When Blogs Become a Weapon to Shut Down Free Speech

vh--the_pnpBlogs were supposed to be a means that enabled every person to exercise their right to free speech which is guaranteed in the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. Hurrah! Everyone now had a way to give the world their two cents no matter who liked it or not. Predictably, this created a free-for-all media atmosphere. On the positive side, it allows voices to be heard that wouldn’t have been heard before. On the negative side, it allows hate and racism to flourish without censure.

In December of 2007, with little thought of free speech issue, I began my blog, Pasadena New Progressive, motivated by a burning desire to report on issues newspapers weren’t adequately reporting. For instance, frequent stories on problems in the largely minority Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) but barely any coverage of the sizeable accomplishments of individual schools and their students. I surveyed the local Pasadena blogosphere. The extent and ferocity of the racism and hate speech stunned and alarmed me. I would open people’s eyes.

My blog made media watch its central focus. Concerned friends warned me against criticizing the press. But surely blogs were the perfect vehicle for publicly looking at and critiquing the job that newspapers were doing. I pressed on.

What could stop me? What I didn’t foresee was that blogs could be set up for the sole purpose of harassing another blog.

Trolls (internet troublemakers) were a fact of life from the minute I opened my blog. One of my key issues was the virulent racism and extremism on the local blogs and considerable effort was extended from the get-go on the local Pasadena blogsphere to discredit me. Vulgar personal attacks started flooding in. I moderated comments to keep out the worst of the abuse.

Then, and I could hardly believe it, I was attacked for challenging the blogger’s right to free speech. Twenty years ago, anyone who defended extremism or racism would not have been tolerated. But times have changed. People have become hardened to hate-speech and largely indifferent to it. Even liberals were not ready to condemn hate-speech on the internet. They saw it as an infringement on civil liberties.

vh_virginia_hoge_newer_pI had minimal support from either the left or the right. I also knew that the local press would not welcome criticism of their biased reporting and investigations into their less than transparent practices. Still I soldiered on, there was so much to report. The extremism wasn’t only on the local blogs. Some of the worst racism appeared on a few Pasadena Star News blogs. The Pasadena Weekly (our “alternative” weekly) was no better. They gave a popular right-wing troll who frequently posted racist comments and attacked liberals on his blog, his own column in their newspaper and published his profane letters. They also secured a job for him at CityBeat LA, their sister paper.

The first blog launched to attack my blog came a year and a half after I opened the Pasadena New Progressive. I had spoken at the public forum of a Monday night city council meeting asking the council to consider opening an investigation into the association of this troll with the Pasadena press. I knew the meetings were filmed, still it was shock when I first saw the Pasadena Newer Progressive blog.

Authored by a troll named “Carolina Logue” the blog was built on Blogger to exactly match the look of my blog. It used the same fonts and colors and even provided the same links. There I was on the top post standing behind the podium of Monday night’s council meeting. The troll had made a YouTube video of my speech, and posted it.

The blog opened with posts in place which mocked the issues on my blog. I was ridiculed for articles I wrote in support of John Muir High School, for my admiration of Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King! They also lifted content, comments and images, from my blog and re-posted them at random. The blog was “live”. As I wrote new posts (I posted once a day), the trolls would lift my content minutes after I had published it. My content was skewed and re-posted on the sham blog. I was also “trolled” (trolls sending in frequent harassing comments) day and night.

vh_ann_erdmanThe trolls were energetic. They would also disrupt my blog by stealing my commentator’s names, and write in comments under their names. My contributors were confused, annoyed and resentful. Comments were being posted in their names that they did not write! The trolls intent was to scare away my support. It worked.

Most alarmingly, Ann Erdman, Chief Public Information Officer for the City of Pasadena (who was the subject of an investigation on my blog into her association with trolls) removed the link for my blog, the Pasadena New Progressive, from her official list of Pasadena blogs and in its place inserted a link to the sham blog, the Pasadena Newer Progressive. She also commented and was photographed on it several times. Part of the sham blog’s content was written in her defense.

I followed every option available to me to stop this unethical attack. I filed a compliant with Blogger. I attempted to file a police report, but was turned down and told to find a lawyer. I knew the local press would not cover this. I had been writing exposes about the press for years. I was starting to realize that my options were few to none.

And then Blogger came through, and after about 10 days, the Pasadena Newer Progressive blog was removed. But the trolls weren’t to be stopped. Three days after the removal they launched a second attack blog, Pasadena’s Newd Progressive.

The Pasadena’s Newd Progressive was lewder and cruder than the first attack blog. It was openly authored by Dianne Patrizzi, who also goes by her blogging name Miss Havisham. Patrizzi prominently pictured herself on several of the posts, and signed her name to her written “commentary”. She lifted original drawings from my blog, tampered with them in Photoshop and reposted them. She also created a drawing, in the same medium I use – white pencil on black paper – that was so lewd that Blogger posted an advisory on the the blog. They would not, however, delete it.

vh_newd_progressiveA few days after the Pasadena’s Newd Progressive was launched, a third internet attack was published against my blog. A troll created the first of what was to be eventually 15 Pasadena Star News Topix attack forums. The first Topix forum, ironically named “Who controls free speech in Pasadena?”, also lifted content from my blog, including comments and commentator names, and re-posted them as comments on the forum in the Pasadena Star News Topix forums. Using different salacious names, the troll would post serial malicious comments, creating sham forums that were often pages long. Filing complaint after complaint I fought tooth and nail with Topix to remove these forums. Eventually the forum would be removed, but only after days and days of filing complaints. And then the troll would simply launch another.

It became impossible to keep my blog open. Their verbal abuse had become a form of torture. I was suffering headaches, sleeplessness, lack of appetite and severe stress from their attacks.

Several huge questions are raised by what has happened to my blog. First and foremost, why was free speech allowed to be shut down in Pasadena?

There are serious legal issues also. Was everything the trolls did to my blog “legal”? If so, every single blog in the country is in jeopardy. If what they did was not legal, how are trolls to be stopped when they don’t use their real names? Perhaps even more important, how can their behind-the-scenes supporters be held accountable? Do trolls who work around the clock get paid? If so by who? Also, should forums like the Pasadena Star News Topix forums be held accountable for allowing attack forums to be launched? For allowing trolls to post stolen content? Should Blogger be held accountable for allowing attack blogs to be launched?

virginia_hoge.gif

Most importantly, from my point of view, what protection does the law offer a blogger who faces internet attacks from unknown persons?

I look forward to the day where there is protection in place for my free speech and I can safely re-open my blog.

Virginia Hoge

Published by the LA Progressive on October 10, 2009
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Comments

  1. South Lake says:

    Your site has been censored by yourself. You are free to open it up at any time. This site becomes increasingly illegitimate as this post continues to exist.

    If everyone posted an entry about people who disagree, detract or even bash them on the internet we would have to create a whole new internet.

    Lock the comments now as the trolls will smell blood in the blogging waters. any reasonable postings offered by commenters will become canceled out.

    A professional and organized site such as this should not tolerate such insolance.

  2. Pasadena Observer says:

    I am confused……….

    I have said no such thing. Nor can any of my previous statements be construed to advocate anything other than the speedy return of the Pasadena New Progressive.

    Good luck.

  3. Virginia Hoge says:

    To summarize, lets do a quick list of what is “acceptable” under Pasadena observer’s concept of internet free speech (i.e. no censorship) on today’s blogsphere:

    Racism

    Hate

    Sadism

    Liberal-bashing

    Pornography

    Blackmail

    Censorship (my blog has been censored)

    (pinch me if I’m wrong, but to me, none of the above are acceptable. What has happened to make them so?)

  4. Virginia Hoge says:

    The radical right came colorfully packaged to the Pasadena blogsphere and they gave me a lot to write about on the PNP.

    The trolls introduced themselves as “Liberals” and some even came in costume. One wore full Goth regalia (including black eyeliner), another (Dianne herself) came as Miss Havisham’s Tea Party, a quirky Dickens-based character (yes, the one who goes mad).

    Carolina Logue, author of the Pasadena Newer Progressive blog, came packaged as a vintage 1950′s red-head.

    (this is Hollywood, after-all)

    The trolls enveloped themselves in the Pasadena blogsphere and would throw out “cover up” sometimes. Like the time a troll came up with the idea of forming a “blogging charity” called: Blog With Integrity. (yet more stupefying clumsiness)

    I had a field day on the PNP with that one, and suggested the trolls form an ad agency called “Blog With Integrity, the Agency”. I wrote up a press release for them:

    “We do marketing that sells. Specifically, our agency is an expert at market research, trend-spotting, and insight-mining. We perform upshot blogging, integrated marketing and consumer behavior twisting, promotional blogs – designed, produced and delivered. (No questions asked)” — Pasadena New Progressive excerpt, 11/5/09

    But even though the trolls claimed to be liberals, on the worst of their blogs (they each had several), they would spew racism, hate (against public schools etc. etc.) and liberal-bashing.

    Beating up on liberals was, apparently, a spectator sport on the blogsphere. A sport that was/is tolerated.

    And WHY could all the liberals tolerate this “sport”? because, as Observer says, this is what comes with no internet censorship. We need to accept this as the “down side” of the great liberties free speech gives us. (or does it?)

    He and much of the rest of the “liberal” press, have been promoting this idea for years.

    (making sadism ok? and worse, providing an example – i.e. “teaching” it?)

  5. Virginia Hoge says:

    I had a couple of clarifications to my article to add.

    (I am going to ignore the trolls who, of course, have made their appearance. Now LA progressives get to meet them too.)

    One is to note that in one of the Topix attack forums built by a troll, the troll hacked my username, and posted three comments as “me” (complete with my real full name, Virginia Hoge, AND picture).

    It took Topix 3 days to remove this post (!!), after I filed complaint after complaint. I think this needs looking into, for the safety of the usernames of ALL Topix bloggers. (this is so unethical)

    Secondly, while it was the racism that was the “red flag” that drew me to report on the trolls and their blogs on the Pasadena New Progressive, it was/is the accompanying extremism and extreme deviousness, that also, needs looking into.

    The radical right is Real (all liberals know that), and these trolls are using the same lack of ethics in their attack tactics on me and my blog.

    I don’t know why Observer is defending them, but he is not to be trusted.

  6. South Lake says:

    Not one person is saying you deserve anything you get. You used to be a role model for the community. Sure your bitterness toward Rene Amy was juvenile but you have taken the cake when it comes to wild accusations. You are making our city look bad.

    I did nothing to attack you yet per your usual reactions in Pasadena and now seen for the whole greater Los Angeles area you put me in the same group with your detractors and trolls.

    When you go to city council forums and read off two year old statements by people who no longer have any semblance where we live is taking it to the extreme. Holding a city accountable for comments made on the PS-N website is going to the extreme. The proof is in the youtube pudding

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k9KlL6Fksk

    You have deleted posts where you conjure up some type of Masonic hierarchy among Pasadena elite and average run of the mill bloggers.

    Your libelous accusations toward innocent bystanders are all over the Internet. Just do a Google search.

    A reputable and popular website like LA Progressive needs not poison its waters with this Glenn Beck style gloom and doom.

    WebMD also says you may be have a clinical case of paranoia

    http://www.depression-guide.com/paranoia.htm

    Symptoms of Paranoia
    The main symptom is permanent delusion. It should be kept in mind that there is delusion in schizophrenia also but in that case it is not permanent or organized. In paranoia the symptoms of delusion appear gradually, and the patient is sentimental, suspicious, irritable, introverted, depressed, obstinate, jealous, selfish, unsocial and bitter. Hence his social and family adjustment is not desirable, and while he has the highest desirable, the effort that he is prepared to expend is correspondingly little. Here the person does not acknowledge his own failures or faults, and by sometimes accepting certain qualities as belonging to himself, even when imaginary, he develops paranoia.

    The “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”, fourth edition (DSM-IV), the US manual of the mental health professional; lists the following symptoms for paranoid personality disorder:

    preoccupied with unsupported doubts about friends or associates
    suspicious; unfounded suspicions; believes others are plotting against him/her
    perceives attacks on his/her reputation that are not clear to others, and is quick to counterattack
    maintains unfounded suspicions regarding the fidelity of a spouse or significant other
    reads negative meanings into innocuous remarks
    reluctant to confide in others due to a fear that information may be used against him/her
    Kinds of paranoia
    Persecutory paranoia – This is the most prevalent type of paranoia, and in this patient makes himself believe that all those around him are his enemies, bent on harming him or even taking his life. In this delusion people of an aggressive temperament often turns dangerous killers.
    Delusion of Grandeur – In this patient believes himself to be, a great individual, and according to Bleuler, this delusion of grandeur accompanies a persecutory delusion.
    Religious paranoia – Here the patients suffer from a permanent delusion of a primarily religious nature. He for example believes, that he is the messenger of God who has been sent to the world to propagate some religion.
    Reformatory paranoia – In this the patient turns to considering himself a great reformer. He accordingly looks upon all those around him. As suffering from dangerous disease, and believes that he is their reformer and curator.
    Erotic paranoia – Here the patient often tends to believe that some members of the family of the opposite sex, belonging to an illustrious family, want to marry him. Such people even write love letters and there by, cause much botheration to other people.
    Litigious paranoia – In this kind the patient takes to feeling meaningless cases against other people and feels that people are linked together to bother him. Sometimes he, even tries to murder.
    Hypochondrical paranoia – In this kind the patients believes that he is suffering from all kind of ridiculous diseases, and also that some other people are to blame for his suffering.

    Paranoid personality is a disorder which is distinguished by extreme doubt, dishonesty and unfriendliness with people.
    It causes problem in personal life and close contacts.
    Bad experiences in the past and fearful incidents are the root causes of the paranoid personality.
    Patient with this disorder must go through psychotherapy.
    Get knowledge about this disorder and do not miss therapy sitting.
    Yoga and acupuncture methods are useful to control paranoid personality.

  7. Dianne Patrizzi says:

    Dear Sharon Kyle & Dick Price,

    The credibility of LAprogressive.com is greatly undermined by your decision to publish Virginia Hoge drivel and defamation. She is a graduate cum laude from the same school of “journalism” as Lou Dobbs. Don’t make the same mistake CNN has with Dobbs by giving this woman yet another platform to promote her personal bitter vindictive agenda by vaingloriously declaring she is anti-racist. She ignores real racism and the effects of it. She seeks to disparage activist in our community that have the ability to influence positive reform and change.

    “The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

  8. Poster boy says:

    Once something is posted on the net one has no idea where it may end up. If one wants complete control of their writings perhaps it is best they don’t blog.

    When I was in boarding school the only thing of real value I learned from the padres was never put anything in writing that you don’t want to see published in the next day’s paper.

    Nowadays don’t put anything in writing that you don’t want to see cut and pasted all over the net. Or one can just learn to deal with it.

    Trying to control anything on the net is impossible and incredibly fatiguing.

  9. Virginia Hoge says:

    and to Observer:

    Unethical attack tactics (like the creation of full attack blogs and forums) are not covered by your original desire expressed in your first comment,

    for the complete lack of “censorship” on the internet.

    Or are they?

    (how convenient for those who wish to shut down free speech and push dubious agendas)

  10. Virginia Hoge says:

    Observer, I think you glass is “foggy”. Let me clear things up for you.

    I took down my blog to stop the trolls from lifting my content including:

    my original writing, original comments by myself and others, commentator name’s (original, not the troll’s) and original artwork.

    I was also being “trolled” day and night.

    The “straw that broke the camel’s back” was when the troll lifted my original drawing, grossly tampered with it in Photoshop, and re-posted it, along with my original post which said “don’t take this artwork”.

    Pure lack of ethics such as this, forced me to close my blog.

    I call this “shut down by force”.

  11. Pasadena observer says:

    To South Lake

    A very generous and concise assessment without delving into the minutia.

    The point That needs to be understood by the folks who take an interest in this thread is that the protagonist took down her own blog. Whether out of a fit of pique or cry for help or in the vain hope of teaching someone a “lesson”.

    I hope it will return soon.

  12. Virginia Hoge says:

    to Kerry:

    You are right!!

    I see a Book and a Movie and an Opera,

    to be made out of all this madness one day.

  13. Virginia Hoge says:

    to South Lake:

    I knew this was coming. This has been the standard line of “defense” presented by the Pasadena blogsphere:

    that I made the trolls angry and therefore deserve what I get.

    First of all, I reported on the trolls when they had racist content and liberal-bashing on their blogs. I also reported when political figures were hanging around with them a little too much, publicly, for all to see.

    If this is called “troll baiting”, then so be it.

    My right to free speech includes calling out what I find wrong. I find over-the-top racism and extremism on blogs wrong.

    It breaks apart the fabric of our community. And what were the political figures getting involved for? (and why were their right-wing agendas being met?).

    They were/are welcome to defend themselves on their blogs.

    I wrote about lots of other media on my blog other than trolls and their blogs. Blogs are Media. This was the central issue of my blog.

    But in no way, shape or form, did I “deserve” the unethical, cruel and severe harassment I and my blog have received (am receiving).

    This is clearly an attempt to shut me down because, as you have admitted, they (and you) don’t like what I was saying.

    I find it very sad, how much I have been battered on the blogsphere,

    for saying racism is wrong.

  14. Virginia Hoge says:

    to Observer: Sorry, Observer, you’ll have to find that one for yourself. I could care less to see the “latest” attack on myself and my blog.

    And you didn’t answer my question, but to answer yours, if this is what we are “left” with (the only protection for our original material that exists is DMCA),

    then we are in a very, very sorry state, as bloggers.

    Our original work is in danger. (DMCA was so ineffective, they mistakenly deleted the wrong art, but thats another story).

    Also what puzzles me here is that you appear to be making rationalizations for the theft and re-posting of original material lifted from my blog.

    Correct me if I’m wrong.

  15. South Lake says:

    I will perface my comment with the statement that I am not a progressive, liberal or conservative. I am not a fan of politics (I did vote and donate money to Obama). I do like to know what goes on in my community. I have been following this Virginia situation closely for the past two or three years. The same amount of time it has been annoying most regular people in the Pasadena blogging community.

    First things first. Virginia it took a lot of courage for you to post this and your openness about the situation seems to be far from your cries of help posted on the Internet some months ago.

    Secondly I feel this is the most mature posting I’ve ever seen from you. Given that it is on another website and some years after most people stopped caring I hope you’ve come to some type of epiphany. Either that or you had lawyers or police or someone tell you what libel was, as I see several of the usual names you mention omitted. Well done.

    I think you have the right to say whatever you want to say and not have your opinions infringed upon by the trolls. What you have done for public schools is nothing short of amazing. I hope you can somehow move on from this self-proclaimed troll cancer you’re plagued with and do good things for the community.

    Because with all due respect Virginia there are two sides to every story.

    I will not point out all of the factual incorrections in your article since they would be very obvious to anyone immeresed in the blog land and living in Pasadena reading this. That would most likely be the only people doing so.

    It is quite telling how you leave out the parts where you accused public officials of paying bloggers to harass you.

    You also left out the part how when you were challenged to post any evidence of this you refused to.

    You fail to mention your blood feud with some immature blogger ended when that person moved out of town a year and a half ago. You continued to revisit this disagreement, one that nobody else cared about months and months after it happened. It reminds me of the Rush Limbaughites who still bring up Rev. Wright.

    The most important omission is that you continued these actions after troll numero uno left town. You directed your anger and accusations to people having nothing to do with your issues with that gentleman.

    You also left and right accused Pasadena city officials of shutting down your blog. Nobody told you to take your website off of the net. For someone who continues to yell fire in a crowded theater it could be you yourself that is walking the fine line between opinion and libel.

    It’s like that old saying If you can’t take the heat…

    As annoying and childish as some of these trolls have been toward you, you do not help your case in any way with borderline libelous and generally out of line statements.

    Something so simple to solve has proven to muddle itself into a hurricane caused and controlled by you. Pasadena is no more a city of right wing racists than Knott’s Berry Farm is a place one would go to purchase power tools. It is a disservice to the community by portraying it as some refuge for right wing extremists.

    I sincerely hope you find some type of inner peace. I dare I say we as Pasadenans hope this letter of yours closes the chapter of mostly over the top fiction fueled by you and 2 or 3 annoying troll bugs.

  16. Excellent story, very clearly stated. An unfortunate experience for someone who is so obviously committed to helping her community.

    Perhaps you need a broader, more supportive environment for all of your energy, Virginia.

    Is it a book or public office?

    K.

  17. Virginia Hoge says:

    Speaking of racism, look at the screen shot of the Pasadena Newer Progressive blog. There sits Ann Erdman (Pasadena’s public “information” officer) who, in a stunningly clumsy attempt, appears to be seeking (with the help of the troll) to “clear” herself of charges of supporting trolls who put racism on their blogs.

    How is this accomplished? The troll mocks none other than Jackie Robinson, Pasadena’s legendary civil rights leader (later on in the text it says something like “Virginia thinks we should all get down and kneel at at Jackie Robinson’s memorial”,

    and the very person who broke baseball’s color barrier (!!) and spent his life in service to his conscience.

    If I didn’t write one word, this image says it “all” about the level of racial insensitivity that exists today.

  18. Virginia Hoge says:

    to Devlin: Trolling in one thing, having trolls build entire attack blogs, designed to match one’s blog, a “live” blog which steals content as it is posted, no, this is something much more dangerous.

    This also points to the possible help of corrupt power to do so. I did not “encourage” the trolls who have attacked me and shut down my blog, they had plenty of initiative and motive, to do so on their own.

    And yes, my free speech has been shut down by them.

    to John: I did file every complaint open to me and that includes DMCA complaints. I have followed ISP addresses as well.

    There are very (alarmingly) few options to those facing attacks like I have, because this is all “new” and the internet is unregulated.

    Filing complaints will not take down attack blogs, it did take down the Topix attack forums but only after days and days,

    and then the trolls just built new ones.

    And racism is not something I believe should be tolerated, I know that many believe otherwise,

    but to me, this is a poison to our common humanity.

  19. Pasadena Observer says:

    Interesting post John.

    Can DMCA be invoked if….

    Content is Parodic?

    Content is not copyrighted?

    Text is attributed to originating site?

    Just wondering.

    Virginia,

    “I have heard the “lastest” is that one of them has posted an attack forum on Facebook, what will they think of next? ”

    Do you know the name of the FB page? I tried to view it but couldn’t find it.

  20. Honestly, I am not sure where to start. First, I guess I have to say, I’m not a troll. I just stumbled onto your website for the first time today. I consider myself to be a liberal on most issues, and maybe can shed a little light on why you don’t seem to be getting the response you expected from us.

    You proclaim your right to free speech, and yet in the same paragraph call for “hate sites” and pornography to be shut down? What about their right to speech? I truly consider that by itself to be more dangerous than the sum total of all hate sites on the web today. Your claim that hate speech in the world is not tolerated is simply incorrect. The Ku Klux Klan alone holds a rally somewhere in the US almost every week. Rightly, these events don’t get a lot of coverage, but they do happen.
    The problem with your position is, who judges? If I say that black people have a higher rate of heart disease, that is okay. But if I say that black people are using more than their share of health care services in this country, is that hate speech?
    In all the world every person is entitled to their opinion. In large parts of the world they have the right to express that opinion freely. You do not have to listen, read, or agree with them, but you do not have the right to take that away.

    As for the trolls, the problem you have with them is because you engage with them. You play the game according to the rules that they have set, and seem surprised that they are winning. I haven’t looked at the sites you are talking about, but if they are lifting your artwork and comments, then send them a takedown notice under the DMCA, and cc their ISP. I can almost guarantee that web site will be down before the day is over. No ISP is going to risk losing their safe harbor provision and a $250,000 fine because the allegation might not be true. There are a lot of options to stop this kind of thing. Try fighting with the weapons available to you instead of whining about how everbody is mean to you.

  21. “They gave a popular right-wing troll who frequently posted racist comments and attacked liberals on his blog, his own column in their newspaper and published his profane letters. They also secured a job for him at CityBeat LA, their sister paper.”

    You need to get the definition of a troll. Your not a troll if your on your own blog. You are if you are on others blog just to cause mayhem and disruption.

    An annoyance(struggling to keep it clean here) yes, a troll no…
    You fed into them by complaining everytime they did something instead of ignoring them which seems to have much better results and doesn’t make you look like a whiner.

    As to free speech. If you want your right to free speech, you must recognize others have the same right whether or not you like what they are saying. That is why although I disagree with the racists and the like I can’t deny them to say what they want if I am to expect the same rights. When you start limiting speech you start picking away everyones ability to exercise that right.

    I’m sorry but you seem like a whiner. Who did everything wrong when it came to someone harrassing them about their blog. I’ve been on the net since it became public and have had my fair share of run in’s with people like that. If they get no reaction after a bit they go bother someone who will react.

  22. Virginia Hoge says:

    One more point, regarding the first image of me at the lecturn,

    is it Legal for a person to have their city council public comment used as a tool of scorn on the internet? (this YouTube video was posted more than once)

    Shouldn’t I have at least signed a release?

    How do you feel about this, Observer?

  23. Virginia Hoge says:

    And to address your first point, Observer,

    as I wrote in my article, a key problem I have had with my blog (in getting my message out that there is WAY too much extremism and racism in our local media) is that,

    I hit this wall with Liberals, who had become staunch advocates of “Free Speech” meaning ANY speech, Racism and pornography included, was tolerable.

    This is, frankly, nuts!!

    Racism is never tolerable and most of all, by Liberals??

    How did the advance of the internet with its promises of “Gardens of Eden” of unlimited bans on “censorship”…

    become so adaptable, to being used as a tool for hate?

    This must change.

  24. Virginia Hoge says:

    Observer:

    I know very well about avoiding trolls. But these trolls are above and beyond, in terms of their lack of ethics.

    We cannot allow these/their practices to continue, they are very, very dangerous for the entire blogsphere, and not just my blog.

    I have heard the “lastest” is that one of them has posted an attack forum on Facebook, what will they think of next?

    They are manipulating the “arts” of the blog/communication device, to a very devious end.

    This is not your average troll.

  25. Marlene K. says:

    Virginia had the most interesting blog in Pasadena. She was one of the only blogs there even attempting to provide original reporting and investigative work. This is a blight on the Pasadena blogsphere and I sincerely wish, for Virginia’s and Pasadena’s sake, this can be resolved.

  26. Pasadeniana says:

    A nice summary of the past events.

  27. Pasadena Observer says:

    I think that part of the problem was the the perception that the PNP was an advocate for censorship on the net. There tends to be a knee jerk reaction against any form of constraint on free speech on the web.

    I hope that the PNP is resumed soon, with proper controls and perhaps user registration you may effectively keep cyber vandals off your site. Also you may choose your fights, don’t let every troll with a keyboard bait you into a confrontation, they are pathetic, have nothing better to do with their time and they enjoy it.

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  1. [...] story: Cam the Tomato King, Chef King Walter and over the barricades Virginia Hoge once occupied a loft across the loading dock from mine. I shared space with Twin Spirits Ruth and [...]

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