Updates from September, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 14:19 on 2012/09/16 Permalink | Reply  

    Some tabs I’ve saved for later: Canada’s totalitarian shift – a trend that isn’t limited to Canada, if you consider how conservatives have been killing off the liberal arts.

    You can’t comment on Gazette stories now unless you have a Facebook account which are, the Gazette reassures us, free. We worry about government prying into our privacy but most of us blithely permit media conglomerates open house on our identity and thoughts. Bad move, Gazette.

    The municipal affairs ministry is clamping down on unpaid taxes by religious groups. In Quebec, considering the vast numbers of convents, churches and other Catholic institutions around the place, that doesn’t seem too surprising, but neither does the flinch when you see that the organization being clamped is a Muslim school.

    The feds are financing English-language instruction in schools. Not sure whether this is absolutely normal, or a huge scandal.

    A small group demonstrated Saturday for voting reforms to make our parliaments more directly representational. Good luck, considering it’s rarely if ever in the interest of ruling parties to make these reforms.

     
    • Josh 15:07 on 2012/09/16 Permalink

      To be fair to the Gazette, it looks like this move was made at all/most Postmedia papers. The Gazette may not have had a choice.

    • Kate 15:19 on 2012/09/16 Permalink

      Bad move, Postmedia.

    • AJ 16:15 on 2012/09/16 Permalink

      I wonder if there’s now room for a properly done, noncommercial or at least foundation-supported, open-source identity repository, controlled by users. Something like Gravatar (which already has traction thanks to it being part of Automattic, makers of WordPress) but with granular, extended permissions. OAuth would be part of it, maybe OpenID or the Eclipse Higgins project… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgins_project

    • William 16:58 on 2012/09/16 Permalink

      I’m glad Postmedia made this move and I hope it’s adopted everywhere. Too many people hide behind anonymity as an excuse to write vile trash on the internet – the kind they would never have the balls to say to someone’s face.

    • Singlestar 17:40 on 2012/09/16 Permalink

      The Federal government subsidizes all the provinces – and has for decades – for second language and minority language instruction. Quebec – PQ and Liberal governments alike – receives money to cover the additional costs of teaching English in French schools, and for operating a second English school network. All the other provinces receives the same for teaching French and for French schools. The money is turned over to the provinces.

      http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/lo-ol/entente-agreement/education/qc/05-09Entente-Education-Quebec-eng.pdf

    • steph 17:58 on 2012/09/16 Permalink

      Wasn’t Pauline Marois clear that teaching young kids English in french schools might burden them from their french learning, but English kids need to learn french asap to integrate into the Quebec culture easily.

    • Ian 05:32 on 2012/09/17 Permalink

      So we snipe at the paper news media for not being internet-savvy, but when they try to build social media integration, we complain. Oh what to do. At least they’re not forcing us to install their app to view links from Facebook like the Guardian UK. Come down to it, just because you sign in via FB doesn’t mean the Gazoo has access to any of your info. You can, as a Facebook user, strictly set your permissions to be pretty much invisible to anyone outside of your immediate circle of friends – so all a stranger would see is your a/s/l an your profile picture/timeline cover. Real faces to news comments, though – not such a bad idea. Maybe it would make the CBC comments section less cringeworthy.

    • Chris 07:36 on 2012/09/17 Permalink

      Ian, but facebook can change its sharing policies at any time, as it has done many times.

      Also, people can just create anonymous facebook accounts, just like they created anonymous Gazette accounts.

    • Kevin 08:14 on 2012/09/17 Permalink

      Have you read Gazette comments? They had to shut them down 2 years because people were vile.

    • Kate 08:23 on 2012/09/17 Permalink

      I’ve been on the internet a long time.

      In the days when many people wrote under pseudonyms, there was some trolling and abuse, but there was also an air of freedom and playfulness that I miss. I think we risk losing a lot when we force people to pin everything down to their real identity. If everything we ever post or write were instantly searchable by potential employers (let alone potential spouses), it would be a very different and duller web. @William’s comment suggests he would prefer a web mostly useful to minds in suits.

      In Canada, we are still not required to carry ID if we’re out and about on our own feet. I don’t see why we should be required to present verified ID to say a few words on the internet.

    • Kevin 09:19 on 2012/09/17 Permalink

      When the internet was exclusive to people who knew what they were doing you had a point.
      Nowadays anonymity is mostly an excuse for people to quickly descend to Youtube’s FUckyyou A$$wipe level of discourse. As a moderator it is fatiguing to continually be training the incoming noobs about general civility.

      Second point: You won’t be sued for walking around town. Current law says that companies are responsible (ie they can be sued) for comments that appear on their site. The law may be an ass, but it’s the law.

    • Tux 09:31 on 2012/09/17 Permalink

      @Kevin – You’re dead wrong. Anonymity is what makes the internet the most powerful tool for social change and cultural exchange. When speaking out against the government, dominant cultural/religious norms, dishonest businesses or political figures… anonymity is essential. There have always been noobs and trolls and there always will be, there are more of them now, but as the connected population grows we have an opportunity to develop new ways to manage hostile commenters, and also to develop new forms of communication and governance. Tying what is said online to a real person makes it extremely easy to crack down on dissenting speech, which if you look at the world’s cultural condition right now you will see is just a TERRIBLE idea.

      As for websites being sued for what their commenters post… that is a bug in the law that needs to be fixed, and is a very poor justification for tying real identities to online commentary.

    • Kate 10:01 on 2012/09/17 Permalink

      Tux said here what I’d failed to say. I agree with him.

    • William 12:27 on 2012/09/17 Permalink

      Your snippy answer neglects the fact that there are many venues for expressing oneself anonymously on the Internet, including, in fact, by creating a fake Facebook account, as many people do. There’s no reason for a corporation to carry unsigned trashtalk.

    • Tux 13:29 on 2012/09/17 Permalink

      William: I’m not saying there aren’t ways to be anonymous online, I’m saying that there’s a demonstrable value in being anonymous, especially with news sites and other public fora where the issues of the day are debated. Creating a fake facebook account is by no means a solution – it is against the TOS to create fake Facebook accounts and they are regularly deleted. Besides which, Facebook uses all the information you give it (that includes what you post) to build a profile about you. Basically, Facebook hates anonymity since they make their money marketing information about people and their relationships to corporations. Facebook is not a safe place to register a commenting account if you’re politically controversial.

    • Kevin 13:29 on 2012/09/17 Permalink

      @Tux
      “as the connected population grows we have an opportunity to develop new ways to manage hostile commenters”
      BUSINESS PLAN!

      IN all seriousness, your comments are so wrong it’s scary. No meaningful social change has ever been accomplished by people who are not willing to show their faces.

      Can you imagine Martin Luther King standing up wearing a Guy Fawkes mask?
      Gandhi? Nelson Mandela? Rosa Parks?
      Picture the Stonewall riots with a bunch of guys wearing masks. It is to laugh.

      Commenting online is a way to feel good about oneself, but as protests around the world, including #ggi and our election showed, being online is meaningless without showing up on your feet.

      That being said — commenting online has *always* been under the same rules as apply everywhere else: free speech is only for those who can afford a printing press. Until recently MSM was unwilling to allow the masses the opportunity to comment anywhere other than a letters to the editor section. Now they’re inviting the masses in and finding out that they are frequently insulting, so it’s no surprise they’re coming up with new rules.

      Anyone wanting to be a jerk will always have 4chan.

    • Tux 13:54 on 2012/09/17 Permalink

      @Kevin Real dialogs have taken place, ideas have been exchanged, and people’s minds influenced and changed by what they view online. Just get on Tumblr and look at the dialogs emerging about sexuality and personal identity. They’re pretty much all anonymous and yet they’re profoundly influencing the academic study of sexuality. (I cite academia since the mere influence of hearts and minds seems not to meet your criteria for ‘meaningful change’) Add to that the special interest communities of like-minded people online that give people safe places to express themselves and communicate with others without being judged. People struggling with depression, eating disorders, grief… all can find succor online, and believe you me, not many of them want their names linked to their writings. Anonymity (i.e having a screen name instead of using your real name) has been foundational to internet culture, and efforts to take away anonymity undermine that foundation. When you force someone to use their real name, you aren’t just mitigating the jerk/troll problem, you’re potentially outing them (as gay/religious/atheist/kinky/whatever other controversial position they might hold) to their employers, parents, religious authorities… being able to safely express an opinion it would be unsafe to speak of in your real life is SO, SO important to our continued growth as a society.

      I would argue that anonymity provides more value than what is gained (a slightly easier job for forum moderators?) by taking it away.

    • Kevin 15:58 on 2012/09/17 Permalink

      @Tux
      Those are all valid points, but they don’t have much to do with commenting on the Gazette’s website.

      As I said – any company or individual can create a forum for individuals to be anonymous or not — but when the jerk level gets too high, out comes the banhammer in one way or another. It has always been this way, and always will be, even on this blog :)

    • No\Deli 18:47 on 2012/09/17 Permalink

      @[anonymous!]Kevin: “No meaningful social change has ever been accomplished by people who are not willing to show their faces.

      I’ll neglect the profound cultural shift that’s currently underway thanks to the ‘netizens’ of China in order to point to a more classic, Occidental example:

      Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution. Common Sense, was signed, ‘Written by an Englishman’, and it became an immediate success. In relative proportion to the population of the colonies at that time, it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history. […] Paine published Common Sense anonymously because of its treasonous content.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_(pamphlet)

      Meaningful enough?

    • Kevin 08:08 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      You know, I have a hunch that the willingness of hundreds of thousands of Americans to assemble in armies and shoot at British soldiers, and to gather publicly and create a Declaration of independence just might have done more for the revolution than Paine’s book.

    • Kate 09:43 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      Kevin, but their willingness depended on the zeitgeist, and that partly depended on the popularity of the views in that book.

    • Kevin 12:20 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      And do we really think that a magazine editor today would be unable to publish something anonymously?

    • No\Deli 12:23 on 2012/09/18 Permalink

      And those very tens of thousands of militiamen-Americans were exactly the audience Payne intended to appeal to “… with an argument for freedom from British rule at a time when the question of seeking independence was still undecided“. Seriously – at least read this part.

  • Kate 13:35 on 2012/09/16 Permalink | Reply  

    A gelato business was nearly arsonized early Sunday after someone chucked molotov cocktails into the St-Léonard establishment. Owner Domenico Arcuri is said to have attracted some negative attention of late.

     
  • Kate 10:56 on 2012/09/16 Permalink | Reply  

    The first thing the Canadian government has done in a long time that’s made me cheer a bit has been to cease resisting the addition of chrysotile asbestos to the Rotterdam Convention, an international agreement about hazardous substances. This likely means the end of asbestos mining in Quebec, but it was a long time coming.

     
    • Chris 11:39 on 2012/09/16 Permalink

      And we have the PQ to thank!

  • Kate 10:52 on 2012/09/16 Permalink | Reply  

    The deadline came and went with no further talks, so the NHL lockout is now in effect. More thoughts about how the lockout will affect businesses that normally profit from the hockey season; Bleacher Report has an excellent, snarky piece on why the lockout won’t hurt the Habs.

     
  • Kate 10:38 on 2012/09/16 Permalink | Reply  

    Archives de Montréal has put up a great photo set of Place Ville-Marie, 1962-1969 showing the building under construction and then from many angles, far and near.

     
    • Doobish 20:08 on 2012/09/16 Permalink

      Wonderfully exhaustive tour! Thanks.

  • Kate 10:16 on 2012/09/16 Permalink | Reply  

    The story of Fukyu sushi bar is getting into worldwide “insolite” news in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany, Croatia, Italy… and Japan.

     
  • Kate 09:55 on 2012/09/16 Permalink | Reply  

    I don’t know how many times this issue has gone around, but the plan to extend Cavendish Boulevard to the highway is off the budget again, Michael Applebaum saying the city can’t do it (or develop the rest of the Blue Bonnets area) without Quebec money that isn’t forthcoming.

     
    • owl 11:32 on 2014/03/06 Permalink

      The extension of Cavendish Blvd. to link NDG and the 40 is back in the news.

      The CDN-NDG borough council adopted a motion approving support for the extension of Cavendish Blvd. after an uneasy debate (un débat houleux et interminable) at the end of its March 3 meeting.

      Since mayor Russell Copeman voted yes the motion was carried 3-3, with councillors Searle, McQueen and Popeanu against, and councillors Rotrand and Perez and the mayor in favour. The vote was preceded by a lengthy debate on issues like: constructing roads in accordance with the principles of sustainable development, reducing the importance of the car in the Hippodrome project, and the linking of Decarie and Cavendish boulevards.

      After the debate reached an impasse and the vote was about to be taken, Copeman called a five-minute pause. He talked with councillors outside of the room, answering their questions and attempting to help Côte-des-Neiges councillor Magda Popeanu overcome her doubts and come to a decision.

    • owl 10:36 on 2014/04/03 Permalink

      Cavendish-Cavendish link a hot electoral topic – CDN vs. NDG?

  • Kate 09:50 on 2012/09/16 Permalink | Reply  

    Michel Leduc, who was mayor of Lasalle for years before the city mergers, has died.

     
  • Kate 09:28 on 2012/09/16 Permalink | Reply  

    News that the city wants to top up its budget partly by ratcheting up police fines is not a welcome idea to some folks, who think it cheapens the public perception of what police do (but they didn’t succeed in getting a quote from the police fraternity).

    In very tangential police news, here’s a description of the very obscure police museum, which can only be visited on Tuesdays.

    Only a Montrealer would write “its extensive historic collection is scattered a little bit everywhere” because they were thinking of “un peu partout”.

     
    • Ephraim 09:52 on 2012/09/16 Permalink

      They could likely balance the budget and get through their quota of tickets just standing around a few of the corners of Montreal and handing out traffic citations to pedestrians, bicyclists, cars and taxis, without even having to move around the city at all. Just let the infractions come to them.

      (Saw a bicyclist drive across three lanes to get to the right side against traffic on St-Urbain and make a right turn onto a one-way (the opposite direction) street. So that would have been four different infractions, including not signaling. There’s about $200 just there.)

    • Chris 11:52 on 2012/09/16 Permalink

      A municipality is a construct of the province, and the province has given it limited means to raise money. For example, Montreal is not allowed to impose a sales tax (which for example New York City does). Montreal gets its money mostly form property taxes. This makes it more expensive to buy/rent/live in Montreal, but adds no cost to those just driving though or working here. The latter use the roads, benefit from the snow clearing, etc.

    • Bert 19:01 on 2012/09/16 Permalink

      Ephraim, please consider one of my favourites, companies that make breaking the law part of their business plan. FedEx, UPS, Purolator and every other Tom Dick and Harry delivery company, be it truck or car. an L plate or an F plate do not give one the right to park anywhere, be it in no-parking zones or worse, double parked. The sole exception to this is The Queens Courrier, Canada Post, who by law (proclamation, or some other instrument of Law) can do basically what they want.

    • Mathieu 08:47 on 2012/09/17 Permalink

      Props to that 5-6PM FedEx truck who, nearly everyday, parks at the corner of Parc and Bernard right in the reserved lane, right in front of the bus stop, without any flashing lights (for what they’re worth, it could at least warn cars behind it that it’s going to stop so they don’t end up to close to it). I’m pretty sure that this Public Mobile store could survive if their packages arrived earlier or later…

  • Kate 09:19 on 2012/09/16 Permalink | Reply  

    The Journal looks at the progress of the CHUM site and offers a glimpse of the MUHC site now that the buildings have reached their final height.

     
    • ProposMontréal 10:16 on 2012/09/16 Permalink

      Je tiens à préciser, les “rednecks” ne sont pas réservé au États-Unis. Je m’excuse au nom de tous les séparatiste pour les colons qui passent des commentaires stupide. Don’t forget that the average reader of the Journal de Montréal is the equivalent of the fox news or sun network listener.

      As much as there is some Quebec bashing in the ROC, there is the same Anglo bashing from people that have never crossed the borders of Quebec. Not all separatist hate anglish speaking population. So again, I apologize for the “crétins” that have passed comments.

    • Kate 10:57 on 2012/09/16 Permalink

      Merci, ProposMontréal. I appreciate it.

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