Saturday, May 16, 2009

Village Idiot of the Day, May 15, 2009: stjoesgirl, Chet Zamilski, Canton Repository

Today's award is a bit problematic since its entwined with a Repository gaff of its own: the publication of a letter by "Elmer Sneed" IRL Chet Zamilski. (which name sounds phonier is debatable).

"Elmer" wrote a letter to the editor complaining about the recent passage of the Plain Township school levy: Continuing Levy in Plain Township Will Hurt Senior Citizens. A curious poster, "francosarto" did some checking and discovered that according to online Stark County public records sources, no such person exists, and posted that information on the thread. The Rep checked, and sure enough: no Elmer.

Editorial page editor Gayle Beck wrote a quick note to the affect, Writer used Phony Name on Letter to the Editor. She also posted a note on the letter and signed his real name to it. I Hate Canton knows from experience that virtually every newspaper in the country, when considering publication of a letter, contacts the writer to verify authorship and identifying information. The Repository definitely does. Verification is, of course, not foolproof. Zalmilski simply said he was Sneed and that was the end of it. Short of newspapers instituting a a mandatory REAL ID rule, these things will continue to happen.

"Phony name" generated a lively discussion on journalistic ethics and hypocrisy, the perceived double standard between Letters and Comments requirements, and the purpose and reasons of comment anonymity For the most part it was civil and engaging.

Expectedly, Octopuppet, in a new persona--stjoesgirl--arrived on the scene guessed it...attack people who use their own names!

In Octo's world, those who stand by their own names are "egotists" who use the Repository site as "a cornerstone of their life is proving they have no life. " We wonder what it considers people are who create dozens of online smear mongering alter egos that post comments 24/7. Humble servants of the public good?

Here is the full text of stjoesgirl's comment:

Only an egotist would post under their real name. Those who are compaining just want to know peoples names so they can dig dirt one them. No other websites post using real names. I know a person named Leslie who writes under a phony name. This Leslie then makes fun of everyone else who uses a handle. What a hippocrite.

Besides anyone who makes this website the cornerstone of their life is proving they have no life. Anyone who uses their name is asking for trouble from a particular 'bunch'. They are vicious and play follow the leader. If they see you face to face they are all nice then get on this website and tear you up. I hope the Rep gets rid of a couple nasty posters once and for all, They should change their name from lunch bunch to snoop doggie dogs.

If this sounds familiar go back and read the the April 15 Village Idiot Award to "gusknows." In part:

To all of those people who use screen names that could be actual people, before you try and question a comment because of a screen name you are attempting to portray yourself as superior to others, and that is what upsets some on here, because you are just like anyone else an anonymus person with a screen name that anyone could choose.

"gusknows" has been on our list of probable Octopuppet personalities, but the name may soon slink over to the probable list.

But back to the topic! So what does the Rep do about a perfectly good discussion? Disable the comments!

Perhaps it was this comment from our resident parodist Old Fat Dumpy that did them in.

'Elmer' you're so dumb! You know the letters to the editor section wasn't meant for lies and slander. That's what the CANTONREP COMMENT SECTION is for. DUH! Next time put it in cantonrep. You can say anything you want in here, about anybody. Even if it isn't true. I
do all the time. Just make sure you don't say anything about the editors though.They don't mind if you lie about other people, just don't do it to them. Don't even tell the truth about them. So remember, if you want to use a phony name, or tenphony names, or if you want to call someone a thief, murderer, child molester,whatever...cantonrep is the place for you.

I Hate Canton was all the way with the Rep on this until the thread was sent to the shredder. Unfortunately, by disconnecting readers from the only source of discussion on the actions of Chet Zamilski and the larger issue of anonymity and accountability, the Rep jumped the award line today. With no further adieu then, (and cutting the Rep a break) we hereby grant the Rep a third place Daily Village Idiot Award for stifling genuine discussion on journalistic ethics to downplay its own easily understandable and forgivable error and the questions that followed.

We find Chet Zamilski a worthy second place winner just for being a jerk. We hope this liar and identity thief never darkens the door of the Canton Repository again. (He won't according to Gayle Beck). Elmer Sneed indeed!

And for the coveted first prize today...stjonesgirl.

I Hate Canton really hates awarding too many Village Idiot Awards to Octopuppet, but she so (naughty word bot) deserves it. Who else spends hours a day creating alternate Internet personalities to fascinate and titillate us? Does this fact alone NOT deserve an award? If OP cannot, on its own, get into the Guinness Book of Records, the least we can do is acknowledge it for the fame it so rightly deserves: that of a genuine and certified Village Idiot.

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