Apparently the identity of the blog poster shadycat will be revealed on WCSS today.  I’m posting this before the announcement so as of now, I do not know the identity of shadycat and more importantly I do not care to know.
What I do care to know is why shadycat would be singled out for disclosure on the radio. Supposedly shadycat is a public figure so this justifies their outing for posting anonymous comments on a blog(s).
Now I do not know under what circumstances their identity was discovered so I do not want to get too far ahead of the story but let me pose some questions running through my chimpish mind as this unfolds:
– Was shadycat’s identity revealed by the blog administrator or host? If so, to whom was that information revealed?
-Does shadycat’s characterization of South Side residents justify a public disclosure of comments made anonymously? If so, must we then disclose the identity of anonymous blog posters whose comments we find insulting or distasteful?
-Will public disclosure of anonymous commenters only apply to the Web or does the same standard apply to radio callers?
-Will WCSS adopt similar tools for their anonymous callers such as caller ID to  discover their identity ? Does WCSS employ caller ID  for their radio shows? Does WCSS keep a record of such calls and callers? How about WVTL as well?
-What privacy policies do local radio stations adopt for their anonymous callers? And other blogs?
My policy: I do not disclose identities. Period.
However, if you casually mention to friends and associates that you post on this blog , chances are they can figure it out. But it won’t have come from me.

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17 Responses

  1. w murphy says:

    I agree with many of your insights into this as blogging is a relatively recent communications forum and raises all kinds of issues skirtiing freedom of speech and right to privacy.
    But beyond all that is the fact that anonymous blogging is a very perilous exercise and nearly everyone one of us has been guilty of off-the-cuff remarks that we wish we could have back. It is a new game that all of us have underestimated when we first engage in it. Under the protection of a pseudonym, and in the heat of an argument, you say things for shock value, humor (often off-base, off-taste), and frustration that you normally wouldn’t state in any other forum. The comments are often akin to political cartoons- distortions meant to make a point, but full of rhetoric and extremes.
    I made the concious decision a while back to ditch my pseudonym as I found myself posting hasty, ill-advised diatribes that were not reflective of my true nature- I wish I could have some of them back. But alas, here we are, in a new world of anonymous communication and debate and we need to allow ourselves and each other room to mature- to make our blogging mistakes and then learn from them. The only thing that is unforgivable are personal slanders designed to take a person down.
    Will shady need to take a hit for this? Unfortunately, yes. But my guess he/she is far from the shady character playing out on blogs.

  2. Anonymous blogging is like catcalls from a crowd. If people hide behind pseudonyms, I question their motives and honesty.

  3. w murphy says:

    I don’t question their honesty or motivation- I just take the comments with a grain of salt as they sometimes represent our Id not our ego or super-ego. Sometimes people just need to vent and it is difficult in a small town where your every action & statement get amplified, blown out of proportion, and used against you.

  4. Crazy from the Heat says:

    My take on this outing is So What!…..That person has a right to his or her opinion. Maybe just maybe the things that are said by the person reflect the feels of others who can’t speak or write has eloquently.
    I have noticed that there are many angry old timers in this city(having lived here my whole 47 years of life)that want things the way they used to be, and will do anything they can to sabotage the efforts.
    Look weather you support the mayor or not( I did not), she had a large mess to clean up…not only from the last administration but also from years of neglect. This city’s spiral down was accelerated under the Villa administration by two things 1)A lack of understanding has to what was happening to the city and how to stop it. 2)An attitude that government is a dirty word and cost too much money…..both of those things mixed together too bring us to where we are today.
    I believe this city has the ability to recover, and it will not happen in this mayors term or the next mayors term….but if we continue to let people who have been in power project the same old stale plans and ideas we will never move forward.
    Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
    not a bad observation of this city?

  5. Karin says:

    I will usually make myself known when I contribute (?) on a blog site. But since I am pretty new at this whole blog thing, I’ve yet to figure out how to put my name up if a site already has “Anonymous” in the name space.
    I also have said a few things out of place here and there, and there have been times after submitting my message that I would want to kick myself in the tush for saying them.
    But, then the subject changes and you start from scratch on a new topic. I guess my lesson learned (?) from this experience would be re-read what I write a “few” times, then count to 10 before I hit that send button.
    Oh well, we live and learn.

  6. P. K. Dick says:

    The motivation by the “outers” is to either instill righteous fear into the hearts of anonymous posters everywhere or to cause the specific target some detriment. This detriment or fear will manifest itself in the form of some type of actual or potential fall out for the “outed” poster. I assume Chiara and Going are happy to perform this community service since they are crowing about it. These champions of free speech are proud to perform their self appointed police function. I assume they will argue that their actions were justified because of what shadycat said or who shadycat is. In this they join a prestigious club that has in it the enemies of freedom. Does it feel good to be evil? Do you think you might be feeling the same way Hitler felt when he was doing his “good” works.
    How dare a person have an opinion that is different from theirs – a price must be exacted for this opinion. This is right and just. Blah, Blah, Blah . . .
    Flame on

  7. wildthane says:

    This witch hunt is base foolishness.
    There are important issues in need of solutions everywhere we look: physically and spiritually in our own lives, in the City, State, Nation and globally. That this topic has garnered this much attention is disappointing at best.
    Can you imagine how much could be accomplished if this much energy were put into solving the real problems we are faced with?
    As for as casting aspersions, Jesus said it best (King James Bible):
    “He that is WITHOUT SIN among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
    Drop the rock.

    • NobleFire says:

      Witchhunt Ann? Southsiders are angry at being insulted as well they should be. The comments went beyond just disagreement. They were personally insulting. The Parillo’s who have worked so hard at their business for many years were insulted. This person who is a part of the political process and is supposed to be working together to get solutions obviously has other feelings. I think that Mike Chiara being a southsider was personally insulted and that is why he brought this out. Nothing wrong with him doing that.

  8. MJD says:

    I can’t prove it but I think this whole event was somewhat orchestrated. My theory is that they had an idea who Shadycat was for a while, then decided to take that one post of hers and try to create controversy surrounding it with the idea of outing her later. I don’t see the post as being outside of the normal heated discussions that characterize these blogs. You would never pick that one post out and obsess on it based on the merits. They ginned up resentment about the comment because they knew they could pin it on someone they didn’t like later.
    I do agree with Mike Chiara about one thing. Shadycat “insulted” the people who live on the South Side. So, obviously, Mayor Thane owns Mike Chiaras long departed parents a personal apology. Flawless logic.
    Personally, I like that we can post anonymously. It doesn’t make me question the motives of the person or the honesty of the post at all- quite the opposite. I think people can be more honest when their identities aren’t revealed. I also think it makes for better discussions. Rather than “considering the source” the idea is what matters. The idea can sink or swim on it’s own merits without all the baggage of what the readers opinion of the author is.

  9. joaquinek says:

    Here, Here. I agree, MJD. Sometimes people in sensitive positions can be more honest by hiding behind a hidden identity, so their colleagues or bosses don’t know who they are. There is nothing wrong with it if everyone is hiding. I wonder what names Mr. Chiara and Mr. Going are using on those pages? Will they reveal that to the public? Probably not. Do they have Caller ID at the radio station? Will they be giving out names & ADDRESSES SOON?

  10. Karin says:

    I have been following the blogs on this topic (story) and I am very surprised that it made the front page of the Recorder. I don’t think this was necessary. But that is just my opinion.

  11. joaquinek says:

    You have got to be kidding…”Front Page of Recorder”…when it is about a woman it will always make the front page of the Recorder…Do you know how predjudiced they are and how many times they have been sued by women? How many thousands have they had to pay for their “oversights” and they settled out of court…over the years… The male dominated media except for the Leader Herald which is headed by a woman, is a constantly acting in shock when a woman is news (although I hardly call this news), yet when men are committing preceived wrongs it is in & out of the headlines…keep track you will see. The other day I was watching channel 9…they had a picture and HEADLINE story on for 2 days about a woman in Amsterdam who had been arrested for alleged DWI….Imagine 2 days…!!! With a full picture….when was the last time they ran a picture about the kids( over 16) who slash tires or the male thieves who robbed people….or the stabbing the other day at Stewarts, or the men who came in selling pellets for a waste water facility who ripped all the citizens off???? When were these people headlines for more serious things like the crimes they committed? Not some nonsense that a disbarred judge and his buddy are singing!!!
    The judgement of the Amsterdam media here is very questionable and people have become so dienchanted with their reporting that their circulation is nil….compared to the population. I encourage everyone to read the Gazette which seems to have a much more
    universal & objective reporting style.

    • The comments posted here by joaquinek are so inaccurate and puts articulate bloggers who actually contribute to a thoughtful discussion in an extremely bad light.
      This person claims that the Recorder is prejudiced against women.
      Here are the facts – 80 percent of the reporters in our newsroom are women including two female reporters who cover the city. Mark Robarge is the lone male reporter on the news side.
      Over in sports we have one female and one male reporter.
      The managing editor is a female. The social and club events in-take person is a female. Our editor for our sister publication (Sacandaga Express) is a female and the list goes on and on.
      The women far outnumber the men at the Recorder and you know what? We all get along, love our jobs and take great pride in providing local news and sports to a degree that is unmatched by our competitors.
      I won’t even address the rest of your fictional diatribe because it doesn’t warrant a response.
      It’s one thing to debate about the content of a story and placement of that story on a page. Editors do that all time and that is fair game.
      But to claim that the Recorder is anti-women is slanderous. It just gives you less credibility with everything else you said.
      Flippin said it best recently.
      “You need to step up your game.”

  12. awish4Amsterdam says:

    I think there should be some Senate hearings on this whole Shadycat saga. This is newsworthy? “Shadycat insults Southsiders” details at 11.
    Poverty, joblessness, the economy, health care reform, high taxes, school district woes, war….
    and the beat goes on.

  1. July 19, 2009

    […] you can read about it by checking out this story in the Recorder, following this thread and this thread on the anonymously hosted blog Flippin’ Amsterdam, this post by former Montgomery County […]

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