Comment history

Journal-World websites to require commenters to identify themselves

There is no evidence that a real name policy increases the quality of comments: Reading the comments section of the Kansas City Star or the St. Louis Post Dispatch for controversial articles is enough to show you that people are just as likely to post offensive and racist comments under their real names as a pseudonym.

If the LJworld was interested in increasing comment quality, they should introduce a proven content moderation system like the one used by Slashdot - a site where you don't even need to register a user account, yet the discussion quality is very high.

I contribute using my real name on many websites. I chose not to here. Why? I commented on a 100 Years Ago article about the old bridge over the Kaw in Lawrence with an opinion about modern bridge construction. Since I want to seek employment in the bridge industry in the future, my controversial opinion about historical bridges could lead to me losing out on job opportunities. That's the sort of comment that this policy will stifle, not the ones it is intended to stop.

Furthermore, using Facebook to enforce this policy is simply the wrong choice. Facebook has shown that it has no interest in user privacy and considers users a product. The comments may not appear on your Facebook page, but you can be damn sure that Facebook will notice your comments. If you comment on an article about a product or service, it wouldn't be surprising to start seeing targeted advertising on your Facebook page about those products and services. Facebook wants your identity because after Google, they're one of the largest advertising companies in the world. They don't care about the quality of a discussion on the website of a small town newspaper in Kansas - they want to use you and your comments to make money.

I block Facebook from all sites when I'm not on to avoid Facebook tracking. It's easy to do with the Firefox extension Ghostery. I will not see the new comments section on this site, because I value my privacy and anonymity.

The Journal-World used to have a lively community of commenters who sometimes bickered over controversial opinions. The comments section was unique among newspaper websites and provided a lot of insight in to the character of Lawrence and the problems the city faces. It was nothing like the racist nonsense over on the Youtube comment sections. A bit of smart moderation and maybe a user comment moderation system like Slashdot could have easily fixed the comment section.

Over the course of the past couple years that community has evaporated as the Journal World has made more and more changes to the website, for the worse every time. I don't expect this community to survive the change. Frankly, I don't intend to stick around and find out thanks to the use of Facebook and what seems like a total disregard for the users of this site.

October 9, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Special police detail seeks to curb dangerous behavior among college students

I think the LPD should have zero tolerance for DUI.. as far as the other student behavior, a more lenient teaching based approach rather than a brutal crackdown would probably be more effective. I have found that most students are supportive of the LPD and that there's a greater level of community trust of the police among young people in Lawrence than in many other cities (especially the Johnson County suburbs). Destroying that relationship to crack down on jaywalkers and other alcohol related crimes that aren't disturbing others may not be the wisest course of action. On top of that, protecting people from themselves shouldn't be the main focus of any police force.

One of the problems with DUI enforcement and the reason that the police only arrest a few a night is that it takes a police officer s 1-2 hours to make the stop, arrest the offender, take them to the jail, and write a report. This takes the officer away from patrol and answering more pressing calls.

Some cities have a special traffic or DUI unit that only handles DUIs and doesn't answer calls. A patrol officer will make a stop and wait for the DUI officer to show up and do testing, arrest, etc. This means that the patrol officer only needs to wait a few minutes and then can get back out on the street. This seems like a good compromise that would allow more drunk drivers to be dealt with every night. If the police asked for a tax increase specifically to fund this type of service (rather than a broad "we need more officers"), I would vote in favor of it and I think many in the city would too.

August 15, 2013 at 10:54 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Owners of pre-eminent K-State bookstore buy The Jayhawk Bookstore

Even four years ago the Jayhawk Bookstore had good service, good products, and prices that were lower or competitive with the KU Union bookstore. After they were purchased a couple years ago everything went downhill quickly to the point where I didn't even bother going in any more. There are only so many ways you can reorganize the stuff in the store before customers start to realize that you don't have any stock and aren't likely to get anything replacements. My last purchase attempt was engineering paper - the stuff engineering professors require for homework. You would think that being so close to Learned Hall they would have some, but I was told that they were out and didn't know when any more was coming in.

I'm glad that someone more local bought the store and hopefully they'll return the service quality to where it was before Nebraska Book Company screwed things up.

August 14, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Former downtown Lawrence piano bar converted into pool hall, tavern

Oh no! People like different things than I do. How dare someone somebody want to go to a dance club that doesn't serve food! How dare some KU students have a few drinks in an establishment without a terrible failure inducing restaurant requirement. We need to fix this problem right now by legislating my tastes into the city code!

I have a better idea - if you don't like bars that don't serve food, don't go to one. I think the city did a smart thing limiting the number of bar only establishments lest they take over the city but eliminating them completely would not be good for downtown or Lawrence in general. Student nightlife is part of college towns, and the fact is, most students don't care about crappy bar food. If you don't like it, you are welcome to move to a thriving metropolis without a university like Ottawa or Tonganoxie.

August 14, 2013 at 10:24 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Douglas County drug investigation seizes $1 million in meth from Mexican drug cartel

FDR ended alcohol smuggling pretty quickly after he got into office...

August 6, 2013 at 10:37 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Douglas County drug investigation seizes $1 million in meth from Mexican drug cartel

I really doubt many KU students use meth (though I'm sure a few do). Adderall is almost the same drug, however, and is wildly used. I know plenty of people who have damaged their brains doing the stuff and think it's fine because they went to a doctor, said they were distracted in class, and got a prescription.

August 6, 2013 at 10:04 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

100 years ago: Paper mill accident sends flywheel flying

I suppose it depends on whether the wheel was solid or spoked and how thick it was. A 6" solid steel wheel with a diameter of 6.5' would contain about 10.2 cubic feet of steel, which would weigh 5,103 lb (steel having a density of about 500 lb/ft^3).

I doubt the wheel was actually solid, but at given that density figure you would only need one cubic foot of steel to weigh 500lb, so the chunk could be fairly small.

August 5, 2013 at 5:29 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

City renews threat of eminent domain at dilapidated East Lawrence property

That may have been the old definition of eminent domain, but it's not the law in the United States anymore:

July 26, 2013 at 2:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Parking progress

According to the 2013 city budget the assertion that the costs of the parking department exceed the resources available (receipts plus previous balances) is false and has been false for the last four years (and probably more, that's the only data in the 2013 budget).

In addition, the parking department is responsible for part of the landscaping and planters on Massachusetts street and therefore has two staff members related to that, so they do more than just enforce the meters. If I'm reading the budget correctly, the Parking Department also pays for three police officers who do a lot more than just enforce parking violations, too.

July 26, 2013 at 2:33 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

City renews threat of eminent domain at dilapidated East Lawrence property

I bet if your neighbor abandoned his house with fifteen old cars in is back yard you would be the first yelling at the city to do something about it.

July 26, 2013 at 2:07 p.m. ( | suggest removal )