CSI: Durham Follow-Up

Having previously mentioned the Duke lacrosse mess, I feel obliged to at least note the latest events: DNA tests failed to link any of the players to the crime, but the DA says the alleged victim has identified one of them.

I don’t plan to make this a regularly recurring feature, because the whole thing is sort of squalid and depressing. If, however, you find that you just can’t get enough, you can find lots of coverage elsewhere. There’s a fairly comprehensive and mildly pro-Duke blog (via Dave), and of course there’s the strongly anti-Duke coverage at Alas, A Blog. (Though I have serious philosophical issues with their new moderation policy, and probably won’t link there again.)

I’ll probably comment on any really significant future developments in the case, but until then, I have enough squalid and depressing things to deal with around here. Such as lab report grading…

Comments

  1. #1 Dave Munger
    April 12, 2006

    If the comments at Alas, a blog are to be believed, not all the lacrosse players were tested, some have left the state, and some have left the country.

    Yet my local paper (the Charlotte Observer) published an article suggesting that this exonerates the team, published details about the alleged victims’ criminal record, and did not publish details about the alleged perpetrators’ past legal troubles.

    I’d be interested to know your problem with Alas’s moderation policy. Some blogs don’t allow comments at all. Would you refuse to link to them?

  2. #2 Chad Orzel
    April 12, 2006

    I’d be interested to know your problem with Alas’s moderation policy. Some blogs don’t allow comments at all. Would you refuse to link to them?

    I’d actually be happier with that. Not allowing comments at all is preferable to a stated policy of deleting comments whose political stance you disagree with.

    I think comments are an all-or-nothing thing– if you’re going to allow comments at all, you have to allow everybody to comment (provided they can keep a civil tone), regardless of viewpoint. I think that “I will delete comments I find insufficiently respectful of women” is equivalent to “I will delete comments that are insufficiently respectful of revealed biblical truth,” and find both distasteful in the extreme.

    If I’m going to link material from over there in the future, it’ll be via the cross-posted blog, whose comments are still reasonably open. I don’t know if the Duke material has all been cross-posted, though, so the category link had to go to the original site.

  3. #3 Abel PharmBoy
    April 12, 2006

    Hi Chad, as this case isn’t going away anytime soon, I’d be happy to be as unbiased as a Durham resident can be in feeding local info to you and/or other SB’ers. I’ve actually had to start a new blog, Bull City Booster, just because this case has become too distracting from Terra Sigillata, my primary science/medicine blog.

    Disclaimers/Disclosures: Although the new blog’s name is Bull City Booster, it is intended to counter national MSM depictions of Durham as a place to live. It is, in fact, the finest of the three big college towns where I have had the pleasure of residing. I am a concerned Durham resident with adjunct faculty affiliations at two of the three big area research universities but my income stream comes from elsewhere. I am a huge fan of Duke women’s hoops but, regardless of ultimate guilt or innocence in this case, think that substantial evidence supports a track-record of boorish and arrogant behavior on the part of many of the lacrosse players.

    Give me a holler after lab report grading is through.

  4. #4 John Dilick
    April 12, 2006

    I don’t generally have a problem with deletion of comments on blogs, provided they:

    A) State upfront what types of comments will be deleted and

    B) Leave a placeholder in place that indicates who posted it, who deleted it, and why.

    I’ve seen way too many blogs get invaded with massive troll infestations to think a blanket ban on comment deletion is a good idea. That said, when your deletion policy consists of “Say stuff I agree with or I’ll delete you”, I’d shy away from there as well.

  5. #5 Dave Munger
    April 12, 2006

    I just wanted to mention that I went up and looked at the TiVo of ESPN’s coverage of the Duke lacrosse case over the last three days, and I have to say, it was impressively balanced. ESPN seemed to counter the Alas commenters’ assertion that not all players have been tested, but they were careful to point out that DNA evidence or lack thereof is not going to be the deciding factor in this case. They also reiterated that there will be more DNA testing to come. And they were exceptionally careful not to let their coverage devolve into a case of “blame the victim.”

    This approach was unlike the Charlotte Observer, which appears to have already decided the case in the players’ favor. The only article they printed above the fold on this whole scandal was the DNA exhoneration story.

    Regarding comment moderation, my view is that it’s entirely reasonable for sites like Alas to have the policy they do, and also entirely reasonable for you to choose not to link them. I think it’s fine for there to be places where feminists (or religious wackos, for that matter) can have conversations uninterrupted by trolls. But it’s also quite rational for a professed moderate not to want to have anything to do with either sort of place.

  6. #6 Bill Hooker
    April 12, 2006

    Amp is not saying “agree with me or I’ll delete your comment”; not even close. He has for a long time gone out of his way to accomodate views with which he disagrees, provided they keep things remotely civil — this has led to criticisms of anti-feminist bias (of all things!) and has historically made his threads a prime troll feeding ground. The new policy is an attempt to have reasonable discussions about complex issues without being derailed by assholes or sidetracked by noobs. The new policy amounts to “if you need to ask why it’s not OK to have Playboy calendars at work, or if you want to claim that “men’s rights” is equivalent to feminism — do it elsewhere”.

    To suggest that the issue is black-and-white, equivalent to claims of “revealed truth”, is unfair and inaccurate. It’s a tricky balancing act Amp is trying, and he may not pull it off, but if I trust anyone to try it in good faith it’d be Amp.

    if you’re going to allow comments at all, you have to allow everybody to comment

    Let’s get you half a dozen hardcore trolls and see how you feel after a year’s infestation.

  7. #7 Maria
    April 17, 2006

    Amp is not saying “agree with me or I’ll delete your comment”; not even close. He has for a long time gone out of his way to accomodate views with which he disagrees, provided they keep things remotely civil

    Amp does something pretty similar. Whenever a comment has a position that disagrees with his own, he asks whether the poster “considers himself a feminist”. It appears as though all feminists have the same point of view, and it coincides perfectly with Amp’s…

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