Saturday, October 25, 2014

Guardian Staff-Deleted Public Comments Scrubbed 
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

Crucial progressive San Francisco history has been scrubbed from the defunct Bay Guardian's still-functioning web site (,and the culprits for the massive deletion aren't the corporate owners but the former staffers.

Back in August, the editorial staffers were so fed up with public comments on the paper's site that they discontinued commenting for a number of reasons:

"We’ve decided to indefinitely suspend comments on [...] But the anonymity that Guardian commenters enjoy on our current website has poisoned the well and rendered this forum a poor place for respectful public debate. [...] But the daily free-for-all is over, at least for now. Trolls and spammers begone." (Source:

Not only were the trolls and spammers gone, but so were years of comments (some positive, other negative, along with responses from Guardian staff, etc.) were scrubbed and few raised a complaint. We took to Twitter and said Stalin would approve of the scrubbing.

It's one thing to end commenting when you can't afford a moderator, but it's a whole other ball of wax for the Guardian staff to also scrub important criticism and praise and debate because they don't approve of what was written or who wrote the words.

Yesterday, the longtime editor who resigned last year over staff cuts, Tim Redmond, at his new site 48 Hills, was remarkably unconcerned (ignorant perhaps?) of the missing comments:

"The owners of the Bay Guardian, who shut the paper down Monday, have at least gotten one message: It’s not okay to take offline the website and digital archive of the paper. After going down for two days, was live late this afternoon. So the years and years of back stories can once again be found." (

If only the owners, the former staff and Redmond all got the message that it's wrong to scrub the Guardian's site of historical commentary, including from their own remarks to the critics. The #VotePetrelis team wants the comments restored to the paper's site and hope all progressives agree with us that such history must be preserved.

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