Comments on non-moderation of Dayton Daily News Forums

Free speech is a wonderful thing- when you sign your name.

DDN name calling in comments number 1

Up over 24 hours on the DDN site

When you don’t- and can hide behind a nom de plume and spew garbage it’s not free speech- it’s hate speech, and the Dayton Daily News is helping propagate it daily.

Dayton Daily News comments 2

On the DDN site for over 24 hrs attacking the Mayor of Dayton

So- let’s explain it: Ellen Belcher is an inexpensive courtesan, and a bad dancer. The first part- calling someone a cheap whore, is slander if spoken or libel if printed, the second is a matter of opinion. Either, without the force of attaching my true name-is just a cheap shot at the Editorial page editor of the Dayton Daily News. Please note, this entire post is a matter of political satire- and protected under the First Amendment, or at least under the same rules that the Dayton Daily News must use to allow this garbage on their site.

Comment on DDN site about the Mayor

Yet another comment- up over 12 hours

The denigration of Dayton has become sport for the paper- and as practiced by some commentators on the newspaper’s website- an art form. Even when you “report abuse” it’s often a long time before the comment comes down- if at all. These examples that will be used have been up for at least a day.

Dayton Daily News comments - about using your real name

Why use your real name?

Mayor Leitzell called the paper out in a letter to the editor for using the region’s name in bad news stories, is- “Firm leaves Dayton” when in fact, they were leaving Harrison Township.

Responses to Leitzell's invitation to meet

Responses to Mayor Leitzell's invitation to meet

The comments there have been relatively sanitized. Then, Oakwood resident, attorney and former Oakwood Council member, Jeff Ireland, castigates Leitzell for writing a letter to the editor.

I read Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell’s letter chastising the Dayton Daily News for reporting — inaccurately and misleadingly, in his view — news about businesses leaving “Dayton” when they were actually located in Harrison Twp. and Springboro.

Leitzell criticizes the paper for “bashing” Dayton because it suggests to the public that businesses are leaving “Dayton.”

The DDN is reporting facts that are neither inaccurate nor misleading. The mayor’s reaction, however, is troubling. Dayton is the center of our region. To suggest that the newspaper should refer to Dayton only by its geographical boundaries is nonsense.

via Mayor’s parochial, short-sighted view of Dayton is troubling.

The comments on that letter, would make a solider blush- and did I mention that the Dayton Daily News has a National Socialist on their Editorial Board with a Hebraic name- and that Martin Gottlieb sexually molests infants?

Bold questions to the editorial board- about what you can get away with.

even when the Mayor offers to meet...

The Dayton Daily News sells it’s website as an advertising platform- running ads that generate revenue with every “viewing”- so it is in their best interest to garner as many page loads as possible- leaving garbage like the comments on this letter seem to help generate more views- as the same losers keep returning to add to their pile of manure.

Other publications have dealt with these issues by requiring signing in under a verified profile- or allowing the community to vote comments up or down (as we do on The Dayton Daily News has a “REPORT ABUSE” button that takes filling in 3 fields for every single instance of crap.

Continuted abuse in the comments

Don't try to reason with us.

The Huffington Post went as far as to buy a comment moderation company. Read more- in this piece on APR Marketplace:

Jeff Horwich: In Internet culture, the tendency of online comments to head for the gutter has a name: “The Greater Internet Jerkwad Theory.” OK, it’s not really “jerkwad” — but what do you think this is, the Internet?

Eva Galperin with the Electronic Frontier Foundation defines it:

Eva Galperin: The theory posits that the combination of a perfectly normal human being, total anonymity and an audience will result in a cesspit.

Read the original theory here

Online comments are a magnet for name-calling, political screeds — nastiness that turns off web surfers…
With 3.2 million comments in June, the Huffington Post didn’t hire a company to moderate. It bought one. This summer, the politics and news site acquired Adaptive Semantics, and its proprietary software called “JuLiA.”

Arianna Huffington is the site’s editor-in-chief.

Arianna Huffington: You can program JuLiA to look for whatever you don’t want on your site. For example, we don’t like people comparing either Democrats or Republicans to Nazis.

But JuLiA is way smarter than that. Its algorithms look for patterns that indicate anyone disruptive — veering off-topic, ranting like a zealot, using insulting language. Even mild terms like “moron” or “empty suit” can flag you for a look from a human moderator, who gets final say over whether to ban your comment.

Huffington is also trying to take on the bad seeds by deputizing the best commenters with digital “badges” — like “Level 2 Networker” or “Level 3 Superuser.”

via ‘Comment cops’ help manage websites | Marketplace From American Public Media.

Instead of dealing with the “jerkwads” the Dayton Daily has resorted to closing comments on many articles after initially allowing them (deleting all comments posted). This is often used on crime articles- or those concerning African Americans- as the comments come straight from the local chapter of the KKK. Their other technique- of late, has been to allow comments on Facebook- where identities must be verified (for the most part)- however, they are giving up viewers from their URL and handing the traffic to Facebook (that then gets to make money on the ads).

There have been pleas from readers to clean this mess up, however Kevin Riley, the editor of the paper has failed to respond- probably because he’s a soiled personal sanitary device and a convicted felon.

It would seem that the Dayton Daily News’ refusal to address the communities concerns about the drivel being posted needs an elevation in priority- maybe calling the education writer, Scott Elliot a pedophile online will make it a more immediate concern for those involved, however I doubt it.

The paper also seems to think retribution is OK as well. Right after they published Leitzell’s letter they wrote a tabloid style trash article about Leitzell taking time away from being a part-time Mayor to fix his roof, knowing full well that he is only required by charter to rule over one meeting a week. They made sure to glorify Paul Leonard and Rhine McLin for their dedication in making the position full time- but left out Clay Dixon who held a job with the Dayton Public Schools (that he was forced to resign from when it was finally disclosed that he had claimed sick time when traveling on City Business) and no mention of Mike Turner who was busy working as a corporate counsel for MTC during much of his term. You can read the Mayor’s response and story of his roof on his blog here.

It gives me no joy in writing this editorial- with these sick accusations published for all to see, but it seems that the Dayton Daily News has zero concern for the issue by allowing it to continue for years without an adequate response. Of course, they have been involved in character assassination of this writer  for years without a single acknowledgment of my right to run for office without personal denigration and embarrassment.

If you believe that the Dayton Daily News should be held responsible for the destruction of our communities collective soul through piecemeal attacks and wholesale negativity- please consider signing your name to a comment on this post in support. Please be aware that this site doesn’t allow ad hominem attacks, and is moderated fairly regularly by me- and that readers have the option to vote your comment off the visible comments. Also know, that if you try to impersonate any of the named people who work at the DDN- I will double check and hold those comments.

Thank you

Addition Aug 25, 2010 7:49 am I sent a note to the Editors asking them to address this issue in an editorial on a Sunday. I sent them a link to this post. They deleted all comments from Mr. Ireland’s letter- and then when the jerk showed back up- they deleted it quicker (under 12 hours).

However- they’ve allowed comments to move onto another thread– and they have been up since their post times until now:

Comments on DDN letters to the editor

Screen shot taken Aug 25 at 7:48 am

And- to make Bob happy- yes, this entire post was authored by David “knobhead” Esrati

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David LauriJohn IseSteveSammy76Dave Recent comment authors
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Mitch Kearns
Mitch Kearns

I whole heartily agree with this editorial, even though I DO NOT often agree with David Esrati, or his politics. He, however, does have a knack for calling a spade, a spade, which these days is very refreshing!

Teresa Lea
Teresa Lea

I am not a big fan of stooping to the same level of the behavior you are condemning, but maybe that comes from my 11 years of experience as a mother.
Although I am inclined to agree with your argument in principle, it seems as though you are only condemning attacks that you deem to be vile, and juvenile. Attacks come in all forms, and just because they come in the form of complete sentences and from a person that isn’t a moron, doesn’t make them any less vile.
Food for thought, Esrati.


DDN has been publishing anonymous slanders in its “speak up” feature daily for a couple of decades now.  The once-practiced ethical stance that newspapers publish anonymous comments rarely and with judgment has been abandoned.
And David: your “brilliant or bozo” votes do nothing to keep the dialogue civil; rather they inspire people to support those with whom they agree and to censor those with whom they don’t.  If you want civil discourse on your blog, you have to be the referee.


One of the most sad and disgusting things on the DDN site is the perpetual comment poster who often uses “IT’S GREAT IN DAYTON.”  They will change their name to slight variations like “Dayton $ucks”, etc. and post 6 or 8 different comments of slight variation on the same story.  And they almost always only comment on stories very specific to the City of Dayton or to downtown.  My best guess it that it’s a disgruntled former City employee, or maybe someone that was a victim of a crime in the City or something along those lines.  But regardless, it’s quite disgusting and sad.  Take a close look through the comments on virtually any story specifically about Dayton and you’ll see “IT’S GREAT IN DAYTON.”  I would honestly estimate that this one single person (under various similar names) is responsible for 30-40% of all negative, vile comments on the entire site.  I spend a lot of time monitoring media stories about City politics and public safety, and this asshole never EVER misses a chance to slam the City, regardless of whether the story is good news or bad news.


And upon a little further review of the stuff you cut and pasted above David, I would venture a guess that “Dayton, Shitburg, USA”, “don’t get it”, “Gary BONEHEAD Lietzell”, and the other negative comments are in fact all the same person.  I’m no detective, but if you look through the tone and style of all those, there are a lot of similarities.  Like I said, I’d honestly bet almost half of the negative comments on that entire damn site are from this one guy.  I’ve been noticing this for months now.

Gary Leitzell

@ Brad,
When the comments moved to Facebook yesterday regarding the non-story about my roof  there wasn’t a single one by “It’s Great in Dayton” so this person has the desire to remain anonymous. You can see by his comments back at me that he lacked the testicular fortitude to even meet with me. Man or mouse?
“Squeak up!”


I don’t think that the DDN allowing comments at Facebook is a bad idea after all, as it does not allow anonymous commenting. Someone could create a bogus FB identity, of course. I think the DDN’s plan is for more and more people to “Like” their FB page and point traffic back to their website, where they’ll generate ad revenue. I think you had it backwards, David. People are not visiting the DDN site and then going to FB to comment, they’re seeing the story at FB first.


Good luck with the roof Gary; that looks like quite a project.
I’d much rather have a mayor who doesn’t mind patching his own roof to one who won’t stay current on her property taxes, or one who settles his disagreements with political upstarts in the street, WWF-style (in the wonderful world of Dayton politics you don’t even have to make this stuff up).

blubber blog
blubber blog

Ok – good post by Esrati – I am stunned that he did not sign it ?
If you believe that the Dayton Daily News should be held responsible for the destruction of our communities collective soul through piecemeal attacks and wholesale negativity- please consider signing your name to a comment on this post in support. Please be aware that this site doesn’t allow ad hominem attacks, and is moderated fairly regularly by me- and that readers have the option to vote your comment off the visible comments. Also know, that if you try to impersonate any of the named people who work at the DDN- I will double check and hold those comments.

Thank you

Furthermore – I am also pretty sure that Jeff Ireland does not say he lives in Dayton – rather OAKWOOD?
Same goes for all my friends down south who insist that they live in Springboro;  whereas I live in Kettering,  and as I explained to my 10 year old yesterday, YES – they are also cities within themselves.  All are part of the Dayton region…and the Miami Valley, …and in Montgomery County, …in the Great State of Ohio!

The Dayton Partnership even claims that we are in the “midwest region”!

Regardless of Free Speech issues, the trash talk gains NOTHING. 
At least The Mayor invites his attacker(s) to visit him one-on-one – in the CITY offices.  Commendable Mr. Mayor.  Thanks for the post David…well said…commendable… and I for one am glad someone speaks out agaisnt the DDN “policies”.
Bob VL

Bill Rain
Bill Rain

David- great post…  This all started when the Dayton Daily created “speak up” giving everyone the ability to say anything without consequences.  Words have consequences and should require ownership.  That is free speech.  I like Gary’s politically correct way of saying testicular fortitude but if someone wants to say something, they should have the balls to put their name on it…



This summer, the politics and news site acquired Adaptive Semantics, and its proprietary software called “JuLiA.”

I didn’t notice that on the first read-through.  Somebody at Adaptive Semantics has a sense of humor.

blubber blog
blubber blog

@David – Especially when your firt line of the post read:

Free speech is a wonderful thing- when you sign your name.

You shoulda signed it ! 
@ Bill — right on !
@ Hear Hear !

Jamie McQuinn
Jamie McQuinn

Sure, I’ll sign my real name. Dayton Daily News: I find your willingness to allow so much filth to be spewed on your website is disgraceful. Despite David Esrati’s bitter diatribes against the paper (some warranted, some perhaps not), I know that there are good people that work for this newspaper. I don’t know how you can allow it to go on.


David & Gary,
I hope you both realize you are under attack by the Dayton Daily News and Jeff Ireland because they are part of the entrenched, wannabe “ruling elite” of Dayton.  Gary was rebuked by Jeff Ireland because Gary beat the Democrat mayor of Dayton, simple as that.  And the DDN, well, we all know where the political opinions lie on the editorial board – anti-progress, anti-change, and anti-new ideas (whether it’s David Esrati or the Republican party with the new idea matters not).
Keep up the good work guys.  Dayton needs leaders who LEAD and CARE. Thanks!


Good intentions and good post David, though I can’t imagine the DDN changing course.  The DDN’s lack of interest in their own newspaper is hard to comprehend.  I really can’t see how they could shoot lower.  I strongly agree with all of the above comments about the It’s Great In Dayton guy, who is the worst troll imaginable and has been at this now most of the day, every day, for years.  There’s a lot of DDN posters out there with whom I would strongly disagree, but I have no problem with that.  In contrast, IGID is not someone with whom you could agree or disagree. What IGID does is not free speech, because most of it is not even speech (copying and pasting headlines over and over; pasting “DAYTON’S DYING” as many times as possible before hitting the word limit, posting the same statement as many times as possible to drown out anyone else who tries to comment, etc. etc. etc.)    IGID is not expressing an opinion: he is engaged purely in the harassment of other commenters.  That is his only goal by his own repeated admission.   He taunts the DDN, daring them to try to moderate him, admits that he will never stop and that it is purely for sport.  He delights in creating frustration and confusion.  In short, he is the Joker.  Some men just want to watch the world burn. The DDN’s unwillingness to moderate their comments section from this user alone is an expression of either gross incompetence, apathy, or total contempt for their readers and advertisers.   Until very recently, they have made no significant attempts to maintain any level of decorum, civility, or even organization on the website.  (Jesus, have these people even seen the rest of the internet: threaded comments, anyone?)  Now they use Facebook as their comments section because they can’t be troubled to run their own website. This is not academic, philosophical, or political: they just don’t care.  Maybe we shouldn’t either.  IGID’s favorite thing to say is that Dayton is dying.  I disagree with that assessment.  I… Read more »

Melissa Fowler
Melissa Fowler

David, I would like to point out one example of a well-moderated DDN blog (yes, they really DO exist). Since Scott Elliott restarted his “Get on the Bus” education blog, along with Margo Kissell and Chris Magan.
From the July 11 entry:

If you visited GOTB in the past, you know that what made this blog work well was the respectful interaction and thoughtful debate among the commenters. We hope readers will continue to participate by posting their thoughts and following the three simple commenting rules — no profanity, no hate speech and no libel. Margo, Chris and I are looking forward to recreating a vibrant online community here.
UPDATE: I should have noted that comments at GOTB are moderated, so if your comment doesn’t show up right away, that’s why. Please be patient. Thanks.

The people who post there do so pretty regularly, and there’s a diversity of opinions without the vileness that goes on unchecked across the rest of the site. Kudos to the three of them for actively keeping tabs on what’s being submitted to their blog.

Shortwest Rick
Shortwest Rick

Hmmm, every time I’ve referred to Ellen & Martin as “The Belcher Twins” on DDN forums my post has been deleted with three minutes.

Jeff Dziwulski
Jeff Dziwulski

I think the negativity towards the city has decreased considerably since Leitzell was elected (except for this one lone nut and his or her sock puppets), which tells me there was some political motivation for the negativity and hostility towards Dayton in the past.

But that was only part of the story.

If you look at the recent comments on St Vincent de Paul seeing more homeless families, or the comments on the stories about the decline of GM and the Moraine shut-down or even that story on old St Marys and the online campaign to get a person fired who complained about low tipping in Dayton in a features story on the topic… you’ll see a similar negativity, bitterness, and schadenfreude.  

Or, at other online sites, like City-Data Forum, which is an advice site for newcomers or transferees, where you’ll find more polite riffs on the same theme (one thread is entilted “Dayton, does it still suck there?”). 

You find a similar theme on this blog comments as well, but a bit more articulate

The problem is not so much tha anonymity but the attitudes of the locals.  These comments and online remarks reflective the collective id of Daytonians (city & suburb), which one doesn’t see under the  “Midwest nice” surface politeness.  

It’s the bad karma of the area, the ‘Curse of Dayton’ (like Tecumsehs’ Curse, perhaps?), the negative energy that permeates this community.  This has been noted by others, before the internet.  I was told by a pyschiatrist friend that he had patients he was treating for clinical depression who moved here from other areas (an example he gave was from Milwaukee), perhaps do to the combination of the Dayton Gloom (leaden skies) and encountering the negative genus loci

Or, to put it less delicately, perhaps a lot of Daytonians are sour, bitter, ignorant pig-fuckers who let it all hang out if they are anonymous, but usually clam-up and let it stew underneath the public Midwest nice veneer.

Anyway, the DDN is just giving voice to something that has predated the internet, that’s “real” about this place but usually not on the surface. 

Teri Lussier

>The denigration of Dayton has become sport for the paper
Of course the comments are vile and insulting, like attracts like. The paper exudes anger, frustration, and their website is a cesspool of the worse human behavior. It’s not the news that makes it so negative, it’s people reporting and commenting on the news.  It isn’t difficult to look around Dayton and see the good and the beauty and the positives. Seeing this is not false cheer-leading or rah rah localism. Dayton has problems, but humans are infinitely resourceful and resilient, and that’s the news that isn’t getting reported because editors can’t/won’t/don’t see it.

blubber blog
blubber blog

@Jeff – well, I am a native Daytonian, and as bad as it is at times, I always try to remain positive.  There is always something going on – venues and establismentmts entertain us 24 / 7? 
At least 12 / 7 ???
ha ha
Regardless, we should make the best of what cards are dealt to us?  I always say – if you don’t like it …MOVE!  Or make somthign happen – be positive – make lemonade?


Maybe. Last night I reported several of these on the abuse button.  I give a short explanation of the abuse.
Such as abusive, racist, race baiting, obscenity,  etc… which seems to be most of the comments these days. It is sad that we sometime resemble the audience of the Jerry Springer Show.  I wish they would moderate the post.
I urge everyone to start reporting posters on the abuse button, it is there for a reason.  But when you write in yours ”   however Kevin Riley, the editor of the paper has failed to respond- probably because he’s a soiled personal sanitary device and a convicted felon.”  Well your right there with them, sitting in the front row.
There is room for improvement. I think the  post came down as a result of the abuse reports. Nothing else.


Jeff —
I have a theory about the “collective id” of Dayton — I think some long time Daytonians are very, very bitter about the city that Dayton has become.  I think the Dayton region is still pretty great — but not that long ago, certainly within the memory range of many locals, Dayton was AMAZING.  I’m talking 1940-1960s, when Downtown was a booming area of commerce and entertainment, NCR, Delphi and GM ran profitable, high-paying factories (with places like Old River Park at the height of their glory), and the Air Force still tested aircraft and built amazing devices at WPAFB (not that don’t still — but much of it happens via contractors or in hidden ways).  Before white flight, before the decline of the blue collar worker, before all the modern social ills of drugs and guns and gangs were pervasive.  Too see what the city has become, with these memories still fresh, makes them angry at everything — liberals, minorities, schools, taxes, crime, unions, you name it.  And for a small, vocal minority on DDN, it drives them to act like angry, hateful, fools.
As I said, I’ve lived a lot of places, and in many ways Dayton is a rare beast.  It has incredible social, cultural, and recreational opportunities at unbelievably livable costs.  We can debate the merits of suburban living, but many of the Dayton suburbs are the dream that most suburban dwellers in other cities have — great schools, close neighborhoods, recreational opportunities, short commutes, low cost housing, low crime, etc.  But that doesn’t mean that the current landscape is drastically different than the Dayton of 50 years ago.  That change — from a vibrant city with vibrant suburbs, to a decaying, but viable city with sprawling suburbs has created an “id” of negativity and self-doubt in Daytonians.  To go from perhaps the most innovative small city in the world to another rust belt town has killed their self confidence.


Ouch. Gary Leitzell smackdown on DDN

So much for the non-story. I think both camps have a point to a point, although the DDN really spun this all around.


What add’l responsibilities does the mayor have over the other council members ? How much are they paid ?

Jeff Dziwulski
Jeff Dziwulski

We can debate the merits of suburban living, but many of the Dayton suburbs are the dream that most suburban dwellers in other cities have — great schools, close neighborhoods, recreational opportunities, short commutes, low cost housing, low crime, etc. 

I do agree with you on suburban Dayton (and, beyond that, the small town/rural village environment in the surrounding countryside).  The suburban/small-town quality-of-life and level of services is actually quite high vis a vis other places, particularly “sunbelt” places (and I say this having lived in suburban areas in Kentucky, California); even the physcial environment is more humane than suburbia elsewhere.  

This is, IMO, one of the selling-points of the region.

John Ise
John Ise

Experts agree, “It’s Great in Dayton” is a complete dick.


And so it continues… these just popped up on a story about extending the railroad tracks at Dayton International… obviously the same person posting under both names (probably “It’s Great In Dayton”)… this shit has to stop.  David, I wish you or Gary would sue the DDN for libel or something…. this is beyond out of control.

Extending those railroad tracks would be easy, and a great idea.
I just wish I could extend my incredibly small pen!s.
David Esrati
1:24 PM, 8/28/2010

Me too, Dave. I’m just not satisfied.

Gary “[email protected]@g” Leitzell
1:27 PM, 8/28/2010


@Brad: Yes, that’s undoubtedly him.  He’s made some posts as me in the past as well.  If you spar with him, then he starts posting slander and insults under your name for a while until he gets bored with it.  You can often recognize his posts by the style and/or closely spaced timing of a series of similar comments.  He often formats his aliases in similar ways.  He wants you to know it’s him or it’s not satisfying to him.  What a sad, pathetic life.  I would almost feel pity for him if he wasn’t such a huge dick.


My bad.  Thousands of people around the world are likely Googling you and your equipment size as we speak!  But seriously, just delete my post… problem solved.


According to a co-worker today, someone named “BILL KENNEDY” in all caps posted some negative comments on DDN a few days ago on a story about cutting arts funding.   I don’t read DDN anymore and I’ve not seen it.  I stopped reading it quite some time ago, but I find the timing interesting as to why IGID would suddenly be interested in using my name again.  He clearly has read this page on and the comments here to suddenly be interested in me again, so here’s a message:
Hey IGID, you win.  I don’t read the newspaper anymore, due mainly to your harassment.  I don’t plan to ever read it again and I’m happy with that decision.  But now that you’ve won, at what point do you look in the mirror and acknowledge that what probably started out as something to amuse yourself has become a real problem for you.  How many times/hours a day do you spend reading this piece of  shit local newspaper and making comments about a city you haven’t lived in in years?  You can’t let it go, can you?  You can’t stop.  If your only sense of self-worth comes from sparring anonymously with strangers on a local newspaper’s website, then I really do pity you.  For your sake and with total sincerity, I hope you find something more positive to do with your life.

David Lauri

Today’s NY Times has a fun op-ed on the effects of online anonymity, “Where Anonymity Breeds Contempt.”
From the piece:

Content providers, social networking platforms and community sites must also do their part by rethinking the systems they have in place for user commentary so as to discourage — or disallow — anonymity. Reuters, for example, announced that it would start to block anonymous comments and require users to register with their names and e-mail addresses in an effort to curb “uncivil behavior.”

The Dayton Daily News has finally abandoned its old comment system that brought so many complaints, instead posting an encouragement on selected articles that people “[s]hare [their] comments on this story on our facebook [sic] page.”  Sometimes the DDN includes a link directly to the posting on their Facebook page about the specific article; sometimes they just point people to the overall DDN Facebook page.
Today’s DDN has an interesting example of this in their story on the DADT study, “Pentagon study dismisses risk of openly gay troops.” The comments on the story on Facebook are a lot more civil than I imagine they would have been under the DDN’s old anything goes policy.  There’s even disagreement, fairly civil, although those who say things such as “Why on earth is it necesary [sic] to flaunt the sin of homosexuality?” now do so with their names attached to their comments.