Why Are Comments Always Closed On Paul Dechene’s Blog Posts These Days?

Well, it was going to be a surprise but since Dechene outed himself on Twitter this afternoon, I guess the secret’s out:

As I’ve said many times (mostly to Barb) , Prairie Dog has a fanatical pro-comment policy — but Paul’s special and awesome so if he wants a (previously secret) month-long break from you guys, he shall have it!

Comments will again be allowed on Dechene’s posts in June. In the meantime, share your opinions about online comments — or tell Dechene how much you miss commenting on his posts, or lavish him with support, appreciation and love, or call him a delicate little flower — in the comments below this post.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

134 thoughts on “Why Are Comments Always Closed On Paul Dechene’s Blog Posts These Days?”

  1. I love how you guys espouse a policy until it doesn’t suit you. As to the “secret”, anyone with half an eye could tell that Mr. Delicate Flower/Gutless Winder was getting more and more pissed off by the failure of others to agree with him all the time, right or wrong.

    Don’t ever run for public office, especially school board, Mr. D.F./G.W.: you aren’t nearly tough enough.

  2. I might be mistaken, but isn’t “meow” a derivative of the word “catty”? I didn’t think “catty” was gendered.

  3. “Catty” has been gendered for ages, Stephen; you’re not so young as to be ignorant of that.

  4. My dictionary says “1. sly, spiteful, deliberately hurtful in speech. 2. catlike.” Nothing about gender.

  5. It’s Paul’s right to not make comments, so why not just do it that way? Closing comments seems like a passive way of making a comment. It’s basically oxymoronic along the lines of ‘fighting for peace’.

    It’s too bad he’s getting burned out, as his work and diligence have earned respect in the past. And and as we can see here, blocking comments on specific articles doesn’t actually cause commenting to stop.

  6. Men are never referred to as “catty”, Stephen, as you know from everyday life.

  7. It’s sexist to say men can’t be catty. We can too. Meow meow meow.

  8. Now that we’ve enjoyed that little diversion from the topic, let me congratulate you on aiding and abetting totalitarian tactics.

  9. Quit being so catty, Whitworth. Now, there’s a first — a man being called catty. Where’s my prize?! Or, perhaps the prize goes to Whitworth???

    You know, I honestly didn’t care that Dechene’s posts were closed to comments recently. I don’t always agree with him but I certainly don’t feel compelled to comment each and every time. Hell, I don’t have time to comment each and every time because, most days, I have other things to worry about besides commenting on blog posts. But, one thing I rely on is Dechene giving me something to think about. If closing his posts to comments ensures he gets a break and can very soon carry on with his interesting, entertaining and often educational posts, then I say — hell, yes! If the short break means the comment section gets opened up again, then that’s even better because even when I don’t comment, I certainly learn a lot from (most of) the regular commentators on the dog blog.

    I also want to give credit to Paul for being honest about why the comment section is temporarily closed. This crazy “interweb” does strange things to all of us and it’s refreshing to hear from someone willing to admit that they’re at the end of their rope and need to pull back a little from the often raw and ridiculous barrage.

    Kudos to catty (and snaky) Whitworth, too, for recognizing Dechene’s talent and knowing how to deal with this matter in a way that is likely to result in a win-win situation for Paul and most dog blog readers. That’s the sign of a good manager, a good leader and someone who knows how to deal with people in a respectful and empathetic way. Sorry, I think you might have outed yourself, there, Whitworth. Maybe you really ARE a nice guy, despite the persona you often like to portray. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about some of the blog commentators.

  10. Paul’s writing always tickles the strings of my heart.

    Whereas, catty? Thy name is Barb.

  11. Episode #822 — “The Summer Of George”
    Originally Aired: May 15 1997

    [Elaine is talking to Peterman at her office.]

    Peterman: Elaine, what did you want to talk me about?

    Elaine: This. My office. Sam trashed my office.

    Peterman: Well, I see what’s going on in here. I am smack dab in the middle of a good old fashioned cat fight.

    Elaine: Mr. Petermen, this is not a cat fight. This is violent psychotic behavior directed at me all because I told her to swing her arms.

    Peterman: Woof!

    Elaine: Do you mean “rawwr?”

    Petermen: Yes, that’s the one! Good day Elaine. [Leaves.]

    Elaine: Oh, no please Mr. Peterman, she’s crazy! [Sam walks by and Elaine starts to sing] “Crazy, for feelings…”


    [Elaine is on the street and plays a tape to two police officers.]

    Sam’s voice on the tape:…if not in your apartment then in the laundry room or the ATM in the building across the street or the watch shop!

    Elaine: Can’t you do anything about this? I mean this woman is a psycho!

    Cop#1: ‘Reer.’

    Elaine: Look, just because I’m a woman…

    Cop#2: ‘Mauau.’

    Cop#1: ‘Meeow.’

  12. “Grammar”, agent w, and ta, Talbot.

    It’s interesting, the lack of logic as well as principle, displayed by some of the commentators above. First of all, it isn’t “catty” to point out the truth: that a blog which has hitherto refrained from closing comments should suddenly, on the whim of one of its posters, decide to chuck that defining principle. Second: if a poster needs a break, in this case, due to an inability to take what he regularly dishes out, then he should announce that he’s on hiatus, and then take that time off. What he should neither expect nor get is a bending of the ground rules for his self-prescribed “therapy”. Third: if a poster feels downcast by the response he’s getting, perhaps he should examine whether or not he’s got what it takes. Is he not as resilient as, say, John Gormley? If you can’t stand the heat, perhaps the kitchen isn’t your destiny. If you feel the need for an almost fetal state of comfort and insulation from the big bad world, I’m deeply sorry for you. Fourth: it is unprofessional for anyone purporting to be a journalist to attempt to inhibit comment, as well as contradictory to the purpose of the blog. (For those who don’t purport to be journalists, attempting to inhibit comment is just plain petty, as well as demonstrating a poverty of imagination.) Fifth: what no one from Stephen on down seems to get is that this kind of behaviour drains from PD’s credibility and its purpose. If some day PD, sadly, breathes its last, it won’t be because of some of its blog commentators: it’ll be because of poor decisions, one of which is closing comments.

  13. Barb, no one called you “catty” for “point[ing] out the truth”. You were called “catty” for calling Paul some really nasty names.
    Do you expect restaurants to provide you with an opportunity to spit on the cooks?

    I, for one, do not and will not make posts on this blog anymore because of the unchecked abuse by certain posters. I know I’m not the only one. But I’m not crying “totalitarianism” about it.

  14. I have not written for this blog since February, 2012. After enduring countless sexualized taunts and inappropriate comments about my family, why would I?
    You have the nerve to accuse prairie dog of attempting to “inhibit comment” when your way-over-the-line attacks have chased away many contributors.
    And yet, as this exchange shows, there’s absolutely nothing to be gained by engaging you or even in challenging your groundless accusations. As long as this blog is dominated by your bully tactics, there’s no point. You win, have fun.

  15. Wow! Take it easy Barb. Even I found your first posting rather harsh and uncalled for. It’s borders on the line of bulling and harrassment. Please restrain yourself from future outbursts like that. Now I understand why Stephen did the Meow Meow bit.

    If Paul aka the Delicate Little Flower requested a temporary break from comments on certain divisive topics, then that should be respected. I believe Stephen made the right call to back Paul up on that. And now Stephen is taking the heat for that.

    If anyone feels stressed or burned out for any legitimate reason, nothing wrong with a break or restricting things that add to the stress.

    Hope Paul feels better in June.

  16. Barb, your sarcasm is annoying. Paul, rest up. Have a few cool ones, see ya on the flip side.

  17. The Delicate Flowers (except for Jorge) are out in force, I see.
    Here’s a quote from a favourite of censors and ideologues everywhere, not to mention the lexically-challenged D.F.s above, who confuse “abuse” and “bullying” with disagreement from their viewpoint, in an attempt to suppress dissent:

    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tome, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is, said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”

    (The Annotated Alice: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll; edited by Martin Gardner, 1960: 269)

  18. I’m a big believer in the Take Back the Night movement. Fill the streets, parks and alleyways with people, take back OUR ground, fill the dark with light and thereby chase away the demons, the haters, those who perpetrate the crimes. After all, we really ARE stronger together, when we act as a community.

    Let’s translate that to the Dog Blog community. Let’s Take Back the Blog! Don’t back down. Don’t retreat. Don’t give in to the haters. Return to the blog, keep your comments coming. Respond to and engage with the other progressive, un-hateful types. Ignore those who are the bullies, those who post nasty personal attacks on individuals and their families, those who are deliberately hurtful and catty. Those who likely revel in the attention they get when we respond to their hate. Those who wouldn’t know a sense of humour if it hit them on the nose. In other words, ignore the BS.

    In addition to it’s quirkiness and entertainment value, I thrive on the progressive, insightful, thoughtful blog posts and commentary I find on the Dog Blog. I especially enjoy it when debate ensues — especially the vigourous, the outlandish, the humourously sarcastic, the sometimes overly emotional back and forth that makes for good debate. The blog needs our comments to survive and thrive. I need it to survive. It educates me. It entertains me. Dare I say it, many days it sustains me. Maybe best of all, it makes me realize there are plenty of other like-minded people in the world.

    I’m sure there are several people like Emmet who have given up commenting because of the unprovoked and inappropriate attacks by a few people. But, please — come back. Don’t let the actions or words of a few ruin it for the many.

    Let’s do it! Let’s shine the light. Take Back the Blog!

  19. Hey guys, take it easy on Barb… When your ‘contribution’ to a community is nitpicking, and nastiness, and you are someone with a self-righteous, self-aggrandizing, self-imposed imperative to have the last word, it must be very upsetting to have that ‘contribution’ devalued, mocked, and then finally blocked, if only for a month (28 days?). Maybe everyone could make some suggestions about different things she could do with her outrage and vitriol during Paul’s time-out, perhaps, for instance, there are some books at the library that need banning…

  20. Barb, snide, off-topic comments about my family and random sexualized taunts aren’t “disagreement” with my viewpoint, they’re examples of toxic behaviour. What does it mean that you don’t seem to know the difference?

  21. Jorge loves conflict….Okay – Noted.

    Emmet – I both partly agree and sympathize with you that no one should make any negative direct comments about one’s family. That’s making it personal.
    However, in Barb’s defense, you do go after her alot. Care to change that?

    Rebecca – Take Back the Blog? Ummm….Okay? Sure. Invasion of Rabid Left Wing Prairie Dogs?

    Barb – I will always respect your dedication to posting thought provoking responses, ability to stand your ground, going one on one with rabid prairie dogs here or noticing typing and grammar errors. Sometimes you do go overboard on some of your posts and therefore get these kind of responses back. Refering to Paul D as a Gutless Winder/Wonder is both degrading, disrespectful and a low blow in my books. He works hard regardless of his left leaning views. That’s what I meant by BORDERLINE bullying and harassment. I did not mean you are an actual bully.

  22. MB – I don’t think I’m advocating for Left Wing Rabid Prairie Dogs to take over the blog. I can tolerate (and appreciate) opinions and comments from both right and left leaners. What bugs me are comments from assholes, particularly the kind of assholes who drive reasonable people away and diminish the blog because of their negativity.

  23. Barb’s comment from 8:49 am (“Grammar”, agent w, and ta, Talbot. It’s interesting, the lack of logic as…) is interesting. I reacted strongly, both negatively and positively to different parts of it. As such it’s strong argument.

    She scores points on the incongruency of Prairie Dog claiming to be open to commentary whilst simultaneously applauding themselves for doing the opposite. She also highlights the futility of trying to block commentary. Paul should realize that he can’t control comments, but he can control whether he reads them or responds. Perhaps that would be a more healthy line to draw, as it would involve self-determination.

    My first reaction is that I didn’t like the idea of someone just posting his articles and shutting down comment, whilst still tweeting smugly (aka “commenting”) about it.

    But on reflection and consideration of the comments here, I wondered: What does the alternative look like?

    Then I realized the alternative is well demonstrated around us.

    Main media source Leader Post runs ridiculous editorials, and the more ridiculous, the more likely they are to be nameless. That’s gutless wonder-ing at it’s best. Leader Post clearly don’t read or respond to any commentary they receive.

    Mega media source CBC does the same, running garbage online articles (never with a byline) which are frequently just reprints (or misprints) of press release material. They pick and choose which stories will be open for comments, then slam shut comments within 1 or 2 days.

    Even though I don’t agree with Paul’s move here, I’d rather have him publishing “closed” one-way articles with some depth than the “open” superficial pap that our other sources are delivering.

  24. Of course I’d be remiss to leave out CJME, which served as the incubator for Patrick “Cha-ching” Book. He went from letting the News Talk to letting the Money Talk. I’m still in mourning but what can we really say? He’s following the well worn path of young journalists who quickly learn that you can’t pay your mortgage with principles, and that nice government compensation packages will help ease any pangs from one’s pesky conscience. Anyway, CJME’s open “commentary” consists of zero web interaction, plus the opportunity to be demeaned by celebritard John Gormley.

    So yeah, give me a dictatorial Paul Dechene. At least until he gets that fluffy position writing for the Sask Party, the construction industry, or City Hall.

  25. Re: cranky May 13, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    I’d recommend she can picket the book “Hop on Pop” but since that book (according to the Toronto ban-seeker) is against men, I don’t think she’d support a ban on it.

  26. Thanks, Jorge, MB (up to a point) and Reader (up to a smaller point).

    Reader had it right the first time: Paul should have taken a total hiatus, not just one from others’ opinions, and Stephen should not have enabled this travesty of principle, which renders what principles the PD and dogblog are supposed to operate under extremely doubtful. This will hurt the publication and the writers connected with it far more than it will hurt any commentators, pro or con. But peaking of principles, where do you get off, Reader, claiming that Patrick Book has traded his for money? In your reckoning, that should make you another me.

    Rebecca: perhaps you could explain how, without my input, PD has all but lost Letters to the Editor. There’s more at work here than my miniscule influence.

    MB: don’t accept the premise. What Emmet says I said about his family and his sexuality is not true; it’s the result of his angry overreaction and resulting misreading of my comments (in fact, he has backed off at least once in the past, realizing that he was too hasty). Because he seemed to take relish in feeling persecuted, I realized that I was enabling his behaviour by responding to him, so I pretty much stopped. It’s kinder.

    cranky and Bob: thank you for an opportunity to go down Memory Lane! Back in the early 1990s, volunteering in school libraries, I saw evidence that low-level bureaucrats in the office of the Regina Board of Education were attempting to remove a book from a novel-study kit recently approved by them, and to coerce teacher-librarians into removing the book from the library shelves as well, for the same type of politically-correct reasons that characterize the attempt to ban Dr. Seuss’s “Hop on Pop”. I wrote to the administration to make a case for keeping the book, to no avail. I requested a spot on the Board meeting agenda, and got it; I made a presentation, and I also went to the media; there was good coverage, and I got a lot of support from teacher-librarians and other folks. The book remained banned, but in the wake of the controversy, I helped RBE to create a formal book challenge policy and procedure, which they lacked before, and in that way managed to save a lot of books, including, eventually the Harry Potter series, from bans. The censorship by people who should have been dedicated to the free formation of opinion, plus the high-handed and dictatorial way they leaned on the teacher-librarians, were among the reasons I ran for office. Thanks again for letting me fill you and others in about a bit of Regina’s history.

  27. I sense some kind of, err, tension between Emmet and Barb. Passionate tension.

  28. Barb: You’ve pointed out a hypocrisy, yes, but the implication of your posts suggests you’re advocating for the right to abuse to those you disagree with, and they should merely ‘suck it up.’ I shouldn’t have to point out the ridiculousness of that position.

    As for people suggesting for Paul just to ignore the comments altogether, it’s difficult to do so. Journalists by nature are curious. Many of us want to know if we’re doing alright or wrong by those we write about – we want to know if we’ve made a mistake, or may have missed something. That’s what a responsible journalist does – they care about the stories and people they write about. Constructive criticism, when it is as such, is good.

    But we’re also human. We are not things for people to lash out their frustrations upon. Being a journalist is already a stressful enough job as it is – your job often hangs on the generosity of others to take time out of their day to speak to you when they have zero obligation to do so. You’re often tasked with multiple stories, multiple deadlines within a day: broadcast scripts, web copies, photos, video, etc. We have to do a lot of work, and the pay is often low.

    Taking a leave of absence is usually not an option, especially when we have families to feed.

    If Paul needs a break from comments, let him take it.

    Also, Gormley doesn’t have a tough skin. He runs away the first chance he gets when he’s confronted by someone he can’t bully or out-shout into silence. He’s no journalist and admits as such. Frequently, his points are researched poorly, and his arguments are flimsy unless one is already inclined to the same premises and beliefs he holds. He’s little more than a bear on a ball.

    Reader: For the same reasons I ask Barb not to begrudge Paul, I would say the same towards you for Pat.

    People shouldn’t expect others in their place to hold to principles they themselves believe in. But at the same time, a journalist can only do so much – it’s a two-way street, and it can be incredibly demoralizing to be doing all you can while those with power, the public, do little or nothing to fix problems you’ve revealed. It’s not necessarily out of malice or laziness, but because human psychology rarely works to our ideals of what ought to be.

    “Speaking truth to power” means little in a world where power is deaf, willfully in some cases, naturally in others. If the public desires and/or deserves journalism that holds to principles of fairness, understanding and critical thought, then the public must also fight for it, funding it themselves if they have to.

    Why should one be a martyr for a cause that few are fighting for?

    I don’t know Pat’s circumstances, and I can only speak from experience, but decisions such as the one he made don’t come without a lot of thought beforehand.

  29. Barb – I agree. I didn’t know for sure if Emmet was referring directly to you about comments made about his family/sexuality or other posters. It’s a sad TROLLING world. You do what you think is best. All I ask is to please scale back on name calling people such as Paul D. He deserves better than that.

    Rebecca – Thanks for clarifying. I totally agree with you on that.

    Reader – That’s some great insight on your May 13, 2014 at 11:12 pm post.

    BAD ska Stephen W – Thanks for sharing your experiences. Tough Gig you are in.

  30. MB: thanks, and FYI that is the direct reference, based in fantasy. Sad, but there it is. And, this is confusing, but does “BAD ska Stephen W” mean that BAD is Mr. Whitworth? If so, then, sock puppetry is also bad form, and something I never do. If it isn’t, then it’s a thoughtful and insightful response.

    You think that Paul deserves better — but don’t his readers, as well? It’s very disappointing that he unwisely chose to continue posting, but insulated himself from comments, agreeing or otherwise, and then called that a “break”. That’s like having your cake and eating it, too, and smacks not of weariness but of a lack of that fortitude that people he has so easily excoriated in the past are expected to show. Popular guy or not, if he makes a mistake, he should be called on it. Stephen’s abrupt reversal of principle is far worse, and certainly in terms of name-calling, a simple check back of PD and dogblog archives will demonstrate that he is the pot calling the kettle black. He should take BAD’s 3rd paragraph, first and second sentences, to heart, and cool his own tongue before he recommends that to others.

    Bronymous: be careful! The next accusation of “sexualized taunt[ing]” may make you a target! (Not mine, I hasten to add.)

  31. Are you saying I DO deserve Barb’s name-calling, MB? And, yes, for the record, I am directly referring to the many times Barb has made inappropriate (not to mention non sequitur) comments about my family and directed sexualized taunts at me.
    Now she refuses to acknowledge, much less apologize for, her sleazy behaviour? No surprise. Her new accusation that I “take relish” in her abuse? Come on. The fact is I’ve largely ceded this blog to Barb and her personal insults, unreasonable arguments, and petty grudges.
    It’s pretty hilarious that after chasing so many contributors away from the blog with her boorish behavious, Barb now complains that her comments are being inhibited.

  32. Sure Jorge, Let’s keep going. Even if it’s becoming off topic. Paul must be a popular guy.

    Barb – Yes, BAD is Stephen Whitworth. The “For the same reasons I ask Barb not to begrudge Paul …” statement and similar writing style makes me think it’s him. But let him weigh in on that part. Since anyone can post as whomever even Stephen can be BAD man, not relation to Batman!

    I get from your point of view you think this is unfair about Paul Dechene getting some special treatment by Big Boss Man Stephen and breaking some cardinal rule. However, just like anything….rules also have some level of leniency in them. Just wait until June and things will be back to normal.

  33. Sorry for the “break”; I had to spade over the last 1/3 of my garden and turn the compost.

    One thing I must take issue with in BAD’s post is the statement “Why should one be a martyr for a cause that few are fighting for?” My God, if the people who fought for votes for women, education for women, full citizenship for women, women’s right to choose, pay equity, civil rights for people of colour, the rights of labour to organize and to bargain collectively, and the right to access medical care regardless of ability to pay (to name just a few causes which were not popular from the get-go) had taken that attitude, where oh where would we be today? Life is not a Disney movie; the good guys don’t always win in the end; the debate/fight is never, never over (look at the immunization issue); and the work is HARD. If you really believe in these and other good things, you have to dredge up the motivation and energy to achieve and maintain them. The person who said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance nailed it.

  34. Thanks, MB. Now I guess I can call Stephen out for being a sock puppet, which he would do in a New York minute if the shoe was on the other foot.

  35. I’d say something about how you’d have to be tone deaf and acting in bad faith to believe Whitworth would sockpuppet this convo, but I hate to break up such an entertaining dialogue.

  36. OK Kids, I feel I am back in my old Davin school playground at recess. Lets grow up!

  37. Although Stephen knows who I am by my email, I am not him, and you shouldn’t make rash assumptions. I am a journalist, however, and a very vocal media critic, but I’m not about to burn any bridges with my current employer by revealing who I am right now. Please respect that.
    Unfortunately, I’ve got a lot of work to do before I can reply in full (I’m working til 10 tonight). But I wanted to head this assumption off before it went any further.

  38. BAD: that assumption was MB’s, and if this is true (it’s hard to know what IS true anymore, since Stephen has muddied the waters with his 180 on closing comments), then thank you for the clarification. I thought, deep down, that the style was more reasonable than Stephen’s usual.

    Jorge: this is amateur hour, compared to a Vancouver blog I read regularly. All you have to do there is use the word “bicycle”, and you can get 180 comments without anyone breaking a sweat.

    MB: either a person/organization has a policy or principle, or it doesn’t; pure and simple. Ask Professor Buckingham, just fired by the U of S for speaking out, about principle. Now there’s someone worthy of admiration; someone who put it on the line for what’s right.

  39. “Thanks, MB. Now I guess I can call Stephen out for being a sock puppet” that’s you adopting MB’s assumption, Barb. I don’t know if your gullibility makes you cynical or vice versa.

  40. In May of the year 2014, Paul Dechene did take up his virtual pen, and he did write about six blog posts, more or lesseth.

    And in this month, and only this month, Paul Dechene did not permit commenting on these six posts, and that did please him.

    And this was truly the Moste Bigge Deal Ever.

    And lo! the Prairie Dogge did endeth as a result, for its limitless hypocrisy was finally revealed for all eyes to see. And the people found this abominable, and they did cast down the Dogge. And all was dark.

    And then did Barb The Goode ascend her throne of Pedantic Righteousness and all did bow to her. Except for Emmet.

    And so it did happen that way. And the people did wank in celebration.

  41. Thank you, cranky! MB: if I used sock puppets, THAT’S the kind of thing I’d use them to say.

  42. Ah, Stephen: always loath to admit you’re wrong, and always backing the wrong horse, and writing your usual zircons of wit.

  43. “…I was free and clear. I was living the dream. I was stripped to the waist eating a block of cheese the size of a car battery.”

  44. Barb: I don’t disagree that journalists should be held to account. They should. But compared to some of the journalists I’ve interviewed and their reactions to criticism, taking a break from comments is mild. I’ve met a few editors who can’t be bothered to read letters or comments whatsoever, and when confronted with criticism their reaction was to dismiss it and declare openly how proud they were of the job they did, even if said job was terribly and noticeably flawed.

    Frankly, going after Paul for closing comments temporarily is like going after a guy that’s doing a few kilometres over the speed limit, instead of the guy nearby that’s running down people while driving on the sidewalk.

    Handling a constant barrage of negative energy can burn you out quickly, making you cynical and useless. If Paul needs a break, let him take it.

    However, if it becomes a too-often indulged habit that lowers the quality of his journalism, then by all means, fire criticism away. That’s fair, and should be expected. Prairie Dog’s email didn’t shut down after all.

    As to the question I posted at the end. It was indeed a rhetorical one.

    You’re right, what you’ve said is true: persistence of can make a difference. Not always, but then you hear rarely about the ones who were flattened in their efforts except from cynics who drown in negativity, or realists who are careful in weighing the odds. Nonetheless the question is crucial.

    Have you ever stood in that position yourself? Fighting back against an overwhelming tide? One that seems to have swallowed the entire world around it? It’s easy to talk about it, and say what one should or shouldn’t do. Just as it’s easy to look back at history and talk about those who did and managed to succeed while ignoring those who failed. And it’s far too easy to criticize others for not living up to certain expectations, when one doesn’t have to live to the very same. It’s hard to appreciate the toll it can take.

    It’s difficult to be in that position on a constant basis. Struggling to find a means to live while trying alone to hold to an ideal – it sounds heroic, but as you showed, it can be brutal.

    The public expects journalists to hold to certain principles and ideals. Journalists, on the other hand, need the public’s support. Without it, we have no power, no ability to investigate and no chance to hold to those ideals and principles. As I said before, i don’t know Pat’s circumstances, and can only speak from experience. But for MB to suggest he sold out his principles as a journalist by going into a communications job is lazy, ignorant and harmful.

    I don’t expect anything from anyone as a journalist; I do what I can. But the public has a role to play in how journalism is done. Expecting a journalist to be invincible to all the stresses and burdens the job brings while living up to certain ideals, then begrudging him when he can no longer do so, especially when one doesn’t have to live under the same pressures – it’s ridiculous. It goes beyond constructive criticism and into self-righteous indulgence.

    If you want a saint, then be one yourself before you start criticizing others for their failure to be as such.

  45. Chah, I hate it when certain mainstream editors say clueless stuff like: “Well, if someone’s pissed off then I guess we’re doing something right, hey?” Um no.

    On the other hand I can appreciate that all journalists and editors can’t be expected to live like bohemians and that some editor in the mainstream media with a mortgage and family is always at the behest of the corporate machine who views him or her as little more than another $60,000 that could be cut from the payroll at any given moment, so yeah, probably tiptoes around ideals and ethics and accountability to audience to keep the bus running on time.

  46. Something to think about:

    “The problem with ‘I’m entitled to my opinion’ is that, all too often, it’s used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned. It becomes shorthand for ‘I can say or think whatever I like’ – and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And this attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse.”


  47. I was a little nervous dipping into the 71 comments, but I can’t sleep and this is a great debate. BAD addressed the point of those who fail, but I’d like to know about those who make some efforts and some concessions. Who march in a parade, who occasionally speak up against racism, or sexism, but who will also sometimes just exit a conversation rather than engage in another worrying debate. Who might hire the first female manager of the engineering department of their firm but have a tawdry affair with an unrelated bimbo. Who largely buy local, organic foods from farmers whose faces they see, but will pick up some mass-produced foodstuffs at a big grocery store. People who make some, small conscious efforts towards making their world a better place but haven’t the tireless strength of a robot to fight every millisecond against the swarming masses of humanity pushing against them to be one of us. Are these people’s puny efforts so worthless in changing the norms of the society that they are in that unless they can embody the perfection of their ideal they should entirely give up, shut up, and be another faceless drone?
    I need sleep. But I’m trying to say little people matter too. And just because a woman in the seventies divorced her husband and got a job, she didn’t have to give up baking pies. Maybe damn fine pies. Served with some damn fine coffee too.

  48. Reader really nailed it by pointing out that Paul Duchene’s woefully symbolic comments boycott is still better than the the artificial interactivity of the mainstream media’s comments pages.

    I forbid anyone from commenting on this comment.

  49. Emmet: I like you in real life and was disturbed when I read about Barb harassing you and your family with sexualized comments. I hadn’t seen that and figured there must have been some prior dust-up I’d missed. But then you linked to the example, and I’m sorry, but I’m just not seeing it there.

    Do you mean when she called you Master Baiter? Sure it’s a vulgar double entendre, and resorting to name calling is certainly argumentative self-immolation.

    But I think she was trying to say you were baiting her, and in aiming for witty she landed instead on tasteless. I don’t think that’s an attack on sexuality or family?

    Maybe there’s some other examples. But if this is the main one, I want to suggest you may have misread it. If Barb were to confirm that’s the case and apologize, is there a chance you’d be willing to put this misunderstanding in the past?

  50. BAD: I’m the one who expressed dismay at Patrick Book selling out.

    It’s not so much that he did sell out for a communications job, as the fact he sold out for *that* communications job.

    Pat knows as well as anyone the tawdry ingredients of the City sausage factory. So putting his energy and talent into that factory is like an oncologist joining big tobacco to help them beat lawsuits.

    Selling out for any other communications job would have been more understandable. But this smacks of City Hall using our money to buy the silence of one the last remaining journalist watchdogs.

    Now instead of holding the City accountable, Pat will be tweeting us propaganda about the activities of the construction association lobbyist, oops I mean “Mayor”. He’ll be explaining why it’s perfectly normal for Pasqua North to be perpetually under construction. And if he’s lucky, maybe he’ll get to help script lies for the next robo-call campaign.

    You say I must be a saint before criticizing. I’m no saint, but I have turned down pork and patronage appointments on principle. So I know first hand that having principles doesn’t mean much until one is tested and tempted, and can emerge with their principles intact.

    The silver lining is he may elevate the standard there, however slightly and briefly.

  51. Reader: Sorry, my mistake, it was late and I was exhausted from the long day – mind wasn’t functioning quite as it should.

    I cannot assume what Pat will be doing, and as I said, I don’t know his circumstances. Decisions like that don’t come easy, and I’m sure he has his reasons.

    Have you ever been under the pressure of having to uphold principles that require someone else’s participation in order to maintain, both under a constant basis and when that other refuses to participate through apathy, ignorance or choice? As I said, it’s easy to say one should go up against the world. It’s much more difficult to take it on oneself. Especially when holding to those principles can be harmful to one’s means of living.

    My point is, you can’t expect journalists to be invincible under that kind of pressure while sitting back from a far. There just isn’t enough money to hire more people and share the load. And it gets irritating to see somebody slamming a journalist alone for no longer being able to carry that weight (especialy when we don’t know his circumstances). The public shares responsibility for the way the industry goes. That’s a fact, but you can’t expect others to work on principles important to you – all you can really do is to do what you can yourself. Begrudging Pat doesn’t do anything; it’s just self-indulgence on the precipice of the ‘moral high ground’.

    I’m not saying don’t criticize him for the work he produces at his new job. By all means, do so, because again, that’s fair.

  52. Reader: First of all, and with all due respect, “I like you in real life” doesn’t mean much coming from an anonymous commenter. That’s not an attack against you or your choice to post w/o yr name.
    Sure, taken alone, Barb’s “Master Baiter” comment doesn’t seem too bad. But it is merely one of a series of sexualized taunts. Her comments about my family are elsewhere.
    I linked to the first example I could find only to rebut Barb’s ridiculous claim that her sexualized taunts and comments about my family are a “fantasy” of mine.
    The fact that I’m now defending my choice to stand up against Barb’s below-the-belt attacks shows how dysfunctional this blog’s comment sections have become. Add to that the way that MB’s entirely groundless claim that BAD was a Whitworth sock puppet was accepted as a statement of fact by Barb, as well as your (again, all due respect here) entirely misguided attack on someone wholly unrelated to this discussion, and you’ve got a pretty clear picture of why so many people have abandoned the comments section here.

  53. I’ve now decided that I’m with Barb on this issue. The “eternal vigilance” quotation is what convinced me.

    To that end, I will be posting words of inspiration until this injustice is remedied.

  54. “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots
    and tyrants.” – Thomas Jefferson

  55. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

    Winston Churchill

  56. “The tighter your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

    Princess Leia of Alderaan

  57. Allons enfants de la patrie,
    Le jour de gloire est arrivé !
    Contre nous de la tyrannie
    L’étendard sanglant est levé!
    Entendez-vous dans les campagnes,
    Mugir ces féroces soldats ?
    Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
    Égorger nos fils, nos compagnes !

  58. Okay, you know what? I’m done. Fighting “the man” is hard work. Consider this keyboard warrior retired.

  59. Well put, BAD, in your comments above. Yes, I have been in that position, which is why I know the importance of a thick skin and of sticking to your guns. It’s sad that so many others, as has been amply displayed in this thread, don’t.

    kat szulga, your point is also well taken. It does take an enormous amount of energy to paddle against the current, but many people do it, and not always with a big fanfare of publicity. And yes, there may be times when it’s better to pick your battles, or to compromise or concede. That doesn’t equate to “give up, shut up, and be another faceless drone”: it’s resilency, and the more of it you develop, the less you’ll feel as though the world is breaking you.

    pc: gosh, I thought “FREEDOM! FREEDOM!” was Aretha Franklin.

  60. “I will be posting words of inspiration until this injustice is remedied.”

    I’ve never heard of the inability to complain about someone doing their job (writing articles/blogging) publically for 1 month defined as injustice before. I’m sure if someone had a valid complaint to report, they should be able to use the “Contact Info” link on the website to clearly state their complaint respectfully.

    It amazes me the level of entitlement exposed here… Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should, but as often happens, those who complain the loudest overpower the rest because you just can’t argue with someone who reverts to name-calling.

  61. Oh, wow, this has been one hell of a discussion.

    Back to intial idea of Paul taking a break. Since I written a blog for the last seven years I do understand the need to take breaks, but I disagree with turning off comments for a specific person. I don’t have a problem locking down older posts…that much sense, but new ones should allow comments.

    If Paul doesn’t like the comments…then don’t read them. I do the odd freelance article for the Toronto Star and I haven’t read a single comment on my three articles. Why? I realized the majoirty of them were ‘haters’ that I won’t change their mind anyway, so I just stopped reading. Simple and easy.

    Also Paul isn’t required to discuss his posts if he doesn’t want to, so even if he does read the comments he doesn’t have to engage with anyone.

    Anyway, I’m a bit disappointed at the PD doing this action. I thought you valued free speech more than that.


  62. And here I thought the “gravatar” of my cat’s crotch would ensure my posts were taken in earnest…

  63. I am very familiar with Barb Saylor’s trolling but I had never gasped out loud at anything she said until today. That first comment is just terrible. I can’t even believe you’d write that under your real name, Barb. Are you an actual human?

    Barb Saylor, you are not a nice person. I hate 100% of your comments. (Yes, hate.) They are patronizing and rude. Cruelty is a game to you, and when Paul wants to take a break, you call him names. Barb Saylor, you are a bully through and through. (Ya, I know Whitworth invited the delicate flower comment, but seriously!)

    You guys, there are no rules for blogs! HAHAHA that you think there are! The social norms that we follow were created by us, regular ole humans. We can change them. If Paul wants to turn off comments, sheesh, who cares?

    Since there are currently no formal rules for blogging, and as I have been blogging since 1998 before it was called blogging, I am going to create a rule for blogging: DO WHAT YOU LIKE AS LONG AS YOU AREN’T BARB SAYLOR OF SASKATCHEWAN. IF YOU ARE BARB SAYLOR, GO PLAY WITH YOUR RED HERRINGS SOMEWHERE ELSE.

    And now I will wait for Barb to explain to me the history of blogging, the internet, and the universe while not-so-subtly implying that I’m unworthy of the brain power that she has so graciously lent to this conversation.

    (Or is it loaned? Ah well, I’m sure Barb will correct me.)

  64. Emmet: It was my clumsy way of saying that entering this discussion I was biased in your favour so when you claimed the campaign of sexualized harassment I assumed it had to be true, coming from you. I figured I’d missed a few events here in which that transpired.

    When you linked to your proof, I was a bit taken aback that it seemed barely existent. I’m not saying there isn’t more out there and it’s entirely possible I’ve missed it all along. But citing that link only shows someone making a bad double entendre and little else.

    I’d been hopeful that hearing that from someone who supports you could make you reconsider as I miss your input.

    Patrick Book relates to the topic in two ways. One that his former outlet has no real comment function and their main public interactivity comes in the form of a Gormless host railing on callers. The other is that he’s the latest casualty (or defector?) in the war on public comment and accountability.

  65. Collette I am with you. I too expect there will be some mighty and righteous correction coming from BS.

  66. Dear, dear me; what disproportionate reaction, and so off the mark. Where to start, where to start?

    “Trolling” is not defined as “opinion I don’t like or agree with”. Disagreement is the lifeblood of social media, and sometimes, as you have illustrated so well above, the disagreement can get a little rough. The problem arises when some folks think that they should be spared from disagreement and any accompanying roughness. Note that I have never asked to be spared from either.

    I comment under my own name because in my opinion it’s the responsible and adult thing to do. To use a pseudonym, especially to be critical, would be very much like posting without allowing comments: not responsible, not courageous, and not interested in real debate. For you and others to assume that someone who intends to be critical of someone else would only do so anonymously is, I think, sad, and indicative of the decline in the level of discussion at all levels nowadays.

    You obviously haven’t read “100% of [my] comments”, because you would have seen a great variety in them. Do you hate that I thanked Greg Beatty for cleaning up litter downtown created by obnoxious drunks, for example? Hyperbole is a good rhetorical tool, but should be used sparingly.

    Years ago, I ran across the phenomenon of “school words”. That epithet was applied to vocabulary that went beyond the Valley Girl level, and was meant to be a put-down. I sincerely hope that I’m not hearing that implied here. That, too, doesn’t reflect well on you.

  67. Reader, if you think it’s cool to trash people in public for personal decisions then I don’t particularly want your bias or support.

  68. Emmet:

    Is you trashing Barb in public exempt? If you have examples of the sexualized taunting and attacks on your family, maybe best that you just direct people to where these are.

    I’m exercising fair comment on Pat Book taking public funds and joining join forces with a public entity that has recently earned a bad reputation for spreading false propaganda to the public. It’s not a “personal” decision, it’s public on many levels. Has the city bought off yet another critic?

    These are valid questions. I don’t know if asking valid questions is “cool”, but I know that saying nothing and burying our heads in the sand is uncool.

  69. Reader: Pat Book is not “taking public funds”. He was, as I understand it, hired for a job. He doesn’t owe you, or me, or Barb an explanation.

    Also, Pat Book comments are off topic. I mean, it’s interesting to talk about city hall reporters leaving reporting jobs to work for politicians (and is that even what happened here? I don’t have any confirmation on what Pat is doing right now, I’ve just heard rumours), but if it’s just going to become a bunch of gossipy sniping at the guy, maybe it belongs somewhere other than this comment thread. Like Facebook, perhaps.

  70. Reader, Barb has trashed herself. In the very first comment of this thread she crossed the line of civility. I honestly don’t owe you any “proof” of Barb’s indecent behaviour. I suspect you’ll never be satisfied.
    In the same way, Pat Book doesn’t owe you any explanation for his career choices. This sense of ownership of anyone with a public profile that you share with Barb is curious and misguided.

  71. Stephen, I stand corrected. I’d been led to believe he was taking a job doing communications for the City of Regina which would be publicly funded and accountable. If that’s incorrect then I retract. If he’s going to some non-publicly affiliated position then I’d agree it’s not germane.

    The City has a history of stifling comment and crushing dissent by terminating those speak out. If they can’t directly terminate a journalist, maybe they can get the same result by putting them on payroll and controlling what they say.

    Such a scenario (which you now point out is hypothetical), would be directly on topic in a discussion on whether journalists should be open or closed to public comment.

  72. Emmet: “I honestly don’t owe you any “proof” of Barb’s indecent behaviour.”

    Backing up your allegations with something concrete wouldn’t be something you owe *me*, it’s something you owe to yourself.

  73. Reader, I did back up my statement of fact with a direct link to an example of the type of inappropriate conduct that has driven me and many others from this blog.

  74. Emmet, the example provided has no harassment of family, but if we’re being gracious let’s agree it’s perhaps marginally sexualized. The point (which will actually keep this on topic!) is that offense is sometimes at the adjudication of the victim.

    How that relates to this topic is through Paul Dechene’s decision to self treat his offense with a self-styled prescription of blocking comments.

    I thought it was an odd solution, and others have questioned the responsibility of the editor for sanctioning it.

    But we aren’t the ones suffering the condition, it’s Paul who is. And if he’s determined that blocking comments is therapeutic for him (and he quickly reported that it felt good) then maybe that’s for the best.

    I might prescribe chocolate ice cream to heal my broken heart, while more objective persons might know better and say the inevitable weight gain will ultimately hurt my esteem more than it helps.

    But ultimately I know me, and I can say whether I think chocolate ice cream is my best therapy. Such would seem to be the case with Paul. We might look at his solution as ill-advised and ineffective. We might debate if the employee is enabling or supportive. But if the goal is for Paul to feel better, and this makes him feel better, then the goal is being achieved. So does it matter whether it’s placebo or if it’s panacea?

  75. Reader, A) I never claimed that was an example of Barb’s frequent use of my family in her missives B) I do not claim to be victimized by Barb’s indefensible tactics.
    I do not tolerate sexual harassment. End of discussion.

  76. Reader Esq: that sounds like the end justifying the means, which may not be a defensible position.

    Reader: you tried, but sometimes conciliatory overtures just don’t work.

  77. Barb: Regarding Emmet, if he won’t post the links showing your harassment of his family, can you post some? j/k

    Regarding Paul Dechene’s stance, it’s more about a belief that Paul’s issue/goal here is to feel better, and that he is better qualified than the rest of us to know what will make him better.

    We might question whether one month of aversion is a cure, or we might wonder whether a more sustainable solution would be finding a way to cope with the inevitable commenting that will occur through other pages and channels. But we’re not him. Of course on the internet, nobody knows who’s a prairie dog.

  78. I have never accused BS of harassing my family.
    Here’s more of her desperate use of crude sexual taunts against me: http://www.prairiedogmag.com/i-cant-wait-to-see-what-theyll-do-for-the-red-issue/#comment-142167
    And here, from the same thread, is where BS claims that my life is an “open book”, making her somehow justified in her dirty comments. http://www.prairiedogmag.com/i-cant-wait-to-see-what-theyll-do-for-the-red-issue/#comment-142588

    I’ve asked her for an apology several times to no avail. As she herself noted on this thread, I own my own behaviour and make good when I’m in the wrong. If she’s unable or unwilling to meet such a low marker of human decency, that’s her business.

    But do not put words in my mouth.

  79. To be clear: I have never accused BS of harassing my family.
    I can’t believe I need to provide more proof (the first post of this thread should be enough) of her toxic behaviour, but here’s more of her desperate use of crude sexual taunts against me: http://www.prairiedogmag.com/i-cant-wait-to-see-what-theyll-do-for-the-red-issue/#comment-142167
    And here, from the same thread, is where BS claims that my life is an “open book”, making her somehow justified in her dirty comments. http://www.prairiedogmag.com/i-cant-wait-to-see-what-theyll-do-for-the-red-issue/#comment-142588

    I’ve asked her for an apology several times to no avail. As she herself noted on this thread, I own my own behaviour and make good when I’m in the wrong. If she’s unable or unwilling to meet such a low marker of human decency, that’s her business.

    But do not put words in my mouth.

  80. oops, sorry for the double post, kept getting a message that my comment had not been posted.

  81. I didn’t assume you were anonymous, Barb. I wanted to know if you are a human, you know, with emotions and compassion. You are an alien to me, living off of the digital words of others in your own seething pit of distorted “truth.”

    You don’t disagree, you cloud the issue. I have commented before about my dislike of your straw man arguments and red herrings, to which you replied at the time that I had the definition wrong. You are a frustrating person and you drive bloggers and commenters away, but sure let’s argue semantics.

    Whitworth probably loves you because he thinks you drive page views. (No offence Stephen, I’m just talking business here.) But, I don’t know if he’s right. Yes, I do check the comments just to see if Barb Saylor has added her brand of BS to the conversations. But if Dog Blog writers can’t even bring themselves to create content, then maybe your contributions to the blog should be reexamined. I’d love to do some split testing and analyze the data.

    And yes I do hate all of your comments. Because they come from a mean-spirited woman who can’t see the harm that they cause.

    If Paul is taking time off of work or otherwise adjusting his output because he can’t handle the abuse you dish, then *you* are an awful person. It is NOBODY’S job to put up with abuse. Not journalists. There is nothing written in the journalist code that says they must put up with random attacks from aliens/trolls/BS. YOU have him cornered, Barb Saylor. This is his job and he can’t do it anymore and when he admits it, you pounce. AWFUL.

    (A lot of us are putting words into Paul’s mouth and I don’t know if his decision is based on a bit of tiredness, or actual complete burnout. I have been writing as if he’s approaching burnout stage and I apologize to Paul, who will likely never read this anyway, if I’m reading things too strongly in that direction.)

    Journalism is a job that requires a ton of energy, brainpower (writing is thinking!), and passion. It’s devastating to lose that energy and passion. It’s so hard to write if you aren’t into it. It’s so hard to put words on a page when you know people are going to read them looking for ways to pounce (meow). The constant barrage of what you think is helpful criticism can really push someone to the brink.

    When someone has nothing good to say but nitpicks your every word, that is harassment. When harassment occurs on the internet, it is done by a troll. When it’s done on the Dog Blog, it’s probably by Barb.

    Back off, Barb Saylor. Several people here are begging you to stop being such a bully.

    Thanks for posting those links, Emmet. I remember that thread well and hoped you could share it as proof of Barb’s cruelty. I remember being quite astonished at her comments on that one. My memory wasn’t wrong.

    anonymusses posted a great link. I hope Barb reads it.

  82. Reader, Esq: I know you meant that request tongue-in-cheek, but seriously, I am no longer involved in discussion with that person, for reasons clearly stated above. What he may choose to do is up to him.

    Dear Collette: Sorry to have to draw this to your attention again, but you still don’t know what a red herring is, nor a straw man. If people are going to have a proper debate, they need to use correct terms. That’s not “semantics”; that’s common sense and common courtesy. Sometimes a topic of discussion is complex, and that’s why examples, analogies, etc.are brought in. That’s hardly “clouding” an issue: it’s contributing to discussion.

    Besides ascribing opinion to Stephen based on questionable evidence (which you admit right after doing so, above), you are indeed putting words into Paul’s mouth; it’s good, however, that you saw this in mid-flight and apologized to him for possibly “reading things too strongly in that direction”. That, I think, is the major problem with your comments above: hasty wishful thinking and shaky reasoning because of animus against a particular person.

    You are giving me sole credit for Paul’s vacation from comments.This is nonsense, which you would see if you stopped and took a deep breath. Please be aware that there are many posts, Paul’s included, where I don’t comment. Others do; others may disagree vigorously. I have also commented positively, which you would acknowledge as true (deep breath again). On a related topic, I’m still waiting for an explanation as to why the letters to the PD editor have all but dried up; I’ve not had anything to do with them, and yet they have practically disappeared. However did I manage that? Can’t wait to see the answer. Should I take aim, then, at the Leader Post? Who knows what could be accomplished?

  83. I’ll note that Barb’s previous comments strayed into implying at least metaphorically that Emmet’s posts were self-pleasure. Was she being literal or intending to be literal? Does it matter? Either way I’d hope she’d recognize there’s less better ways to make that point without any sexual language or implication.

    I’d also note that she picked up on the suggestion, and perhaps need, for conciliation.

    In that spirit, then how about if Barb were to offer today an apology for past posts and a commitment to refrain from doing that in the future? She has the intellect and vocabulary to make points without suggestive language. She also surely knows that points should stand or fall on their own merit, and that criticizing the person instead of the point should be out of bounds.

    So what about it? Barb apologizes and Emmet drops the grievances about past sexual/famiy/privacy issues?

    Then, starting today, Barb and Emmet can participate with a new slate, and discuss the topics at hand with a new resolve to debate the topics, not the person.

  84. Collette, I take this entire topic as a debate on whether journalists should be open to comment or not.

    To me it’s a fascinating subject. Some professions (politicians) we automatically assume should be subject to this.

    I think Barb’s original point was not so much about or directed at Paul as it was about Prairie Dog’s stance of saying they are open and accountable through comment to suddenly being supportive of a closed comment experiment.

    I can’t help but notice that had her valid sentiment avoided calling Paul a “gutless wonder”, it would probably have been more compelling and attracted less diversionary sniping. A lesson to us all perhaps, that we risk undermining our point when we make things personal or go negative?

    She could have expanded on the curious dichotomy that any politician, even local school board members, are automatically assumed to be open targets, while other professions are either off limits or in the case of Paul: they get to pick and choose.

  85. Collette: Sorry I forgot to mention that I did spot and enjoy the neat paraphrase of Terence.

    Reader Esq: Thank you for your suggestions. I’ll agree to tone down the metaphors, but there is a problem with apology. “An apology for past posts” is too vague and general for me to agree to, and if there’s to be an apology for “criticizing the person”, then it should be mutual.

  86. Reader Esq: thank you, also, for the comment to Collette, which I saw after I had responded at 3:34 p.m., in particular for the last paragraph. Your point is also well taken re: language (though I still think Stephen’s “delicate flower” is fair comment).

  87. Barb, you’re amazingly full of it. I had to look up Terence. My alien comments were not a paraphrase of anything. I just think you’re mean on the internet. FULL STOP.

    Reader, there is no way that anyone can have a healthy discussion on the Dog Blog while Barb is here. FULL STOP.

  88. Collette: “Nothing human is alien to me” (Terence). I thought that your 1:19 p.m. comment’s use of “human” in your first sentence and “you are an alien to me” in the second was a clever play on Terence. If I was incorrect, so be it; I didn’t want to be seen as patronizing because I hadn’t spotted it and given you credit. The remark was meant in good faith, and not as a slur on you or your education.

    Reader Esq: As the most recent response from Collette shows, people can read into comments things that aren’t there. She’s not responsible for my misunderstanding, nor am I for hers. That applies to other comments I’ve made that people have misread.

  89. First time I’ve ever been bitched out for giving someone credit for knowing more than they do. Truly amazing.

  90. Someone mentioned above has made his or her own bed and he or her will have to sleep in it. I just hope him or her has enough hours in the day, days in the week and enough weeks in the year to keep up with a guy. like. that.

  91. Well a fan of Paul’s wonderful comments. Positive or negative have always struck a dam good view among so many of us secret fans. So many of them I do agree with. It is time to comment on parenting styles. Many of us moms would love to hear a post on his wonderful ability in parenting and wonderful talents. ribbit ribbit If you get the drift. we get stories about closing the school, city hall, P3, schools built with public/ private funding or complaint that city hall meetings are well not fair some how.

    Does he not get the chance to do a fun comment once in awhile. What are the hidden talents he is not sharing. Everyone must think he is a compulsive complainer. NOT..

    Since I never knew it was closed but then again late night reading and burning the midnight oil. well who want to post all hours of the day. LOL either way Paul keep up the awesome work.

  92. Why is it that so many PD blog contributers seem to feel that snarky comments are acceptable in the blog posts they write, but get all butthurt when a commenter occasionally responds in kind? In Barbs defense, she’s never backed down when challenged and never cried about slights, perceived or real. She could lay off the spelling cop routine because who the fuck cares? There’s no ten bucks in it for you Barb. I back Barb though as a commenter who raises the level of conversation around here with the majority of her comments. If someone or something is driving off commenters around here, which is apparently a concern to some, perhaps it has to do with to many thin skins.
    That said I really don’t care if any PD writer chooses to disable comments. Hell, pick and choose which ones you want open if you’d like. But be prepared to be disagreed with when you do invite feedback.

  93. With all due respect, I’s just wondering: From what I’ve seen, comments on this blog are at worst, tame like a Taco Tyme veggie burrito. AT LEAST when I compare them to the comments you see on 1. CBC, which, at their most inflammatory, run toward the anti-left-of-centre and come from people who still seem to feel as if they’re being held captive by an encompassing Red Menace they see stuffing the horizon like a massive thunderstorm on a hot June afternoon. Clearly their parents were drunks and used to rant a lot in front of the kids. However, I guess the difference is, CBC stories are anonymous and commentators, like I said, seem to be more grinding a 50-year-old axe. Sometimes, however, the comments are toward the story, and in this regard, yes, quite evenly split between reactionaries hating on Trudeau/Mulcair bias they perceive, or progressives/normal people criticizing the Corp for running half stories or blatant panderings to Stephen Harper or Brad Wall.

    Then you have Sun News comments which are reflexively anti-liberal-left, as in, “You didn’t go far enough in exposing the Red Menace…”

    So I guess I’m wondering if the reason Paul denied comments is because they were too personal and thus stressful and draining, or maybe did they just filled up his inbox too quickly? CBC writers may take some comments personally but there’s no public humiliation as in they’re anonymousm while Sun News comments merely support the agenda or urge for a more extreme agenda. Anyway, I’ve lost my train of thought…

    Where does the PD stand on Chad Novak?

  94. Chad Novak, Thoughts:

    1. Ostracization, Stigmatization: Chad’s endgame is not homelessness in an alley somewhere, but more likely teaching the night class in civic engagement, so I don;t want it to be awkward when you pass each other in the hallway.

    2. I don’t claim to know anything about your relationship to or with Mr. Novak.

    3. I’ve been reading Chad’s blog. No one comments on it, however ppl do make fun of him on the Internet. A former Rider likes to be particularly crude.

    It’s hard to know whether the people he calls out by name aka “YQR Mafia” are as abusive as he claims or merely brats, indulging in minor power persuasions. You can certainly have hunches about people, old enough to have track records in public life…I don’t know if you can *really* launch into tirades and accusations about collectivized abuses of power. I mean maybe you can, it’s kinda grey. But his stuff is worth talking about, isn’t it?

    I will prematurely end inquiry now.

  95. While I want to stay out of the rest of it, I do gotta say that Barb’s latest comment kind of suggests she really does think the PDawg blog comments section is all about her. It’s subtle and simmers most of the tyme, but during these 2x a year Battle Royale’s it really does poke thru.

  96. Just wait…Barb will have to have the last word…..it is all too funny, but sad.

  97. I think Collette is right, she hadn’t paraphrased! — or had she?

    Ms. Saylor affirmed, http://www.prairiedogmag.com/dechene-versus-internet-comments/#comment-251466,

    I did spot and enjoy the neat paraphrase of Terence.
    but see http://www.prairiedogmag.com/finance-minister-ken-krawetz-wont-run-again/#comment-201362 where Ms. Saylor dictates,

    The correct way of signalling a paraphrase is not only to say you’re doing it, but also, if you’re writing, to indicate it with punctuation: e.g. “[Ken] was adequate!”

    It seems Collette had not even contemplated paraphrasing, and had no mind of proper standards for this difficult business, yet achieved Saylor-standards-less a paraphrase high hurdle what Saylor perceived and deemed neat.

    These Saylor standards — something must be indicated with deliberately precise citation and punctuation on one day, yet achieved even without intention on another — are too deep for me.

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