Saturday, April 28, 2007

Battle Fatigue

As a founding member of the INWBA (Inland Northwest Bloggers' Association) I'm doing something today that gives me no joy. I am removing the link to INWBA from my blog. Even harder to do, I am removing the "We are United" button; for we are no longer. This is my form of protest. My further association with the organization is on hold. The reason for this is because the INWBA webmaster has banned Huckleberries from the INWBA web site. Huckleberries is the blog that breathed life into the organization not to mention most every blogger in the area. The very thing we united against when the County tried to ban access to Huckleberries on County computers.

The issue is porn links that turn up as part of comments on Huckleberries, a blog hosted by a Spokesman Review associate editor. I have seen these links on only one occasion and literally had to be walked through the site to find them. It is my understanding that without registration, a counter productive measure for a blog trying to generate hits and therefore revenue, it is nearly impossible to stop them completely. I also have been lead to believe that the Spokesman Review porn filters prevent accessing those links even if clicked upon.

I am not trying to diminish the unsavory ability the determined have to place links just about anywhere they want. I do wonder if the issue is as large as it appears INWBA would like to make it. I honestly do not know; I am not technically savvy. However, there have been enough comments from people who are to make me wonder why so many are deemed wrong. I'm not comfortable with that. I am also not comfortable with the fact that it was played out on Huckleberries blog rather than in private communication. Self rightousness is not an attractive trait, especially when one's opinion is in the minority.

There are at least 31 blogs sponsored by the Spokesman Review. To my knowledge those sites are not monitored by the INWBA webmaster to see if the same activity occurs. I would feel better if this appeared less like a personal vendetta and more people were lodging complaints. Thus far it seems to be the same individuals every time the issue comes up.

This bloggers war has gotten completely out of hand and I'm sick and tired of it. It's like the Spokesman people are the Sunnis and the Coeur d'Alene Press people are the Shia. As an individual blogger, not a commenter, I feel like an American GI in the middle and the INWBA Kurds have just launched an IED into our midst.

I get frustrated with the dialog at Huckleberries at times; we don't always agree on issues and when the tone goes beyond what I care to tolerate I don't participate. I do not stomp off in tantrum mode. I realize Huckleberries is a work in progress. The Spokesman Review is a strong supporter of blogging and has given Mr. Oliveria free reign to sort it out. The tone waxes and wanes. In time he, his editors and his public will discover the comfort zone and it will proceed from there. In the meantime there are growing pains.

As for personal attacks, I have no tolerance for them. I can judge the man from my experience alone, not hearsay from others. He has never been anything but gracious, helpful and supportive to me. That he sometimes likes what I have written well enough to link to it makes it fun. Fun because someone other than myself acknowledges a thought. And yes. He has linked to posts where I have disagreed with him and/or his paper. I'd like to think it's because I try to make a relatively well thought out observation in a civil manner. Huckleberries is a blog that occasionally links to mine. Dogwalk Musings is a blog that occasionally links to his. It's that simple.

The battle of the bloggers is sophomoric. The insults and rudeness and public humiliation are beyond the pale. Both papers and their blogs have a place in the community. The Coeur d'Alene Press will always be the town's "feel good paper". The Spokesman will always be the regional paper. The area is growing like topsy. We have the opportunity to be a part of an emerging force in community communication. Those who don't play nicely with others will be left behind. Nipping at one another's heels and yapping incessantly reminds me of the lyric Gavroch sings in Les Miserables, "...never kick a dog because he's just a'd better run for cover when the pup grows up!" If you don't believe it just take a look at Bacchus.


stebbijo said...

Well Dogwalk - I am surprized but -not really.

As a webmaster and an admistrator of a site that chooses to protect it's readers from the MASSIVE amounts of pornography that have been accessible through the Spokesman's website the only right thing to do was not condone it.

If you feel an occasional porn link is not a problem then by all means that is your choice.

There is more to this story than you know but I am not at liberty to reveal it now. But, I feel the right thing was done and not soon enough.

Sorry it had to end this way - but children in my book deserve better.

BackwoodsBob said...


I am truely sorry to see that you have chosen to publicly assault me and the INWBA, while telling me behind DFO's back that you want the INWBA button off his blog.

There is no personal ventetta here.
For over a year, I have tried to help DFO and the folks at the Spokesman remove the pornography links that appear on a regular basis.

You know this because you were included in ALL the emails. I copied everyone.

You also know that they chose NOT to use my recommendations, which would have prevented the pornobots from posting to DFO's blog regardless of if he has registration or not.

It is not about me telling someone else what they have to do with their website, or excluding anyone.

As the Webmaster of INWBA, I can not have links that go to a site that uses vulgar language, or has links to pornography.

Those are really the only two rules... and you agreed to them.

Now... let's put this into perspective. I have never once attacked anyone, and I own what I said, never hiding it or trying to weasel out of something by telling everyone they mis-understood.

I don't post to DFO's blog, and the only time I have is after he or the people that do post there have said horrific and terrible things about the member's of INWBA... even after they have quit posting to DFO's site.

Dave bans people all the time and for much less valid reason. He and his staff were informed by me that we (INWBA) could not provide links back to ANY website that has links to pornography.

I believe you have over reacted here.

Tubby Tubberson said...

Exactly who read this INWBA? Like, six people? Why do they think they can have such power to tell others what to do? Some people have too much time on their hands apparently.

Word Tosser said...

Very well said...Dogwalking

Anonymous said...

I honestly wonder (no pun intended) how I ever got mixed up in this. I always thought blogs were sort of like diaries. Musings is a perfect description. If someone reads my blog fine, if not, so be it. It isn't worth becoming despondant over. Personally, I left HBO because it became unpleasant and certainly not enjoyable. A personal decision. IMO, that blog is 3 years old and one would think they had the kinks out by now. I never found the porn either. Then, I never looked. Again, IMO, the problem with HBO is, that it is directed with a very heavy and uneven hand. And DFO makes decisions and comments that are totally inappropriate to the blog and his position. He abuses the bully pulpit. And so I exercised my freedom of choice. And whether or not I agree with yours, I respect your right to make that choice. One observation, vis a vis HBO, those who don't play nicely with others, are encouraged. Not left behind.

I just think that these blogs are not very important in the greater scheme of things. Spring has "sprung". This is the season of renewal in all things and I intend to make the most of it.

Dogwalkmusings said...

Let's put that in context Bob. It was said during discussions as to whether INWBA might be better off being independent from both the Press and the Spokesman blogs so people who wanted to could have civil conversation without all the mudslinging.

Anonymous said...

It is unfair to catagorize everyone who leaves HBO as stomping off in tantrum mode. Personally, I left shaking my head in disgust. But stomping or throwing a tantrum over a silly provincial blog, I don't think so.

All of this is a tempest in a teapot. To each his own I think, but to fracture friendships over blogs...I just don't get it.

And now I have hidden sprinkler heads to clear. Up, up and away!

JBelle said...


I'm speechless. (Hang in there.)