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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rise and Shine --- Bad apples

Good Morning and welcome to the middle of the week!

Over the weekend, while swimming on a day it felt like the sun was going to land on the earth, the children (as most children do in the summer) started begging for ice cream.
"Look," I said. "Right now we are in the pool. If there's no fighting and no bad behavior, maybe after dinner we can take a ride to the ice cream place."
"Yay," the three yelled in unison.
Well, if anybody's ever had to calm tensions during a hot weekend day, the peace didn't last long.
"He splashed me." "He kicked me." "She threw a ball at me."
"OK," I said (yelled?). "One more chance. If anybody does anything to anybody else, no ice cream."
Not even ten minute later: "Waaahhh."
"All right," I said. "No ice cream."
To which, one of the children who really was just swimming calmly said: "But I didn't do anything. That's not fair."
So, I tried to teach a lesson.
"If one of you does something, everybody loses. You have to police each other. My grandmom used to say one bad apple poisons the basket."
So, what does this have to do with the price of milk? Well, nothing with milk, but I started thinking about this after hearing a story about something that happened last night.
People sometimes believe the comments that appear on the bottom of our online stories are part of the Daily Times coverage.
They're not, but that doesn't mean the comments can't cause trouble.
We spend much of the day putting out these small fires before they burn down the whole forest. We are recognizing the e-mails used to post racist rants. We check hourly to see those that slipped through.
An inherent problem with our commenting system right now is it's all anonymous. Everybody wants to put in their two-cents, but they don't want to be held accountable.
Eventually, I believe, we are going to change as a business and only allow comments with real names (something like Facebook does now).
Until then, believe you me, much of the day is spent going through the comments and stopping them before they can do much damage.
Some of the stories will now be posted with the commenting feature disabled. Sure, that's not going to sit well with some.
To those who don't like it, write a letter to the editor. You have to sign your real name and we do check.
So, if there is a story that doesn't give you the opportunity to comment, remember the story about the bad apples.

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