For those of you who aren’t aware, the Baltimore Sun talk forums is a subsection of the newspaper’s website. The forums allow Sun readers to discuss a variety of topics spanning a wide range of areas of interest. But, the local news section of the forums attracts the most energetic participants.
There, hyper-partisans anonymously abuse each other using such creative aliases like “Senator James,” “Yellow Timbers,” “Chesapeake Terp,” “Kitty,” and “Sloopy.” Most of the combatants seem to be backers of either Governor O’Malley or former Governor Ehrlich. Their attacks on each other are sometimes funny, but more often shrill, nasty, uninformed, and downright mean.
One of the favorite sports on the forum is to try to guess the real identities of posters. So, I wasn’t really surprised when my friend Joe Steffen alerted me to the fact that one poster recently accused another – someone calling him/herself “Omar” – of being "Richard." In fact, over the years, I have been accused of posting on the Sun forums under at least four different names. Steffen has experienced the same phenomenon.
Being something of a constructive critic of the strategies employed by the Republican Party and the personalities therein, I realize I have made myself something of a target for those who wish I would simply shut up and go away. I accept that as being a consequence of climbing inside the arena.
So, attack me if you want. But just make sure the person you’re attacking is actually, well, me.
For the record, I have never posted on the Sun forums as “Omar.” Never.
Have I posted on the forums? Yes, I have. But only in the distant past. I now have this blog, and the occasional op-ed piece in the Baltimore Sun, to serve as my soap boxes when I need to vent.
I stopped visiting the forums because the level of debate there is shrill, obnoxious, and ultimately unconstructive. Certain members of Ehrlich's Theme Team – and their Chesapeake Terp handler – should consider following suit. Chasing down and taking shots in the dark at phantoms in cyberspace is wasted energy, not to mention pathetic.