EDITORIAL: Substance comments should be signed in full or remain in generalities

On Sunday, September 19, 2010, a spammer who signed his e-mail address with an obscenity, tried to fill 'Comments' at the reports on Whittier with invectives against Michael Shields, the Chicago Board of Education's "Chief Officer, School Security and Safety." Using a phony name and a phony e-mail address, the spammer managed to use the "F" word about 20 times in 30 lines of Comment. All were deleted.

Our readers need to know our policy on comments. Virtually any comment signed (first and last name) by a real person will remain up. Anonymous or pseudonymous comments will remain up if they are generalities. Ditto those comments where the person simply uses his or her first name (e.g., recently "Bob" on poverty). However, we prefer that all of our Commentators use their names and take responsibility for their comments. Substance is not a blog, where anonymous invective and pseudo-truths can be spewed around like liquid cow manure over a spring corn field.

No one on the Substance staff who has tried to deal professionally with Michael Shields or most of the crowd of cronies brought in (at salaries from $100,000 and up) by Ron Huberman has much patience with their combination of arrogance, ignorance, and bullyishness. However, the Substance Web site is not the place to name call. The facts speak for themselves, as they did on Friday, September 17, 2010, at Whittier Elementary School and "Camp Whittier." When people (anonymously) refer to Shields or other they do not like (or disagree with) as F___, MF___, CS___ or a dozen other barnyard or back alley terms, the discussion shifts from the content of their praxis (and their qualifications for the highest paid jobs in the nation's third largest school system) to the content of their critics' e-mails. That's a waste of time.

Earlier on Monday, September 20, the Substance editors deleted three comments attacking Mr. Shields and his work. We will continue to do so when people don't follow some simple rules.


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