As mentioned last week, Somervell County Salon (http://salon.glenrose.net) has been up and running as a news and commentary site for over 9 years. As you might imagine, I, salon, started it, and it's been run and programmed by me (SQL Server and classic ASP code), a female. Hah, can you imagine, in Texas, a MAN naming a site Salon? Of course, I mean, salon in the french sense of a periodic gathering of people for the purpose of socializing and discussion. (First saw the term "salon" years ago when I read War and Peace by Tolstoy) Anyway, although we have had, at various times, others who were main posters, these are the main posters at this time. You can easily see on each post which person is represented, along with, for 3 out of the 4, a photo. We on the site also have zero issue with anyone posting anonymously and not under their real name, although 2 posters, Peter Stern and Paul Harper, do. I (salon) and Concerned Citizen do not. Three of us also use avatar pictures with our screen names.Even though I personally choose to use a screen name on this site, I think most people know me from the years I regularly, as a citizen, attended government meetings in person, video recorded them, and put them up, along with my own commentary, on this site. From that previous link, which I wrote in May 2013.
what I really want to talk about is the value of anonymous speech, which has a rich tradition in this country. Publius, anyone? This website was started with the idea that as long as the conversations remain civil and within a few boundaries, people can anonymously discuss an issue. That includes me. You will not find my name anywhere on this site. I post as salon. Does this mean that people may not know who I am? Yes, but for about 4 years, I went down to government meetings, recorded them, and then posted excerpts on this site. I have no doubt that every person in those rooms saw me with the camera and, not being a shy person, I spoke with and know quite a few of them. So, it's not a matter of secrecy, it's a matter of internet privacy.
When I have written letters to the editor, I do it under my name and I am choosing to do that in that venue. I believe strongly also that if I were a member, say, of a PAC or some other political entity that was taking money to influence an election, that I should have that as part of the description under my name (as for example, Charlie Thomas's letters to the editor which didn't include the fact that he is treasurer of the Somervell County Hospital Authority PAC). As a citizen, I have the right of free speech to express my opinion about any subject and the newspaper has the right to say, WHEN I APPROACH THEM, that they will not print it if it does not include my real name.
(Here's an example of a political satirical cartoon I did a few years back with regard to the 4b board giving tax money to the chamber of commerce . I guarantee Darrell Best knows me as salon.)
I'm considering doing some additional things behind the scenes from a technical perspective to make it even easier to search the site. In the meantime, you can use the Search feature by keyword. And, if you are looking for posts by certain people, you can click on the poster's name to page through all the posts. Each of us posts ONLY as ourselves, do not ever use anyone else's login id (why would we, we each have our own), and have our own style and decided opinions. I'm sure I have the most posts, since I created the site as an outlet for political and social opinion, from the viewpoint not only of an American, Texas and Somervell County resident but also a female.
So here's me, Salon-see the avatar of the FEMALE with the Dinosaur-and no, that dinosaur isn't any sexist male throwback into the last century that thinks women are subserviant, second class citizens who cannot have opinions of their own.
Peter Stern aka pstern
Paul Harper aka pharper
Concerned Citizen-this person posts anonymously with my explicit permission. I know this person personally.
P.S. I don't allow anyone to top level post except under their own handle; no one has ever attempted to post as someone else, but I would ban that person from the site if so. I delete malicious comments, this is NOT a free for all for anyone that chooses to come along and post crapola. All comments, unless the person is an approved poster with their own handle, are put in a pending state UNTIL approved. I coded it that way on purpose. There may be some that have disrespect for females and discount that anyone except a man could run a site like this or have political opinions of her own. Those people would be sexist troglodytes who live in the 1800's era in their tiny, uninformed minds, would be WRONG and should be ridiculed as ignorant. My background is as a previously certified network systems engineer for a Mammoth company, as well as 4 other software companies, and I also trained engineers on network architecture-OSI model (APSTNDP in minute detail. ) and other software products.