Doing as Silence Dogood Did

The world of words is full of material of uncertain authorship, some venerated as Gospel- literally.  I mean literally literally. The Bible is a work of anonymous scribes, much of it clearly apocryphal. Yet it’s not only cited as a source for our morals and laws, it’s referenced on legal tender, used on the witness stand as a goad against lying, and hauled out at the inaugural podium- divine proxy for winners to swear by.

It was claimed by one writer on this site that an opinion was null and void because the handle used was not authentic, not declarative enough. The charge of coward was brought forth more than once.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s give a big round of applause as we bring to the stage, the cowards: Bob Dylan, Voltaire, Mark Twain, George Orwell, Dr. Seuss, Jon Stewart, Pablo Neruda, Toni Morrison… Those names seem too pop and modern? The Federalist Papers were written anonymously. And The Tao Te Ching, The Mahabharata, and countless more world treasures.

That veiled authorships persists, must mean there is good reason for opinion to be offered on the author’s own terms. But this is all becoming threatened in a time when our DNA can be harvested and sold to corporations, and every electronic utterance is recorded somewhere, and known to somebody…other than the intended recipient.

If someone wants to share their given birth name in publication, and the rules allow it, that’s fine by me. It makes the value of the words no less or greater in my mind. But to insist on that before weighing the opinion on its own merit seems needlessly controlling.

Comments | 50

  • chilling effect...

    I have not subjected my claim to rigorous study, but it seems that the more revealing or thought provoking the comments, the louder the accusations of cowardice on the part of the author.

  • Prefer the option

    I’m glad to see this. When people use their username for comments I do prefer they have the option to use a pseudonym or their real name. This gives me the option to take the comment seriously or not. Allowing the use of an alias on many sites that allow for comments is long-established. I dislike it however when someone demands or requires people to use their real (legal) names. That is unnecessary and monolithic in its intent.

  • Pen Names

    We have no plans to change our policy. It’s been working quite well for a number of years now.

    We require you to use a name for submissions, but you are free to choose what you’d like to be known by. There are many reasonable reasons for people to want to use a pen name:

    • Being known by another name and want to be consistent. 
    • Wanting to comment but are limited by your workplace rules. 
    • Working for another media company but wanting to contribute here. 
    • Not liking your real name. 
    • In rare cases, whistleblowing.

    This has proven successful. Studies even show that commenters using pseudonyms usually have comments of higher quality, too.

    Here are a few more notable news folks real names. Can we trust them?

    Edward Murrow – Egbert Roscoe Murrow

    Eric Sevareid – Arnold Sevareid

    Ann Landers – Ruth Crowley

    Mike Wallace – Myron Leon Wallace

    Diane Sawyer – Lila Sawyer

    Geraldo Rivera – Gerald Riviera

    Ted Koppel – Edward James Martin Koppel

    Connie Chung – Constance Yu-Hwa Chung Povich

    Joe Scarborough – Charles Scarborough

    Jane Pauley – Margaret Pauley

    Shepard Smith – David Smith

    Ray Suarez – Rafael Suarez, Jr.

    • This 'study' indicates that

      This ‘study’ indicates that posts under psuedonyms are higher quality than anonymous posts. whatever that means?

  • What's in a name?

    This is fascinating topic to me and one that i have commented on before.

    My personal opinion is that anonymous posts in internet forums devalue the conversation. Sometimes worse than devaluing the conversation, anonymity often allows people to make false claims, insult others or misdirect the conversation.

    I guess this belief stems from my experiences in local town meetings and public hearings where politeness is standard and decorum is difficult to break down. Honesty is prized and emotions held in check. In person is where the most rational discussions take place.

    iBrattleboro is an important community resource as a tool for disseminating information. Things generally seem to break down in the comments section. This I believe is function of anonymity and just my opinion

    The irony of the examples used by Spinoza and cgrotke is that, I think, everyone listed is an entertainer (we can argue about ‘tv reporters’ elsewhere) and changed their name for marketability purposes not for anonymity.

    Yes it’s fun let your free opinion fly (see New Yorker ‘Dogs on the Internet’ Cartoon), but when some people are having a meaningful conversation and JoeBlow starts ranting and raving, the whole conversation devolves.

    and lastly, it’s just a credibility thing for me. If i know who’s commenting i place more value and credence to the post.

    thank you,
    Aristotle Hubbardi

    • It's the driver not the license

      My examples were a mix of entertainers, artists, and activists. There is plenty cross-over territory between all those, but one common element is in the desire (and ability) to generate and share a message or point-of-view. Marketing is an aspect of sharing, but I’m not sure every name change is meant to make the maker covert.

      My family came from the old country and our surname was changed at Ellis Island. My grandfather changed it again to market ‘the brand’ more easily in America. In other words, to spin the ethnicity out and maybe reach more people, or avoid potential ignorant attack. So again, it’s a matter of crafting the idea of self in the world, as much as hiding.

      The town meeting, the internet destination, the market, all are aspects of modern life. Though each may have its expected and acceptable actions and antics- it’s up to the individual to make value or menace. I wouldn’t blame or boost the forum for its content. After all is said and done, to each his own, in style and substance.

    • Why view anonymity in absolutes?

      Does anonymity really “devalue the conversation” or lack credence 100% of the time? Is all”ranting and raving” totally bad? Apparently, this topic is not fascinating enough for you to enjoy a broad and diverse dialogue without favoring mandatory ID handles.

      iBrattleboro is not just for “disseminating information.” Clearly this site is intended to disseminate many different viewpoints that should not all be locked-up through identity disclosure.

      Anonymous literature is historically a valuble source of opinion and information making and should not be summarily dismissed out of hand.

      Thanks to Chris and Lise for understanding and allowing that. ~Vidda

      • Two Excellent Points

        You are right. I will not dismiss the content out of hand.

        I will take the forum for what it is, much like spinoza advises.

        of course there is a role for anonymity in our community.

  • Pen names.

    I just noticed that the option of revealing your legal name as part of your profile has disappeared. It used to be if you wanted to see who “tomaidh” was, you just had to click on the name.
    Tomaidh is the Gaelic (Irish and Scottish) spelling for “Tommy” and that’s how it’s pronounced. I first started using it when Yahoo told me that was taken. I had it on my license plate once.
    For the record, my name is Thomas Francis Michael Finnell, Jr.

    • Glad I am anonymous.

      In the past I have recieved some nasty emails and some that could borderline as threatening. Someone even tried to invite me to a public event thinking I might be interested just to find out who I am. Unfortunately for them I’m not that naive. I’m sure some have thought in the past that I’m someone that is a public figure in the area to which I am not.
      So in my case, staying somewhat anonymous is a protection for both of us.

    • I hadn't noticed!

      Hey Tom thanks for pointing that out. I have always had my name on my user id but yes, that’s gone. I’d registered with my name when I first came on iBratt, but that was the day in 2006 when the site went down, and so my name was eaten by the system along with that email addy and the password to use it. I didn’t bother jumping hoops, I just reregistered with an old roommate’s name I’d always liked. Anyone who wanted to know who I am could always see it on my user page anyway. Things have changed.

      I have found it amusing that when people didn’t look at my user id and addressed me as annikee, they could get very rude. Often they’d change their tune when realizing it was me they’d just been an ass toward. It’s all pretty interesting.
      Very truly yours,
      Laura Austan

  • Anonymity not the same as Pseudonymity

    Anonymity is not the same as Pseudonymity.

    iBrattleboro does not allow anonymity. It’s an important distinction, and critics often mistakenly accuse us of allowing anonymous remarks. We do not, and have not for many years.

    We did start out 10 years ago by trying to allow maximum freedom, but it was abused and spammers were a problem. We responded by requiring logins or signing of your work.

    Everything contributed has a person or contact information attached to it, or it does not get published. Everyone must own their words. I like when people use their initials or some form of their real name, but don’t mind if they prefer a pen name.

    I judge things by the quality of the contributed writing, not by the name attached. Names help me keep track of who is saying what, but not whether what they are saying is useful.

    I should add that some people think some of the real names seen here are made up. We’ve had some real names thrown at us as proof of “anonymous comments” on the site.

  • Sentiments

    I’m not sure I agree with this sentiment, Barry. It seems that there is a bit of a balancing act here, a spectrum, and it’s easy to fall into wickedness on either end.

    One the one hand, I agree and understand that anonymity (psaudonymity) offers a degree of freedom to a writer to express a truth that they might not feel comfortable expressing under their public name. I assume that this is well and good, if it really is a truth that they are desiring to impart and anonymity will help them to do it, for whatever reason. If complete honesty of authorship was required some truths would not come forward.

    But on the other hand it is all too common, especially on the internet, that anonymity gives writers a sense of entitlement to lash out, say nasty things about others, and/or cast aspersions. iBrattleboro is fraught with this and it got so bad during the skatepark and recent political campaigns that I seriously considered abandoning it all together. I don’t believe that the people who use their anonymity in this way are striving to explore the truth so much as lambast, intimidate and make people with differing opinions to theirs look bad.

    I don’t know what the answer is, and I guess Lise & Chris have done their best to strike a happy medium with their structure here. My hope is that some day a system will be implemented that brings out the best in people and discourages the all-too-common devolution into conflict.

    • Community perceptions

      As a part-time moderator, I agree that sometimes people (some, not all) get excited or heated over various topics and when that happens, I know it’s going to get on some people’s nerves. It even gets on my nerves at times. But I see iBrattleboro as a reflection of the larger community, not some balkanized thing that can be embraced or dismissed (or condemned) depending on who’s looking at it. The opinions, from measured reflection to strident opinionating to baiting to just trying to chime in, are for the most part by people who live in or around Brattleboro. They are us. And there seem to be a lot of different ways that people choose to express themselves, not all of them to everyone’s liking.

      We’ve thought about the issue of freedom of speech and its ramifications on iBrattleboro endlessly, and in the end, the signs always point to “err on the side of freedom and tolerance.” So that’s what we try to do.

      The opposite of that is going to push us toward deterring participation and potentially censoring users. We sometimes get accused of that when we delete a comment but we try really hard not to have to delete comments. Compared to what goes on in some of the national blogs I’ve visited, iBrattleboro is almost tame.

      I’m glad that we’re having the conversation about anonymity and pseudonyms (etc) because lately I’ve noticed that the trend is toward demanding real names. I see this as a political tactic to shut down discourse that is criticial of the power structure. I do understand the desire to have free and open discourse under our own names, but I don’t think we’re ready for that yet, and by we, I mean the human race. 😉

      • aiming for clarity

        I just want to make something clear about my opinions on the matter; I think the administrators of iBrattleboro do a great job and nothing should change on their end. It should not be their role to filter, register, identify, qualify participants in the forums.

        If there were ever a need for identities to be known, and I emphasize IF, it should be the responsibility of the participants.

        I take no issue with psuedonyms and anonymity for a wide range of uses, like those listed by cgrotke and spinoza; enterainers, whistleblowers, pen names for fiction, sure another Bible too if anybody feels up to writing one.

        The only areas that i feel the psuedonyms are tricky are journalism and a public process.

        Journalism has strict guidelines about using credible sources and making verifiable claims. It’s serious business and there are legal issues at stake (libel, slander) when people make posts that are journalistic and allege certain actions by people, without credible, identifiable sources and references. I believe Posters on the site need to take that responsiblity more seriously.

        It is not clear to me how iBrattleboro fits into a quality public process. On one hand iBrattleboro provides an easy, open accessible medium to voice concerns, ask questions and organize; all essential pieces of a public process.

        On the other hand, individuals, under a psuedonym, are free to say anything, even if it is false, misleading, divisive, hostile, rude, or antagonistic. These elements are not appropriate in a public process.

        In a strong public process, and even the democratic process at its core, Robert’s Rules of Order provides all the basic elements. Yet, Robert’s Rules of Order cannot be administered in an Internet forum, particularly ideas like having a chaired debate, staying on question, identifying yourself and “everybody gets a chance to speak once on a topic before anybody gets to speak twice.

        For this reason, we all have to use some common sense here. And for me, identifying yourself is valuable when you want to contribute to what appears to be some form of ‘public process’. Again, we all undertand the medium we’re using and should not expect anything more than what it is.

        Maybe Chris and Lise should create a ‘Public Process’ tab where you have to sign in and identify your name and town. Then your posts could be part of the record…sounds tricky, complicated and wierd, but it’s an idea.

        It’s worth repeating…iBrattleboro serves an important role in the community, we all just need to accept certain shortcomings when it comes to journalism and public process.


        • Public Process

          Thanks for the detailed response. Personally, I don’t really expect anything I write here to be part of official public process and I doubt many others do either. I think where media like iBrattleboro have a role is in letting citizens/residents/participants vet topics amongst themselves.

          The fact that people in official capacities get to read the posts and comments people write is really more bonus for them — they get to hear a range of perspectives. That’s actually valuable information and should help public officials hone and tweak their projects for the greatest acceptance. Or at least, that might be one productive use of information gleaned from informal sources such as iBrattleboro.

          In any event, I think the discussion process amongst the governed needs to go on separately from the official process. If later, some citizens/residents decide to go to a meeting and make some formal declaration, the action then passes into the official realm and at that point their names go on the official public record.

          Does that make sense? I know there must be times when reading comments here seems like utter chaos, but I think of it as organically-grown, self-organizing chaos that can lead to greater awareness and even understanding of knotty issues. I worry that too much process, a la Robert’s Rules, would tend to stymie that kind of free-form discussion.

      • Shutting down discourse

        Lise — it seems to me a dicey thing to ascribe malevolent intentions when none have been stated.

    • "Sentiments"

      As someone who has been on, and witnessed, the sharp end of the stick in “public process” more times than I care to admit is possible

      I must admit I sometimes have trouble with people who so often appear to have not.

      That said, I also have to wonder why anyone believes that ibrattleboro would/should be an exception to the universal human capacity to become nasty considering the stakes that are at the heart of political conflict, including the blatant, and still unaccounted for, injustice that the skatepark “plan” has made so very clear to so many in this town? And I am amazed that, sometimes sharp, conflict is not considered part of public process in Brattleboro or in planning and development in residential neighborhoods, anywhere?

      When people refer only to their concern over unpleasantness in campaigns, they usually don’t also refer to parallel efforts at civil and respectful dialogue, which is also part of the Brattleboro Skatepark issue. There is a documented record (including here on ibrattleboro) that reveals both of these (and much, much more) and that makes clear why people caved in to anger, losing the ability to engage further in often pointless dialogue. To ignore the larger record suggests that, rather than respecting the universal and genuine human emotion of anger that can arise when people’s concerns are silenced, mocked, or ignored, otherwise good people are deranged, immoral, willfully evil, and preferring nastiness over respectful discussion; while those getting lambasted (e.g., public leaders in positions of social responsibility or good citizens by members of an “official” town committee appointed by the Brattleboro Selectboar while the Selectboard sits in TOTAL silence) are somehow operating in ways that “bring the best out in people.” I am not sure where proponents of perpetually respectful “dialogue” live, or if they actually have any stake in much of what is said on ibrattleboro, the skatepark “plan” or the community “process” that led to it, but I suspect those most angry about it are those most likely to lose something as a result of the way it has been mishandled (including skatepark proponents).

      It is no mystery to me why things devolved into conflict. And part of that is the overwhelming and enduring public silence that filled the void left in the absence of open public discussion, responsible and effective town leadership, as well as, any accountability in the form of ANSWERS to legitimate questions regarding zoning ordinances, zoning language, flawed public process and decisions, and the subsequent approval of a permit to build a “world class” recreational facility (with no public toilets) in a tiny park in a residential neighborhood, with no design plan in place.

      So, when we talk about how “exploring the truth” is “best” done, while at the same time opining on how it’s not, I hope we can expand the discussion to look at how piety can also be used to lambast and “intimidate” people with alternate opinions, making piety appear even more pious. I also think we should look at what role silence plays in perpetuating tensions and divisiveness. On one end of the spectrum, silence can be a personal decision to exercise discretion. However, silence can also be a product of apathy about issues, or the plight of others, turning silence into overt selfishness. Silence is also recognized as harmful to others, as the ultimate act of passive-aggression (give me overt aggression any day). Silence can also be about individual fears, turning it into varying degrees of cowardliness, some of which beat the choice of anonymity and use of pseudonyms by a long shot (I am thinking of how many people I am aware of read ibrattleboro, but never publically comment, and then pretend they don’t read it at all, but build public positions and strategies based on what they learn here). Silence can also be a tool of purposeful deception and control, in order to ignore or perpetuate deliberate injustices. So although I understand that temporary nastiness and lashing out is not as palatable or valued as silence is to some (despite the purpose it often serves), I think we need to recognize the value in the “sentiments” of those who will never choose to be on the end of the spectrum of wickedness where silence, in the face of injustice, is found.


      PS Please ask yourself; “Where was I when the “process” was taking place? Did I speak up? If, yes, at what point? If no, why did you remain silent?”

  • False Names

    If I post real opinion about our small-town politics using my real name, and based upon years of research and observations, then an assortment of people post responses off the tops of their heads, using fake names to boot, this does not look responsible to me. I can be held responsible for my words, but in practice they are ‘dodging the bullet’ by not telling the LOCAL readers in our SMALL TOWN who they are. So the political dialogue gets watered down by the pot-shots, and fewer people are willing to read the discussion thread because of what is quaintly called (in Internet speech) the signal-to-noise ratio.

    If you post a response using your real name, to me that tends to preserve the integrity of the discussion overall. Of course if your response is wacko, then it speaks far more about you than anything you are trying to talk about.

    So my default interpretation about anonymous or false-named postings is that the people writing them realize they might not know what they are talking about, and because they don’t want to be held responsible for their ideas, they decide to take pot-shots, sort of like sniping from behind a rock.

    • Not this black and white

      I have seen very thoughtful pieces and comments submitted by people using pseudonyms and I have also seen snipes from them. But that is also true for people using their “real” name (which, by the way, how do we really know what anyone’s real name is on this site). Why not just read what is written for what it says? If there is something there, great. If not, tally ho. I think Lise nails it by saying this pushing for real names is an attempt to shut down the discourse. We know these posters by their writing. If you follow this site for any period of time you know annikee and mr mike and zippy and spinoza and maus. They all add richness to our experience here even if you don’t know who they are. If you insist on demanding that they announce themselves under their “real” name before you listen to what they offer, it is your loss.

      • Oh, I forgot to add

        One last comment on this topic. Just for emphasis, this posting looks like it is from one of your “real names” that you required before you would read what I have to say. But the truth is, Maxwell Shepherd is my 100 lb gorgeous German Shepherd, and last I checked he cannot type.

  •'s a thought.

    Or,Mr. Wilmerding…here’s a thought. Perhaps they actually DO know what they are talking about or are offering a well thought out opinion and – for any or all of the many valid reasons listed above in numerous posts-choose to either use a shortened version of their actual name or a “pen name”. It certainly doesn’t invalidate their comments or the amount of knowledge or experience they may have regarding a particular topic. Nor do I think that it deters ibrattleboro
    members from following a specific thread. And, to be honest -even without the ability to click on a profile and see the person’e name I think most people know or have a pretty good idea who frequent posters are.
    I find it curious that you feel comments not attached to a “real’ name are less worthy of consideration than others.

    Kris Alden

    • 'Open Secrets'?

      “… most people know or have a pretty good idea who frequent posters are …”

      I don’t accept this as legitimate discourse. It doesn’t meet my standards of either candor or honesty on local issues.

      Whosoever decides to post under a false name does so taking the risk that their point of view may lose some of its legitimacy, and most certainly will lose much or most of its accountability. It’s not me that’s imposing that consequence … it’s the nature of the ‘beast’ that they are courting with their behavior.

      Fortunately Lise and Chris (owners of iBrattleboro) have decided on a policy of encouraging accountability. I’m wholly in agreement with the ways in which they are pursuing this. They know that people will stop reading iBrattleboro in droves if they want serious points of view, and all they encounter is ‘entertainment value’, if that. Let’s help them guard the integrity of their venue.

      I have run Internet fora before, and only rarely would I allow people to cop the stance of anonymity or a pseudonym. In the only *two* cases where I allowed this, they had to convince me of their genuine fears of political or religious persecution.

      • Selective exclusion?

        I thought Lise made rather clear that they realize there is a broad diversity in the heavy traffic reading or participating in what is openly identified as a “citizen” based forum, here. If “some” people choose to stop reading ibrattleboro (in droves?) because they don’t find “serious” points of view every time they log on here, maybe they aren’t reading or thinking deeply enough about the value of diversity in a community?

        How broad is one’s learning and thinking if they only read the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, in a world filled with domination (in many forms), illiteracy, guns, poverty, and other social and class disparities? I think discourse is of more value when it includes many voices and styles, not just those articulate, privileged, or brazen enough to refer to what is “legitimate discourse” in a very large world. Maybe gated communities, with real standards, are not too far off in Brattleboro?

        Besides, we’ve seen where the presentation of “serious” points of view too often get folks “locally.”

        • Helping Chris and Lise?

          I forgot to mention how truly disturbing I found the language and underlying assumptions in the entire post “Open Secrets” – including “helping” “guard” “integrity”

          Of course the well-heeled Brattleboro integrity police will be doing the guarding, and helping, right?

        • selective sample

          While it may be accurate to say that there is broad diversity in regard to ibrattleboro readership, I think the opinions shared on this site, by the frequent flyers anyway, are for the most part homogenous and do not represent the community as a whole. In statistics it’s what is called a self selecting sample. I agree that discourse is of more value when it includes many voices and styles. Unfortunately this “community” site is for the most part insular. What would it take to change that?

          as far as anonymity goes, I feel more comfortable expressing my opinion without using my full name. If this privelege were taken away it would only serve to make the forum more homogenous.

          • True

            … however, there is so much to be learned from statistical outliers and purposeful samples. And they can be SO much more interesting than what we might find at the mean of a large random sample.

            If the majority don’t participate here, or as seen in town voting, we have to cull from what we can and act, or not, from what we learn from those who participate in the many ways citizens exercise voice.

      • John, my point was not to

        John, my point was not to meet your “standards of either candor or honesty on local issues” It was to point out that, in my opinion, the statements that most people post on ibrattleboro are exactly the same statements they would make if they were talking to someone on Main Street. I don’t believe that there is this vast population of ibrattleboro users who labor under false names to undermine the integrity of the site nor to avoid accountability for their statements. I think most members of this valuable online community state their opinions with candor and honesty ; knowing that some people will agree with them; some will not and that there will no doubt be some, hopefully, healthy dialog around whatever issue they are writing about.
        As far as “helping Chris and Lise guard the integrity of their venue” I think they are doing just fine maintaining the integrity and fairness of their venue. I don’t believe any venue that encourages free speech and open lines of communication needs to have “guards”. And I don;t believe that people will stop reading “in droves” because they wisely allow the use of “screen names” as it were.
        People are a part of ibrattleboro for different reasons. I use the site to see what’s happening in the community; to get caught up on local politics and sometimes to be both amused and astonished at the level of arrogance that is frequently shown by some of the members. But, for the most part I am interested in the many diverse opinions that are offered on a wide range of subjects.Brattleboro is an interesting place to live and ibrattleboro proves that every day.

    • I totally agree with Zippy,

      I totally agree with Zippy, Mrs. Alden, Crotchety Vidda, and Maxwell the Dog; long winded opinions are critical to our community, everybody cares what we have to say and this forum allows us to be ourselves, without the concerns you named people must endure. We are free to expose the secrets of town government, free to practice our religion and free to make the real problems known. Names and identities are for fools, bigots and arrogant jerks. iBrattleboro is our home, it is here where we are free. Without iBrattleboro, the town would not know about our ultra-important opinions. It is here that we come expose the travesties, injustices and tragedies of the named people. It is here that we can be truthfully angry, genuinely hostile, and brutally honest. This is the purest form of community activism, community engagement, community organization. When the rest of the named people wake up and realize that, Brattleboro will find it’s true place at the right hand of the lord.

      • Ideals and Reality

        For clarity, we don’t encourage people to say mean things to each other and we would love it if people didn’t do that. But people do what people do. I had no idea the concept of free speech was so wrong. I thought it was almost a no brainer, but I guess times have really changed.

        There’s no way to express thoughts and opinions in a way that everyone will like. Someone will always disagree. That’s why we don’t talk about anything important in polite society — it might result in disagreement and disagreement is impolite. But how do you have a democracy if you’re not allowed to talk about anything?

        And Mr. C, for the record, if civility is your goal, how did the comment above further that goal?

        • I disagree that disagreement

          I disagree that disagreement is impolite.

          • challenging the man

            FrankC’s comment draws your ire because it go against the general sentiment of the user comments posted on this site. Go back to the Coop unionizing thread and read the verbal abuse directed at poor Mr Mike. It was shameful to say the least! To Mike’s credit he handled it beautifully. I greatly appreciate FrankC, Mr Mike and all other fearless commentators who have the courage to challenge the prevailing ibrattleboro opinion.

          • what I love

            Is the incessant whining that one’s viewpoints aren’t represented enough- by entirely anonymous people about other anonymous people’s posts. Or maybe they’re the same person. Good for a laugh anyway. I like irony.

          • loose cannon

            you know what is not ironic? sadly, your response.

          • A pity

            that yours is just typical, then, buddy.

      • And,yet, here you are Frank C

        And,yet, here you are Frank C (surely not your entire name?) not only reading those “long winded opinions” but adding one of your very own. I am curious as to why you think a public forum -such as ibrattleboro- should not be used to “expose the secrets of our town government” or “make real problems known” If the town government is harboring ‘secrets’ that should be known for the good of the community -then -yes! let’s talk about them. And if there is a problem that could be potentially solved by some public discussion -then -again- let’s hear about it. And I don’t see any instances in this thread where the people advocating for the use of ‘real names’ were referred to as fools or bigots.
        Instead what I’ve found is a lengthy discussion of the pros and cons of the option of using pen names. However there is certainly an abundance of anger and hostility in your comment and no civility or respect. So, I assume you are one of those eagerly awaiting your place “at the right hand of the lord”
        And, just for the record: It’s Ms. not Mrs.

      • multivariant

        FC – For your reading pleasure, with or without the right hand of “your” lord:

  • A Kite in the Storm

    Since this post has generated such lively discussion, I felt it fitting to include the opening volleys of Ben Franklin’s letters, penned under the name of middle-aged widow, Silence Dogood.


    It may not be improper in the first Place to inform your Readers, that I intend once a Fortnight to present them, by the Help of this Paper, with a short Epistle, which I presume will add somewhat to their Entertainment.

    And since it is observed, that the Generality of People, nowadays, are unwilling either to commend or dispraise what they read, until they are in some measure informed who or what the Author of it is, whether he be poor or rich, old or young, a Schollar or a Leather Apron Man, &c. and give their Opinion of the Performance, according to the Knowledge which they have of the Author’s Circumstances, it may not be amiss to begin with a short Account of my past Life and present Condition, that the Reader may not be at a Loss to judge whether or no my Lucubrations are worth his reading.”

    • Run On, and on and on . . .

      That is about the worst run-on sentence I’ve labored through since reading Dante’s Inferno. Proves my point exactly about hiding behind pen names.

      • Your Point

        So, as I understand it your logic here is, Tad (is that your real name, should we really be using nicknames?) the fact that I have used a penname should automatically disqualify any comment I have written past or present. In proving your point further because using a penname in itself actually means it is conducive to creating the expected premise a person will be more likely and prone to write in a style using series of run on sentences as I have this time around (root”runner”). I feel for your struggle or you could just skip over my comment. I take your meaning to be, this should be reason enough to be excluded from commenting on ibrattleboro and really drives your point home why I’m a perfect example why one should not be welcome.

        How about typos and incomplete sentences, should these be screened as well for all contributors? Should we be proof reading and critiquing all your comments searching for an ultimate guide of what permissible for content representing shinning examples of sentence structure we need to follow? Maybe these summarizations just have to be the new ground rules you should be requesting in our new atmosphere of limitation and restrictions for a certain segments of the local population.

        I understand and have admitted to my grammatical errors ( have done a better job in the past)and explained my regret in the follow up comments where I recognized the dificulty in reading my post and I did in fact state my name.

        I guess in your perfect world people like myself should be prohibited from speaking out even here at such an informal, accessible post as this one on ibrattleboro to define what’s right and wrong. Maybe this is the general concensus and comments like mine offer virtually little insight. Let’s just put limitations on imagination and pennames so everything is in a nice tidy line that conforms to your standards and are like minded, or maybe this is just self rightious. Don’t worry you won’t be hearing from me again.

  • Not Frank

    If it’s ultimately a matter of credibility, what does it say when the Pope chooses his own new name to go by?

    • Town Politics

      As far as political debate goes, I find it note worthy to mention a disturbing delema in our community when an obvious abuse of one’s position representing an elected office deems preeminent determinations and self imposed limitations in order to manipulate and take control of a particular issue or project’s outcome conveniently operating under the confines of their own sequestered court of opinion while outdistancing (by plotting a series of irreversable manuvers) the uninvited public activism, scrutiny and intervention to be regarded as mere source of agitation and annoyance. Operating in such a regressive manner thrwarts any chance of a necessary opportunity and essential component of government to be receptive to emerging rational an indepth input expressing potential improvements respecting an effort for refined resolution to exist on the behalf of citizens who have an inherent interest. Abandoned inclusiveness dampers future motivation for participation to strive and search for unified progress that truly considers all those concerned.

      When a person wants to make a genuine counter comment and exchange of viewpoints that may be viewed as harsh, there will be some who see this as unacceptable, indigestible and disrespectful even to town leaders in question or the integrity of commenters themselves. But by not speaking up, the alternative is to impose, such has been requested to prevent inordinate responses, and create a premise of passivity that backs down and accepts the apathetic status quo, which at the same time can lead to inadvertently reinforcing a derelict or negligent general reluctance on the part of potentially preconceived, defiant attitudes and tendencies of leaders to prevail walled up within a certain comfort zone and layered up with indifference to get a job they want done in a biased fashion.

      Here we can realize leaders can resort to inappropiate, methodical, exclusive departure and deceptive patterns that are unyieding and resistant to belittle the opposition in that they completely lack the ability and proper vision to engage critical openness and encourage different perspectives to join in that will in fact often times offer more accurate insight being directly affected but go ignored. Town leaders insular inpenetrable approach on certain issues that present conflict are more apparent and worsens strife in a disputed situation when hedged and specifically used to satisfy and preferentially serve one’s or a select group’s personal agenda taking precedence over valid community concerns and objections properly presented.

      The frustration that this conduct can still be permitted to persist needs to be called on and discussed. This forum may be the only place to effectively do so where certain inside connections can’t be used to disable, confine, reject, delute, diminish, sterilize and stripline or selectively overlook contrary opinions that upset an over zealous predetermined course. To wishfully water opinions down, restrict or censor because of user name, would be nothing less than an attempt to intentionally reduce a contributors discerning comment’s potency degrading those opposing arguments. Eliminating these in turn only stands to promote and emphasize a certain arrogance and privilege already teaming and permeates in places of power. If you object to a comment, you have the option to prove them wrong.

      Is complacency what we want by not adressing the validity of opinions presented?. If left open ended, will only appease or massage another’s reinforcement of their own self importance of assertions, who may be also inclined to find the severity of debate and unsettling feedback suddenly a bit touchy, close to home or a true discomfort pressing up against and likely to reveal a distinct lack accountablility before a court of public opinion. Comments have to hold up when weighed in and draw in the attention of public awareness to questionable actions, statements or delivery of conflicting misconceptions or rhetoric someone is portraying and conceivable allowed to stand as the last word if uncontested. If anything, varied commentary is protected here and we certainly need, value and appreciate it in this day and age.
      By the way, a big shout out to all those who publically stood up and purposely mislead others to gain support at critical junctures about there having already been an adequate “public” site selection process as it affects Crowell Park and who stated no trees/hedge would not be harmed as a result! at what cost?

      Especially when certain individuals continue to do so and find it necessary to take further advantage putting into practice convoluted obstruction as a defensive strategy every step of the way implementing systematic avoidance to controversey to achieve a desired result. This comes at the expense and casualty to our community and loss of meaningful confidence in our leaders objectivity when an entitled directive bypasses and cuts off valid consideration to citizen’s ability and right to be involved. It is instead redirected to dark dead end street where they can be stationary and spin their wheels or where they are continually cast out to a perpetually circulating rotary that rules and drives out any peripheral perception or recognition of an actual right and respect for incoming access to merge and is ward off and diverted back to the outside to ride out the rumble strips.

      Such injustices have been exposed here for what they are, the blatant demonstration indicative of contradiction and in direct conflict of what we expect as a given equality, a violation that deters overall, comprehensive public interest, inclusion and due process. I think our democratic system allows for us to pursue accountablility seeking open discovery of a failed or covert process and if the town ignores us then we can open dialogue here on ibrattleboro to find answers anonymous or not. I think anyone here commenting who has been asked to give there name, has, so what’s the petty bickering about just because maybe we don’t like what we hear(the truth hurts/untruths must be exposed) and isn’t music to one’s ears. Les Montgomery

      It is part and parcel to our local democracy we operate on a level playing field, hold leaders accountable and question authority just as those operating in our national government are subject to scrutiny. This applies on a larger scale to even a past president( there are many incidents but I’ll pick just one for example) who took advantage putting at risk our national security at stake ( potential blackmail) for the momentary pleasure(of personal missle deployment) on the job soliciting fringe benefits from ” tempting come hither looker” in the oval office no less, whose defense continued to be denial of participation building up an emerging scandal that incapacitated national progress when we needed things to be accomplished. If politcal mishaps can occur at the top, they just as likely can happen here in our neck of the pond, so we need checks and balances not denial, these debates can happen on ibrattleboro but has not been so successful through town meetings for some, very unfortunately.

      • Huh?

        I generally agree with much of what you write, but in this case you lost me about 50 words into the first (88-word long) sentence.

        • yes

          I tried to correct, but was cut off and I’m completely burnt out on this topic and should not of attempted another word, in short, when our town government fails us or becomes disfunctional as far as acknowleging our concerns, ibrattleboro may be the best place to express ones’ opinions and find answers. Either all are welcome or this won’t work.

          • The time has come...

            …to let the vision unfold. Time will undoubtedly tell if slam-dunk development and planning process are sound means to a “community” end.

          • but enough said

            I guess I really can’t say enough, literally, how I think a good portion of our community was intentionally ripped off and disrepectfully disregarded when abandoned by town leadership to push a project through and in the questionable process, or lack thereof, neglected exploring current alternative options by not sufficiently evaluating criteria before interested parties as this affects all those concerned now having potentially deprived many of an incredible green space they completely utilize, revere, appreciate and enjoy as is.

            It is also a major perturbance to hear the complaints about anonymity which isn’t so prevalent that it curtails or disrupts serious debate upon inspection and doesn’t automatically mean dialogue is unfounded or genuine. Especially when these same people who cry foul boldly state their name and positions gladly use ibrattleboro to their own devise to often mislead the public making statements that only in the end reveal and prove what poor planning had actually taken place and is still undetermined left open ended, yet approved, all the while asserting what amounts to distorted misconceptions about what’s actually at stake in order to deceptively gain public support.

          • So be it...

            As Paul Simon wrote, “Silence like a cancer grows…”

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