local opinion? There are 30 people who post on The Patch, and thousands more who read daily but don't "get into the mix". We're just average Americans, trying to keep up to date and understand our fellow Westboroughites. If our editor can't keep a lid on inappropriate posts (due to rules or just plain volume), is anywhere "safe" these days? (And where can my kids read about our community?)
Andy Koenigsberg August 14, 2012 at 01:06 PM
If your life outside of the Patch is none of our business, why have a web site that displays your philosophy in no uncertain terms for the entire world (literally) to see? It is fascinating that you are claiming the role of victim here. What you write on the Patch clearly reflects your philosophy, so why are you running away from it? To borrow your own words, we are just "tell[ing] it like it is good or bad" In short - you cannot have it both ways.
Andy Koenigsberg August 14, 2012 at 01:07 PM
You can take Pete Allen's advice and don't read comments, just like some people don't read the opinion pages in the newspapers.
Myd Nevins August 17, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Its starting to be clearer and clearer its now a coverup mode. Mentioned this specific blog in an comment and it gets stuck in limbo for days and still waiting approval for the desktop version of the site. It quietly however got posted on the mobile version of the site. Then a message on a person's Patch Wall referencing Patch policies gets blocked while a second message about something else gets approved even though it was written after. Now I wait to see if this comment will get through.
Andy Koenigsberg August 20, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Well, the email to me referencing your comment appeared in my home email in box and as of 3:13 PM Monday, August 20th, 2012, I can see it on the blog post. I hope to hear back from the regional editor regarding this situation towards the end of the week and I will keep people informed either via a comment or emails regarding what the regional editor tells me.
Andy Koenigsberg August 20, 2012 at 07:16 PM
By the way - thanks for keeping an eye on this issue.
CharlesHaughey August 20, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Andy, I totally agree with your comments. I no longer want to be associated with a site that has lost sight of it's purpose. It's disgusting to read and more disturbing that the Patch is condoning such. My understanding was that this forum was for the purpose of allowing residents to discuss local events, issues and concerns that pertain to our Town. Not a forum by which we would be subjected to crazies preaching their hate agenda's which have absolutely no place in our Town. Not what the resident's of Westborough are about..... educated, hard working people just trying to raise their children in what we think is a pretty nice Town. The Patch needs to exercise responsibility towards it's core readers and subscribers who did not sign on to read such garbage. Maintain it's standards and invest in better filtering technology. Flush out the toxic garbage!!!
Myd Nevins August 20, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Many blogs and articles, obviously not this one though, are crossposted to multiple Patch sites. Its not just Westborough. The whole region now has to deal with this issue.
Myd Nevins August 20, 2012 at 11:21 PM
The comments were actually written last week. Supposedly, they were just overlooked in the queue somehow until this afternoon. No big deal unless its a continuing issue.
Andy Koenigsberg August 21, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Charles - Thanks - I think a lot of the Patch readers would like to see things changed. Unfortunately, it is up to the editors to screen comments and on this Patch as well as other towns where blogs and surveys are cross posted. All the editors need to better police comments. If just describing the contents of a web site that refers to points of view most reasonable people would find abhorent is enough to get a comment nixed - why do people who express that kind of ideology get a pass? It makes no sense. The more people who speak up about this issue, the more the Patch, and their parent company, AOL, will pay attention.
Ron Goodenow August 21, 2012 at 04:26 PM
I am in California and yesterday had lunch with some friends who are very active in their community and really like the Patches around them. What is happening with regard to our issue would never, they say, happen there. Editors seem much more professional and sensitive to all the hate that is floating around, and is often masked. Comments like many we have tried to make would NOT have been censured and the editors would have taken the time to explore the hate group in question to see its homophobia, anti-semitism, pro Hitler attitudes. They said their Patches are real community sites. Not a lot of yakking about politics, but places where problems are addressed, new artists have a place to be known, etc. My view is that if this offending bigot had been stopped earlier none of this would have happened. Ditto if the Patches were not places for big political dumps.
Andy Koenigsberg August 21, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I will start trying to contact the regional editor on Friday if I have not heard back from her by then.
Danielle Horn August 21, 2012 at 06:40 PM
@Andy, Susan's on vacation this week - will be back Monday.
Ron Goodenow September 07, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I am pleased that Patch managers have addressed the issues that Andy and I raised and have taken action to shut down the transmission of the hateful information and resources to which we so strongly objected. That was the responsible thing for this company to do and I'm sure we all hope that this will make the Patch a better place -- and a more comfortable one for many of us. I want to thank the many individuals and organizations who contacted us to provide information and support, as well as Susan Manning and other Patch employees who bore the brunt of our persistence and, at times, anger.
Andy Koenigsberg September 08, 2012 at 10:26 PM
So - this WON'T be my last blog post. Ron and I were able to convince Patch editors that they need to do a better job enforcing their own Terms of Use policies and to actively discourage, and I hope, prevent, comments that spread or inflame hatred. We both hope that discussions on our Patch will be able to be brought back to discussions about our community and that these discussions will be civil.
Ron Goodenow September 10, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I am pleased that Patch managers have addressed the issues that Andy and I raised and have taken action to shut down the transmission of the hateful information and resources to which we so strongly objected. That was the responsible thing for this company to do and I'm sure we all hope that this will make the Patch a better place -- and a more comfortable one for many of us. I want to thank the many individuals and organizations who contacted us to provide information and support, as well as Susan Manning and other Patch employees who bore the brunt of our persistence and, at times, anger. At the end of the day Susan, especially did the right thing. Readers: Note this is pretty much the message I posted Friday. Andy and I were never told this, but this thread on the Westborough Patched was shut down for many days. When I tried to post this message I could not until I asked and had the blog opened again. For reasons that may be technical the comments did not appear on the front page of the Patch, where readers would know we posted. The above post by Andy was apparently there, but only for an extremely short time. I am pretty mystified about all this and just want us to get back to a clean and open operation.
Joy Orz September 10, 2012 at 09:25 PM
This is such FANTASTIC news! I have been HORRIFIED by the Rizzoli posts and have also written to the Editor Susan Petroni. Andy, your comments are thoughful, well articulated and enjoyable to read. I'm so glad the Patch will once again be a place for community and not a forum for hate speach. KUDOS to all of you who worked to make this so. Now all we have to do is get them off Framingham Community Television where they have thier own TV show. Yes, really.
Andy Koenigsberg September 11, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Thanks Joy. I appreciate that and so does Ron. The downside in Framingham is that Community Television is indirectly associated with the town government, via the agreements with cable providers to provide the service to the town; therefore the Rizzolis enjoy free speech rights in that forum under the First Amendment. They know it and I imagine they take great glee thumbing their noses at everyone who objects to them. The Patch, however, is a privately owned web site, just like a newspaper, and can decide what content they want to publish, just as a newspaper can decide whether to publish a letter to the editor.
Matthew Keefe September 19, 2012 at 02:46 PM
I'm glad some higher ups started noticing the fast ride to the bottom the local Patch's in Massachusetts was taking. Its also nice to see level-headed discussions in this very thread and hope more is done in the future... if needed.

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