West Side Rag » Comments of the Week: Moderating the Madness


Posted on September 13, 2020 at 11:27 am by Carol Tannenhauser

By the Moderators

A WSR commenter asked, “Who screens these comments? What criteria do you have given some of the incendiary nonsense that gets through while other comments are censored? Some are well over 100 words but they get through while others do not. What is your criteria besides personal taste?”

It’s easier to show than tell.

Take the following comment, which is headed for the trash. Other than revealing the mean spiritedness and schadenfreude of the writer, what purpose does it serve? Regarding people experiencing homelessness in hotels on the Upper West Side, So Long wrote:

“Former UWS resident. Can’t help but watch this all in amusement from the beautiful leafy suburb I moved to with my family. No need for my 2 year old to walk by deranged drug addicts on a morning stroll. To all those who want them at the Lucerne, you are doing a great service – have fun!!”

Why inflict that on our readership? Why give it air time? Good riddance, So Long!

But a comment from UWS Mom made it, despite pushing the envelope on word count. That is not an invitation for you to exceed it! From now on, the limit will be more strictly enforced (give or take 25 words.) Please adhere to it; it’s hard to trash wise and well-delivered words when they are so desperately needed these days.

To sum up, we do our best to post an array of comments espousing different viewpoints. Still, you’ll need to accept that a thought you consider brilliant may not make it through. Lay off the personal attacks and name-calling, cut the dehumanizing language. If you feel yourself gearing up for an angry rant, take a breath and reconsider.

Proofreading wouldn’t hurt either (the world is reading). And listen to your mother.

UWS Mom wrote:

“While I applaud the city for finding shelter for the homeless during the pandemic, I think the mayor and his staff could’ve done a better job than placing them in the middle of a residential neighborhood, regardless of what borough it would be in. We live in a city full of hotels for God’s sake! Why couldn’t they arrange a shelter, say for example, in the financial district, where most offices were closed because of the pandemic? It’s utterly absurd to even have this conversation – the city should’ve done a better job.

“I see so many more people around the Lucerne who are doing/saying things that are scary for the kids of the neighborhood. The homeless need care and help. That is a fact. This doesn’t necessarily have to be in a heavy residential part of the city. You cannot change overnight how secure or comfortable families and children feel in their neighborhood. This has nothing to do with privilege. Resident families of any neighborhood would feel the same way when faced with such a change. It’s simply a bad execution of a good idea. Get it fixed without decreasing the level of service and care for the homeless. And get them real help please! They need more than just a shelter.”

Here are some more comments representative of last week:

re: City Will Move Homeless Out of The Lucerne Hotel Starting This Weekend

Rob G. says:
A rare victory for the UWS! Congratulations to all who fought so hard against this asinine scheme. Now let’s turn our attention to the Belnord, Belleclaire, and numerous other shelters that have wrecked the northern end of the neighborhood. Maybe there’s hope for us after all.

Gregory Goldstein says:
We should be embarrassed! We can no longer claim to be an inclusive community. Rather than take the occasion to bring our city together and help the less fortunate, we showed we were more interested in protecting our privileged selves.

A Radical Idea says:
Here’s a RADICAL THOUGHT for those who are outraged that many UWS residents have concerns about housing 283 men (virtually all with substance abuse or mental health disorders) at The Lucerne: It is possible, and common, to be compassionate, tolerant, and respectful, and supportive of all efforts to help these men recover, and ALSO have legitimate concerns about the safety and well-being of the neighborhood. It is alarming that so many people are incapable of seeing this for what it is — a complex, thorny issue with few clear-cut solutions. It isn’t entitled, heartless, spoiled hypocrites on one side and open-minded, virtuous do-gooders on the other. Let’s have a nuanced and balanced dialogue. Shrill name-calling and extremism don’t accomplish anything — for ANYONE.

Ian Alterman says:
It will be interesting to see how all of the people who are “relieved” by this will react when they find out that it was never the “hotel homeless” at all, when the problems continue after they are all gone. It was always the street homeless. Will there be any apologies? Will there even be any realization? Nope. Because some people simply WANT or even NEED a scapegoat, and all of you who are…



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