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In experiment, Town Square forum commenting will be limited to registered users

Original post made on Jul 31, 2020

Starting August 1, participation in the Mountain View Voice's popular Town Square reader forum will be limited to those who register on the site with their name and email address.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 31, 2020, 9:31 AM

Comments (30)

44 people like this
Posted by JustSayIn
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 31, 2020 at 10:13 am

You don't "experiment" with someone's privacy! This will shut out most undocumented workers who now will no longer have a voice here. The only reason for registration is to collect information.


12 people like this
Posted by Samson
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2020 at 10:57 am

As long as the registration is free to those who post useful comments. Otherwise you will lose people that will likely go elsewhere. One such person is myself. I love reading about the Mountain View community even I live outside of the city.


36 people like this
Posted by BDBD
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 31, 2020 at 11:15 am

I like how easy it is to comment here, but I would definitely appreciate a better tone. Thanks for trying the experiment!


34 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 31, 2020 at 11:16 am

JustSayIn misunderstands. A "registered user" still can be essentially anonymous. It's different from a "real-name" forum requirement. You can use a screen name, it stays private except to IT personnel at the publisher, who have every incentive to safeguard the confidentiality (and thus their own credibility). It has nothing to do with "undocumented workers." Nor have I ever seen the registrations used for commercial agendas such as marketing (or other of the various fantasies and misconceptions now being put forth on the corresponding PA-Weekly comments forum). This is an established policy on most online journalistic sites, and they get no lack of lively comments.

No alternative is perfect. This one might conceivably discourage a few constructive commenters who are prone to anxious notions (they'll probably return once they see something they just HAVE to comment on). It will discourage many more of the thoughtless, petty and libelous who lean on a lack of any accountability for their words. About time!


6 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 31, 2020 at 11:18 am

In response to JustSayIn you said:

“You don't "experiment" with someone's privacy! This will shut out most undocumented workers who now will no longer have a voice here. The only reason for registration is to collect information.”

That is a false argument. But ALSO, if you want to make comments in a public forum, you really should be prevented from doing it anonymously. To make a comparison, the guy the was breaking windows during the protests on video was wearing everything he could to prevent being identified. I for one am willing to increase the requirements so that the MV Voice requires registration under a proven identity. I have self disclosed often , my name is Steven Goldstein and I reside in Mountain View. If you are acting IN PUBLIC like here because it is a PUBLIC forum, you should not be able to under an alias. This forum is like going to the City Council meetings

In response to Samson you said:

“As long as the registration is free to those who post useful comments. Otherwise you will lose people that will likely go elsewhere. One such person is myself. I love reading about the Mountain View community even I live outside of the city.”

I totally agree, there is no TAX to post information here. But you have a lot of people personally attacking others using anonymity because their interests are threatened. Landlords during Measure D were defending Margaret Abe Koga, Lisa Matickak, and Jose Guiterriz when they lied to us in advertisements and interviews regarding the impact of Meaure D. I think you should be required to have a valid and authentic identity. I will today reregister under my REAL name and you will see that from now on.

Time for us to take this privilege seriously and self disclose.


176 people like this
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 31, 2020 at 11:21 am

My new Identity replacing THe Business Man


6 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 31, 2020 at 2:01 pm

aww shucks TBM, many people in_the_political_know around town 'knew who you were' (not me).
You seemed to be relatively consistent in how you wrote (detailed 'to a fault') and relatively consistent in the bent of public policy that U supported. Nice to be introduced to U now!


5 people like this
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 31, 2020 at 2:18 pm

I was trying to point out my Business school credentials.

But yes, it was not really a secret to anyone.

I disclosed my name in public many times, at political groups and the City Council.

I tried very hard to provide information with substantial justification.

But I hope we can get the MV Voice will require real disclosure. they say sunshine is the best disinfectant. Why not have the people be honest and self-disclose?

Probably if a landlord posted something, they would not get any new tenants, or worse, their current tenants would leave?

Same deal if other issues on this forum. Sometime we will get real honest discourse here.


68 people like this
Posted by Interested
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jul 31, 2020 at 2:28 pm

Could you also limit how many times a poster can post on one article? There is one poster who seems to think everyone necessarily is speaking to him, and requires his grindingly long response. When I see his name, I just skip his comments, but it is very annoying. I thought "over-posting" was something you disallowed?


3 people like this
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 31, 2020 at 2:45 pm

Lets find out who Interested is.

And also, please allow the free discussion. I never asked to censor anyone. Like interested just did.

Your against the First Amendment interested? I provide free information that is on topic. You any your kind try to intimidate, ridicule, and criticize others without even providing any validate information to back it up.

MV Voice, please require a validate registration, so that posters if the cross the line can be investigated. remember crossing the line includes cyber-stalking. Another term for being an internet troll.

Time to hold people accountable for their actions in a PUBLIC forum. There is no expectation of privacy here.


30 people like this
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Jul 31, 2020 at 2:46 pm

I think this is a move in the right direction. Kudos to the Voice for trying to make this comment section more respectful, it's a worthy goal.


8 people like this
Posted by Dan Waylonis
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 31, 2020 at 3:00 pm

I really hope that rather than re-inventing the commenting system, MV-Voice will use one of the existing systems. I've found that Disqus works well with: authenticating users, threaded replies, spam reporting, up and down voting, blocking users, collapsing threads, and many other features.


9 people like this
Posted by Who's Interested?
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jul 31, 2020 at 3:59 pm

Everyone knows who Interested is. She's a newspaper regular who's very Interested in RV bans.


20 people like this
Posted by Constitution says....
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2020 at 4:09 pm

Steven Goldstein:

"Your against the First Amendment interested? "

This is not a first amendment issue. Plus the first amendment only deals with government regulation of free speech. This newspaper is a private entity and can put into place any rule they desire.


Like this comment
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 31, 2020 at 5:58 pm

First Amendment applies to "Public Forums" The courts have declared this.

Which is exactly what this website is a PUBLIC forum, because you do not pay to post on it, and as long as you register you are free to say anything as long as it doesn't constitute a violation of other conduct, like cyber stalking and cyber bullying. And you cannot claim I am a violating any of these because I do not threaten anyone, i constructively answer the comments written, and never demand anyone to be forbidden to post anything. Thus it is public.

So trying to claim that the MV Voice website is a PRIVATE forum is not necessarily correct.

If you want to have a PRIVATE forum, one that requires consent to denial of freedom of speech, go ahead and set up one.

But this is not one of them.

Thus the First amendment does APPLY to PUBLIC forums.


17 people like this
Posted by Constitution says....
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2020 at 6:06 pm

You can read this :

Web Link

This is a privately run newspaper and website. The publisher and his employees are free to remove any and all comments that violate their terms of use.
They are not violating any first amendment guidelines.

However, you are free to file a lawsuit if and when they delete one of your comments


12 people like this
Posted by Constitution says....
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2020 at 6:10 pm

and there is this:

Web Link.

Public forum refers to places and what the government can control speech. A private newspaper is not a public space.

"Public Forum Important Cases
The Government is constitutionally obligated to leave public forums open for speech. These areas, such as sidewalks and parks, have a long-standing tradition of being places to communicate, gather, and exchange ideas.As with any regulation of speech, statutes controlling or prohibiting speech in public forums must be content-neutral. The government cannot limit what can be said in a forum based on the viewpoint being expressed or the subject matter being discussed, unless it meets strict scrutiny – the highest standard of protection of speech.In Police Department of Chicago v. Mosley, the Court held a Chicago ordinance that prohibited all picketing except that relating to labor disputes within 150 ft. of a school during school hours was unconstitutional. Mosley peacefully picketed the school during school hours, but on the issue of racial discrimination, and was warned after the passing of the ordinance that he would be arrested if he continued. In response he sued, claiming that the ordinance violated the First Amendment. The Supreme Court ruled the ordinance unconstitutional on Equal Protection grounds because it distinguished between different types of picketing by content. Despite being ruled on Equal Protection grounds, the case was still important for reinforcing the necessity for content neutrality, or in the words of the majority opinion, “the First Amendment means that the government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.”"

But you are free to bring this up before a court of law


2 people like this
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 31, 2020 at 6:36 pm

In response to Constitution says....you said something VERY important:

“This is a privately run newspaper and website. The publisher and his employees are free to remove any and all comments that violate their terms of use.”

BUT their terms of use does establish that everyone has the right to post any comment they want. So you want them to revise the terms of use so that only those opinions the MV Voice agrees with should be posted. I do not support that, I am a supporter of everyone’s right to express themselves.

In the end I want anyone to be allowed to post. But it is reasonable to have everyone registered. So that if any civil or criminal acts are in any litigation or prosecution, such postings will constitute as evidence for the courts. What you afraid of is that postings here would wind up like the ones that the Mountain View landlord made on Facebook and other sites to get people to conspire to attack a family.

With regards to the text you provided.

First what case was this so I can read the entire case?

Second the case DID not declare a newspaper was NOT a public forum within the text you provided?

You don’t understand the inclusion exclusion rule of reading laws and cases.

The principle is that you can only present what is included in the text of the law or case records, and by default any information NOT included is EXCLUDED. You did not provide any information that declares that a newspaper or website is NOT a PUBLIC forum. This was actions of an entirely different kind.


9 people like this
Posted by Constitution says....
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2020 at 6:41 pm

"With regards to the text you provided.

First what case was this so I can read the entire case?"

Text is from the link I provided.


40 people like this
Posted by Limit comments to 200 characters
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 31, 2020 at 6:45 pm

@MV Voice Editor: Please limit number of characters, a brief paragraph should be the limit, some of these people (Businessman for example) use the comments section as their own personal soapbox, it goes on and on, often ending up with two windbags going at it endlessly. Please put an end to this....thanks.


2 people like this
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 31, 2020 at 7:01 pm

In response to Constitution says:

Your link is not a link to a case. It is a link to a Private Law Firm and a Blog.

Thus it was not peer reviewed like it would be required to be in a law journal.

Maybe you might want to do more research. There are so many Lawyer sponsored Blogs out there that are not peer reviewed. So you should not use these SECONDARY or TERTIARY resources, because they tend to be inaccurate. You should only use PRIMARY resources regarding laws.

In so far as limiting to 200 Characters, that would make any post so short you could not provide any information to support your claims.

Your promoting that the readers should blindly take anyone's word for it? No Way!

In the REal world no one should ever trust anyone without proof.


20 people like this
Posted by Constitution says....
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2020 at 7:19 pm

"Your link is not a link to a case. It is a link to a Private Law Firm and a Blog.

Thus it was not peer reviewed like it would be required to be in a law journal."

I really do not care. I am not going to argue this issue with you. You can argue that your postings on this website are protected by the first amendment with the editor.
No longer going to waste my time with you. Goodbye


Like this comment
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 31, 2020 at 8:13 pm

Why is it that when people make claims and I demonstrate that they are not what they appear, people get upset?

Yuo will use your preferred research to support your claims.

This is a pathological process that the internet has caused.

The internet allows anyone to say anything. And what is worse is these people create false circles of validation. One makes a claim supported by another with similar interests and they get cited by others. It eventually becomes a circle, which means it is self validating but not properly validating.

This is the problem with a system that doesn't self correct. It was not designed for it.


16 people like this
Posted by Three Feet
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 1, 2020 at 11:10 am

My goodness. The wordy, annoying, ranting discussion in this section is another argument for registration - free and anonymous - to promote more rational discussion. Goldstein and crew - take it offline. The rest of us need not have your bickering intruding upon real sharing of opinions. relevant to more than two self-obsessed puffed up manly men. Ugh!


Like this comment
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 1, 2020 at 1:02 pm

First, I am registered.

Second, I am not hiding who I am under an alias.

Third, I am not promoting any irrational messages, in fact, I fact check and demonstrate when other are trying to distract from the topic, scapegoat and personally attack others, and most importantly, I do not say those involved should be censored.

I say make anyone posting here identify themselves, let them write what they want, but if the consequences of their writing comes to harm them via boycotting from the public, so be it.

That is not irrational is it?


11 people like this
Posted by CFrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Aug 2, 2020 at 1:50 am

Been asking for this forever. So glad you guys are evolving on this issue. It will definitely improve the level and kind of discussion in the forums.


1 person likes this
Posted by McCarthyism is baaaaaack
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 2, 2020 at 11:58 pm

The 1950's is calling, they want their methods back!

"I say make anyone posting here identify themselves, let them write what they want, but if the consequences of their writing comes to harm them via boycotting from the public, so be it."

Ah, there it is, force people to only express those ideas which they feel pretty certain that nobody will object to, for fear of reprisals from random zealots or employers worried about a public backlash.

Let's also outlaw all "anonymous sources" for news stories.
Make it a crime for any reporters to publish information without also including exactly who gave them that information.

"That is not irrational is it?"

Well, the infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy would have loved your proposal.

Anyone not fully familiar with the above politician, please go read-up because he has been running around Hell celebrating the return of all his best methods over the past decade or so, but never more so than in the last couple months.


Like this comment
Posted by McCarthyism is baaaaaack
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 3, 2020 at 12:29 am

@ Limit comments to 200 characters

The irony being that your admittedly brief post was itself over 400 characters.

"@MV Voice Editor: Please limit number of characters, a brief paragraph should be the limit,"

Because, as we all know, the only acceptable truth fits in a Tweet, right?

Presidential debates by "Sound-Bite" duel, right?

All public comments at City Counsel meetings should be limited to 30 seconds, right?

"some of these people () use the comments section as their own personal soapbox,"

I suggest you look up the term "soapbox" and understand why it exists and why it is important.

"Please put an end to this....thanks."

Please don't, often it is those very people who carefully write long posts that actually provide more information than the MV-Voice article itself provided. Often the only balance to the published stories come from the comment section.

Points of view and information not available from "approved" publications can be found here, in the Town Square, as has been the case for centuries.


Like this comment
Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 3, 2020 at 5:48 am

In response to McCarthyism is baaaaaack you wrote:

“The 1950's is calling, they want their methods back!

"I say make anyone posting here identify themselves, let them write what they want, but if the consequences of their writing comes to harm them via boycotting from the public, so be it."

Ah, there it is, force people to only express those ideas which they feel pretty certain that nobody will object to, for fear of reprisals from random zealots or employers worried about a public backlash.”

I did not say that peopled were forced to express only ideas that would not be potentially reacted to. Bit more importantly that is not what is the definition of McArthyism. That is defined as:

“McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence.[1] The term refers to U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) and has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting from the late 1940s through the 1950s.[2] It was characterized by heightened political repression and a campaign spreading fear of communist influence on American institutions and of espionage by Soviet agents.[2] After the mid-1950s, McCarthyism began to decline, mainly due to the gradual loss of public popularity and opposition from the U.S. Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren.[3][4] The Warren Court made a series of rulings that helped bring an end to McCarthyism.[5][6][7]” (Web Link)

Maybe you should watch “good night and good luck” the movie. It is about Edward R Murrow. The reality is that the first amendment does bear an accountability component, just look at the civil rights movement and Rosa Parks, the people do have the right to respond to acts that are in any way disrespectful or threatening against them. Eventually McCarthy was held accountable for his attempts to use the state to harass and intimidate people in order to raise his political power. It is up to the good judgment of anyone to be accountable for their actions. You went on to say:

“Let's also outlaw all "anonymous sources" for news stories.”

What people right in an online discussion is NOT the same as an anonymous news source BECAUSE the writer is not a journalist and is not acting as a reported, but acting as an advocate of a political point of view? Anonymity does not protect that act. Again you’re confusing and conflating the issues here. The right of personal expression always has an accountability factor. All I am saying is everyone is accountable for their actions, and writing a comment here is one of them. This is nothing but an attempt to distract from that principle.

All of us must be held accountable for our acts. Like the person yelling fire in a crowded theater when there is not one. You’re simply trying to mislabel in order to confuse the people here.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Old Mountain View

on Aug 3, 2020 at 11:27 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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