To Censor or Not

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I’ve never censored any comment here on my blog.  The comment section is a forum for whoever agrees, disagrees or just has something to say about whatever I post.   Or really, about anything they want.  I do trash the spam comments I receive, but if there is a comment that has something to do with the sport, or whatever the subject is written, then it stays.

A lot of the comments are pretty out there.  They can be very crude and mean.  But, I figure personal attacks are just part of life, so if that is what drives a person, then that is how it is.

But, I needed to change that yesterday.  A guy signed in under Inga Thompson’s name and posted a comment.  Inga is a friend of mine and posts comments herself every so often.  It wasn’t right that this person was using her name to state his/her opinions.  After I deleted the comment, someone else had commented and I posted that it wasn’t Inga.  Then again, yesterday morning, the person reposted the comment under Inga’s name.  I deleted it once again.

I’ve been thinking about it for a day now and have decided that I’m going to block the person for leaving comments.  Or maybe even accessing the site.  I’m not really sure how to do this, but I’m going to figure it out.

This person, who I assume is a guy, so I’ll call him a guy, uses lots of different user names.  Jim Ochowicz, Ian Stevic, Gwen, Francisco Mancebo, Dave Le Duc, etc.  I think I counted 12 or 13 different user names that he has used the last couple months.

I had let the other pseudonym comments slide.  I figured that most people were smart enough to figure out for themselves that Ivan Stevic and Dave Leduc, Och, and the others weren’t leaving comments on my site.

Initially he was posting comments as jt.  I went back and looked at his early comments and they were pretty informative, but sort of snarky.  I liked them.  But, as the years went on, he started posting under more and more names and leaving less informative and just more hateful stuff. It is weird looking at the evolution of his comments.  I wonder what happened to the guy.  I guess his opinion of me or my thoughts must have morphed.

In July, I sent jt an email and told him he was stepping over the line sometimes and he wrote back.  Maybe he felt uncomfortable because this is when he started using a pseudonym email address  – Leducroofingand doping.com.

I just looked it up and he has left over 400 comments the last 4 years.  He does have a pretty good knowledge of the sport of cycling, but for some reason, isn’t using that knowledge in a positive way.

In the email I told him I would be happy to come out to the East coast and do an interview with him and let him express his opinions to “my forum”. He replied, “dude, not your best moment…”

Anyway, I’m not going to make a habit of doing this.  Censorship, for me, is a chickenshit way to limit the exchange of knowledge.  It’s not up to me to filter the thoughts of others, especially thoughts created by something I write.

I feel a little badly about doing this.  Obviously, the guy is a bit obsessed with my site.  But, he can look at it this way – It will free up a big chunk of his time not having to sign in and complain about my thoughts.  He must be coming here multiple times a day.

So, this is a one up thing.  If jt wants to discuss this in person, he can just let me know.  He has my email and phone number.  If not, sorry, but you stepped over the imaginary acceptable line, so you don’t get to play anymore.

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51 thoughts on “To Censor or Not

  1. dlshulman

    Very well-handled. You’ve got a thick skin.

    I sometimes wonder who the freaks are who post all this nastiness. Do I know any of them? Would it be obvious who they are if you encounter them socially? What did they do to vent before the internet? Anyway, it would be interesting to find out who JT is and how he became so anti-social.

    Keep up the writing. It’s a great slice of life.

     
  2. Bart

    To douche or not to douche, that is the question? Your site and your poetic license so flush away…

     
  3. Dana

    ive always thought that this dude was a bit on the crazy side. I love 99% of what people write but I’d agree he is a whack job

     
  4. Russell

    Thanks Steve. I appreciate this post as much as any. This is not censorship. This is not chicken shit. This is courage. You, your friends, family and lifestyle are worth defending. You have my support.

     
  5. Franz

    Continent:
    North America (NA)

    Country:
    United States (US)

    Capital:
    Washington

    State:
    Pennsylvania

    City Location:
    Carlisle

    Postal:
    17013

    Area:
    717

    Metro:
    566

    ISP:
    CenturyLink

    Organization:
    CenturyLink

    AS Number:
    AS209 Qwest Communications Company, LLC

    Time Zone:
    America/New_York

    Local Time:
    11:10:06

    Timezone GMT offset:
    -14400

    Sunrise / Sunset:
    07:11 / 18:41

     
    1. Steve Tilford Post author

      Franz – I know his email, phone number and where he lives. That wasn’t the point. The point was if he has something constructive, or destructive to say, I wish he’d just do it with his own user name and not resort to taking other people’s names. You don’t even have to use a real name to leave a comment, just don’t use other peoples.

       
  6. Michael koerschner

    I’d like to see a column of your gut thoughts on Peter Sagan. I never knew much about him until I watched him win in Richmond (alas, on tv – not in person). But from what I see, I like the guy and he seems clean. His cadence seems real and about right. Like you, he has crossed and mountain biked at the highest levels. Also like you, he has an older brother who led his way into the sport. He strikes me as an incredible talent who can sprint AND climb – also like you. He was obviously pulling up hard on the pedals when his cleat let go up the hill about halfway into his attack in Richmond – yet I’ve not heard him mention that bit of bad luck.

    I had given up on (being a fan of) pro cycling during the Armstrong era – and I don’t think 140 rpm attacks look right either. But I’ve got new hope in Sagan! I hope I’m not disappointed!

     
    1. James

      Uhhhhh, you been following cycling much in the last few years? Sagan has been at the pointy end of the top races in the world for what, 4-5 years? He has been playing cat and mouse with Cancellara, Boonen, and the Belgians in the classics for what seems like forever. The guy has a couple of green jerseys too. If you think Sagan is clean you have to also think Cancellara, Boonen, Van Avermat, Nibali, Kwiatkowski, Van Marcke et al are clean.

       
  7. Ken Webb

    I agree with the your site, your decision crowd.

    The guy clearly has an ax to grind with you for some reason. You offered to discuss it with him, and he declined. Clearly, not his best moment.

     
  8. Ben Tarwater

    It’s a bummer that there is a word “troll” to begin with but that is what you are dealing with.

    Keep up the good posts. I come here for entertainment and to hear the thoughts of someone who has excelled in a sport I love. The fact that you are “local” and have been in the same races that I have been in just brings it that much closer to home.

    You handled it well and hopefully this person fades away.

     
  9. Wildcat

    Very interesting! Thank you for sharing and allowing us some insight on how the blog works. And I’ve always noticed and appreciated your lack of censorship here, but this guy is obviously a hater – and haters are going to hate. Block his ass. And keep it up. I enjoy that you generally post around the time I’m ready for my mid-morning protein bar. I visit M-F. Especially enjoy Monday and getting to see how your weekend went. I don’t fancy the doping posts very much. Mostly the random stuff and observations/opinions of things. And your posts after a good session of people watching. Although, the comment section is half the deal some days. I most always at least laugh out loud in my office at one – sometimes more. “mike crum” seems to come up with some interesting ones if you could call that dribble interesting. It’s good you have this forum to help get you by until basketball season. Most KU fans don’t know what to do with themselves this time of year.

     
  10. Barb

    I feel sorry for people like that. I admit I do that too with a lot of different web sites, but always try to offer something constructive, or thought provoking without attacking the person. Address the issue, don’t attack the person. I’m not neurotic enough to fake a bunch of screen names though. Not to sound like I’m sucking up, but I prefer to take all of the information and insights your blog offers, and use them to motivate myself to work harder. Sometimes getting on the bike is hard, it’s just easier to be lazy, but I read your blog and while I never think “that could be me” I do think, “I should be doing a lot more to enrich my life, and get off this chair and go for a ride.” Which is what I’m going to do right now. Thanks for all you post for us bloggites and don’t feel bad about censoring the trolls.

     
  11. Krakatoa (East of Java)

    Myself, I have nothing but respect for your tolerance of criticism. Because I know you can take it, I never feel afraid to leave it.

    I think there are several people who post in a solely oppositional manner. Or perhaps they’re the same guy.

    I love your blog. I like the little community that follows it far better than r.b.r, etc.

     
    1. Krakatoa (East of Java)

      You know, that and the fact that I get to live for free (most of the year) in Topeka. 😉

       
  12. Barb

    PS I’m a mountain biker, so I’ve appreciated reading when you post about your recent mountain bike races. Like Leadville. Your blog was like “oh, ho hum, I think I’ll do Leadville” and then you went up there and kicked arse. I mean, who does that as (what seemed like) an afterthought? The altitude alone is enough to kill people. 🙂

     
  13. orphan

    Your blog is the only one I read regularly. You do a great job with it. I was thinking just this week when I was out riding how consistent you are with writing down your thoughts. I was pondering how that has affected your life journey. Anyway if or when you quit It will leave a hole in my mid morning break from work.

    I thought for a while Alexi Grewal was going to do something similar but his blogging has stopped.

    You should block anyone from using different names from the same location.

     
  14. Telford

    The anonymity of the internet seems to bring out trolls and cowards. My hat’s off to you for your tolerance of the negative comments. The guy clearly lacks the stones to backup his spew, so hopefully he can find a new blog to troll. Keep up the great work.

     
  15. Patrick harkins

    Steve-

    Thanks for all the writing. All of us local racer/bike junkie types really appreciate it. Most of us have learned a tremendous amount from reading what you have written over the years. It’s great hearing first-hand accounts of all the races and the great stories from The Day.

    Damned if I will ever understand what keeps folks coming back every day to a site that pisses them off.

    If you ever get through Nashville, look us up(Red Kite Bikes). Great riding around here, and beers on me.

     
  16. Tripod Ron

    I say let the comments go as long as people don’t use first and last names. ex: Levi: ok, levi leipheimer: not ok. Parody can be fun.

    To the guy who said it takes “courage” to delete posts. get a clue.

     
  17. Tim

    I’m (for some reason) glad to see all of that is just from one guy. I couldn’t imagine several people being such asswipes.
    If he is IT savvy, he can get around any block you put in place. It would take a little work on his part, but it is how I do most everything online. (I work in networking)
    A option that is available with wordpress is to force all comments to be done with a twitter or facebook account. Again, this can be thwarted but takes enough effort that most people aren’t going to actually go through with it.
    Good luck and keep telling stories.
    TA

     
    1. Clifford

      I too am glad to see that it is one guy, but I’m also a bit amazed that one person could have that much weird rage built up and spread across several different online identities.

       
    2. channel_zero

      Internet trolls are an interesting phenomena.

      http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/545/if-you-dont-have-anything-nice-to-say-say-it-in-all-caps

      http://motherboard.vice.com/read/interview-with-a-troll-whisperer

      If there was no Internet, how would the behaviour manifest itself?

      Not really a “troll” but an astroturfer:
      http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-with-ex-russian-internet-troll-lyudmila-savchuk-a-1036539.html

      Both modify opinion in unexpected ways.

       
      1. Barry

        Ahhh you beat me to the TAL post. The confronting the troll piece is a fine piece of radio, and exactly what I thought of when I read Steve’s post today.

         
      2. Brandon Cavnar

        This time I agree with you channel zero. The internet and open carry gun laws draw some people’s insecurity or whatever their issue with power is, to the surface. If you say it here, you should be able to say it to that person’s face. I see these nerds with guns on their hips down here in Oklahoma all the time. I know this isn’t a gun debate nor do I want it to be. I’m just trying to illustrate how powerful things help people who feel small feel big.

        Good call Steve on the censorship.

         
  18. Bill K

    I would have sent someone out to kick his ass……(just kidding)
    You have to right to ban anybody you like.
    Better yet, use your friends to find out who he is, and post his name here.

     
  19. Carl

    Thanks for your forgiving policy, and for tolerating this person for so long. By reaching out to him, and by being transparent in your actions you have done the right thing. He was mean, cruel and generally annoying to read. And his jokes weren’t funny either.

     
  20. John

    Steve. I read your posts every day. I wrote, rode, and photographed every day, rain or shine, for 1,000 days, so when I see your writing every day I have a great respect for you. Your stance on doping too. It’s not easy to do. Best wishes to you. If you get to CA sometime I’ll show you some roads to ride.

     
  21. Larry T.

    Why feel bad about banning the guy? Too many of these forums end up just being snark, why let yours end up the same way? I pay little attention to any posts with fake-looking names. I really have a tough time understanding why someone won’t put their REAL NAME on the stuff they write? Is this high-school? If you don’t have the guts to stand up in front of the person and say whatever it is you’re posting, you shouldn’t be posting it unless you’re exposing some important information and can’t blow your cover…but I doubt any of these trolls are in that category.

     
  22. Ben Tarwater

    Interesting if he stole the name of the email address he uses. If he didn’t, then his axe has to do with doping. He would be the Masters racer busted for doping a year or two ago. Instead of paying retribution for what he got caught doing, maybe he is taking his anger out on Steve (who outwardly opposed what he got caught doing)… assuming it is the same guy of course.

    Can’t believe I wasted 5 mins looking the name up… Curiosity got the best of me I guess.

     
  23. Jan

    It seems perfectly reasonable to ban him for egregiously bad behavior.

    As some of the others here have said, I, too, enjoy reading your blog, but his comments weren’t contributing to the discussion in helpful ways.

    I’ve always wanted to ask a real biker: I’ve read bike racers talking about the pain, and I wonder, do racer types train to the point where it’s painful a lot? How painful is a road race for most of the bikers? (I can’t imagine doing a job that was really painful, so it’s sort of beyond my comprehension.)

     
  24. RGTR

    Regarding why some of us use fake names: when it comes to anything on the internet, I do not use my real anything. Just my policy. Just don’t want the wrong people looking up anything about me. I learned that lesson a long time ago when someone I was doing business with found a post I made back before I learned my lesson complaining about a dealership and the screw job they gave me replacing the axle joints in my truck. I was surprised how easy it was to find stuff about ‘me’.

    You can’t even tell who I am through my FB, of course I post next to nothing and can count my friends on two hands – all family.

     
  25. Joe

    Hey at least he knows what the real Dave LeDuc “does” for a living!

    Your house, your rules. And you gave it more consideration than most.

     
  26. Mark

    Admittedly, I’m not the most tech savvy person out there, but what keeps a blocked individual from just creating a new email address and logging in through a different device?

     
    1. Steve Tilford Post author

      Mark – Aren’t you up early? I’m not close to the most tech savvy person out there either, but I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that. I have a couple other recourses if this post and blocking his IP address comments doesn’t get the point across. I’m pretty sure it won’t escalate to that. It’s only a silly cycling website.

       
      1. Mark

        Haha! Yes, I go to work pretty early. That way I can get off early so that I can ride my bike without it affecting my family life in the afternoons. The sacrifices we make. 🙂

         
    2. JB

      He should be able to block the IP address, which would block that computer or internet connection. The guy could just go to the library and troll away, but that’s a lot of work for a troll.

       
  27. GaryD

    Steve, funny you mentioned Inga Thompson, I was thinking about it when you wrote about Eddie B, I know she some pretty serious feelings about him, which seem to differ from yours, especially about doping. You where in the mix of things at that time, and obviously an extremely talented rider, somehow I think there is a story there 🙂

    Anyway, my a address means “Domestic Off Road Road License” , and yes I’ve posted under Levi’s wife’s name, just because I want mess with “Levi”, and “Jim Ochs”

     
  28. JT

    Just for the record, I’m another JT who also posts here, though only a few times a year. JT as in JT10000 from NYC. Not the jackass imitating Inga Thompson.

     

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