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I am removing the public discussion forum on November 30th.

Members interested in discussion forums may start or join a group. Groups have internal discussion boards moderated by each group’s creator.

The contents of open groups (discussion threads, etc.) are viewable by the general public. If you would like the contents of your group to only be viewed by group members, you’ll need to select "moderated membership" under the privacy settings when you first create a group.

User guidelines will still apply to comments on news posts. Please reference this news post and the user guidelines regarding appropriate content.

Thanks,
Kelly

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Comment by Hero on December 3, 2009 at 6:17pm
Ive gotten a lot out of this forum as well. If there is anyway to get it back online without the drama somehow, i would love that.
Comment by Ben Royce on December 3, 2009 at 5:12pm
Comment by Alex Gadea on December 1, 2009 at 8:06am
Kelly, I wanted to add my voice to those who think closing the forums is a mistake. Although they can get rough and tumble at times, they have become an extremely valuable vehicle of communication for many in Beacon.

I think some people have been immature on BCN but I've been in the internet biz for 15 years now and have participated in countless forums and what I've seen on these boards has been comparatively mild. Unfortunately, when the crank stands up in city hall, you still are forced to listen to him or her. On these forums, one can easily ignore the cranks they don't want to listen to. Maybe adding an "ignore" feature would help some avoid the people who offend them.

Forcing everyone to use screen names is useless as people can just choose pix of anything and put up any name they choose. Will people need to come down in person to prove themselves before they are allowed to post? Will someone who has already been approved need to vouch for them? Will they need to post a verifiable physical address? As Christine rightly pointed out, democracy can be a messy thing. Maybe we all need to accept the messiness that accompanies public online forums and realize that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
Comment by Erin Giunta on December 1, 2009 at 12:07am
Bummer, Kelly. I liked the forums... It was an easy way to quickly browse what was happening on BCN.
Comment by Kelly Kingman on November 30, 2009 at 11:43am
I have considered shifting to a real name policy, and may do so in future. At least the cranks who stand up in the city hall meetings aren't wearing masks.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone for their thoughtful replies and I appreciate the loss that many will feel because of this action. I hope that in some small way the groups feature will compensate for this loss and that people will consider taking it upon themselves to start groups to address specific needs — such as recommendations for local services.
Comment by Brent Spodek on November 30, 2009 at 9:47am
i fully support that - after all, anyone wanting to speak at a public forum needed to "clearly and loudly state your name."
Comment by Mark Roland on November 30, 2009 at 9:31am
Not to beat a dead horse, but I think most of the problems that seem to be prompting the administrator to close the Public Discussion could be eliminated by limiting it to those using their "real-life" identities. It's ironic that the "public" discussion is being closed due mainly to those who are too cowardly or mischievous to express their opinions, ideas, or commentary in a local public forum under their own names.
Comment by Ben Royce on November 30, 2009 at 9:02am
brent: thank you for articulating my own thoughts on the matter better than i could have
Comment by Brent Spodek on November 29, 2009 at 9:38pm
Hi Kelly:

Thanks for creating BCN. My wife and I moved to Beacon over the summer, and BCN has been an invaluable resource in finding our way around and getting local information. I'm not aware of anything else like it out there - in the absence of a local newspaper, to have a forum where the mayor openly takes part in public discussion like is remarkable.

I'll add my voice to those who think that while some posters are unnecessarily immature and vitriolic, a lot will be lost if the public discussion section is closed. Through the public discussion section, I've learned about neighborhoods in Beacon, found contractors for my new home, learned about TOD, made friends and generally felt like I had a way of accessing the life of my new town. I know that there will some of this functionality in the groups, but part of what made the public discussion section so appealing is that it gave me room to stumble across things I wouldn't have even known I cared about (like TOD).

I used to be a newspaper reporter, and every town meeting I ever covered had a crank who wanted to throw a wrench in public proceedings. Sometimes they had good points which entrenched powers were quick to overlook, other times they were simply nuisances. But it would have been a loss if city hall meetings were closed on their account, and it will be a loss if this digital commons is closed on their account here.

I hope you'll reconsider leaving the public discussion section as it is, and I look forward to being part of the BCN community on line or in person one way or the other.

Best,

Brent
Comment by Ben Royce on November 28, 2009 at 12:51am
john: post a discussion about this in the one of the groups, or start a new group about it. this is important living history of beacon, much like the tioronda schoolhouse right next door, which also deserves to be reborn. my suggestion is that whenever development occurs along the creek, the city should mandate that the bridge be rebuilt as a condition of approval. and i mean rebuilt, with the truss sections merely decoration. i think the fire dept wants it to support fire engines, but it would probably be even better as a simple walking bridge

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