By Ian Butler, Riptide Correspondent
With an important election coming up, and one candidate even adopting "Fix Pacifica" as his motto, some citizens who had written off the FixPacifica blog as too negative may be tempted to give it a second chance. Recent developments would suggest otherwise.
Over the years, no one has been treated more harshly on the site than Jim Vreeland, so when news broke of Jim’s passing, I checked FixPacifica to see if it was capable of showing respect for the departed. On the first day, things looked promising, with a total of nine comments, all perfectly appropriate, but on the second day things went off the rails. Not only were there several anonymous comments attacking Jim, but FixPacifica moderator Kathy Meeh joined in the attacks.
That’s bad enough, but then she went a step further and began deleting comments that asked for restraint (or as she put it, sent to "spam jail"). Then she began deleting comments that accused her of deleting comments, all the while insisting that all of the deleted comments were so over the top that they simply had to be deleted.
I had a hard time believing that the deleted comments could possibly be more offensive than the ones that were allowed, so I asked FixPacifica blogmaster Steve Sinai to make them public. To his credit, he allowed them to be posted, and they reveal a rare glimpse behind the curtain of FixPacifica.
In all, 16 comments were deleted, none that could be considered inappropriate in any way. The only reason they could possibly have been deleted was because Kathy disagreed with them. And this is a site that says at the top of the home page: “Unlike some other Pacifica blogs, FixPacifica won’t bury viewpoints that we disagree with.”
That is an obvious reference to Pacifica Riptide, probably because editor and publisher John Maybury has the decency not to publish the very type of negative attack that was promoted on FixPacifica.
The role of a moderator is to “moderate” the discussion, that is, to rein in the most extreme factions and keep the discussion civil. When the moderator is making the most inflammatory comments, while censoring calls for restraint, a civilized discussion is impossible. (To date, Kathy has not apologized for anything she has said or deleted.)
Therefore, I urge caution when visiting FixPacifica, and if you submit any comments that Kathy might disagree with, keep a copy, and if it’s deleted, send it to blogmaster Steve Sinai (email@example.com), who can be reasonable, and to me (firstname.lastname@example.org), just in case. The full thread is here:
But be warned: It is a rather unpleasant read. My apologies to the Vreeland family for extending this unfortunate discussion, but I believe that allowing such attacks to go unchecked would tarnish his legacy.