TC Speaks: Take One
This is not going to be a particularly warm and fuzzy post about the Too Conservative stealth-commenting mess, but I'll do my best to be humane, and hopefully no one will end up in a lawsuit or hiding out in a shack in Baja California as a result. The only reason I'm dwelling on it is because I have kids who have gone though this phase (though none so publicly) and I believe taking your medicine and moving on is the best way to get ahead in life.
To summarize: As best as I can understand it, someone had access to the log files at the Too Conservative blog - which is a pretty basic and commonplace administrative privilege - and these logs showed that the owner of the blog, Vince, had been writing comments under different names. Some have said these comments were controversial: I have no opinion on this aspect of the matter. The person then posted the IP log information on the Velvet Elvis blog, strongly incriminating Vince. I picked up the news from Black Velvet Bruce Lee.
It appears that the blogging software, which I believe was WordPress, maintained a log of comments and corresponding IP addresses which could be viewed en masse (Movable Type does not allow this, as far as I can tell). Thus the person who got the information probably opened a report within the WordPress administrative interface and saved a file which included all the data.
Velvet Elvis' goal appeared to be only to show that many of the commenters' comments had come from the same IP address that Vince posted from. Our own Sophrosyne said a few months ago that former bloggers at Too Conservative hinted they had proof that Vince had been commenting under different names.
So far, not so bad. Too Conservative (TC) is a very popular blog, and "TC" himself - aka Vince - is very plugged in to local politics. On the surface, one might just say a popular blogger got nabbed for playing games to increase activity within his comments. I and others have opined this could be justified. Others have opined the harsh nature of some of the pseudonymous comments raised questions about the writer, and still others have suggested the whole enterprise of writing fake comments was disreputable. An underlying accusation was that TC had set himself up for this fall by things he had said and done.
Bottom line: This appeared to be an embarrassing episode for TC but one he would learn from. He appeared to have gotten caught doing something disingenuous. Recognizing TC's youth, many of us said he should simply 'fess up and move on. Even though he had a reputation for being a bit brutal to Republicans who didn't share his political philosophy (he termed NOVA TownHall the "Worst Blog" on the Internet) - particularly those of us on the "hard right" - TC was cut a lot of slack. Several of us said: He's growing up, so let's let him learn from this and no use rubbing his nose in it. Mistakes build character.
I told him humility was a valuable lesson, and issuing a mea culpa, would put this behind him.
UPDATE:TC has a new post...
Anonymous commenting is done by all sides of the spectrum.
This does not make my comments right, and for that I apologize.
I hope we all can move past this issue, and continue on.
...so I have changed this one
Well done, Vince.
UPDATE: Whoops. I am behind the curve as usual. BVBL has the story.
Vince probably owes his audience an apology, which we should readily accept. He understands the value of confession and redemption, and we should as well. In the end, heâ€™s not the only one learning from this experience â€” every other blogger in Virginia is as well.
And I donâ€™t know what is funnier â€” having Vincent posting as â€œChapmanWants[name here]Deadâ€ or the idea of hundreds of viewers busily reloading Shaun Kenneyâ€™s website for hours and trashing it while waiting for this story to get posted. Iâ€™ll bet his server statistics went through the roof tonight. Congrats to Shaun for getting this interview.
Here is an excerpt from Shaun Kenney's interview with Velvet Elvis:
My main problem is when he misrepresents himself in those posts, such as claiming to be a constituent in a particular House district in which he does not actually live. I also have a problem with him posting as elected officials such as Bill Bolling and Marty Nohe. The Bolling post was obviously not him, but the Nohe post even fooled me and I've been friends with Marty for a long time. Someone who doesn't know Marty might not take it in the humorous way it comes across to the people who do know him. And if Marty decides to run for PWC Chairman, some op-researcher might dig that post up and use it out of context. I don't want that to happen...
Go read all of that.
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