Our chats around the ol’ Forest Park water cooler will soon be user flowy and as interesting and informative as we choose to make them. By early this summer, the Review will launch its fully remade website and that means an enhanced interactive platform, which will host and encourage reader comments, online discussions and general blogginess.

Yay! times eleventy!

Many of us are idealistic about media, which is why its natural faults and inevitable errors can be so frustrating. Community newspapers intensely and personally mirror our selves and towns and depending on what is reflected, we characterize the piece as uplifting, boring, informative or despicable.

For a town of our size and demographics, Forest Park has an embarrassment of riches in terms of independent and interactive media, namely the Forest Park Review and, while presently on life-support, ForestParkForums.com (FPF).

By objective standards, the Review is a first class, independent, award winning newspaper, which should not be taken for granted by any town, much less one of our size. I know, I know, but take a good look at towns without a proper newspaper and you’ll notice the upside right quick.

ForestParkForums.com, our community message board, has been operating since 1995(!) It started as an e-mail group, morphed through a few tech formats and finalized as ForestParkForums.com.

Via FPF, we helped each other understand the pros and cons of Home Rule, critiqued the Roos development, exposed and explored feelings on race, tried to make sense of our cuckoo residential zoning, fought over gun control, alerted all of us to snow storms, fires and flooding, and tackled thousands of other topics over the past 16 years. Messy discussions, great fun and essential info you can only get there.

To state the obvious, Internet/digital media is a paradigm shifter and a political game changer. The simple act of independent info discovery, idea sharing, analysis and alternative solutions is a radical challenge to self-serving established powers that like to choose your news. In our new world, everyone is informed and everyone has a voice, if they choose.

It appears the Powers That Be (PTB) on this the earth don’t much care for free wheeling info-sharing and discussion. Time and again we witness their attempts to ignore, demonize and destroy the uncontrolled info-gatherers/sharers: the Arab Spring, Gov. Scott “Union Busting” Walker (R-WI), and Occupy Wall Street are some recent displays. But as Gandhi reminds us, ‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Tony Calderone, bless his heart, has always been an avid early adopter of new media, but with a quirk: he moves from new venue to new venue in an attempt to publish only his perspective and gets cranky and, um, unconstructive, when other viewpoints occur.

During Home Rule and Roos times, Tony was a top five poster on ForestParkForums, but when folks disagreed with his views/solutions he took his ball, went home and has lambasted the site ever since.

Tony also helped initiate our village website (non-interactive) but that’s been dying of boredom for years.

Tony supports the Review when it agrees with him and tries to destroy it (no, not hyperbole) when it doesn’t. Presently, Tony still uses page 3 of The Post (non-interactive,) village e-mails (non-interactive,) TribLocal (write your own news) and his mayoral Facebook page (monitored) to present his point of view.

Now I’d love nothing better than a good discussion on all of the above but first I have a serious bone to pick with Tony on his recent Facebook posting. His page is mostly sycophantic oohs and aahs about ribbon cuttings and other mayoral sightings but recently he posted, “I stumbled across this on the Internet and found it to be some interesting reading.” Dang. If I had a nickel for every crazy-uncle post or e-mail that opened like that, LOL.

Here is the link to the mayor’s Facebook page, scroll down to Dec 13: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1245003338&sk=wall

Here is the link to the piece he copy/pasted to his post: http://reviewingthereview.blogspot.com

The piece he finds ‘interesting’ is deeply anonymous, vitriolic googoo about the Forest Park Review, with not a lick of evidence or substance. It’s a mess of personal attacks, illogic and fallacies and a perfect example of what not to do on the Internet, or in life. Lord knows it is fair play to take a shot at the local newspaper but this kind of attack couldn’t pass a 2rd grade editorial board.

And Tony, the honorable way to present writings you endorse is “Damn. Wish I’d written that.”

My major point here is please, let’s not do that.

And when the Review gets its new interactive platform going by this summer please, let’s not do that.

“That” being all the ways some folks deliberately employ in an attempt to destroy honest public discourse and make a website a place to run from.

As we get closer to launch time we’ll cover the basic courtesies of constructive discussion to help ensure Forest Park’s water cooler offers a clear, refreshing drink, not a toxic soup.

In anticipation of free wheeling speech, here’s a link to an historical perspective on anonymity/pseudonyms. Enjoy.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/02/15/697892/-Whats-in-a-Name-The-Virtues-of-Pseudonyms