Five years ago, I started playing Scrabble on an Internet site which shall remain nameless.

I didn’t know how to play Scrabble, but the game is simple to catch on to, and addictive, and the people there were really friendly and were always inviting me to play; the boards were so crowded you often couldn’t get a game unless someone invited you to play a foursome. For those who don’t know, Scrabble is a word game. Roughly the game goes like this: Two to four players draw seven tiles at random, each tile has a letter, the players form words with their letters and take turns playing those words on a board, joining the words to other words, until all the tiles are drawn. Each letter has a value, common letters like S worth 1 point, rare letters like Q worth 10. The board the tiles are played on also has squares where letters and words are worth more. Whoever has the highest score at the end of the game wins.

There are two authorities when playing games in English, TWL, which is the American Scrabble version, and Sowpods, which is the UK Scrabble version. I played TWL at first, but was persuaded to try Sowpods and after a while preferred it. Roughly half or more of the people playing on that site were from the UK or former holdings of the British empire. The UK people were very matey, so it was great fun playing with them, loads of laughs; playing with them was as much or more about socializing as about playing the game. I lost a lot of games at first, but I learned.

I noticed that people were making words that scored big points. Someone explained to me that you could score fifty extra points on a word if you used all seven letters in your rack, and that this was called a Bingo. I was so excited the first time I made a Bingo that I took a screen shot of the board and printed it out, taped it to my computer. I had been playing a long time before I made that first Bingo, and it was a long time before I made another.

To win at Scrabble, it helps to learn a lot of uncommon words, you also need to play strategically, and make Bingos when possible. I was weak in strategy, and I don’t have a great memory for weird words, but after a time, I was very good at making Bingos, especially right out of the box; this is helpful when your opponent plays defensively because before you know it, a good defensive player can block up the board so well you can’t play a Bingo even when you have one on your rack. The best time to play a Bingo is on your first turn if you start the game; that may be your only opportunity, and it helps to start out with that big point advantage. My Bingo skills helped me climb the ranks. I eventually became one of the top-ranked players on the site.

It ain’t all cake and glory at the top. The pressure to maintain high ranking was a killer; all the other top-ranked players want to take you down, each game becomes a battle to the death. I cracked. Began to lose games. My ranking started to slip. This slippage was hard to take at first; no one enjoys losing, and if you’re at all competitive, it’s even worse, but after some time decompressing, I began to adjust. At the mid-level ranking, which is where I eventually ended up, I attracted more players and played more games; most players avoided top-ranked players because of the potential big point/ranking loss, so a top-ranked player could sit forever on a board waiting for a game. My new ranking enticed more players to take me on, and, if they didn’t bother to check my stats page (every player had a stat page linked through their username), disguised the fact that I had two advantages, experience, and I could easily score multiple Bingos in a game against a less skilled player.

The site where I played had weekly leagues, including one for Bingos, and a “monetary” incentive to win. The competition was tough; everybody watches the league tables, and the players who want to win them watch them very closely and adjust their play according to where they are on the tables. I started winning the Bingo league whenever I put some effort into it, and just by virtue of playing to win the Bingo league, often won one or more of the other leagues as well. It became a challenge; I would lose games I could have won, even quit games where I wasn’t making Bingos against a defensive player, because all my focus was on playing for bingos. It got to where I could read a rack and slam a Bingo in seconds. Slamming one Bingo after another got my opponent’s attention; one strategy to win is to simply demoralize your opponent by playing fast and hard. Some opponents, when I beat them badly, simply took it as growing that muscle; some laughed it off, some were nice about it, some weren’t. A few people got so angry they quit the game. Often not before accusing me of cheating.

The first time I was accused of cheating I was surprised and protested my innocence. It happened again. And then again. And then often. I posted a tutorial on the message board on how to make Bingos, and laid out my strategy, which was very simple: Play or throw away letters that won’t make Bingos, build words off endings such as -s, - ed, -ing. I also invited people to look at my stat page. In Scrabble, the most common way of cheating is to use an anagram program to make Bingos; you type your seven letters into the program and out comes a list of legit but likely very obscure, unusual words. One sign of possible anagram cheating is finding Bingo lists of those kind of words on a person’s stat page; virtually all of my Bingos were the same simple words, based off either S - T - A - R - L - I - N - E or S - A - T - I - N - E. Still the accusations didn’t stop. After a while, I just shook my head and didn’t argue: Whatever. Most of the time, I would play against robots (the site had the option of playing automated opponents) so I could get all the Bingos I wanted without having to listen to the gripes from a sore human opponent and because playing a robot didn’t affect your win/lose ratio (because they had an advantage, your Bingos counted, but the games didn’t count).

Sometimes the cheating accusation was just insinuated. Other times, said sarcastically. Sometimes the accusation was made privately, sometimes in public, that is, in the common area (we called it the lounge) where all the players could chat in real time to each other and everyone could see the chat. When it was public, all the players who knew me on the site would rise to my defense. Likewise, when a player I knew was accused of cheating, I would stand up for that person. All the top-ranked players stuck up for each other when it came to accusations of cheating because at one time or another, all of the top-ranked players had been accused of cheating.

Of course, all the seasoned players knew that some of the top-ranked players did cheat. One of the women, an American, was notorious for it; she had shared some of her secrets with me when I was top-ranked, and while I never used her advice, I had watched her employ the tactics she had shared against unsuspecting players. I could also look at her stats page, and just by perusing her Bingo list, knew that either she had a most amazing memory for extremely unusual words that happened to be Bingos, or she was cheating. Most of us on the site knew all this, but none of us had ever called her on it.

One day, another top-ranked player, a fellow who didn’t like this woman decided to make an issue of it. After this woman made a joke in the lounge about losing points to another player, this fellow said something to the effect that she was a sad little person to be so concerned about her ranking that she would cheat to get it; this was an unusual attack as the guy was a top-ranked player himself. Of course the rest of us who witnessed this accusation came in and, as was our practice, said that she was not a cheat. As it happened, this woman and I had also had a serious falling out and weren’t speaking. Still, I came to her defense, and further said that it was unseemly for one top-ranked player to be accusing another top-ranked player of cheating in public. This fellow said, merely, that he knew for a fact that she cheated because she had told him she did. At that point the matter was dropped.

The next day, without naming names, I posted a thread on the message board. I reminded people that we had had a big cheating scandal on the site four years earlier, about a year after the site had opened; some people had banded together to win the leagues. At that time, a huge fight had broken out on the message board, and ugly things were said. The site closed that loophole; another loophole was found and exploited. Since that time, at one time or another, people had been named and shamed for cheating. Each time, an explosion of nastiness came out of it. I said I was perfectly happy to have someone anoint themselves the ultimate judge on who was cheating or not, but first we had to get all the details straight. The league scammers seemed like an obvious hit since they had admitted what they had done. But we had to remember that the people involved in the league rigging scandal denied that they had cheated, because there were no rules against what they did, further said they had done it to get money together for other players who needed it, and because they were angry that fees had gone so high to play on the site. It was also a well known secret that a fake account had been opened which a select number of people could access through a shared password in order to play and win the leagues. There were many people who informally helped each other get enough wins, and Bingos, again in order to win the leagues, or to gain ranking. There were many people who let their friends make up Bingos, in other words allow words that were not valid but used all seven letters, so they could gain ranking and/or win the Bingo league. Okay, those were deliberate, but how about when people played a friendly game and when they asked for help, advised each other on how to play letters or words, was that cheating? How about when a guy played a girl and let her win just to get on with her, was that cheating? How about when someone was playing, and someone in the room, husband, wife, child, friend, lover, helped them, was that cheating? How about playing the robots for most played, or, as I did, for Bingos, was that cheating? How exactly did the robots figure into cheating, when they themselves didn’t play for ranking? If someone used an anagrammer against a robot, basically an anagrammer itself, was that cheating? The site itself encouraged “study” by posting lists of words which you could access. When I started playing, I was advised to print out the site list of two-letter words allowed by Sowpods and use it until I memorized it, which I did; I myself had passed that advice on to new players. Almost every member admitted to having written down words they had seen in a game that they thought would come in useful later. Was keeping a list of words by your computer cheating? By the way, without being in the room, how could you know if, when, and how, a person was cheating? In real life, in a real life game, in a real life Scrabble tournament, maybe no one could get away with this stuff. But we were playing virtually. There was simply no way of knowing what people were doing, and more importantly, was that important? I said that back at the time of the first cheating scandal, I had been one of those people who had questioned people’s morals and character when it came out that they were cheating, and further said then that it was lessening the honor of those who had won their titles fair and square, myself included, but since then had time to think about it and had come to realize how pointless the whole business was of accusing people of cheating on a virtual site. At the time of the first league scandal when I was getting all high and mighty with the transgressors, someone had chided me: “It’s a game site FFS.”

I had come to agree with that assessment.

Comments

nan shartel Sept. 30, 2009 @ 12:45 p.m.

wowsa Fish

i had no idea Scrabble was so cut throat isn't that nice to hear

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CuddleFish Sept. 30, 2009 @ 1:15 p.m.

LOLOL Get out the Scrab board, we'll see who's the killer!! :)

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CuddleFish Sept. 30, 2009 @ 12:59 p.m.

LOL It's the strangest thing! I was totally sucked in!

They actually broadcast Scrab tourneys on ESPN2, I love them!

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nan shartel Sept. 30, 2009 @ 1:12 p.m.

OMG...and i thought i needed to get a life

this afternoon make good on ur threat and come over and kill me to bring some new experience into ur life

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SDaniels Sept. 30, 2009 @ 1:15 p.m.

We dealt with this topic on a blog a while back--apparently Mr. Board is quite the scrabble afficionado. I am not the greatest at it or any type of game, except "the dictionary game."

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CuddleFish Sept. 30, 2009 @ 1:17 p.m.

SD I would have thought you were a natural!

I loved to play, but can't do it anymore, just get too insane about it, like Venus Williams or John McEnroe. I will say I wasn't the worst, though. And I never cheated.

My family and friends won't play me at all. :(

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SDaniels Sept. 30, 2009 @ 1:19 p.m.

I know, it's counter-intuitive. I have problems with anagrams and acronyms, too. You'd probably beat me, but I'd play you anyway. One of my little cousins plays it with friends online--you may have played with her. She's fierce :)

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SDaniels Sept. 30, 2009 @ 1:24 p.m.

Smooch :) Well, if you insist on including me in this, nothing I can do about it, nan. For inspiration, there is a small photo of me next to my blogs in Banker's Hill. Knock yerself out, lady :)

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David Dodd Sept. 30, 2009 @ 1:32 p.m.

I have a freeware version of scrabble on my PC, and the robot is pretty good. It plays defensively, tries to block possible Bingos, but obviously has the official dictionary memorized so it can play offensively as well. I don't think I would ever play online.

The thing that kills me about Scrabble, is the "official dictionary". I mean, really, who uses words like "aa" and "tranq"? How many Scrabble players have ever changed a dollar for some "pya"? It makes the game sort of nebulous.

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CuddleFish Sept. 30, 2009 @ 1:41 p.m.

Ooooh, refried, if you knew all the times I heard that from a player that I was beating: What kind of a word is that? That isn't a word. Well, what does it mean, then?

I DON'T MAKE UP THE RULES! THEY ARE WHAT THEY ARE!

LOL Sometimes when a player was really easy to beat, I would try to make my favorite bingo word: Zyzzyva (it's a bug, I think), the last word in the Bingo dictionary. It's extremely difficult because you have to get the Z, both Y's, both blanks, a v, which is fairly uncommon, and an a, the only common letter. Man, when I slammed that Bingo, my opponent would flip out! The lounge would flip out! It would go up on the message board! I think I did it three times, just for fun.

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David Dodd Sept. 30, 2009 @ 2:08 p.m.

I've never seen an official dictionary for Scrabble.

I'm not negating the game, either, but I find it quite amusing when the robot in my game here throws down the word "suq", for example. And I laugh. And I think to myself, "has anyone I know ever been to an open-air Arabian market"? So, when I say nebulous, it's sort of from the mind of a writer.

I have a fairly large vocabulary, but I never make a conscious effort to use all of it when I write. It's like, if you've ever read any of William F. Buckley's spy novels - he had an enourmous vocabulary and he just couldn't help himself. I really did enjoy the novels, but I kept thinking, are all of these words really necessary?

I look at someone like Vonnegut, and I think that maybe he's the opposite of Buckley (not just politically, but in his style). His is simple, without anything you'd need a dictionary to understand (or the ability to recognize definition from etymology or linguistics).

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FullFlavorPike Sept. 30, 2009 @ 2:20 p.m.

Scrabble is deceptive because having a "great" vocabulary doesn't necessarily help you play Scrabble. I have a decent command of the English language, yet I am terrible at Scrabble. I just don't know how to strategize, or which words to play when. I don't know the "q without u" words, or any of the tricks of the game. It's a gameplay skill, not a vocabulary match. Best example of this: non-American Scrabble masters who are probably BETTER at Scrabble than native English speakers because they just see the words as pictures that you line up and make points with. I've only heard of this phenomenon--not being any sort of Scrabble fan--but seems perfectly reasonable.

(My game is chess, bee-tee-dubs, so if anyone wants to get schooled on Chess.com, I'm ready for you!)

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CuddleFish Sept. 30, 2009 @ 3:54 p.m.

Well having a good vocabulary does help a bit, but yes, it has to be a combination of skills, as I said, learning or knowing unusual words (whether you know the definition or not), learning how to play defensively, and seeing/making Bingos are what make a good Scrabble player.

As far as the Q without u words, people who play Scrabble study the heck out of those lists. I also learned a ton of Z, J, and X words.

A lot of the really good players come out of India, they are mad for Scrab over there. That site had a number of good players, but the interesting thing is all the top-ranked players were Americans, and I believe many if not most used anagrammers.

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CuddleFish Sept. 30, 2009 @ 4:02 p.m.

I gotta say, Scrabble is a lot of fun to play and a lot of people play it for fun. I played with people who weren't that good at it but they just took as a game, more of a thing that you did while you were socializing. The most fun games for me were when we'd play foursomes and just talk and laugh and joke amongst ourselves; this site was so great that way, that you could chat in your game, chat in the lounge, chat on the message boards, chat in private messages and chat in private discussions. Sort of my Nirvana.

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SDaniels Oct. 1, 2009 @ 3:27 a.m.

PS: More censorship, now some harmless references to sexuality bantered about with nan! Lame beyond lame, Reader!

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SDaniels Oct. 1, 2009 @ 3:29 a.m.

refried protested: "I mean, really, who uses words like "aa" and "tranq"?"

Me, all the time. I'd play you too refried, as long as one handicap is added to the rules: you may not use the words "ostensibly" or "nebulous." :)

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SDaniels Oct. 1, 2009 @ 3:31 a.m.

Fishikins lisped "Zyzzyva."

Are proper names allowed? There is the town of "Zyzyx."

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Russ Lewis Oct. 1, 2009 @ 3:52 a.m.

(#16) What happened, SD? Which thread -- this one? Whose comment? What changed? I missed it, whatever happened.

"Ostensibly nebulous" seems like something you'd type into Google Images. Or say to a phone-bot that responds to voice, like "Ontologically rutabaga."

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CuddleFish Oct. 1, 2009 @ 8:25 a.m.

Proper names not allowed, dang it!

What happened, did nan's comments get pulled? :(

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nan shartel Oct. 1, 2009 @ 1:18 p.m.

no no Mizzy Fishy...my proper name didn't get me pulled...it was the ravenous drooling when i was over lookin' at that guy by the frig that did it

i think i shorted out the whole READER BLOGDOM SYSTEM!!!

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nan shartel Oct. 1, 2009 @ 1:22 p.m.

i use nebulous...when my spell checkers working

and even my Google Spell checker couldn't spell Chiwawa so i had to dash out to another one to seem intelligent

CHIHUAHUA!!!!

there ya go...across for 8 points

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CuddleFish Oct. 1, 2009 @ 1:36 p.m.

And by the way, you scored it wrong: H is worth 4 pts, C is worth 3 pts, the rest worth 1 pt, so the word would have been worth 16 pts if you didn't hit any double, triple or bonus squares, because there are only two H tiles in the game, so you couldn't make the word "chihuahua" unless you played a blank.

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nan shartel Oct. 1, 2009 @ 1:59 p.m.

oh Fish...now u've ruined my miserable day by finding out i don't know refrienedgringoes about SCRABBLE

or Rummy or Chess or Yahtzee or Pigsknuckle or Bridge or Cribbage

but i can play POKER!!!

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CuddleFish Oct. 1, 2009 @ 2:06 p.m.

Ooooh, I love watching World Series of Poker on ESPN, love Phil Hellmuth!

Scrabble is an addiction, and for a while I was seriously addicted. I used to spell words as I was reading the newspaper or a book or magazine, spell words in my head when I went to bed at night, count the letters in words on billboards, on labels in the supermarket, to see if they were Bingos so I would remember them, I literally would see words as letters, and was constantly spelling them or counting the letters. Sometimes that still happens but nothing like when I played competitively.

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SDaniels Oct. 1, 2009 @ 2:24 p.m.

russl and Fish clearly asked about their rights:

"(#16) What happened, SD? Which thread -- this one? Whose comment? What changed? I missed it, whatever happened."

"What happened, did nan's comments get pulled? :("

Between comments 8 and 9, you'll notice a GIANT gap that makes no sense. Therein took place the most ridiculous conversation, in which nan proposed a fictional blog about a tryst with Penn and Teller. I made a joke that was quite tame, and spoke in terms of what I "IMAGINED" might happen in her fictional tryst. They even removed her posting that just gave an image of Penn running down the beach. No language, nothing a teen couldn't read.

Hic-Sob. PP was right! The Reader has been taken over by a large Chinese corporation!

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SDaniels Oct. 1, 2009 @ 2:29 p.m.

I have a theory.

Scrabble Scrabble Scrabble Scrabble Scrabble Scrabble Scrabble Scrabble Scrabble *Scrabble *

Psst: C'mere folks, and lissen up good: What the Reader is doing: They are removing content that they think doesn't relate to the thread at hand! We are being treated like hijackers!

Scrabble Scrabble Scrabble Scrabble Scrabble Scrabble Scrabble Scrabble Scrabble *

Scrabble *

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CuddleFish Oct. 1, 2009 @ 2:38 p.m.

OMG! That is tooooooooo sad! :(

I mean, it wasn't even sexually graphic! Geeez Louise! Who in the world do they think is going to get offended by that????

We are all aware of First Amendment rights, sheesh, no one's even complained about those inanely racist threads keepininreal has posted -- my only issue with them by the way is that they keep bumping the real threads off the page.

Reader, ain't you got nothing better to do????????

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Russ Lewis Oct. 1, 2009 @ 2:47 p.m.

I don't see keepinitreal on the website anymore either.

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nan shartel Oct. 1, 2009 @ 3:10 p.m.

oh man...i'm so sorry...i had no idea the site was so tight...so now i suppose they will pull my whole blog from today about my reindeer sox and RATS...wowsa...

absolutely nothing remotely obnoxious was said...i'll b more careful in the future

could someone go over and read the blog i wrote to day and tell me if it will be pulled

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CuddleFish Oct. 1, 2009 @ 3:11 p.m.

What are you talking about? There are eleven, count them, eleven, threads from that thing on the Blog home page.

Freedom of Speech is a precious thing. I guess the Reader respects that right and therefore doesn't remove all of those threads are racist trash. So why are they removing or editing comments that are just a little suggestive?

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David Dodd Oct. 1, 2009 @ 3:13 p.m.

"What the Reader is doing: They are removing content that they think doesn't relate to the thread at hand!"

That can't be right, thread hijacking goes on all over the place here. I think there are two things going on. One, anything potentially libelous is a potential lawsuit. Two, profanity isn't permitted. When I first started blogging here, I had a question about a response that was removed to one of my entries. It seemed harmless and I was curious why it was removed. The comment was from someone who agreed with something I said about Mexico and then slammed (by name) a certain ex-mayor of Tijuana.

I got a nice email that explained the rules, and then I understood. It could be considered libelous.

One problem might be that I'm pretty sure there is only one person attempting to control content here. It must be tough, this site has blown up pretty good. I'm sure that some content is removed hastily, because there really isn't time to ponder whether or not it's appropriate. When in doubt, it's probably slashed in order to save time. That's my guess.

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CuddleFish Oct. 1, 2009 @ 3:13 p.m.

Sorry nan, that post was to russl. As to your post, I don't see your new thread. Did you remember to check the box that says the post can be seen by the public? If not, go back to Edit, and check the box.

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nan shartel Oct. 1, 2009 @ 3:15 p.m.

scrabble uh oh...do u think they'll throw me out with the Monday Trash scrabble

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David Dodd Oct. 1, 2009 @ 3:18 p.m.

Nan, hun, if they had a problem with your content they would have already deleted it. No worries.

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nan shartel Oct. 1, 2009 @ 3:30 p.m.

i reposted todays and it won't post...so i guess they consider me a literary Fauve and have already sidelined what i have to say...my stuff is only funny and fanciful and has no redeeming qualities whatsoever....so i guess in the shortest tim ever i've become a persona non grata

maybe if i pump up the plastic surgery ads they'll let me stay

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David Dodd Oct. 1, 2009 @ 3:42 p.m.

It takes about a half-hour to an hour to appear sometimes. And if you continue to have problems, contact the web administrator for the Reader, she's awesome and amazingly helpful.

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nan shartel Oct. 1, 2009 @ 3:51 p.m.

thx refried..it did actually finally post...i had it as a draft and i think there-in lies the problem

fish dear..i'm sorry to go off topic here...and that it caused some problems

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CuddleFish Oct. 1, 2009 @ 3:54 p.m.

Not at all, nothing to apologize for, nan. All threads go off topic. And I enjoyed the bit about Penn and Teller! :)

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SDaniels Oct. 1, 2009 @ 4 p.m.

refried wrote: "One, anything potentially libelous is a potential lawsuit. Two, profanity isn't permitted"

There was neither libel nor profanity in what nan and I wrote. Certain employees of the Reader are allowed to write at length libelous content that is not by any stretch of imagination fact-checked, and many many public figures are mentioned. These threads, with maybe one exception, are not removed.

The conversation nan and I were having about Penn and Teller was completely innocuous and playful--as I said, with zero profanity-- and could not be considered libelous by anyone--truly. as nan might say, "I smell a rat!" (and it's not wearing cute reindeer sox!)

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Russ Lewis Oct. 1, 2009 @ 4:02 p.m.

"What are you talking about? There are eleven, count them, eleven, threads from that thing on the Blog home page."

My mistake. I was thinking of keepinitreal's bulls*** karaoke-war rants THAT WERE IMPOSSIBLE TO READ and not worth the effort. Those are gone, as near as I can see.

"Freedom of Speech is a precious thing. I guess the Reader respects that right and therefore doesn't remove all of those threads are racist trash. So why are they removing or editing comments that are just a little suggestive?"

I'd like to know the answer to that too, Fish, but as usual, I suspect Gringo is right; liability lurks everywhere, especially for newspapers. And Fish, I don't care for racist speech either, but it is protected speech.

And just to prevent further complication in this discussion, let's take care to address people by (screen) name and identify specific posts by number. It gets very confusing otherwise.

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nan shartel Oct. 1, 2009 @ 4:05 p.m.

perhaps as not a legitimate paid comedian i took Penn and Tellers names in vein....that's probably the reason

but that's hard to understand when blogs are so vehemently cruel and heartless to our president and they don't use scrabble words to do it

and that freedom of speech is 100% acceptable and falls into the read or don't read category but we (the blogsite) will print it

uh oh i feel a scary movie coming on!!!

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SDaniels Oct. 1, 2009 @ 4:07 p.m.

re: #42, russl: Penn-and-Teller speech should be protected speech, too.

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Russ Lewis Oct. 1, 2009 @ 4:10 p.m.

(#41) "There was neither libel nor profanity in what nan and I wrote."

Doesn't matter -- not 100% anyway. A newspaper isn't interested in winning a lawsuit; it's interested in avoiding the lawsuit.

"Certain employees of the Reader are allowed to write at length libelous content that is not by any stretch of imagination fact-checked, and many many public figures are mentioned. These threads, with maybe one exception, are not removed."

I'd be interested in hearing some specifics.

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David Dodd Oct. 1, 2009 @ 4:32 p.m.

With employees, it's different. You print a retraction in the next publication. If that's done properly, libel suits mostly have no traction. But since this website is an extension of The Reader, they could still get in trouble, and rather than to take up precious space (that could otherwise be used for advertising in the weekly publication), it's easier and less painful (and less expensive) to simply delete. I mean, they would have to spend a bunch of money to print detractions from some of the stuff that's been posted in here.

Your comments might have seemed okay (I missed them), but there was something that scared someone enough to delete them. If your comment was a huge problem, they would have deleted it entirely. Again, a guess on my part, but I imagine that someone will come along and explain things soon. There are lots of people here now, so policing this place is going to be more of an issue. For those of us that are rational, showing us where the line is would probably be the best course of action.

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nan shartel Oct. 1, 2009 @ 5:08 p.m.

u mean i have to b rational???

wow...I'm in trouble now!!

i got that magical thinking thing goin' on sometimes

the kind of thing that makesthe RATS in the belfry want to learn to play scrabble and have a tournament at the La Mesa Oktoberfest this month

so truthfully I'll get a handle on it soon...when no one wants to come see or interact with me anymore

oh well...i was lookin' for a blogsite when i found this one

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David Dodd Oct. 1, 2009 @ 5:11 p.m.

Hun, people come and go and come back, like me, I gotta cook and write and stuff. And you're plenty rational ;)

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nan shartel Oct. 1, 2009 @ 5:14 p.m.

go cook Refried....and if your lettuce is gone u'll know what's up...buh bye for now...and thx

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CuddleFish Oct. 1, 2009 @ 5:17 p.m.

You make an interesting point, nan, I was just thinking same.

If you can't post fairly freely on here, then what's the point?

I may have to look for another place to blog, too, if that's going to be the case here.

PS, most of the forums I've been on have given wide latitude on celebrities.

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nan shartel Oct. 1, 2009 @ 5:32 p.m.

ya know Fish...i realise that no one has any problem seeing innuendoes..but a kid wouldn't understand them if they read it...so who's really being protected...perhaps THE READER is a Christian based weekly...but i can believe that

i started reading THE READER many many years ago and it was pretty Lucy Goosey then...i think i started reading when the first issue came out....I'd been a subscriber to MOTHER EARTH so that in itself sorta show my reading interest and proclivities

what's happening here is really showing how powerful the censors here think words are...and apparently they have even been able to read into them and red pencil at will

does the READER have a Mission Statement somewhere...something that elaborates on whether or not they have the right to exclude frivolous material

which most comedy as a class falls into

and tell me where ur going fishlips...and i'll follow ur fishflakes over OTAY!!!

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David Dodd Oct. 1, 2009 @ 5:33 p.m.

Here's part of the problem: This isn't a forum, it's a magazine, and they publish. In an online forum, the rules are up to the forum, but when a website is attached to a magazine, it's different. The no profanity thing is a no-brainer, and most of us tend not to violate that, but I think they're still trying to determine what can go on here, in the online part. I'm going to email the web administrator tomorrow and try to understand what their limits are supposed to be.

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nan shartel Oct. 1, 2009 @ 5:42 p.m.

thx refried i'm willing to follow well defined rules...i don't need to write BLUE to have fun

it is PUBLISH and that does make a BIG difference...r our blogs in the weekly hard copy that comes out???

aren't they only online

when i go to a blog all the comments are showing...perhaps we should have to open the comments to read and write one...then at least it wouldn't be in ur face fare

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CuddleFish Oct. 1, 2009 @ 5:44 p.m.

Wait a minute, hang on. I visit lots of magazine sites and all of them have forums where the language is pretty raw, and the opinions are unfettered.

If no one's going after those sites, why in the world would they go after the Reader???

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CuddleFish Oct. 1, 2009 @ 5:47 p.m.

LOL Nan, maybe those of us regular neighborhood bloggers can get our own San Diego Blog up and running. Now THAT would be sooooooo cool!!!

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SDaniels Oct. 1, 2009 @ 5:50 p.m.

Ok, guys. refried: I think you know me well enough to trust that when I say this was a completely harmless, non-libelous, silly discussion, in which Penn and Teller were mentioned. It was abundantly clear that nan's idea for writing about a 'tryst' was just that--a fictional idea. I wish I had the exact words--maybe nan does have the posts copied? Others have written about such things from a point of view that they really did happen, and I don't see those posts removed. There is something very uneven and unfair about these removals. Same thing with the Mindy comment: In the original, too, I said "you have "likely" slept..."

At any rate, yes, it would be good if the administrator could explain why these posts were removed, so we can be aware of the rules in future, and be in a better position to understand that they are evenly applied to all. Thanks, refried for taking the time to write in.

russl: You probably already have a good idea what I'm talking about. For particular reasons, including my own feelings about starting needless wars, I'm not going into this issue in a public thread. Feel free to email me to continue the discussion, if you like.

Ok! Back to work. See y'all later :)

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David Dodd Oct. 1, 2009 @ 5:52 p.m.

Ms. Fish: I know. But the interaction here in the Reader's website is still relatively new I think. There were very few blogs here when I signed up, (only one other Baja blog, for example, and the guy doesn't even live in Baja), so I think the Reader is still trying to figure out what's acceptable and what isn't. We'll get through this. I honestly don't think they're out to control content, just keep it rational.

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SDaniels Oct. 1, 2009 @ 5:52 p.m.

re: #55: Fishy: It is easy to purchase and maintain a Web site. If you are serious about it, I'd be happy to contribute a regular column or something. I have a Web site with someone else right now, but it's down, because we haven't been working on it--I have tons of ideas not being used, and you are welcome to any of them :)

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nan shartel Oct. 1, 2009 @ 5:57 p.m.

You must be a registered member to post comments.....maybe more then this need be at the top of the comments....hahahahahahahahaha..bye peeps

and remember....er um...just remember dang it!!!

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CuddleFish Oct. 1, 2009 @ 8:15 p.m.

LOL Nan! See you tomorrow, hon!! xxx

SD, that would be soooooo coooooool!! Maybe get some more of the regulars here to join us, add content, and we could not have to worry about this ridiculous censoring of inoffensive comments!!!

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antigeekess Oct. 1, 2009 @ 8:32 p.m.

I might even join you if it's not specifically a "San Diego" thingy -- if you'll let me in the door, of course. :)

The reason I don't blog here is that it's supposed to be "Neighborhood Blogs," and I live waaay out of the neighborhood, nowadays!

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Russ Lewis Oct. 2, 2009 @ 10:47 a.m.

With all this talk about "censoring of inoffensive comments," people seem to have overlooked something. When a comment DOES get pulled by the website administrator, doesn't it usually end up saying, "Comment removed by website administrator" where the comment used to be? In other words, I wonder if this disappearance of the Penn and Teller tangent necessarily occurred at the hand of some website administrator. Think about it. It wouldn't be the first time a computer malfunctioned.

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nan shartel Oct. 2, 2009 @ 10:54 a.m.

hey russl...ur right...there was no "comment deleted" notice

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