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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Dakota War College Nixes Libel in Comment Section

Someone in Madison has an axe to grind: Dakota War College chief Pat Powers had to delete some malicious and defamatory rumor-mongering from his comment section. He even went so far as to shut off the comments for that particular post.

Powers reports that the libel came from IP, an iw.net Prairie Wave/Knology subscriber address.

IP address? What's that? As Powers explains, "you're never as anonymous as you think on the Internet":

You know, that same address that your Internet Service provider will have full and complete records of who has that internet address at that instant in time if someone ever got mad enough to file a lawsuit for libel.

In case you're wondering, I get my Internet from Sioux Valley.

As an interesting side note, is also the IP of the first person who commented when I announced my run for the Madison school board last year... and that first comment broght up my firing from MHS in 2001 and suggested I just had an ax to grind.

My site meter puts that IP in Madison. It would thus appear that one of our neighbors loves to stir the pot.

Funny: people say I spend too much time on negative muckraking. I do indeed offer plenty of criticism. The difference is, when I criticize folks in Madison or South Dakota or anywhere else, I put my name to it, and I back it up with facts and documents.


  1. Surprised you didn't say the comment was on Randy Schaefer's appointment as regent. I don't understand what regents do really. Make decisions for the campus system as a whole or represent their local campus, but one person questioned why the regents are appointed by the governor only. That may be a valid question.

  2. How easy or hard would it actually be to prosecute a case for libel on the Internet and win? It must be hard. Otherwise, it seems to me that our courts would be backlogged for centuries.

    A few years ago, someone reviewed one of my books on Amazon.com, suggesting that it had been handed down to me from "Beelzebub." I guess the new technology has in effect made it possible for people to anonymously libel themselves in full public view. I shall refrain from graphic and indecent analogies. Isn't the World Wild Web wonderful? ;-)

    The Internet has given people a chubby channel through which they can vent vast volumes of venom. This is in part why I do not spend much time on political blogs, and why most of the time I do spend on them is right here at Civility Central.

  3. John, there are valid questions about the proper role of the Regents. I assure you, the deleted comment raised no such questions.

    Stan, I appreciate your attention! I hope I can continue to provide a worthwhile service. I also hope the continued ban on anonymity will support that civility.

  4. "A few years ago, someone reviewed one of my books on Amazon.com, suggesting that it had been handed down to me from "Beelzebub.""

    Not sure how that could be called libel. It might be a great near poetic exageration or underestimation, but libel?


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