The freedom-fearing folks of “STOP FREE KEENE!!!” have apparently started an anonymous blog site. The site claims on its “Get Involved” page, “we believe in transparency”, yet readers have no idea who is writing the articles.
Of course, actual transparency can be found here at Free Keene. We have a list of all our bloggers, biographical information, and even photos of each, and have had it from the beginning of Free Keene’s existence. Each blog post here at FK is attributed to a specific blogger, unlike SFK’s site.
Another important difference is that FK’s bloggers are willing to talk with people who disagree in real life and online, whereas many of SFK’s members thus far have shown an unwillingness to communicate with their neighbors. Their blog’s comments are moderated, meaning each comment must be approved by the site admins. (EDIT/UPDATE: They appear to have changed their moderation settings to either allow all comments or allow all after one approval, as I am now able to post without pre-moderation.)
In contrast, the Disqus commenting system we have here at Free Keene allows anyone to post, though there is a moderation system which at times on its own will hold up certain posts. Those auto-moderated posts are usually approved, provided they are not spam, racism, or advocating violence. People masquerading as others are also not welcome to comment at FK. However, anyone can post here with anonymity and by default comments are not moderated.
In real life at the recent “STOP FREE KEENE!!!” silent protest, I am told there was a middle-aged man (not a liberty activist) who came up and attempted to talk to SFK’s Joshua Erickson, (one of the administrators of their facebook group, a self-described socialist) and inquire of him about their protest. Josh apparently refused to speak to the man, but Free Keene blogger, James “Robin Hood” Cleaveland was more than happy to talk to the gentleman when he inquired, and they had a great conversation. (Some of which you can hear in the background of the video from the event.)
To SFK’s credit, they did have an awesome turnout at their event. Unlike their predecessor, the long-defunct “Keene Matters” blog from 2007, SFK actually has a real-life presence. Too bad not even the heads of the organization will talk to anybody about their ideas, whatever those are. So much for transparency.
One more interesting thing in the realm of transparency, some of SFK’s members have bragged about their facebook group having over 1,000 members. The reality is, you can easily pump up the membership of a facebook group by adding your “friends” to it without their consent, like this lady who showed up to the recent Robin Hood of Keene “People’s BBQ” and told her story about how she found herself added to the SFK group:
There is no doubt from their recent protest that SFK has real members who are participating in real life, but they shouldn’t be dishonest about their group numbers. Plus, there are even more members in their group now thanks to the recent New York Times article, but even prior to that many SFK group members were not living in Keene. A better indicator of how many true supporters they have may be their Twitter follower count – 25 as of this writing. I’m not saying that is an accurate number (they definitely have more than 25) but that number is interesting because you can’t just add anyone as a twitter follower – all twitter followers must opt-in.
A real-life indicator of their actual level of popularity has been provided by SFK themselves: their dashboard note graphic that informs Robin Hooders their assistance is not welcome by the vehicle owner. When I inquired with Robin Hooders about how often these graphics are seen in vehicles downtown, the answer was there is an SUV that doesn’t use that graphic, just a handwritten note, and that’s it. Come on, SFK – get those notes on display! If parking enforcement is as popular as you think and FK as unpopular as you think, then you should be able to do better!