AnnArbor.com implements crackdown on excessive capitalization

    It’s been a while since we here in this wretched hive of scum and villainy have discussed the form of “aggressive moderation” being practiced by our friends at AnnArbor.com. As I’m sympathetic to their situation, and want for them to be successful, I try not to be unnecessarily critical of the choices they make. But, on occasion, though, they do something so silly, that I can’t help but comment. And, today is one of those days… The following screen shot comes from a thread on their site today about Asian carp.

    carpcaps

    I’m not sure how using ALL CAPS violates their Comment Moderation Guidelines, but maybe there’s something offensive about capital letters that I’m not aware of.

    So, be careful… Exclamation marks may be next.

    Speaking of Asian carp, I find it interesting that, of the now twenty-some articles I’ve read on the subject, I haven’t come across a single mention of how the giant fish taste. I mean, I want them out of the Great Lakes – don’t get me wrong – but, at least if they tasted good, there would be something of an upside to having these giant, 75-pound missiles shooting out of Lake Michigan and killing boaters.

    This entry was posted in Ann Arbor, Environment, Food, Media and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

      54 Comments

      1. HauntedChickenCoop
        Posted February 17, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        ASIAN CARP ARE GROSS BOTTOM FEEDERS!

      2. Hugh G. Nutz
        Posted February 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        FUNNY THING ABOUT ASIA CARP IS WHEN YOU BACK OVER THEM IN YR CAR THEY DONT DIE SO I HALF TO SHOOT THEM JUST TO GET THEM STILL ON THE GRILL

        MARK THEY TASTE GOOD A LITTEL LIKE CHICKEN A LITTLE LIKE SAYTAN

      3. Posted February 17, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        Oh, my goodness…. I was joking before, but, now that I see what a comment full of CAPS actually looks like, in real life, I have to say that the folks at AnnArbor.com were right. Seeing all of those capital letters bunched up together really is quite intimidating.

      4. Posted February 17, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

        In somewhat related news, a 61 year old woman in Atlanta was arrested for asking “Why?”

      5. Posted February 17, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        POSTING IN BOLD IS EVEN WORSE.

      6. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted February 17, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

        Reading the Moderation thread on AA.com is pretty interesting. I also saw that a comment was removed for being too long. If two people begin a debate, they will delete the posts and tell you to give other people a chance to join the debate. I guess only two people can comment at a time. I also had a lot of fun explaining why I was angry for being moderated for defending myself against a blatant (and flagged) personal attack that was not moderated. Remember, a blatant personal attack is against their policy. There are also a whole lot of comments being deleted without any editorial notes at all. The defenses offered seem to range from fairly reasonable to totally inane. I think it’s funny when they get a little offended. But then I probably shouldn’t have suggested that they were fascist. I’ll add don’t blog at 6am before coffee to don’t blog drunk.

        The long and short of it is, this is a hole they’ve dug for themselves. Huge national websites do just fine without moderation. The debate here seems to work pretty well; hell, even a lot of the petty arguments include useful information on the topic. Are the opinions offered in “liberal” A2 just too much to handle? IT SEEMS TO ME AA.COM COULD SPEND SOME OF THE TIME THEY USE MODERATING ON IMPROVING THEIR NEWS REPORTING.

        I thought that was worth the caps. But maybe it’s that kind of thinking that keeps getting me moderated.

      7. Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:12 am | Permalink

        In my 3 am addled state, when I saw the title of this post, I figured AA.com was doing some kind of investigative series on local companies with a capitalization problem. I should have known better.

      8. Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Why do we take down comments in all caps? A few reasons. One, we think it’s distracting when you glance through a comment thread to see stuff in all caps, and it’s harder to read. Also, our goal is to make our comment boards neighborly forums. If you’re shouting, it’s hard to have a conversation with you.

        Of course we’re always open to criticism and revision, so let me have it. I know you will!

      9. Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        Thanks for providing us with an open forum, Mark.

      10. Edward
        Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        I can’t imagine why Ann Arbor has a reputation of being uptight.

      11. Wild Balls Hiccup
        Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        STEFANIE THANK YOU

        BUT WOULD YOU PUSH A KID WITH A MOHAK OFF THE SIDEWLAK BECAUSE HIS HAIR WAS LOUDER THAN THE GUYS IN THE NEXT CUBICLE OVER?

        MORE IMPORTANT YOUVE GOT SOME VERY MEAN, RACIST ANGRY COMMENTERS OVER THERE AND YOU DONT DO ANYTHING AOUBT THEIR COMMENTS, if theyre in lowercase

      12. Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        @Wild Balls Hiccup, yes, we do indeed do something about commenters who spew racist garbage. We take those comments down and if you ever see something you think violates our guidelines, please feel free to let me know – email stefaniemurray@annarbor.com. We want people to challenge ideas and debate, and there have been some stories where race has come up in the comments, but we do our best to keep it civil and on-topic.

        And no, I wouldn’t push a kid with a mohawk off the sidewalk. But if I was chatting with him on the sidewalk and he was shouting, I’d ask him to lower his voice so I could hear him better!

      13. Wild Balls Hiccup
        Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink

        BUT CAPS ARE VISUAL NOT AURAL

        For racist comment just this morning:

        “I agree with O’neal except..this guy did the crime. Look at the evidence. i actually feel that he should stop wasting tax dollars fighting a case he is going to lose. Skin color doesn’t matter when it comes to taking another person life.
        BTW, why is Tim Neimann still doing Public defender work??? He’s simply going for a plea.
        Oh yeah….I’m African American as well. I have zero sympathy for this clown. In fact, HE is one of the reason WE are stereotyped as violent animals. Look at his picture! Does he look as though he cares? WCJ does have a barber. You know and I know he committed the crime. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Race has nothing to do with this one, ‘brotha’.”

        (White man impersonating a black man)

      14. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted February 18, 2010 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        The real problem, Stefanie, is that you have a published comment policy, but then you go outside of that policy every day often, with no explanation, making for not a policy on moderation, but totaly arbitrary moderation.

      15. Anonymous
        Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        I have been a commentor at annarbor.com for quite some time. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have never once made a rude or mean spirited comment. Sometimes my comments do not appear at all. There are times when they appear briefly then disappear. This is not bothersome too much, because typically other folks step in with similar points to my own. What frustrates me is that if I email the editor and ask why a comment of mine has been tossed out, I have never once received a reply. This includes from Stefanie, but not limited to her.

      16. tommy
        Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        The real problem, everyone, is that Stefanie and other staffers are getting paid to moderate comments on ‘news’ stories about drunken bikini clad jello wrestlers getting pulled over in Milan! Is this what journalism (and those who call themselves journalists) has come to?

        How’d you do that bold thing Jake? Because I really want to know the answer – HOW’D YOU DO THAT BOLD THING JAKE?

      17. Kim
        Posted February 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        I’m with Tommy on this. As much as the seemingly arbitrary moderation pisses me off, I’m more concerned by the “journalism” I’m seeing from the staff. And it’s not that I think they’re necessarily bad reporters. I just think they’re under such pressure to constantly post new stories, that they can’t dedicate the time necessary to do good work.

      18. Yellow Dog
        Posted February 18, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        I will fry up an Asian carp, eat it, and review it, if someone can get me one.

      19. Posted February 18, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        I think you do this: bold text (remove the spaces)

      20. Chaely
        Posted February 18, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        The Asian carp thing is such a clusterfck. The problem with eating them is that although regular carp taste pretty good (not sure if the giant ones are any different taste-wise) they’re cullinarily out of style right now for the same reason that we don’t eat pigeon anymore. It’s not that they really are any worse than any other sort of fish, but their “bottom feeder” status has turned off most average Americans, making them think that they’re gross or could carry diseases. Again, like pigeons, it’s not true & they’re eaten regularly in other parts of the world.

        I’m personally willing to start eating carp, as I don’t see them being any more disgusting than any factory-farmed livestock being fed god knows what & living in unsanitary conditions.

        As for AnnArbor.com, if they don’t have a better way of handling their commenting system, maybe they should have waited a little bit before turning their newspaper into a blog format. Millions of other websites seem to handle it just fine. Not long ago they deleted my comment in response to a person who said that “roundabouts are some European bullshit” and declared that they will be “the downfall of our civilization” because I used an “insulting tone” to explain that he was being ridiculous, offensive & inflammatory. That was the last day they were on my RSS reader.

      21. Genericreg
        Posted February 18, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        Between a published moderation policy and a note posted at the site of censorship, you shouldn’t have to come on here and explain why you removed a comment. This is a hint that the pipes don’t lead to the drain.

        Mark, I’ve heard tale of environmentalists trying to come up with Asian carp recipes to no avail. I’m thinking the better option is to create some crazy myth about how eating their eyeballs makes your wee-wee grow larger and gives you more stamina. That’s why so much wildlife is being fished/hunted to extinction.

      22. Posted February 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        TOMMY!!!!

        YOU TYPE A LEFT ARROW THING, A LOWER-CASE “B”, THEN A RIGHT ARROW THING, THEN YOU WRITE WHATEVER PROFOUND AUTHORITATIVE THING YOU HAVE TO SAY THAT’S WAY MORE NOTEWORTHY THAN WHAT EVERYONE ELSE HAS TO SAY, THEN YOU TYPE A LEFT ARROW THING, A FORWARD SLASH, A LOWER-CASE “B”, THEN A RIGHT ARROW THING!!!!!!!!!!!!

        WHEN YOU’RE FINISHED, YOUR OPPONENTS WILL REALIZE THAT THEIR SELF-DOUBTS AND INSECURITIES ARE, IN FACT, ACCURATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      23. Posted February 18, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        Well that didn’t work.

        Open the bold section with less-than sign, b, greater-than sign.

        Then type your text.

        Close the bold section with less-than sign, slash (forward slash), b, greater-than sign.

        See the first entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML_element#Presentation

      24. Rex
        Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        Stefanie, if you want to talk about visually disturbing comment threads, I think the design of the comments on annarbor.com makes it impossible to tell if the person making the comment is identified above or below the comment. I’ve had at least 10 people ask me what it was that I said that was removed from the jello drunk driver story: link to comment, when actually my comment is still there! (and insightful!)

        On the topic of asian carp: I think we need to let the great likes wildlife die. If we don’t do you know how many tour boat operators in chicago will suffer? THINK OF THE TOUR BOAT OPERATORS!!!

      25. Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        TESTING TO SEE HOW EMPHATIC I CAN MAKE THIS COMMENT, WHICH HAS ALMOST AS LITTLE VALUE AS MOST OF THE ANNARBOR.COM “REPORTING”.

      26. Curt Waugh
        Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        LET’S GIVE A SHOUT-OUT TO MARK!!!!

      27. Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        TESTING.

      28. Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Big text doesn’t work. I DEMAND THE ABILITY TO USE GIANT TEXT ON MARKMAYNARD DOT COM!!!

      29. Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        It sucks that it had to happen in this thread, but I just accidentally deleted someone’s comment. It was a short comment. Only one line long. I saw it. I went to approve it. And I accidentally hit the delete button. Now there’s no going back. It happens on occasion. Sorry.

      30. Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        testing small text

      31. Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        And it’s probably also worth pointing out that, on occasion, there are some really good comments on the A2.com site. Take this one about Asian carp from Kurt Wolak, for instance:

        They are good to eat, and cultivated in many countries for food. Unlike carp that we are familiar with that feed on the bottom, invasive carp species such as the bighead and silver feed primarily in the upper and middle part of the water column, water that is generally ‘cleaner’. In fact, part of the carp plan developed in the 1970′s was to have carp feed in ponds on sewage treatment facilities in the South, then sell the carp for food. But the FDA said, “No way…” and that helped put the kabosh on the initial government carp program. Besides food, there could be other commercial uses for the carp if they could be successfully harvested.

        Certainly, keeping carp populations down in the lower states would take some of the pressure off the Great Lakes. Carp populations are very high in waterways connected to the Mississippi. Commercial and recreational fisherman have been on those waters for generations. The problem is this: in natural water systems, many conventional fishing techniques generally don’t work for carp, especially the more ‘touchy’ silvers, who elude and ruin nets. While bighead carp are commercially harvested with nets, they also tend to pool in numbers that weigh the nets down to the point that they can’t be pulled up and the net has to be released.

        As far as whether invasive carp can live in Great Lakes, it is true that that is not yet known. Consider this, however: if you were to draw parallel lines around the globe that were at the limits of the carp’s natural range in China, those lines would pass through Chicago in the south and the mouth of the Hudson Bay, Canada in the north. These carp naturally prefer cooler waters and lowland rivers, of which the Great Lakes region has plenty. The safe bet is that they can survive here.

      32. Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        underline.

        green

        size 4 font

        Sorry, I just got curious and had to find out.

      33. Jacques Stropp
        Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        Nota bene: aa.com removed the comment that Wild Bill cited above.

        What does that mean, exactly?

      34. Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        Underline? C’mon, jake, that’s kid stuff. How ’bout some…

        BOLD BLINK MARQUEE?!?

      35. Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        (Okay, fine. How ’bout not, apparently.)

      36. Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        Mark is preemptively moderating us.

      37. Posted February 19, 2010 at 5:56 am | Permalink

        I think it’s maybe just bold and italics, no underlining, large text, colors, etc. Probably the censors at WordPress.

      38. Posted February 19, 2010 at 5:58 am | Permalink

        Maybe if the carp realize that they’re going to be aggressively moderated, they’ll just skip us altogether.

      39. tommy
        Posted February 19, 2010 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        Are Asian carp the same type as those bold one in Belleville Lake that hang around the docks by the restaurant (don’t know what it’s called these days)? If so, I can see the concern.

      40. Gene Kim
        Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        “Silverfin” is the new Asian Carp…people ARE (oops!!!) eating them, Chef Philippe Parola is preparing them, and Silverfin will soon hit a freezer near you – hopefully before the real thing smacks you on the side of the head.

        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122367979

      41. Erich Auerbach
        Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        How am I to get this home in my bike basket?

      42. Duane Collicott
        Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        OK, now I’ve had it. My comment about this story (http://www.annarbor.com/sports/emily-samuelson-evan-bates-skate-14th-on-friday-davis-white-are-17th/) was deleted. All I did was comment that it was bad photo and that it looked like we were interrupting some private, intimate moment!

        It is a fun sport. No, not the skating, I mean the sport of watching what comments get moderated and why. It’s rather entertaining.

      43. Rex
        Posted February 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        wow, that picture is borderline inappropriate.

      44. Peter Larson
        Posted February 19, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        A good friend of mine, who is an emeritus professor of ichthyology at UMich, maintains that the Asian Carp will not survive in the Great Lakes and that certain political groups are using the issue to maintain funding for various Great Lakes related projects.

      45. Anon
        Posted February 20, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        That photo looks fine to me. If you think that’s borderline inappropriate, try finding a photo of a high school men’s wrestling match that doesn’t look like gay porn.

      46. genericreg
        Posted February 20, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        More details about ‘hidden’ moderation guidelines (they’re like cookies! Only bad cookies. Cookies with poop in them):

        “Hot Sam, we didn’t have any concerns about the civility of the conversation. Occasionally, when a conversation has been going on for a while, and it’s being carried by two or three people, we conclude that the discussion has run its course and we close the commenting. That’s what occurred in this case.” – Tony Dearing

        So, apparently a conversation is only a conversation if it’s held by four or more people. Honestly, are they worried about all the extra disk space the comments are using up? Even if it’s no longer interesting to more than three people, what harm is letting the comments continue and keep the forum open for those three people? Where do they expect the three people who are still interested to go to continue their conversation?

        Maybe they should go to the AnnArbor.com storefront, which is supposed to be a public space with free computers. Whatever happened to that?

      47. genericreg
        Posted February 20, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        And by cookies I mean easter eggs. Long day.

      48. Chrysta Cherrie
        Posted February 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        Genericreg, the AnnArbor.com community space opened in November. It’s located on the first floor of 301 E. Liberty and is available to the public on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In addition to free use of the wifi and/or workstations, the community space offers a conference room that local community groups can reserve for no charge.

      49. Posted February 24, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        Mark, regarding your asian carp “are they good eating” question, I wrote up what I could:

        http://www.annarbor.com/vielmetti/asian-carp-aka-silverfin—good-eating-if-prepared-correctly/

        The best lead I got was finding the Chinese characters -

        Frankly, I’d start with further research into Asian recipes; the species, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, is 鲢鱼 in Chinese. I’m not quite search engine literate enough to turn a search for that term into a set of automatically translated recipes, but I’m hopeful that my readers can help.

        Next time you’re at Hua Xing Asia Market it would be worth checking in their fish counter.

      50. J_Noel
        Posted March 20, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        RE: Asian Carp
        I think it may be helpful to add this information about the situation:
        1. A distinction is always made between sporting fish and commercial fish. In the past the term “commercial fish” included farm-raised trout and catfish: both are native to North American waters. But “commercial fish” or “commercial fishery” also can refer to the industry of catching free-roaming native fish in waters like the Great Lakes.

        2. The Asian Carp is certainly a foreign species. It was introduced for the purpose of farm raising them and selling them for food. That is, adding a new fish to the list of those already eaten by people in this country.

        3. Flooding of those commercial Asian Carp farms caused these fish to be washed into the Mississippi River – and they rapidly expanded into the Mississippi Basin Watershed. This, apparently, happened before a single carp was sold in U.S. markets.

        4. The primary path for these carp to enter Lake Michigan is the Chicago Shipping Canal which connects the lake with the Upper Mississippi. The Army Corps of Engineers was ultimately instructed to place “carp proof” barriers in the canal. But the State of Illinois got an injunction against that action, claiming irreparable harm to the commercial shipping industry.

        Now look at the above chain and try to claim that it’s not commercial interests who are directly responsible for both the start and continuance of this threat to the Great Lakes environment AND to the Great Lakes commercial and sports fisheries.

        The simple answer is to apply an on-going fine to both the commercial fish farmers and the state which licensed them until a full solution to the Asian Carp invasion is funded. The Illinois injunction should be ignored – the Great Lakes are more important than the profits of a few shipping companies and the Illinois Treasury.

      51. J_Noel
        Posted March 21, 2010 at 2:43 am | Permalink

        Adding my 2¢ to the matter of moderation on AnnArbor.com forums: I have kept the emails between myself and Stephanie Murray and occasionally go back to see if I can match up that company’s moderator actions with ANY kind of logic or reasoning. I am never able to do so.

        Confirming: I was told (in writing) that AnnArbor.com moderators do not pre-screen based on who is commenting and that notices of deleted comments are always posted. BOTH assertions have been proven false repeatedly by simple observation of my own “disappeared w/0 notice” comments and by the reports of several others.

        Observation: I have pointed out that moderators there don’t seem to know the difference between metaphors (meant humorously) and name-calling. I have pointed out other “variables” like ad hoc re-definitions of words which I purposely LOOKED UP before including them in my comments. I and others have also observed instances where the notice of deletion says the comment was off-topic or “didn’t contribute to the discussion” were applied by someone who didn’t know what the topic actually was!

        So it seems that the worthwhile goal of ensuring more civilized comments (than those on such venues as MLive.com) is not being met. My sympathy – though drastically reduced by frusrtration – remains with AnnArbor.com. I would LIKE to see this goal achieved but I seriously doubt the ability of some staff to accomplish that.

        Finally – on the other hand – it’s fair to point out that these forums at AnnArbor.com are OWNED by that company and – ultimately – they can be as capricious as they wish because of that. Not only that – we must remember that the term “freedom of speech” has no force which can be applied. Other than, that is, the “force” of readers moving on to more reasonable venues.

      52. Posted March 30, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        I also spoke with the Professor Emeritus of ichthyology at a Michigan Sea Grant presentation last week. The contention is that the invasive carp could not survive in the open waters of the Great Lakes, as they are generally devoid of food. This would appear true. However, they can use the warmer waters along the shoreline, where there is much higher amounts of nutrification due to runoff from increased development along the lakeshore and rivers. Should the carp establish themselves in the Great Lakes, they can and likely will use this shoreline band to move into new river systems, for instance, from the St Joseph River in St Joseph to the Black River in South Haven. Shallower bays and estuaries in the Great Lakes could also support populations. Most Great Lakes rivers are dammed within 20 miles of the lakes; however, human transport of invasive species beyond dam barriers occurs. But it is true that carp won’t be filling the Lakes. It is relevant to note that 90 percent of recreational lake activities take place in along the shoreline, and the majority of Great Lakes users use inland waterways to reach the Lakes. Thanks to Matt for the kind words about my former comments. The professor emeritus and his peers generally support a higher level of awareness and response to aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes. The asian carp is an effective ‘poster child’ for this issue.

      53. AGirl
        Posted April 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        Ok, I’m a little late but I had to comment. I flagged a post on Annarbor.com that was attacking Judaism and Christianity. The post was not removed so I posted something asking why a website that is so strict and takes down so many post would keep this one up. I also asked them how long they would keep up a post that attacked Islam. They removed my post but the other posts are still there. I really wanted this paper and website to be good and to succeed but I’ve given up. The website is a joke, especially in a city that is supposed to be full of “tolerant” liberals.

      54. Posted April 30, 2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        This seems like the best place to say:

        STOP THE PRESSES! BREAKING NEWS! AnnArbor.com just realized that there’s a city to their east!

        http://www.annarbor.com/about/annarborcom-launches-new-page-of-ypsilanti-and-ypsilanti-township-news/

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


      × 3 = eighteen

      You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

        Connect

        Rocket Sci-Fi ad Wurst Bar ad Tyler Weston ad BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative Dave Miller 3