If you want to engage in public dialogue have the courage of your convictions.

federal election 2019By Pepper Parr

September 25, 2019



Here is where I wonder what some people think they are doing.

We get literally hundreds of comments each day. More than a third are just plain foul, filled with nasty comments about other people. We don’t publish these – straight to trash.

About one quarter are good and of that half are superb. I am proud to publish those comments. On occasion we take a well written, soundly argued point of view and turn it into an opinion piece.

There is another bunch that come in. The name of the sender doesn’t match what we have in our data base so we send out a test email to see if the address is valid. All too often the email is illegitimate and we get a message like this.

<mariememe1965@gmail.com>: host gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com[] said:
The email account that you tried to reach does not exist. Please
try 550-5.1.1 double-checking the recipient’s email address for typos or
550-5.1.1 unnecessary spaces.

Our testing the email address was because we saw something suspicious in this one that said the following:

I’ve met her and I liked her! I felt a genuine concern and nothing scripted. Hoping that this paper writes articles on ALL candidates – fairly.

The comment was related to the article we wrote about Conservative candidate Elizabeth Jane Michael in which we reported on her deciding not to take part in the planned election debates.

We will write fairly about a candidate – we would like to speak to them.

Stunts like this hurt a candidate – it is clear that someone wrote a comment that was designed to leave the impression that the candidate was worth voting for – but they weren’t prepared to say who they were.

You can’t do that – at least not in this newspaper.


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1 comment to If you want to engage in public dialogue have the courage of your convictions.

  • Stephen White

    Kudos to the Gazette for confirming the identities of individuals before automatically posting their comments. Sadly, social media has created the illusion of unrestricrted freedom where people can post whatever they want with no regard whatsoever for what is said or the consequences of their remarks.

    True journalism, whether printed or online, provides a forum for the respectful exchange of divergent thoughts, opinions and ideas. Sadly, many online forums have become mediums where just about anything goes, and where concepts such as “slander” and “libel” have little meaning. I’m increasingly surpirsed at the number of people I meet who have ditched their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts not just because of privacy considerations, but also, the general tenor of unregulated discussions.