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Time to Clean House: Notes on a Rundown, Nearly Empty Blog Cabin

July 27, 2007

We must admit that we occasionally check up on “The Blog Cabin,” the blog set up by the North County News as part of its vendetta launched against Crotonblog. Intended to build that newspaper’s circulation in Croton and describing itself as “the first civilized and sensible blog for the citizens of Croton,” itÂ’’s patronized exclusively by the small group of malcontents who expressed unhappiness with Crotonblog’s policy of accepting anonymous comments to its postings.

There’s an amusing side to this new kid on the block. The people for whom this blog was tailored always insisted on calling Crotonblog a “chat room,” which it most decidedly is not. Yet the blog to which they have transferred their occasional allegiance is exactly that—a chat room of the lowest or most primitive order, with absolutely no input from its sponsors.

It has always escaped us why the identity of the person making a comment is more important to these small-minded people than the content of what is being said. As it turned out, guileless persons who have innocently revealed their names on Crotonblog have often been denigrated with verbal abuse that has bordered on being menacing.

Surprise, surprise! It turns out that the misfits for whom the new chat room was created do not make much use of it. During the month of July, for example, comments have appeared on only about 50 percent of days, rendering it not very useful for average readers seeking new and up-to-date news. Besides, the sporadic Blog CabinÂ’’s chat room postings resemble a kind of cliquey exchange between insiders. One member’s comment tends to elicit a gushy and insincere thank-you note from another member of the group.

All in all, it’s a pretty dreary performance and makes for a boring chat room of limited interest to readers outside the clique. At this writing, in order to read the latest comment left at the Blog Cabin, a curious reader has to slog through nearly 200 tired chat-room comments posted over the past several months—and it is tough slogging indeed. The rewards for so much effort are disappointingly slim.

Another reason for the limited use of this sorry excuse for a blog is its foolishly prideful boast that it is intended for “posters not afraid to sign comments with their full legal identity.” Crotonblog sees no merit in displaying one’s name on the Internet, which has become a veritable jungle in which lurk con artists, swindlers and child molesters. By contrast, Crotonblog doesn’t care who you are; in fact, we urge you to use a screen name to shield your identity. But we do care tremendously about what you have to say and about your right to say it without fear.

Apropos the uses of anonymity, Crotonblog is in the process of completing an in-depth study exploring the advantages of preserving one’s personal privacy in the dangerous world of the Internet. Just as it is no longer wise to put your name on your mailbox, only gullible, trusting, credulous or naive types now venture forth into the hazardous labyrinth of the Internet and identify themselves with their given names. Look for this two-part special feature to begin soon on Crotonblog.



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