The local blog the Venner Vox, a work product of William J. Kline & Son, Inc. is dead. This revelation, according to an editorial written by the blog’s former moderator Charlie Kraebel, is good news to me.
The reasons for the blog’s demise listed in Kraebel’s editorial are all true. What wasn’t listed, was that the blog showed partiality to a certain few and often offered partisan opinion on topics in local news instead of presenting topics for discussion in an impartial manner. My complaints about the unfair way the blog was moderated, resulted in the blog instituting a set of rules that were rarely enforced.
In my opinion, the Venner Vox represented a community forum, a modern town hall, run by the Recorder, the official newspaper of the City of Amsterdam. The moderator of the Venner Vox was paid to create and run this blog, unlike the other local blogs that are unpaid voluntary submissions for the benefit of our community. With that should have come a sense of responsibility to keep the Venner Vox under the same type of control as the information published in the print version of the Recorder. This was not the case so I decided to move on and create my blog, the Grove Street Grumble.
I no longer participated in the discussions on the Venner Vox unless my name or the name of my blog was specifically mentioned. This occurred on several occasions, most notably the day after the Marriage Equality bill was signed into law. I campaigned heavily for the passage of this law that was very important to me personally, even speaking out at a Common Council meeting to ask for their support on the measure.
On June 25, 2011 the title of the blog post on the Venner Vox was Jerry Skrocki Can Marry His Cat. I found this title discriminatory, hurtful and demeaning to myself and the gay community and asked Charlie Kraebel to remove it. Receiving no response, I wrote to the Publisher of the Recorder Kevin McClary, who assumed no responsibility for the post stating:
I am pulling this post simply because Mr. Skrocki has shown he does not understand Charlie’s use of irony in the post (regarding other people’s comments) and it is being twisted out of context. There will be no further references to Mr. Skrocki on the Venner Vox, ever.
I will not publicly debate this.
Kevin McClary, Publisher
The publisher’s reaction was to condone this type of harassment on behalf of William J. Kline & Son, Inc. and ban me from posting comments. My reaction was to make a formal record of this event by filing the complaint with the NYS Division for Human Rights.
This did not stop Charlie Kraebel from making veiled references to my blog in what I perceived to be continued pattern of harassment. The titles used in the posts on the Venner Vox on July 28, 2011 “The Academy Street Crumble” and on August 1st, 2011 “Get yer Grumble on” had no legitimate purpose other than to annoy.
Yes, I’m glad someone dropped a house on the Venner Vox.