Friday, November 23, 2007

The San Francisco Chronicle deceives its readers through comment-deletion trickery

[UPDATE 1: Software Exec Brags About Crypto-Deletion Feature.]
(Sat. 11-24-07, 12:30pm)

[UPDATE 2: Reader Documents "Graylist" of Banned SFGate Users Who Don't Know They're Banned.]
(Sat. 11-24-07, 2:20pm)

[UPDATE 3: The Scandal Spreads: Other Sites Caught Red-Handed Doing the Same Trick.]
(Sat. 11-24-07, 3:25pm)

[UPDATE 4: S.F. Chronicle admits to deceptive comment-deletion policy, offers bizarre excuse, then lies again.]
(Thurs. 11-29-07, 2:58pm)

[All updates can be found below at the end of this entry]

The San Francisco Chronicle has recently activated a devious system by which it deceives commenters on its website, Here's how it works:

If you make a comment on an article posted at SFGate, and if the site moderators then subsequently delete your comment for whatever reason, it will only appear as deleted to the other readers. HOWEVER, your comment will NOT appear to be deleted if viewed from your own computer! The Chronicle's goal is to trick deleted commenters into not knowing their comments were in fact deleted. I'll give evidence below showing how they do this.

Why would SFGate do such a thing? Because ever since public input was first allowed at SFGate, many commenters who had their comments deleted would come back onto the comment thread and point out that they had been silenced for ideological reasons -- i.e. they weren't sufficiently "progressive" -- or because they had pointed out ethical lapses at SFGate and the Chronicle. Or any number of other reasons that the Chronicle did not want known. So, to pacify these problematic commenters, the SFGate moderators came up with a very clever and underhanded coding trick to prevent deleted commenters from ever finding out that they had been silenced.

Now, I'm certain that there are plenty of comments on SFGate that indeed merit deletion, and plenty of commenters who say patently offensive things. No question about that, and no one is questioning the Chronicle's right to delete such comments. But there are many other comments that get removed for no apparent reason, except for their political stance, or because they strike too close to home -- pointing out flaws in the article's reporting or writing itself, or ethical or moral misdeeds on the part of the Chronicle editors or management. Deleting comments such as those would be bad enough, but the Chronicle really crossed the line with their new technique of essentially lying to any commenter who has been deleted by not allowing them to even know they were deleted -- so they don't subsequently complain.

The flaw in this new system -- and how I discovered the trickery -- is the "Recommended" rankings under each comment. Readers are permitted to "Recommend" comments they like, and the most popular comments can accumulate dozens of "Recommends." Also, comments near the beginning of any thread often get the most "Recommends." Several times over the last few weeks I noticed something odd: on the first page of comments, people would voice an opinion on an article, then I would make a comment that essentially voiced the same opinion as commenters before and after me; but if I checked back several hours later, or the next day, I would notice that these other commenters would have accrued 20 or 30 or more "Recommends," whereas I would either have 0 Recommends or (if I had recommended my own comment, which many people do) just 1 Recommend.

Why was this happening repeatedly? One explanation is that my comments were terrible, and thus did not earn any "Recommends," but in most cases they were not much different from other comments, and were at least as well-written. But today I discovered by accident the real reason. The night before I had made a comment from my personal computer about this SFGate article. When I checked back this morning, I noticed once again that my comment was the only comment which had only 1 "Recommend." I didn't give it much thought, but later in the day I revisited the same thread from a friend's computer. To my surprise, I discovered that my comment had been deleted, when viewed on this other computer. Then, later, I returned to my own computer, revisited the same thread -- and my comment had mysteriously reappeared, at least from my point of view.

Suspicious, I then took the following steps: I deleted the "cookies" that SFGate installs on users' computers to identify who they are, then logged out of my account, and then revisited the same thread on my own computer. As I suspected, the comment was no longer visible, replaced by the moderator's notation "This comment has been removed by SFGate." Then when I logged back in to my account, and viewed the thread as "me" again -- the comment was once again visible.

I also confirmed this by viewing the comment thread using a different browser (Firefox) which did not have any SFGate cookies installed yet, and on which I had not logged in to my account. Sure enough, the comment appeared as deleted; while exactly simultaneously, using my original logged-in browser (Safari) the comment was not deleted.

In other words, whenever I viewed the comments thread as "myself" (i.e. logged in under my account name, which in this case was "jimjams"), my comment remained visible; but whenever I viewed the comment thread either anonymously (i.e. not logged in) or from a browser with no SFGate cookies or (most importantly) from some other computer, then my comment was gone -- deleted by the moderators.

So the end result is that the only person who can see a deleted comment is the person who originally made that comment. To everyone else in the world -- the comment is gone, deleted, non-existent. And the only conceivable purpose for this is to trick commenters into not knowing their comments had been deleted.

Thus, I issue this call to anyone who has ever suspected that their comment was deleted at SFGate, or who ever was stuck at 0 "Recommends" near the beginning of a comment thread even though you made an excellent or incisive comment: take the steps I describe above, and you almost certainly will have the same experience that I did: your comment will be deleted everywhere except your home logged-in computer.

To provide some evidence of my claims, I have taken the following screenshot which shows exactly what I'm describing; the direct link to this particular comments thread is here. Click on this image to view it full-size:

This screenshot shows two different browser windows open simultaneously: The left side shows how the comments thread appears to me when I'm logged out, having cleared my cookies; and the right side shows how the comments thread appears to me when I'm logged in with cookies turned back on. Notice that my comment (the one by "jimjams") is missing on the left side yet present on the right side; and that all the other comments have a greater number of "Recommends" on the right side, meaning that that window was opened necessarily at a later time -- and yet that's the side with the visible comment, meaning that it must have become visible AFTER having already been deleted.

Please note that this is not a debate over whether or not this one particular comment of mine merited deletion -- I disagreed with the article's author, and called him an "idiot" for completely misrepresenting the issue, which I suppose the moderators felt was too extreme. No, the issue is that they tried to hide the fact of the deletion from me through chicanery -- and I suspect that they pull the same trick on other deleted commenters too, in order to pacify them.

Do you suspect that has ever happened to you on a comments thread at SFGate? If so, try the various steps described above (deleting cookies, logging out, and re-viewing the thread; or viewing it with a different browser, or on a different computer). Readers are invited to post their experiences here as comments on this blog. And I encourage you to post this URL ( in SFGate comments wherever you think it's appropriate.


Reader "Afkovach" sends in these two screenshots: the first one shows how his comments are visible when he is logged in to SFGate; and the second one shows that they appear as deleted when he views SFGate after logging out. This confirms my experience.


[UPDATE 1, Sat., 11-24-07, 12:30pm]: Software Exec Brags About Crypto-Deletion Feature

The PBS blog "MediaShift" recently had an interview with Rich Skrenta, the former CEO of a commenting-forum-software company called Topix, in which he bragged about this capability in his company's product:
There’s a lot of tricks in it. For instance, if you are banned from the forums, you can actually still post, and see your own posts, but other people don’t see them. That’s a neat social trick, because if you know you’ve been banned, most people will work around that. They’ll clear their cookies and work to figure out how to get around the block; but if they don’t know they’ve been banned, and they seem to be able to post, it won’t do any harm to the environment.
Another software company called Prospero supposedly also makes commenting software with this crypto-deletion feature. However, I don't know for sure if SFGate uses either the Topix or Prospero software. (Hat tip: MonkeySon)

[UPDATE 2, Sat., 11-24-07, 2:20pm]: Reader Documents "Graylist" of Banned SFGate Users Who Don't Know They're Banned

ITM commenter "Bricology" has just documented that, at least in some cases, the comment-deletions on SFGate are automated; that all comments from certain users who have been secretly banned from the site are immediately deleted automatically; but that such deletions are not visible to the banned commenter himself. Thus, he never knows that he has been banned.

Bricology took these three consecutive screenshots: click on each one to see full-size versions.

The first picture shows an innocuous comment on a thread that is visible when the commenter is logged in to his SFGate account. The second screenshot shows that the comment has already been deleted just a minute later -- when viewed as a non-SFGate member who is not logged in. (Notice the timestamps at the bottom right of the images.) And then the third picture shows the exact same comment reappeared on SFGate once more shortly afterwards -- after the commenter re-logged in to his account.

Since the comment was non-abusive and entirely innocuous (on purpose, as a test), and since it was deleted immediately, and yet still visible to the owner of the account, this proves that certain users are on a "graylist" of banned users who are not informed they are banned. Kudos to Bricology for discovering this.

[UPDATE 3, Sat., 11-24-07, 3:25pm]: The Scandal Spreads: Other Sites Caught Red-Handed Doing the Same Trick

The DJ Konservo site has just posted screenshots taken from the mainstream blog ThinkProgress which prove that the exact same comment deletion deception is being implemented there as well.

We're also getting reports from readers that newspapers in Canada, Washington state and Houston may also be using the same underhanded software gimmick -- preventing deleted or banned commenters from ever discovering that they have been deleted or banned.

[UPDATE 4, Thurs. 11-29-07, 2:58pm]: S.F. Chronicle admits to deceptive comment-deletion policy, offers bizarre excuse, then lies again.]

In a new posting on Investigate the Media, we discuss an interview given by the Webmaster for SFGate, in which she admits that the Chronicle did indeed crypto-delete "graylisted" commenters, as we claimed, then goes on to offer a bizarre excuse for this behavior that makes little sense, and finally falsely states that they have ended the practice, which in fact they haven't. Go to the new thread to read all the details.


siiras said...

What refined censorship. The censored don't know they've been deleted, so when they never get feedback of any kind to their comments, they are slowly demoralized and stop posting altogether. It's fiendishly clever and completely dishonest to all readers, left and right, though most of the left probably would approve.

Meanwhile, like a kangaroo court, the San Francisco Chronicle runs a kangaroo court of public opinion where citizens are misled into thinking that they have been heard. It's like a Monty Python skit but nefarious instead of funny.

AmeriDan said...

Great report!

New Media strikes again and you are the tip of the sword.

As for the practice you have unearthed?... Typical MSM/Liberal tactics to protect us from ourselves. Taken to a new level, of course.

suboptimal said...

Great work chronicling this deceptive practice. It's yet another example of the "by any means necessary" mentality, and the stupid things those that subscribe to it are willing to do.

Anonymous said...


I wondered what the fuck was going on at SFGATE with my postings! I think you nailed it good. it was like I was invisible to the other people there. Never got a Rec on some articles even though the others got plenty. I wonder like what is HAPPENING here??? I thought my cache was screwed up or I didn't know what, but now that you explained it I'm slapping my forehead and Dammmmm......that is IT! It felt like my postings were removed but I could still see them. I'm gonna try to find the old threads and check 'em out on a different machine. I'm pretty positive my stuff'll be missing.

Great digging Bro. I got an email about your post. I'll send it to others I know.

Sandrine O. said...

I'm reminded of the old comedy routine about the depressed man who goes to a psychologist and lays down on the couch and talks for an hour straight, revealing all his secrets, yet his life is so boring that the psychologist has secretly fallen asleep, and murmurs "Mmm-hmmm, mmm-hmmm" as he dreams. At the end of the hour the patient abruptly says "Thanks doc!" and wakes up the psychologist, to whom the patient says, "Your the best listener I've ever encountered! I feel so much better!"

The readers at the SFGate are just like that pathetic depressed man, imagining that the world is listening to them, when in fact their comments have been deleted and no one is listening at all.

This whole thing feels like a fairy tale, about a mute fool who thinks he is speaking, but who says nothing.

The San Francisco Chronicle should be ashamed of itself.

Karridine said...

I found a link-back to this AMAZING yet true blogpost, at a blog called "I Call BS!"

And sure enough, when SFGate lies like this (lies in deed, if not in word), a lot of us want to shout Hey! I call BS!

AmeriDan said...

"The readers at the SFGate are just like that pathetic depressed man, imagining that the world is listening to them, when in fact their comments have been deleted and no one is listening at all." - sandrine o

That pretty much sums up my view of the current day Democratic Party and their approach to their base. And to the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Jams for posting this.
A hug from Mexico ;)

MonkeySon said...

Not sure if sfgate is using the same software, but the discussion boards at many other local papers use software provided by prospero. That software has the same a little more. If you're nickname is banned, you aren't informed. You can post comments, and see your comments. To everyone else, your comments appear as a deleted post. Until someone tells you that your comments appear as deleted items, you have no feedback that you have been banned....

slhamlet said...

If you look more closely at the screen capture, you'll see a serviceman's post saying Hollywood's view of soldiers is unrealistic, and another poster complaining not only about Hollywood's anti-war slant, but the bias of the Chronicle reporter. Yet both of them have been left undeleted. So the most likely reason your post was deleted was for the personal attack, not for its politics. And by not noticing this very obvious distinction, you're the one who seems like an idiot.

Anonymous said...

slhamlet apparently needs to work on reading comprehension. The issue here is not what or why something was deleted, but the practice of not having the grace to let the person who has been so deleted know that fact. Kind of a real-world instance of the fictional "double secret probation"

Anonymous said...

Those commie pimps at SFGATE just lost a subscriber (me). They hate my guts and delete every single thing that I post (automatically I suspect). I did try looking at my posts when logged in and then not logged in and it is true! Thanks for pointing this out SOULPHONE...


I have recently been banned from dkos as auto kicks in after you have 96 or so hidden comments which require at least 3 troll recs each over and above any recs.

Then you can't even see your own hidden comments if you have lost TU status. When you go back to the diary and thread your comments are gone and all the ones disagreeing with you and your replies to them have also gone into hidden territory.

There is a cabal doing this there and wrecking the solidarity of the site. Good bloggers have migrated elsewhere and kos is oblivious his base is gone.

Do you want more info on this as to how it is done?

jimjams said...

Apocalypse Al:

So, you're saying that you too had the same experience? That you COULD view your comment when logged out, but it was deleted from your point of view when logged in?

That's important confirmation, if so. What is the URL of the comment thread? Can you take a screenshot of it with the comment in the state of being deleted? (Or side-by-side deleted and non-deleted in two windows?) Either way is fine Thanks.

jimjams said...


Well, whatever that's happening at DKos is a different issue. This post is specifically about SFGate's methods. Though I wouldn't be surprised if they were somewhat similar. Do you have any info about SFGate's software or code?

Anonymous said...

I appreciate all these newfangled devices that expose how truly sleazy "mainstream" media is, even the censored blog by sfcomical. but I am sore tired of almost every single story, comment or commentator being twisted into some flavor of "liberal" or "progressive" with a dose of hate-filled slander or and characterized as stupid, ignorant or deceived; individuals are attacked and threatened, rather than any discussion allowed. Sorry that's not what I call public discourse. I'm a liberal and I am NOT deceived, nor do I lack common sense or grounding in the "real world." What's most disturbing about the sfgate blog is how ILliberal, racist, xenophobic, misogynist it is. I mean, the sfbay area has tons of liberal, forward thinking people, but is really poisoned by an equal number of hateful reactionaries. While I'm sure many people who don't live here make it a personal mission to post there to f*** with our heads, there are plenty of haters right here in river city. And sfgate just gets to put its own agenda-driven spin on it. I might as well be reading Craigslist rants and raves, which I stopped reading when it was firmly and permanently planted in the gutter.

Anonymous said...

JIMJAMS, yes definate confirmation on the fact that I can see my comments/posts when I am logged in and cannot see them when I am not logged in. I beleive that my posts were being deleted automatically as a matter of fact! Early on I posted comments that got lots of reccomends and positive responses from other posters. At first i thought that it was curious that people that agreed with me were deleted but I was not. Then I realized why that appeared to be the case when I saw the post by SOULPHONE (is that you?). I'll try to get some screen shots for you yes. I think that SFGATE is really sleazy for engaging in this sort of censorship.

jimjams said...

Apocalypse Al:

Great! Please, yes, I would like to see screenshots. That would be excellent confirmation. Upload them somewhere and then post the URL here so we can see them. Thanks!

jimjams said...

And no, I'm not "SoulPhone" on SFGate -- that must be someone else entirely! But I'm glad they linked here, certainly!

Anonymous said...

I can't put a screen shot in the comment box here. If you like send me your email address and I'll mail them to you so that you can post them. My address is

Anonymous said...

One other reson for sfgate doing this is they sometimes I think put a crappy article on and when the bickering begains to draw comments the site gets hot with alot of comments... which equals advertisment veiwing.
Anyway and i am sure you have heard this alot THANK YOU..THANK YOU...THANK YOU!!!!

Rico J. Halo said...

I am not in the least surprised. I have been a member, moderator and admin at a number of political discussion forums over the last several years. Lib sites are draconian in their micro-managing of comments.

One forum I was an admin at was mixed conservative and liberal and I was constantly having to muzzle the lib mods because they would delete any post that disagreed in the slightest with their personal views. The crazy thing was they just did not see why it was wrong to do that.

This is why when libs are forced to acknowledge their actions they consistently see nothing wrong with it. It goes way past 'the ends justify the means' with them.

VBulletin, the number one forum software package, has a similar plugin called "Coventry" with a similar effect of making all posts by a particular member invisible to all but themselves and mods. That is a good tool to discourage trolls as they will always move on when they get absolutely no reaction to any posts.

But these selective deletions by SFGate is much more insidious with it being done on single comments.

It also illustrates another point I always make about libs: they never think thru the consequences of their actions.

I mean come on, what reasonable person would assume they could get away with something like this for any length of time? Do they assume nobody has more than a single computer? Or that members never check the forum from other locations?

Theyre not just arrogant libs theyre stupid libs as well. But then anyone that has read Daily Kos or Democratic Underground would know this already.

Anonymous said...

A ha! You've explained the phenomenon that has mystified me for months! My posts on SFGate Comments are often politically incorrect, but never offensive; never in violation of their TOU. And yet, I've noticed that I never get any "recommended" points, even when what I'm writing totally reflects the opinion of the majority, and is on the first page of comments.

So if you're right (and I think you are), either someone at SFGate has it in for me and manually deletes my comments, or they have some application that does it automatically -- a sort of blacklist.

So, other than wishing that being exposed to a limited audience, what can be done about this? I don't think that SFGate has the ability to track IP addresses. Maybe we should organize and set up hundreds of identities on SFGate Comments and start posting information about this, discarding and making new identities as they blacklist the old ones?

Anonymous said...

Actually, this *is* a case of whether your jimjam comment should have been deleted. Personal attacks are against the sfgate terms of service, and you called another human being "an idiot," which is cleary a violation of the TOS.

In my experience, when someone resorts to name-calling and personal attacks in a debate, they've clearly lost that debate.

I honestly think you need to step away from the computer and take a deep breath.

After reviewing a sampling of your comments under your various handles, I don't think SFgate would be wrong to block your access to their comments section entirely.

What you are engaging in an isn't a reasonable intelligent exchange of ideas, it's what we on the internet refer to as, "trolling," being vitriolic, divisive, hateful and making inappropriate comments about other posters.

What a noble calling you have.

Bob Leibowitz said...

Perfect symmetry:

They print newspapers,
which we pretend to read.
We post comments,
which they pretend to print.

Leibowitz's Canticle

Neo said...

I wouldn't call this censorship.
It's more like "blind shunning".

DavoGrande said...

Fine, block him.

BUt don't block him with a trick gadget that lets him believe he was NOT blocked.

It's dishonest, and that is what this whole thread is about.

It's NOT the contents of his comments! Nobody CARES what they were... because with their trickery, SFGate BYPASSED that whole discussion!

Even liberals should be able to figure this one out... sheesh.

Anonymous said...

Obviously people do care what the comments were. It's other users who flag them for review by SFgate.

If you guys want a forum where you can call eachother "stupid" or "dumbass libs" or whatever it is that gets you off, then start one.

Sfgate has decide that it doesn't want to be a forum for your inanity, and that's their perogative.

Anonymous said...

BINGO! I've just tested this, and proven that it's automated! I made a very innocuous post, took a screenshot of it, then signed out and looked at the "comments" section. My comment was gone, replaced with "This comment has been removed by SFGate". Less than a minute lapsed between the two. Finally, I went back and signed back in. There it was, my "removed" post.

You can see the before and after screenshots here:

And again, I should emphasize that, while my posts are often non-PC, they are never ad hominem and have never violated the TOU. They merely reflect opinions that someone at SFGate finds contrary to their own views.

Mike K said...

Kevin Drum's blog for Washington Monthly also deletes comments that the moderators don't agree with (not progressive enough) and don't even acknowledge that it was deleted. This is done intermittantly so that a comment may be accepted and the usual denizens of Washington Monthlyland trash the commenter as deluded, etc. A reply is then deleted so the regulars can then high five each other about how they drove that right winger away with irrefutable logic. It's not as elegant as the Chronicle but has the same self-congratulatory effect.

Anonymous said...

Look at all the liberal baiting here... same people who are doing all the complaining.

Look, the comments section has become a cesspool. I suppose it's BOUND to happen, since San Francisco is the poster child for all things liberal and the conservatives come out of the woodwork. EVERY crime is reduced to illegal immigration, every political story is filled with nasty anti Hillary comments, etc etc.

I'm certainly not going to come to the defense of the Chronicle for this. It IS pretty pathetic. BUT it's also you people who are causing the problems, and you certainly deserve part of the blame.

We get mass media we deserve, people. YOU are more concerned about getting your little liberal bashing comments in rather than just focusing on the issues, yet you want to be taken seriously? You are only interested in furthering your agenda, not debate and discussion. So the comments section represents that. You expect the Chronicle will give you the opportunity to post as much as you want on a site they pay for? Even though you find EVERY opportunity to engage in dismissive, stereotyping BS rather than trying to discuss?

You deserve it.

Harry Bergeron said...

Great work!
In your honor I propose a new verb "JimJammed" to describe this sleazy and dishonest tactic.

-- Harry Bergeron

Robert Holmgren said...

I have noticed that the Chronicle website has an unusually high number of deleted comments at the end of their stories. Good to know they're protecting other readers from knowing too much.

Neo said...

Imagine using these on campaign web sites.

Hiliary could give the Hard Left what they want, while carefully screening out the stuff she would show the moderates, and then another set for those on the Right who might be attracted for completely other reasons.

No more debate, just obfication.

You could fool all the people all time.

Better yet, imagine this on government web sites.

searching for ... said...

Dude, well done. Well DONE. and noble sure.

Forget what that anonymous commenter who said you should be blocked because you called someone an idiot. This person has missed the point entirely. You could be an idiot yourself and an ass. Who knows? who cares? I don't think I agree with half of what you say or say it. And when people of opposing view can see the manipulative nature of the "media" maybe there is hope.
Besides, if you don't know you're being blocked then how would know to reform yourself? I would you know to report yourself to the re-education center? Why is there not a tool that works around cookies and let's us turn it off and on to see such things?

FishFearMe said...

The above is a link to the Hearst-owned newspapers. I wonder if they ALL do the same thing regarding posters' comments on news stories. I am registered at the Houston Chronicle. Lemme give it a whirl there and I'll report back when I can.

jimjams said...


(To the person who took the three screenshots):

Fastastic job! I have taken your three screenshots and uploaded them to this site as an update to the thread. I called the update

"Anonymous Reader Documents "Graylist" of Banned SFGate Users Who Don't Know They're Banned."

Great documentation!

Bricology said...

Hey JimJams --

I'm the guy who posted the screenshots. You're welcome to use them. Not long after I took those, I went in and created an ad-hoc SFGate identity, and re-posted that same entry, verbatim. Of course, it wasn't removed by SFGate, even though it was identical to the deleted entry. You can see their screenshots here:

Thank you for figuring out what was going on at SFGate and informing us about it. I really had no idea why not one of the posts I made in the past couple of months got a single "recommend" point when I used to get dozens. It really is amazing how the media secretly censors its own readers.

Anonymous said...


A comment I posted here in which I disagree was deleted.

cookylooky said...

After the comments have been removed by SFGate they are still [link=]CACHED[/link] on the writer's computer and are therefore still visible to the author. This is an issue with your computer not with SFGate.

To clear your cache, go to the TOOLS key click on CLEAR PRIVATE DATA and then when the clear options appear mark cache and hit the CLEAR PRIVATE DATA key. Now the cache which includes your posted remarks will be cleared on your computer. Sign back into SFGate and you'll see that your remarks have been deleted. In essence your computer is fooling you it isn't SFGate.

jimjams said...

"Anonymous said...

A comment I posted here in which I disagree was deleted."

Dream on. First of all, no comments have been deleted here. You're lying. Second of all, if you see that your comment has been deleted, then no trickery was involved. Even if I had deleted your comment (which I didn't do), the deletion was viewed equally by all, including by you -- which is the opposite of hypocrisy.

Try again.

James Solbakken said...

Hey, why are you guys wasting your precious time even reading the SF Comical, much less posting comments on

Don't waste your time. It is a sin. Don't give the vile creeps the satisfaction of deleting your comments in the first place.

James Solbakken

jimjams said...

cookylooky: You're wrong. I just tried what you suggested, and I deleted my cache, and even afterwards my comment was still visible when viewed from my account. Also, it goes against the experiences of many other people who now have tested it out at SFGate, and discovered that my original claims were accurate.

If you can PROVE your claims about cache-clearing fixing the problem, using screenshots or whatever, I'd be glad to check out the evidence. But I suspect you were just taking a guess. Sorry.

jimjams said...

I'm also checking the access logs on this site and noticing that SFGate editors are coming here, and possibly posting comments, and disinformation.

Tsk tsk tsk!

jimjams said...

"Bricology said...
Hey JimJams --

I'm the guy who posted the screenshots."

OK, thanks -- I updated the updated to include your user name instead of "anonymous," and gave you additional kudos!

Bricology said...

As a postscript -- What's particularly ironic to me is that, AFAIK, I've never had a comment deleted on SFGate for any reason, but I have gotten a number of e-mails from SFGate Comments editors, asking for permission to reprint my comments in actual news articles. I've screen-grabbed the e-mails below (redacting their personal info, and mine):

As you can see, the most recent one was 2 months ago, shortly before my posting tapered off due to questions about why it seemed that no one else was reading them. So if SFGate is interested in quoting me, and I never violated the TOU, why did I get "graylisted"? The only conclusion I can draw is that some individual there personally doesn't agree with my posts.

Anonymous said...

Señor Jim Jams,

SFGate seems to have two methods of removing a comment.
a) Delete the comment and leave "This comment has been removed by SFGate." in its place.
b) Delete the comment and leave nothing in its place.

This article (*) was accepting comments at first, but now doesn't have a comment line. It's provable that the article accepted comments at one time by noticing references to it in gatekeeper1's (a commenter there) page (**) which has his comments to that article.

(remove spaces from URLs below)



Anonymous said...

Of course, for those defending the surreptitious deletion of your comments on SFGate, the test is, were other comments, equally and more offensive than yours, but "in line" with Libthink allowed to remain?

Are they mostly deleting "offensive" posts from one side of the aisle?

Anonymous said...

(The above would be easily tested: Post as a liberal and then mildly attack someone else. A further test would be the outcome of an attack on a fellow liberal vs an attack on a conservative.)

Anonymous said...

Has anyone caught a conservative site or newspaper doing this? So far, all I have seen are liberal sites (assuming MSM outlets have a liberal bent, unless notably conservative). This is consistent with their experience, from school on out, of suppressing opposing viewpoints.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

"What you are engaging in an isn't a reasonable intelligent exchange of ideas..."

What the above anonymous guy (from the SF Chronicle maybe?) is saying, illustrates the mindset of lefty would-be rulers cast in concrete. In their world, the intellectuals will inherit the earth, and their central committee will be sole issuer of credentials for membership in the intellectuals club, and for participation in 'the discussions' of a democracy. No credentials mean you aren't heard publicly.

So his cronies at the Chron have censored you. And to keep you and your friends from assembling with tar and feathers and making life uncomfortable for this outrageous censorship, you are thrown a sop on your own machine allowing you to think YES! I REALLY TOLD THEM! while the Chron politburo chuckles condescendingly at the misguided thoughts harbored by the peasants.

This behavior already has a long tradition on university campuses, where entire editions of campus papers containing heresies against lefty administrations are stolen and destroyed - with no penalties for the destroyers. And if the country continues to move left, it's a preview of the corruption of the democratic ideal into a consensus of the chosen.

Likewise the New York Times is famous for suppressing counter-opinions in its letters to the editor.

Please accept wholehearted congratulations for shining this light on the San Francisco Chronicle, and all other publications and blogs who use the same technique for 'shaping the dialogue'.

Anonymous said...

most comments on the gate are blocked for violating the comment policy. Not sure that they approach they are taking is good or not but if you do not violate there comment policy then you should not get moderated.

TomB said...

I'm amused at the number of posters named "anonymous" who steadfastly continue to purposely miss the point, no matter how silly it makes them look.

NOBODY is saying the Chon doesn't have the right to delete comments and ban commenters. What we are saying is that it is unethical and dishonest to delete and ban someone and NOT tell them that you did it, and to additionally go out of your way to write your software so that people don't even know they are banned.

Anonymous said...

So, the little Stalins have found a new airbrush, and they are not shy about using it, just a little coy.

Mike K said...

"YOU are more concerned about getting your little liberal bashing comments in rather than just focusing on the issues, yet you want to be taken seriously?"

This is pretty funny coming from "anonymous".

I did notice that the Washington Monthly was more likely to delete comments with links. If you try to conduct a discussion and link to supporting sources, you get deleted without a mention. That doesn't solund like "focusing on the issues" to me. It sounds like choosing to live in an echo chamber. Nothing new there.

Anonymous said...

I just read a comment in Boulder's Daily Camera (also a liberal paper that doesn't like alternative viewpoints) that they do the same thing - the deleted poster's computer shows his comment to him/her but shows as deleted to all other readers.

Celina said...

Just boycott the bastards.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that SF GATE has repeatedly ignored pleas to block norcalguy101. This fool will block cookies and then start clicking away on every post he agrees with especially his own. I have been on and refreshed the page and for every 3 second refresh his rec's would consistently jump 10-15 points. I complained repeatedly to no avail. I even asked them to remove the "rec" feature because people are abusing it...again to no avail. Also I was stalked by a poster who disagreed with me online who posted links to my personal sites trying to discredit me, they eventually at least removed those posts, but that person...herr_doktor still is allowed to post and MY account posts now show up as deleted if I log out and refresh the page. Yahoo got rid of their discussion boards because a few people tried to dominate every discussion. SF Gate seems to let them.

Anonymous said...

BEWARE, people who don't like your views just repeatedly report you as obscene or spam even when you are not until your posts disappear. I've seen it many times. Certain people on there have multiple ID's and make it look like it is a complaint from several users.

Anonymous said...

"YOU are more concerned about getting your little liberal bashing comments in rather than just focusing on the issues, yet you want to be taken seriously?"

I'll do my best to forget the Left's collective all out war on the Washington Post for deleting redundant hate comments because the Washington Post factually reported Jack Abramoff gave a lot of money to Democrats too.

OH - I can't forget. It's all about the issues now, eh? Hypocrite. Liar.

Simon G Best said...

Groklaw's been doing something similar for a few years, and is often called "sand-boxing". Some, but not everyone, regard it as deceitful.

Recently, one Groklaw commenter, Weeble, discovered that one of his comments had been sand-boxed, and he was not happy. The comment thread is quite a good example of how the issue of sand-boxing is regarded, though if you look at the profile pages for Weeble and Carla Schroder, you may find that even the subsequent discussion involved a bit of sand-boxing.

I don't know whether or not Groklaw pioneered sand-boxing, but it's subsequently been included in Geeklog, a customised version of which is used for Groklaw. Such sand-boxing might be quite widespread now, though I haven't investigated to find out.

I will finally add that when one of my comments was sand-boxed, I really wasn't bothered about the sand-boxing itself, because I was already aware of sand-boxing at Groklaw. If mention of it is made in comments moderation policy statements on websites, it could make a significant difference between commenters feeling deceived, and commenters feeling they should have bothered to read such policy statements in the first place. But that's just my view.

Anonymous said...

Simon G Best

I'm sorry, but I missed the lengthy discussion on SFGate site amongst SFgate commenters regarding SFGate's so-called "sand boxing" of JimJam's comments.

And if I followed your link correctly, it was the offender- Weeb? - who initiated and discussed his "sand boxed" comments on the offended blog.

I believe "weeb's" comments were just erased to all, with no explanation.

What this blog raises, main stream media secretly censoring comments so that commenter is talking to a mirror but doesn't know it.

Basically stifling dissent Alice in wonderland in 1984.

Mark Morris said...

I develop forum software like this (even with this specific feature--it's quite a common request), and I write it to be able to sell it to my customers. I know my competitor's software has similar features. It's a common requirement of several social software and groupware platforms.

If my customer wants a feature that works this way (with the logged-in/logged-out splitview), I write it for them, sell it to them, and make my profit.

I do not particularly care how they choose to use it. It is not in my interest to set usage requirements for my customers. I don't think any of us here would be interested in doing so. (Libs: please ignore this. You have ideology, rather than common sense, on your side.)

Let the SF Chronicle and other sites that turn on this feature in their software continue to do so. They bought it and paid for it. It's their choice how they use it.

I don't read those newspapers. Why should I when so many better unbiased sources of truth are out there. I doubt anyone really cares how a dead-tree media's website polices its crazed fanboy base.

Friend of Fred
Show your Support

Christoph said...

As a fellow conservative and frequent commentator at, I think you will have to eat crow on this one.

Something just occurred to me… when I was recently suspended from for one week, any comments I posted would, from my computer, appear to have been posted successfully, but when I cleared my cookies, which I do frequently, would no longer be there.

I was automatically greylisted so to speak, after being clearly informed of the reason and length of time, so deception isn’t what I’m talking about here.

I’m thinking, technically, unless there’s something I’m missing, perhaps the SF Chronicle et al.s' software just works the same way and commentators never were told they were suspended/banned or missed that?

Now their reasons for banning may be wrong, but isn’t their software working the same way's does?

Christoph said...

By the way, as someone who has built a WordPress template (this is what uses) before, I know there is code you can use to show a comment is in moderation (usually shows text like, "Your comment is awaiting moderation."), but's theme is missing this code by oversight or design so it's impossible to tell when your comments are in moderation from your own computer unless you periodically clear your cookies.

This means, effectively, works exactly the same as the allegedly dastardly software denounced in the post above. Further, by consigning said commentator to moderation, this creates the automatic "greylist".

Note: This is with the tag in question looks like in my theme at the file located here: wp-content/themes/theme_name/comments.php

<?php if ($comment->comment_approved == '0') : ?>
<em>Your comment is awaiting moderation.</em>
<?php endif; ?>

Gekkobear at Ace of Spades HQ points out there is a difference insofar as doesn't use a login so it's cookie-based there. IF it did use a login, however (and WordPress has this functionality), it would have the exact same behaviour as SF Chronicle because of the deficiency in Patterico's theme missing this standard code.

Rico J. Halo said...

So the next obvious question is have they admitted to doing this when asked?

Surely by now someone has queried SFGate about this...

If they follow standard liberal patterns they will deny doing it no matter how obvious it is that they were in fact doing it.

Or perhaps they will just stonewall and not say anything at all.

Anonymous said...

Shocking! I would expect this kind of evil media manipulation in totalitarian regimes like Texas or Canada;but Washington? My Gawd! Thanks for doing such a great job of investigative reporting on this JIMJAMS!


Anonymous said...

The justifications you guys use for your behavior is very funny. The "Washington Monthly" may or may not delete comments, I have no idea, never read it. I live in the bay area so I read the Chronicle, not a Washington paper.

If you people would just stop posting troll-like comments only designed to inflame, then maybe you could enjoy a good conversation. I suspect, though, that is NOT why you spend time on the Chroncile's web site. You do so just to bait and annoy "the liberals" like some half wit Coulter/Savage clone (even using many of the same exact words). If so, then you get what you deserve.

I find the Chronicle's actions distasteful, but not quite as distasteful as I find people who come to a party only to make fun of the guests. If you don't like the Chronicle's policies, then I would suggest you find another place to post your comments.

jimjams said...

"Christoph said...
As a fellow conservative and frequent commentator at, I think you will have to eat crow on this one...."

Christoph, why would I have to eat crow? I'm not posting about Patterico. I'm posting about SFGate. I'm mostly interested in how major newspapers use this system. Patterico's moderation policies are a completely different issue. Just because there may be a blog out there that may use a somewhat similar system doesn't somehow justify what SFGate does. There's nothing to eat crow about. In fact, the more places that turn out to be using this system, the bigger this story gets.

jimjams said...

"anonymous said:

...If you don't like the Chronicle's policies, then I would suggest you find another place to post your comments."

Very good suggestion, anonymous! I think that's exactly what a lot of people will be doing. They'll find another place to post their comments. In fact, people will stay away from the Chronicle in droves, and the paper's readership will dwindle and dwindle, until no one is reading it -- except perhaps you.

Yes, driving away readers has long been recognized as the best way to run a newspaper and make a profit.

Maybe the Chronicle can hire you as a consultant, anonymous, and you can advise them on more and better ways to drive away readers.

Anonymous said...

jimjams, with all due respect, the kind of people who ONLY go to the chronicle to engage in trolling and baiting can go elsewhere with no loss of readership. The great majority wouldn't read the Chronicle if it showed up free on their doorstep every day, because it's a "liberal" paper. They are only there to make trouble, to insult, etc.

If you want to read the chronicle, and comment about the story itself sans political digs and jabs, then I think you would be welcome.

jimjams said...


Well, then, the Chronicle should just simply ban those trolls outright: Delete their accounts, prevent them from posting. Don't pull underhanded tricks.

Besides which, it's not the trolls who seems to be getting crypto-deleted. If you are seeing some troll's comments (and you must be, if you're complaining about them), then those comments have been allowed to stand. No, the Chronicle seems to target commenters who attack the framework of the coverage itself, who criticize the Chronicle's very "narrative."

I'm sure some actual trolls do get "graylisted," but from emails I've been getting and from comments I've read, many non-trolls (such as myself) are getting the treatment as well.

Rico J. Halo said...

Surely someone has asked them if they are doing this?

I would be very interested in their response.

Serr8d said...

Great job in exposing this decidedly leftist SFGate-forum trickery. There's not much else to say; except that they had to know that someday this would come out in the open. What's their response? I predict they will completely ignore you. Screw 'em (well, that's something they may appreciate!)

And, "Sand Boxing" as a term is already in use (Google's old practice of ranking new web sites) so "JimJamming" seems to be a great new Internet Verb.

Especially if you keep a running tab of SFGate-style offenders.

Anonymous said...

Banning people outright is impossible, of course. Everyone knows the can sign up for an unlimited number of email addresses.

I'm seeing the comments of trolls (which DO get deleted) and the many others who just post to try and rile up people by making crass anti-liberal comments ( just like you see RIGHT HERE too) as part of what could otherwise be a good post.

It's all a game, and you know it. If you want to fill the comments section up with crap, then you can (and many have). Sign up for free accounts and pound away.

I don't know why people have so much time on their hands... and as I said, I will NEVER understand those who come to a party just to insult the guests.

San Francisco is a LIBERAL city for the most part. The Chronicle represents their community by being a left leaning newspaper. Duh. The great majority of people who have comments deleted that I have seen are making anti-liberal comments and NOT contributing to the discussion otherwise. The Chronicle has every right to delete their comments, AND to play games with those who come just to turn the comments section into an unreadable mismash.

Rico J. Halo said...

You leftys just dont get it. Its all about the hypocrisy of them doing this so underhandedly. And they will still lie about doing it.

But that probably doesnt bother you when it is a fellow lib doing it. After all its just the comments of trollish repugs right? Although some might call it merely a differing opinion.

Let the same thing happen at Free Republic or Redstate and youll be up in arms full of righteous indignation screaming censorship.

Anonymous said...

rico, with all due respect, I contribute to several online boards, and in all cases I respect the rights of the owners.

In this case, it's simple. Play fair and you can play. Don't and you can't.

I suspect the Chronicle would rather disable comments all together rather than have the comments section taken over by people with an agenda, from outside the bay area, who are only coming to insult other people. I certainly do NOT go to ANY right wing (or even far left wing) boards and insult.

For the record, I have voted Republican many times. My comments are not about party.

By the way, I know who set many right wingers up to start frequenting the boards at the Chronicle. I heard one talk show host suggest listeners do just that. Lets not be disingenuous here.

Rico J. Halo said...

Anonymous, with all due respect to you as well, the left can not handle differing opinions. It is really just that simple. All they want is an echo chamber.

Now if they would simply admit that rather than make their ridiculous claims of respecting free speech people would likely move on without further ado.

I guess I have to keep repeating this: Its all about their hypocrisy.

I have never posted there myself likely never will but I have at enough other lefty forums and blogs to know exactly what they will do.

I have ran forums side by side with liberals and saw first hand how they do it. They called me an anarchist because I refused to micro-manage comments in the same draconian manner as they did.

What is the point of even making noises about a forum or blog having open discussion when it is patently false?

Let me say something again: I respect the right of any site owner to edit commentary as they see fit. The only thing I expect, and yes even demand, is that they be honest about what they are doing. SFGate is not being honest.

Anonymous said...


"left can not handle differing opinions"

Unfortunately, you really share the tunnel vision factor that both the far right and far left suffer from. EVERYBODY is a hypocrite. EVERYBODY can have trouble hearing a differing opinion. EVERYBODY wants to believe they are open minded, rational, deep thinking, etc. EVERYBODY thinks they are objective. NONE of us actually are. You are obviously not objective if you think the left can or can not handle differing opinions better than the right.

One example. The Bush administration has pulled people off parade routes as "security risks" if they were wearing a piece of clothing that criticized the president. Oh, I KNOW the Clinton administration did it too, and that is EXACTLY my point.

Cheer for "your team" as much as you want, but they are not any better, all things considered. In some ways they are worse and in some ways better.

Alia said...

Yes, Anonymous, all mortals are flawed and hypocrites. This is known. But liberals like to pretend they are not flawed; but that everyone but THEMSELVES is flawed.

They assert to heralding free speech; but when given free speech which conflicts with their religious quota of tolerance, liberals use sneaky tactics to avoid any appearance of seeming "human".

Your example in using the Parade, anti-Bush protestors, and their being banned is really not useful in comparison to what is going on at various newspapers in now, two countries.

The President receives death threats; movies and books have been written about "murdering" the President; class assignments have been given out for students to write about "ending the Bush regime", and you think he's being a hypocrite? Oh boyo, ever heard of the miracle bullet and JFK?

Giving posters the mistaken idea that they are contributing to their community in the form of online commentary at newspapers, when in fact said comments are being banned and deleted, and the commentator never being told is REALLY rank, low brow, sneaky, and devious.

And absolutely without valor or courage.

Anonymous said...

Riiiight. It's funny how you say liberals like to pretend they are not flawed. Frankly, it's just more boogieman BS. Liberals are OBVIOUSLY just as f'cked up as everyone else. Every liberal I know realizes this, including me.

Liberals, like everyone else, believe they are making the right choice in their ideology... as do conservatives.

As far as the Bush parade thing... um... guess what? Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't standing along the parade route wearing a "bush stinks" t-shirt. Do you REALLY think that someone would wear an anti administration t-shirt if that was what they wanted to do? Yea, aren't you surprised the terrorists weren't wearing "I heart bin laden" t-shirts?

Come on.

While I'm here, I would like to say kudos to the owner of this blog for allowing me to post here. I trust you will let me know if I have crossed any lines. Thanks.

bystander said...

Somebody please check the IP address of Anonymous and get back to us.

One wonders where the "play fair and you can play" meme is original generated.

Serr8d said...

Unless Haloscan is installed, you can't get an IP address from Blogger.

Then, when you finally install Haloscan, all of your previous comments disappear.

Been there, done that...

Anonymous said...

As this story shows every attempt is made to stifle conservative opinion. Why would SFgate ban people that followed the rules? If their reasoning was flawed it would be pretty easy respond and refute their post.

Anonymous said...

If you want an email address for me, just ask. Include yours and I will tell you.

FYI, I'm in the san francisco bay area.

jimjams said...

Anonynous said:

"While I'm here, I would like to say kudos to the owner of this blog for allowing me to post here. I trust you will let me know if I have crossed any lines."

Everyone is free to comment here. There are rules you must follow. I haven't deleted any comments yet, and I have no intention to start. Say whatever opinion you want. And if for some reason I do need to delete your comment, you'll know about it -- you'll see that you have been deleted, unlike the commenters at the Chronicle.

I have no deletion policy, as this blog merely exists for this one post, but I suppose if spambots started dropping comments about V1agra and so forth, I'd have to delete those. Or if someone posted pornography or something like that.

But opinions? Opnions are what it's all about. Go for it.

Alia said...

Anonymous, I've spent 44 years living in San Francisco and the SF Bay Area. I live there no more as of 3 years past. If one is not of the liberal, progressive mindmeld in the SF Bay Area, there is no location more intolerant in the U.S. than San Francisco and the Bay Area; Portland, OR or Seattle, WA might be close seconds.

I was there in the SF pre-liberalism, and post-liberalism. Pre-liberalism, there was no other place in the world I'd wish to be than in SF. There was courtesy and respect for differences in opinions and politics. There was respect for military and religion. SF was clean and it was safe and it was thriving.

And then there's post liberalism in SF.

The message has been made clear in the SF Bay Area: "Tolerance for everyone but conservatives and Republicans and Traditional Christians"; but aren't we so lovely here in SF.

The difference is, however, conservatives are more than happy to have liberals communicate and express themselves, and then to refute logic and or mistruths. Liberals, OTOH, have overactive spincter muscles whenever a conservative is in their midst. Like Mad Hatters they shriek "No Room, No Room".

Nonetheless, I am glad you are posting here.

Lastly, just because the protestors weren't specifically named "Oswald" does not mean some lunatic member won't actually try to act as one. Too many instances of so-called "peaceful protests" but some moonbat members breaking ranks and creating havoc.

Um, Molotov Cocktails at SF "liberal" events ringing any bells for you? And not just at one liberal event, but several. And the President wasn't even there.

SFC MAC said...

Anonymous Said:
Actually, this *is* a case of whether your jimjam comment should have been deleted. Personal attacks are against the sfgate terms of service, and you called another human being "an idiot," which is cleary a violation of the TOS.

In my experience, when someone resorts to name-calling and personal attacks in a debate, they've clearly lost that debate.

I honestly think you need to step away from the computer and take a deep breath.

After reviewing a sampling of your comments under your various handles, I don't think SFgate would be wrong to block your access to their comments section entirely.

What you are engaging in an isn't a reasonable intelligent exchange of ideas, it's what we on the internet refer to as, "trolling," being vitriolic, divisive, hateful and making inappropriate comments about other posters.

What a noble calling you have.

November 24, 2007 12:56 PM

Oh, come off it, sweetpea. If the SF Chronicle doesn't agree with a viewpoint than just omit it without the slight of hand crap. In addition, if you want a fine example of perfunctory personal attacks then scoot on over to sites like the DailyKos and the Democratic Underground. On my blog, I've used attacks and name calling when appropriate because quite simply, there are morons (oops, a name calling!) who do not deserve polite decorum. Deal with it, or stay off the sites.

Noble causes notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...


If you expect liberals to be any better about hypocrisy, then obviously you are mistaken.

I know in some liberal circles it is quite fashionable to be flippant and dismissive to conservatives. I've seen it myself, and I think it's foolhardy. Of course, just read above and you'll find the same flippant attitude toward liberals right here.

I'm not sure what you mean by "intolerance," that can be interpreted a wide variety of ways. If you were to give me a couple of examples I could comment. However, I really don't doubt it. Liberals, believe it or not, are humans. Humans are full of contradictions, whether they are conservative or liberal.

You are making the same mistake the superior liberals are when you say things like "Liberals, OTOH, have overactive spincter muscles whenever a conservative is in their midst. Like Mad Hatters they shriek "No Room, No Room"." Frankly, it's a laughable statement, impossible to prove. It's the kind of wide sweeping generalization you're most likely talking about when you accuse liberals of "intolerance." It's no more pretty when you do it.

Oh, and the "dad, he started it" argument is rather childish, don't you think?

It's time for people to:

- take responsibility for themselves, realize we are ALL hypocrites, we are all human
- realize the opposite side of the idealogical spectrum is not "evil" or full of idiots... it's quite common for two people to view the same facts and come to completely different and RATIONAL conclusions
- think for yourself rather than let the mass media or other "leaders" think for you
- there are many levels of nuance between "liberal" and "conservative" and most people DO fall between the two, I don't know of any thinking people who subscribe to either fully

So really, cut out the baiting, it's not doing you any good. Sure, it's kinda fun... but it's counterproductive. Obviously it gets your posts deleted.

- mark

Anonymous said...

Everyone who values freedom needs to understand that the next time the Brown Shirts take over the political landscape, they wont be wearing Brown Shirts, swastikas, and marching to a oom-pah band. Neither will they be driving a 4x4 truck with a "W" sticker on the back glass.

If you look with a fresh unbiased eye, you'll see that its the "Progressives" that are the new Brown Shirts. Progressives censor speech with political correctness, control thought with hate crime legislation, ostracize people for not following the party line (hello Antioch College), seek political power as a way of advancing ideas that can't withstand the rigors of democracy, and believe the needs of the state outweigh the rights of the individual.

Alia said...

To anonymous in SF Bay area:

You've made more than amply clear you are quite intent upon defending the SF Chron's (and others') hypocrisy and "grey-listing" as you ply your Rodney Kingism(s) here.

Your hypocrisy obviously has no bounds, especially when exhibiting the mere nerve in suggesting what others should or should not do.

Anonymous said...


You can call me Mark.

I started to type out another long winded response, but eh, nevermind. I'm far from perfect, but I'm pretty sure everything I wrote here is correct. If I have any error in logic here, I'd love for someone to point it out.

I appreciate your perspective on tolerance Alia, though again I'm not sure EXACTLY what you're talking about... I'm sure your experiences drive you to feel the way you do, and I'm sure it's a perfectly valid response to your experience.

Anyone who has spent any time in ANY community knows there will ALWAYS be people who are hypocritical, flippant, arrogant, etc. Liberals are certainly not any different. I know enough conservatives to see the same thing there too.

It's all nice and tidy to turn "liberals" into boogiemen, but really... it's facile, it's simpleminded.

All I know is voting for a president this time around is going to be "pinch your nose and vote," and I think that's true regardless of your ideology.

- mark

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is the Chronicle's answer to falling newspaper revenues? Now I won't even go to their website let alone buy their newspaper. Is this how bad it's gotten in SF that open discussion is frowned upon. There is no more liberal an idea than open dialogue. Letting logic and reason show who's got a better argument. I guess if you can't beat them ban them?

Anonymous said...


Regarding your observation:
"I'm also checking the access logs on this site and noticing that SFGate editors are coming here, and possibly posting comments, and disinformation"

Did you notice that "Anonymous" gave him/herself away with this comment at November 24, 2007 12:56 PM?

Anonymous said...
"After reviewing a sampling of your comments under your various handles, I don't think SFgate would be wrong to block your access to their comments section entirely" November 24, 2007 12:56 PM,

It would appear that this commenter must have some sort of moderator/administrator's status to be able to identify your comments made UNDER YOUR DIFFERENT HANDLES. Unless they are merely assuming "jimjam" is the same author posting under names.

Either "Anonymous" is making speculations without proof, or they must be SFGate Editor posting accusations without identifying themselves. Either action is highly unprofessional.


jimjams said...


Yes, I noticed that. I'm quite sure that commenter was an SFGate administrator, and I think "cookylooky" was as well, and perhaps others.

SFGate is now in ass-covering mode. They've un-graylisted some people yesterday and today, and even restored some comments that had previously been deleted. They're trying to cover their tracks -- at least until this brouhaha blows over. Then most likely it'll be back to the same old system.

Alia said...

Mark in SF,

Since I do not post comments at the SF Chron, your counsel does not in any way apply. When I do post, when I do write letters, I do not use such as punching bags.

I thought my "Liberals, OTOH, have overactive spincter muscles whenever a conservative is in their midst" might grab especially your attention given that your columnist Mark Morford of the SF Chron only recently wrote that sushi can be compared to intelligent anal sex, er, some such. I thought given how much you are defending the SF Chron here, you'd feel right at home with a quote by a popular printed columnist in your favorite "everyone's a sinner" Newspaper.

But you might just consider focusing, singularly, upon the hypocrisy inherent in what the SF Chron is doing re cyber commentary. That might be asking too much of you, I understand that.

But you could at least try!

Alia said...


Thank you very much for blogging on this matter.

In the early 90s, at the very least the liberals running the cyber forums would simply delete a poster, do a public banning, and assert they knew they were being assholes and didn't care.

Obviously, by your last post, this matter has been heard. And yes, you are quite right, it'll be a newer stunt after a brief intermission of time.

Thank you for making this story and news available to the free public to learn about.

jolene said...

I posted a comment (here: correcting a misidentified person in an image (originally misidentified as Gillian Murphy), I left a comment saying that isn't Gillian and it looks like Paloma Herrera. After it had been corrected, I logged in as myself, and I can see my comment. However, when I open to the article in a different browser, my comment is not there.

Interesting observation, thanks for posting.

bystander said...

Anonymous, why are you offering an EMAIL ADDRESS when the interesting thing is your IP ADDRESS?

It's not like you could post either of them, since it's exactly the non-voluntary part that would be interesting if we could get it.

Alas, we shall have to make do with speculation.

Anonymous said...


You certainly don't have to prove to me that the Chronicle is full of hypocrites. I've said that right up front. I don't need to focus on it, because as I said, they are responding in kind to a game that others are playing. Those people are not playing by the rules. Hell, we all have seen a forum get taken over by a group of people and ruined, I'm sure. I'd prefer that not happen at the Chronicle.

Yes, I think they SHOULD come right out and say they engage in this practice... in small print so the people who want to come and start stuff will miss it.

One difference between you and I appears to be I can see both sides of the hypocrisy, even when it hits close to home.

No offense, but you are just as hypocritical in your own right. I haven't seen you criticize those who are going to the Chronicle's site just to try and turn it into a cesspool. I've seen you engage in the same sort of dismissive arrogance that you complain about in liberals.

As far as Morford goes, I seem him similar to Michael Savage... easy to laugh AT. Sometimes they say something funny, but it's not usually when they are trying.

bystander, what do you want to discover by my ip address? What do you hope to find? Does disagreeing with you somehow make me evil??

- Mark

Anonymous said...

I hope you have this thread mirrored elsewhere.

bystander said...

Mark -- it makes it interesting to consider where you might post from. Not to mention revealing.

Alia said...

Darling Mark,

Obviously, the Mark Morford cite went right over your head. What, exactly, does the SF Chronicle consider "trashy" and "trollish" from commentators which isn't, say, just like what is being published by Chron columnists???

If you read the posts in this comments thread, you'd realize some perfectly decent people are having this horrid experience.

By your own definition, then, I suppose Mark Morford and Violet (online version of the Chron)? can also be considered trolls and they should be sneakily, underhanded dealt with by the Chron. Perhaps the chron will send their checks to them written in presto-fade ink.

Second, fine, have your day, call me a hypocrite for pointing out that while I'd like to stay on focus, the focus, IT, being "the hypocriticalness of the SF Chron" whereas you wish to remain focused on utterly avoiding that specific matter.

You've had the perfect opportunity to simply write: "The SF Chron has been hypocritical, sneaky, and uncivil in this matter!"

But instead, you write about my hypocriticalness, all people are hypocritical, and that well, you are as a god, and above all hypocriticalness which you prove by asserting that while you too can be a hypocrite, you aren't.


Anonymous said...

bystander, I'm in Redwood City. My ISP is AT&T. Anything else you need to know that you could find out via IP addy?

It's not about "trashy" Alia. Who said that?? I'm not sure where you're coming from. I never objected to your choice of words. It certainly says a lot about you, but I'm not going to get all offended over (what I see as) a poor choice of words.

I am talking about people who come to the site just to try and turn it into a cesspool so people will go away.

As far as "trolls" go, well, of COURSE Morford is there to get you in a tizzy. That sells papers and draws readers. They still own the soapbox, though, and can do what they want with it.

I admitted several times that the chronicle is hypocritical, plus: "I find the Chronicle's actions distasteful..." also "I'm certainly not going to come to the defense of the Chronicle for this. It IS pretty pathetic." I suppose you can be forgiven for getting all us "anon" people confused.

The SF Chronicle is a business. They are in business to make money, NOT to give people a "voice" or to encourage debate. They are in the business of doing everything they can to attract an audience so that advertisers will spend lots of money for "impressions" targeted to their readers. They are not going to get a ton of readers if the comments section is full of people who are insulting the ACTUAL readers who the advertisers are targeting. They don't owe you or anyone else "free speech" or "expression" or "discussion." They created the comments area most likely because they thought it would attract MORE of the audience their advertisers are targeting. It's simple. They are hypocritical if it helps them sell papers, and they will pretend they have standards if they think it will help them sell papers in the long run. You're getting caught up in your "free speech" crusade, but it's not applicable.

I think it's excellent this page exists, because people should know. However, focusing on the Chronicle's hypocrisy seems to be missing the whole point.

If you want to convince the Chronicle it's in their best interest to stop doing this because it hurts their bottom line, you may have a point they will hear. Pretending they have some sort of reputation they are protecting or thinking you will hurt their feelings by telling people about their hypocrisy is naive. That's not how business operates.

- mark

DRJ said...


Can you retrieve and post a few more of your comments that were deleted at SFGate? I'm interested in comparing them with other comments that weren't deleted.



Anonymous said...

Or, alternatively, if the Chronicle could retrieve them, would you object to my requesting that they send me a copy of the removed comment so I can publish it?

-- Patterico

bystander said...

Your employer.

And a reason to believe you if you assert it is not SF Chronicle.

Anonymous said...

bystander, I work in high tech, at a software company, in mountain view... not the one that starts with a "G" but right around the corner from them.

I suppose I might write poorly enough to be a chronicle employee... but alas, no. Guess I should have taken all those journalism classes in college....

- mark

Alia said...

Mark in Redwood City,

You wiley coyote you! Now you are changing the subject to "News as a Business". Okay, let's go there.

Why are most Chron articles about the community? Why do most cover what liberals and Dems think, do, and say?

Well, of course, Dems/Libs are the "majority" in the SF Bay Area and potential subscribers for the Chron.

So, one could say the Chron is "serving" its community; it is a "community based" "business. But, most liberal newspapers also harken to, if not only assert to giving the "least among us" (read: minorities) a "voice".

If so, then that should swing coverage and voicings to the "conservative and Republican aisle" right? We should be having tons of coverage of what conservatives and Republicans say and think and do and believe.

Doesn't quite work that way, does it.

Now, I'm getting the idea you think most those getting jimjammed at the Chron are obviously "trolls". Either conservative and/or from outside the "community" of the SF Bay Area.

I read and listen to Phil Bronstein's "Correct me if I'm wrong..." phone messages from the "community". These are a hoot; and most seem to come from the liberal community. So, one could also posit on face value, that many of your "alleged" jimjammed posters are also liberal or exhibiting trollish, uncivil, or boorish behavior, eh?

I feel badly for the Chron some days. I was a looong time subscriber and I was there to witness the fall from being once a great newspaper.

My currently working theory for the "jim Jim" is: the Chron enacts a form of quotas in what passes for comments: X amount(s) for conservative and liberal sane comments; and Y amount(s) for conservative liberal nutcakes or offensive comments. After that, anyone entering the fray based upon a super secret criterion known to Chron Ed Insiders gets "remaindered".

Why, the whole remaindering jazz could be reduced to some grand subliminal marketing ploy: For those jimjammed at the Chron, stay LOGGED in to the SF Chron so you can feel Good About Yourselves!"

The Self-Esteem Movement Ideology meets and greets the Cyber Age.

Well, if you are asking my opinion (and I know you are not), being treated like some first-grader is bound to really tick off some of more colorful community members around the Bay Area. Why, come to think on it.. maybe they'll do something really uber bizarro in reaction formation (as in, their voices "not being treated equal to others") against the Chron's attempts at "massaging" egos and thereby form the basis upon some REAL news the Chron then gets to report on.

Bottomline, it doesn't change the fact that this jimjamming stuff is really bad news for the "community" at large. You know.. the people the Chron are working so feverishly to court as subscribers?

Talk about catering to the "community", here's what the Chron is featuring on its website under the CNN YouTube Debate:

They Wanted Fireworks'
While YouTube/CNN debate praised for try at innovation, analysts felt event sounded like the old. Chronicle

-GOP rivals come out swinging
-Ron Paul gains ground on GOP leaders
-Podcast: Paul chats with the Chronicle
-Bad Reporter: GOP pageant controversy

And, like wow, nothing about the Democrat plant Democrat-ick questioners as guests of CNN.


Alia said...

Mark in Redwood,

Is it possible you have been confused (before you named yourself Mark) with the "anonymous" in this commentary?

I'm getting that glimmer of an idea. There were some thoughtful "anonymous" posts and then same handle, not so thoughtful.

I don't disagree necessarily with any the points you've recently made, and this has given me pause.

The other anonymous was shrill.

You aren't.

OR, is there a 3rd "anonymous"???


Anonymous said...

Alia, I personally think all of my posts here were thoughtful and not at all "shrill" (though I confess I don't really get how "shrill" would manifest in the written word). So I'm afraid I can't really comment, other than to say it appears to me the posts that you were responding to were mine.

Now to your other point... there is no shortage of conservative voices in the media. Any student of the media will see this. The "liberal media" is a tired old cliche that I would suspect most people have retired. That's not really at issue, IMHO, and I'm personally not interested in discussing it.

With all due respect, there is nothing you've written that contradicts the bottom line: the Chronicle is a business, and their main objective is making money. Giving people a voice, liberal or conservative or otherwise, is a secondary concern that SERVES the initial point.

If they feel preventing some of the comments from being published serves their bottom line, it is there choice to delete however they choose, as long as it is not illegal.

So they may be "hypocritical" when it comes to some journalistic ideal of giving people a "voice," but that era in media has been dead and buried a LONG TIME AGO. Buried when it became politically and economically expedient, indeed; short sighted, indeed. Politicians are not known for taking a long term view, they are known for keeping their own butts in office by any means necessary.

Notice I didn't take any liberal or conservative pot shots, when there was ample opportunity. I know it has become "the thing to do," but in my ever so humble opinion, it takes someone VERY myopic to miss the OBVIOUS (to me) truth: both political parties are guilty of the same behavior manifested in different ways. So many are focused on the other party as "evil," it prevents people from seeing the truth: civil rights, free speech, accountability are all being eroded by various means in both parties. We have major economic issues that need to be addressed (emergence of China, debt, the environment, etc) and many more I'm not smart enough to even remember at the moment. Yet there are people who want to spend their time battling whether Bill O'Rielly or Oberman get more airtime. Well, go to town.

Again, I'm not trying to disparage the guy who started this... people should KNOW that the Chronicle is doing this. But really... let's put it in perspective.

Serr8d said...

But really... let's put it in perspective.

OK, let's do so.

The only thing a journalism source (print, TV, radio, whatever) has to base it's credibility on is it's honesty in presentation and a history of truthfulness. I'm sure this paper tries to present a packaged product that a reader/viewer/participant can trust; I'll bet the editor and publisher has some sort of policy that insists on honesty top-to-bottom.

What we have here is deception: pure and simple. Sleight of hand, cheating, dishonesty. For a news source, this is credibility out the window. To deceive, even at a relatively minor 'throwaway' level (these comment posters), is to allow a breach of the core principles of honesty and truth in narrative.

If the editor of this publication has any honor left at all, he/she should directly address this blight, publish a retraction/apology and promise to never attempt to deceive readers or participants again.

Why should the Chronicle pursue this issue? If there is ever a question on a more serious aspect of ethics or journalism, this 'minor' problem will be dragged out and thrown about as evidence of a pattern of deception. Deservedly so.

Because of the hypocrisy...

Anonymous said...

serr8d, I think you made your point well. The only point you are missing is I doubt the Chronicle is not betting their credibility on banning people who are contributors... most likely just people who are starting trouble. It doesn't really matter to me if the Chronicle bans people who are trying to do everything they can to abuse the system.

Unfortunately, it's just conjecture... who knows if they are being judicious with their banning?

- mark

Alia said...


There were several "anonymous" posting in this thread. That was my point. And then you cleared it up by changing your identity to "Mark".

I think your stereotype of me confuses you as to what I'm communicating. It's not my writing nor my logic. I think you have a built in mindset and have stereotyped "both sides" in your pursuit of something which is unfathomable which makes you unable to comprehend what I communicate.

The Chron is a business but it is billed as "serving the community". You didn't get that point. It serves the Politically Correct side of a community, whether or not the demographics of PC citizenry is in evidence or not. This then means they do not serve "the community" but serve a "select ideologic" community. They then are no different from the Berkeley Rag or Christian Newsletter. But you'd hardly see either of the latter used as "source" or "reading" material in any PUBLIC educational institute as the definitive "news source".

We need to shut off all "big news" from interconnection with all avenues of public education from K-Universities. Or, open the educational institutes into using all news sources in a "level the playing field" manner.

In this regard the complaints of the left and of the right are one and the same; because they are. And the once big news sources are caught in the middle of a squirmish brought about BY the news sources THEMSELVES.

If news reports favorably on Republicans, Democrats get in a hissy. And vice Versa, and on down the list through religions, etc.

But it was and continues to be these big news sources who've created this mess for themselves.

Some complaining about this hypocritical stance by the Chron seems thoroughly beyond your ken of comprehension. And it's not that you don't grok the mechanics of the situation. Your tact is to posit that those with contrary thoughts or who feel not represented by the "established media" should just dry up and blow off.

So, either we remove the associations of calling established media "THE" news source, and open it up to everyone, whether they are PC or not, and have these associations in the general mind DECLAIMED AND DEFAMED or the "established media" should pay heed to exactly what they themselves are doing and have done to lead to such "uncivil" behaviors between right and left.

You obviously don't grok this.

jimjams said...

"DRJ said...

Can you retrieve and post a few more of your comments that were deleted at SFGate? I'm interested in comparing them with other comments that weren't deleted."

Actually, I've been planning on doing that very thing for a while, but simply haven't gotten around to it, because I haven't had any free time. I haven't even checked -- perhaps all my earlier comments are now gone. But you have a good idea, and when I can, I'll try to do just that -- retrieve and post some of my older comments so people can see what's being crypto-deleted.

progressives hate free speech said...

progressives hate free speech

the strategy employed by the sfchron seems to be the elimination of dissent towards the end of creating a false impression of concensus.

progressives oppose free speech

Anonymous said...

I'm guilty of not understanding you on many levels. It could certainly be my public school education, granted. It could be the limitations of my intellect. Or it could be the way you present your arguments. I have no idea.

For example, where does your paragraph on "stereotyping" come from? It's like your previous post where you talked about "trashy" as if it were an issue I raised. I fail to see how I have stereotyped you at ALL. I never assumed your political beliefs or views about any issue, I've only responded to what you've written.. then provided my own perspective. You are right, I don't understand you very well.

The Chronicle is only about "serving the community" when it serves their bottom line, as I keep saying. They serve THEIR community, however you want to stereotype it.. "politically correct" or liberal or whatever. It is what it is, and they would do well to keep that in mind, as a business. The "serving the community" part, as I've said before, is only in service of the bottom line. Period. Capitalism. We don't have a socialist model here in the US.

I don't see anything you've written that contradicts that.

serr8d made maybe a more interesting point about credibility. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see how the chronicle loses credibility by engaging in hypocritical practices to eliminate problems by people who want to ruin their comments section (again, I have heard talk show hosts encourage their listeners to do JUST THAT). Could be I'm underestimating the equity the Chronicle has in credibility... I don't know. Something for others smarter than I to figure out, but I don't see it at this point.

The "hypocritical" argument is not beyond my comprehension. I may not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but I've addressed that many times. The point is, yes they are hypocritical. So are many of the users here who complain about the chronicle's practices when THEY were trying to ruin the comments section to begin with. Did you miss that? You seem to misunderstand the difference between me "getting" your point and me "getting it but disagreeing with" your point. Make sense?

Oh, and WHO EXACTLY calls the "established media" THE news source???" Good god, I hope there aren't people who still look at it that way!! I don't see any "associations" I just see people who are ill informed. I read a while back that something like 1/3 of fox news viewers believed we found WMD's in Iraq. Easy target, yes. I've seen plenty of ill informed liberals too, who think Michael Moore is to be believed.

If there ARE people who think the established media is "the news source" then they only have themselves to blame. Remember what I said above? That "established media" is made up of... what? Businesses. What is their main function? To educate? Hell no. Inform? Hell no. MAKE MONEY by selling advertising by drawing a large group of people (or smaller focused groups of people), so advertisers can sell them "impressions."

Yes, that part of the argument is completely lost on me. "Serving the community" is a sales slogan... marketing slogan.

- mark

underdog said...

i love that sort of simple-minded nonsense which progressives substitute for media critisism; media companies are merely businesses, so business interests are the only controlling interests. why the chron sells heroine?

no. wait. they're in the newspaper business. and the enterprise of journalism, like any activity you can imagine, consumes resources. and so the market is used to resource the enterprise of journalism.

the progressive however tends to confuse rote inversion for profundity, and so that's how they arrived at the "corporate media" strawdog they beat on whenever the sight of actual media critisism causes them to wonder uncomfortably about the authenticity of their professions of heterodox thinking and rebellion against the establishment.

the way this looks to outsiders is that progressives reserve all of their specific vitriol for small-audience cable (fox only) and talk radio alternative media, while offering a fig leaf of nebulous critical abstraction to cover the rest, in theory.

and none of it even pauses to interrogate the fact that often the accumulaters of market-begotten wealth are political leftists.

Anonymous said...


I can see right through your transparent attempt to confuse me with convoluted reasoning and complex analysis. You agree with me and you're trying to butter me up.


Alia said...

Mark In RedWood,

Tsk Tsk, I had to wipe my screen - Your expressions of utter and complete exasperation with me came through loud and clear.

Since you understand the media so well, why is it that most all PAID FOR, EMPLOYED BY, IN CAHOOTS in re MEDIA are........ Democrats. Is that what you mean by "serving the community" being just... a.... "slogan"?

You ever seen the fliers Michael Innocenti and his Chomsky-ite Pals hand out at universities and colleges? lol-lol.

Why, uh, according to their fliers, radical liberal media, comprises .. a small number, liberal comprises...a larger number.. but for right and far right media.. they couldn't even list stations or newspapers.. they had to resort to listing individuals.. lol. You know like, David Limbaugh. I think Novak made it in the "conservative" category. But their lists were a hoot. And colleges use student funds to pay for these "sloganeers" to preach to colleges and universities.

Sure, sure "Fox" made the list of "right" media.. but, then the sloganeers were really stumped. lol.

(Alas, one of my own children was told that attendance at this "anti-war" seminar was mandatory for her grade. Guess those "sloganeers" are just into doing all this for the "high", the "humanitas", and the need to force people to their own point of marketing).

Heritage has released stats. The hugest numbers of folks holding the highest asset attributions are Democrats.

Maybe their new motto could be: Serving the Community and Beyond!)

Anonymous said...

I've already addressed the "liberal media" point... in that, I don't want to go there, it's not at all relevant to THIS point. The Chronicle is what we are talking about, and it IS a liberal newspaper.

That said, it's also clear you haven't responded to anything I've written Alia, and we're back where we came in... the liberal baiting boogiemen argument.

I know all liberals are evil, and all the far lefties say all you right wingers are evil. You guys cancel each other out.

Carry on.

Alia said...

You've skewered yourself, Mark. I hope it didn't hurt too badly. But then, you can't even see it.

The major newsmedia are "downing" themselves, and have been doing so for years. They seem to prefer reporting with the liberal bias, and even some liberals reject this, utterly.

You assert that in this manner the left and right cancel each other out, as tho the right is at fault. You nuance is that liberals own and run the private enterprise known as "news media" and so therefore, it is their right to run it however they wish. To only a wee extent is this true. When opposition to lies, deception, and biased so-called "news" is reported, you assert it's a left/right problem, and how they cancel each other out.

I can only surmise then, that you support the continued existence of untruths, bias, and faulty and flawed reporting.

While this is, in fact, being countered by the individual blogger, the emailer, the commentator -- I suppose this will only remain a right/left war, but only until the Democrats seize control over the internet as they continue to wish to do.

Talk radio. Liberals use the same "comments and "force" in decrying talk right radio as you do in decrying those "far righties" whose posts deleted and same-such in the lefty newspapers.

But somehow when liberals do it, its put forward as being okay; but when conservatives do it, somehow the news organization being pelted with comments is a pure, and holy "business".

Why would the Democrats regularly move to censor Rush Limbaugh?

I've seen no one anywhere attempting to censor the Chron nor "establishment media".

Your theories do not hold a damned bit of water is what I'm saying Mark.

Anonymous said...

Alia, no offense, but it appears you aren't reading what I'm writing, and you're just trying to put forth your own agenda. It's fine to have an agenda, but if all you're interested is spouting your views, then no thank you.

I'm also very surprised how much trouble you are having understanding the subtle differences in points. For example, I didn't say left wing and right wing media cancel out. I say YOU and your liberal counterparts cancel themselves out. It's pretty clear from census and poll data that the far right and far left are fairly close in number. I don't understand why you appear to make the same mistake. It's certainly possible I could be at fault for not being clear, but I have tried to be as clear as possible.. hence my long winded posts!

The rest of us? As I said, we hold some "liberal" views and some "conservative" views. Sometimes we aren't all that consistent.

Everything is cyclical. You see the liberal boogieman at every turn. I see history repeating itself. I've seen people sway left and right when it was fashionable. Most people don't really have deeply held beliefs based upon ideas in the US. Many people belong to a political party because it's family tradition.

So again, I don't care to debate the "liberal media" with you... for what, the 4th or 5th time? Have I not made that perfectly clear? All of your "surmising" in the post is pointless... much of it is incorrect and severely flawed in logic. I'm not going to focus on that because... well, see the first sentence of this paragraph.

My theories may nor may not hold water. However, if you would like to prove it one way or another, I might suggest actually analyzing one of MY theories rather than making up one of your own. See "straw man argument" for more, if you're unclear about what I'm talking about.

- mark

Serr8d said...

I guess this site has had an effect on the Chronicle's staff...I just received an email from SF Chronicle for a long-forgotten and dormant account:

"From:T he SFGate Team (

Sent: Wed 12/05/07 3:31 AM

As a registered user of, the online home of the San Francisco Chronicle, you have
the ability to comment on all SFGate articles and blog posts after signing in at Once you have done so, we encourage you to click on the "view your profile" button to view and update your profile, which displays all
comments you have left on SFGate articles.

To provide the optimal experience for all members of our commenter community, we have recently posted a revised Comment Policy at In addition, you'll note that the following verbiage appears above every comment entry box on SFGate:

"In accordance with our Comment Policy (, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that
include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions (, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect."

Happily, the vast majority of the SFGate community never once violates these policies. However,
as a service to all users of SFGate, we offer the use of a "report abuse" button on all reader
comments on SFGate articles. When a reader sees a comment that they feel violates the above policies, they have the option of clicking on that button, which then brings the comment to the attention of SFGate moderators. Comments are then deleted or allowed to remain at the
discretion of SFGate moderators.

You have received this message because the services you have registered to use on have changed. If you would prefer to unsubscribe to future SFGate mailings please go to your Registration page (, scroll to the bottom of the page and uncheck both boxes listed under the Privacy Options section. Click
"update now" to make it so. If you are having difficulty with this process, please send an email to with the word "Unsubscribe" followed by your user name in the subject of
the email.

We look forward to reading your comments on the site.

Regards, The SFGate Team."

While they would make no mention of their underhanded tactics, it's clear they they finally have become embarrassed enough to correct their mistakes.

Congrats, jimjams, for whipping the beast!

Alia said...

Mark, I am not dazzled by your self-proclaimed brilliance, therefore, allow me to be the first say, your single-lobed thinkism is dazzling. And, it's got just that "civil" touch of working hard to be so nice.

"No offense, Alia", when the opposite is exactly what you intend, and more importantly, you have continually attempted diffuse, marginalize, respin, and redirect the point of this topic-specific blog.

However, in reading the newer comments, undoubtedly you will join me in celebrating the now clearer policy enacted at the Chron's website in re comments.

It's certainly a start, in their regard.

Until we meet again, Mark. :)

Anonymous said...


Again, you try and strike out at me, and again you miss me. "Self proclaimed brilliance?" If you read my writing, I quite often proclaim my own limitations. I am no genius, and that is not news to anyone here who has read what I've written.

While you are spending lots of time trying to solve my problems (too many for you to solve, but thanks for trying), with all due respect, you might consider spending time working on your own comprehension issues. Several times in our exchange you have completely missed what I've said, and even come up with a few things apparently out of the blue.

Believe me, I have no delusions of superiority. I respect your views, and have tried to be respectful every step of the way even in disagreement. If I wanted to offend you, believe me Alia I know how. :)

The Chronicle has made a business decision. It appears to me to be a smart one. Evidently they must have felt the potential existed to lose readers over this. Whatever our friend jimjam's motivations, as I've continually said, it was a good thing he brought this to light and it appears there is a positive solution.

Alia said...


There are points I've agreed with you on and points I've not. The fact remains, and which is problematic -- there've been posts by "anonymous" which set my teeth on end, and posts by "anonymous" which have not. You attempted late in the thread to call yourself Mark, at end of your "anonymous" post, and as I've raised twice, this has been confusing.

It's possible I've been responding to an "anonymous" with multiple identities.

You've not addressed this querry of mine, and have left me to continue posting to the "multiple identity" postings of "anonymous".

There have been "anonymous" posts of which I've been in full concurrence; and others I've not.

Thusly, in re your assertion that I've not been addressing the issues you've raised, perhaps had you addressed the initial confusion, we might not yet be having this conversation.

Oh, the perils of "anonymous" postings in cyber.

Anonymous said...

While I understand your confusion Alia, I think if you were to only focus on the posts that I signed (plus the other more recent posts that are obviously me) you would be fine.

To make it clearer, all posts since this post (from "anon") are mine:

bystander said...
Mark -- it makes it interesting to consider where you might post from. Not to mention revealing.

Aside from that, I also looked through this thread and didn't see anyone named anon proclaim their brilliance. I'm not sure where that came from...

Anyway, this discussion has obviously run its course. It's too bad otherwise intelligent people choose to paint liberals as "boogiemen" who would turn the country into a socialist state if it weren't for the hero conservatives. It's too bad the opposite is true too... liberals who think the street would be filled with starving begging poor if the conservatives have their way. As I've said countless times, all of you on the fringes aren't doing yourself or your ideals any favors. The great silent majority are somewhere in the middle, and I think look at BOTH of you on the fringes and laugh.

- mark

Anonymous said...

While I do think that this deletion method is sneaky and a bit underhanded, you are wrong about why your comment was deleted. *I* reported the comment in your example as a personal attack, since you call the author an idiot for having an opinion different than yours. Other posts around yours did not use personal attacks against the author and that is why they received more recommendations and were not deleted. You can feel persecuted for having your deletion hidden from you but I honestly don't know what you expect to happen when you immediately and offensively personally attack the author in your first comment. Don't feel persecuted for having your comment deleted because it was deleted on the recommendation of people like me based solely on the post having broken the ToS.

Serr8d said...

Anonymous 2:28 PM: why try to take credit for the deletion? Your slap at jimjam's post probably had nothing to do with the deletion. His calling the author of the article an 'idiot' wouldn't be that far out of line; considering the tone of most online conversations today, that's mild.

Probably the editorial staff was itching to get a crack at jimjams. Why not? How would he even know his post was deleted? That's the only real point we can make from this particular incident: the SF Chronicle tried to deceive some of it's readers. Nevermind what readers; nevermind it was in a public forum that few know about; it was deception against some readers.

For a 'journalism' outlet, that's always a NO. Period. Other arguments are simply hanging chads.

"To read a newspaper is to refrain from reading something worthwhile. The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter."

Aleister Crowley (1875 - 1947)

Anonymous said...

One thing I have noticed when the gate deletes a post.... any replies make you look pretty silly for the reader after the fact.I should stop going... naw these people are a trip.

Mercurio said... is using this type of censorship in its blog section.

Odd that they are both from San Francisco.

Anonymous said...

Recently an insurance company nearly wind up....

A bank is nearly bankrupt......

How it affect you? Did you buy insurance? Did you buy mini note or bonds?

Who fault?

They only talk about how bad the crisis will be, but they did not give regulation measures…..

Although not approved initially when thinking of using tax payer money, $700B is used to save finance industry only, how about the industry that you are in.....retail industry, construction industry, manufacturing industry, R&D, electronics, electrical, mechanical, chemical, IT etc.... each industry will be able to enjoy at least $10B.......Which will make every industry vibrant…..

They say without using tax payer money, they will not be able to lend to small companies…..

Bank primary role is to lend money….else what sort of business will let them earn….?

Many companies had been merged and consolidated, and they are stronger now, so don’t bail out, they will consolidated…..

Many ways of raising their own funds eg preference shares, sovereignty fund etc.

The top management of the Public listed company ( belong to "public" ) salary should be tied a portion of it to the shares price ( IPO or ave 5 years ).... so when the shares price drop, it don't just penalise the investors, but those who don't take care of the company.....If this rule is pass on, without any need of further regulation, all industries ( as long as it is public listed ) will be self regulated......

We must push for it for our next generations......

Sign a petition to your favourite president candidate, congress member again and ask for their views to comment on this, and what regulations they are going to raise for implementation.....If you agree on my point, please share with many people as possible....

Media and finance sector are the only two sectors ( hopefully Hacker can also ) which can overcome political incorrect power, so it is time to fine tune to the correct path, so hopefully media can united to report the truth...... ( because after this incident, they will still required media in future )

Tony Nesci said...

RE: Taxes for those earning over $250K...

Fred & Wilma earn $300K after all deductions. They own and operate a convenience store. Each put in 84 hours per week for a total of 168. At home, they HAD to hire on a housekeeper to do the cooking, laundry, cleaning, getting the kids in and out of school...

Barney & Betty also earn $300K after all deductions. They are day traders, landlords and receive bank interest. Each puts in maybe 10 hours per week for a total of 20. At home, they hired on a housekeeper to do the cooking, laundry, cleaning, getting the kids in and out of school. They did this because they CAN...

Next tax time BOTH couples will have let the housekeeper go. Fred & Wima because they HAVE to...Barney & Betty because they CAN!

Poor housekeeper!

Anonymous said...

RE: Taxes for those earning over $250K...

Fred & Wilma earn $300K after all deductions. They own and operate a convenience store. Each put in 84 hours per week for a total of 168. At home, they HAD to hire on a housekeeper to do the cooking, laundry, cleaning, getting the kids in and out of school...

Barney & Betty also earn $300K after all deductions. They are day traders, landlords and receive bank interest. Each puts in maybe 10 hours per week for a total of 20. At home, they hired on a housekeeper to do the cooking, laundry, cleaning, getting the kids in and out of school. They did this because they CAN...

Next tax time BOTH couples will have let the housekeeper go. Fred & Wima because they HAVE to...Barney & Betty because they CAN!

Poor housekeeper!

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It's kind of funny that at first glance you and I seem to be at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, but I have been fascinated by comments policies for some time's my comment:

I have been noticing a large number of comment deletions on and did a search and found this post. It is December of 2012. Your post here was made years ago.

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