Ban Westword's most prolific (and divisive) commenter? That's an impossible dream
"Patty C. is so out of touch and over-the-hill that she buys into the pretend anonymity nonsense... or even the entire absurd pretense of reviewing dispensaries, by a recreational stoner pretending to be a medical patient." Yes, DonkeyHotay is back at the keyboard, commenting again, and again, and again.
The comment above appeared on a post about our pot critic being "outed" as a long-gone New York Times food critic. But it was hardly the only one on which DonkeyHotay weighed in.
Every morning we read through the hundreds of comments left on the previous day's Latest Word posts, to make sure they conform to our very liberal (not surprising, you say?) comment policy. That policy bans spam, commercial messages and libel, and asks commentators to generally stick to the topic. Otherwise, though, we give readers pretty free rein to exercise their free-speech rights. We are reluctant to censor/purge comments unless they violate our rules, and we are even more reluctant to ban commenters altogether.
But inevitably, we find comments similar to this message sent last week by Matt.
I am an avid reader of your website. I love keeping up to date on current marijuana events. I used to love reading other readers' comments. This has changed, however. Every time I read comments all I see is Donkey posting comments calling people idiots stupid morons etc. etc. He/she doesn't like regulation -- we get it -- but there is no need to get so personal with people when they comment on something he doesn't like. He is like a spoiled child that doesn't get his way and throws a hissy fit. It's getting very old and making me consider getting my news somewhere else. Please put a stop to his nonstop insults. Thanks for your time.
We understand that DonkeyHotay's comments can get irritating. And we wish he'd leave off the personal insults, too -- particularly when he calls a woman a "cunt." (Really? We're not past that yet?) But unlike many people who leave comments on our site, DonkeyHotay actually reads the stories -- even if he disagrees with them. And he reads stories all over the site. For example, after our story on director Quentin Tarantino and the making of Django Unchanged, he left this:
The worst part of Tarantino's flicks is his insistence on stepping in front of the camera. He SUCKS as an actor...worse than Nicolas Cage.... Write, Direct and let the PROFESSIONALS do the acting, Quentin.
And after our post on the number of ski deaths this year, Donkey left this:
The Ski Industry must have hired Donald Rumsfeld to do the body counting
Those are fair -- and funny -- comments, and worth sharing with readers. So while we encourage DonkeyHotay to refrain from personal insults about other commenters (Westword editors are fair game), we don't plan to ban the Donkey. Nor do we plan to ban Corey Donahue (no matter how many times he calls us Wasteword), or any of the other regulars who regularly incur the ire of readers with their energetic enjoyment of the First Amendment.
If you don't like what you see, there's one easy solution: Skip the comments. Or learn to appreciate them, as DgoJoe has:
Ahhh...poor DonkeyHotay, losing the war on some drugs and just can't accept it.
Too bad, so sad. His continuing delusional rants are quite entertaining though, I must say. Write something else.... We need a good laugh!
So true...especially for out of touch editors.