BLOG: Is Schaefer's Response Where Local Media Is Headed?

Bryan Dubois
Nov 26, 2010

A positive thing is happening under an SR article, and local leadership should take note that this is where local media is and should be headed.

One of the reasons I believe the commenting section of the Sandusky Register should be revamped is to encourage this type of interaction.  Commenters should be encouraged to use real names (or at least civility) and trolls should be recognized and their accounts should be deleted immediately.  If you want useless, anonymous snark, visit youtube.  If you believe local media provides a valuable resource to the public in the way of acting as medium between government and citizens, then you should treat it with more respect and value.

In accordance with that last idea, Diane Schaefer, who is a Perkins resident and elected fiscal officer, is using the local media capability to her advantage:

There were questions raised about whether Schaeffer was being cooperative in releasing public documents regarding the relocation of Perkins townhall.  The Register published their account of what happened between their reporter and Schaeffer, and like always, commenters offered their opinions of the account.  Apparently, some of the comments were either unfair or outright lies.

So Diane Schaefer spent more than a few minutes on Thanksgiving Day to defend herself from the lies in the commenting section.

Her decision to post as herself raises a few questions and proves something that many local civil leaders would love to be untrue:  The commenting section is read by alot of people.  Sure, it may be a cesspool of nonsense by the likes of the same 3 anonymous commenters but every once in awhile there will come a Schaeffer moment when it's worth reading.

Why don't more local officials who feel wronged by coverage respond personally?  Sure, this is not a traditional way to handle what one perceives as 'bad press', but a carefully worded response is probably more effective than just praying the newspaper and anonymous commenters get it right next time.

What role will the media play if more public officials begin to handle their interactions with the public directly instead of relying on a reporter to accurately quote them or follow a legitimate narrative that's worthy of coverage?

Schaefer's move should be noted and if the Register is awake and watching, they should find a way to encourage more of it.  (One of which is to revamp the comments section)  In the end, I think readers would gladly trade a thousand anonymous trolls for 1 upfront public official who gives their opinion and honestly tacks their name to it.  That new, innovative media model would better serve the community and ensure sustainability in the constantly changing media world...



 I thank Ms. Schaeffer for answering some questions. Mr. Gunner the superintendent of Perkins schools also attempted to answer questions in regards to the past failed school levy. 

I don't always agree with the direction of our schools and government bodies but I do appreciate the effort put forth to pass on information that allows me to make a more informed decision.

brutus smith

 bryan, why are people like you always try to smother free speech? This forum gives people a place to express their feelings without the fear of repercussions. I think the S-R moderators do a pretty good job of deleting the personal accusations, especially about local people. And people like Diane can come on and dispel untruths.  Personally I don't like to comment on local people because it's nothing more than gossip. And at least they do have the chance to defend themselves on here. 


And you have a lot nerve attacking Rufus Sanders "OPINIONS". Oh, it's OK if you use your real name? A little false bravado don't ya think? So I don't think we want to go to the Gestapo tactics you advocate. I give you history lessons all the time and you still stick with what's in your head. I give you religious realities and you still stick with what's in your head. 


So stop trying to suppress free speech.

Julie R.

So go for it all you UPFRONT PUBLIC OFFICIALS------let's hear your carefully worded responses!


Congratulations Brian, it took only 57 minutes for a troll to respond. He probably resented the time it took away from his cartoon network.

brutus smith

 Only took you 57 minutes eh goofus? You are getting quicker. goofus definition of a troll- anyone who disagrees with his right wingnut thinking.

6079 Smith W
  “Jethro” smith writes:   “Personally I don't like to comment on local people because it's nothing more than gossip.”    The truth is: He can't comment. bs is an out-of-area troll, never lived or even been here and has absolutely no idea of what’s going on locally except for what he reads on-line in the SR.   -------   @ Mr. Dubois:   Like a bar serving only $5 beers which tends to help keep the riff-raff out; restrict the comments section to paid subscribers.  

A freeloader like bs would hate that because he instinctively hates the free market.



6079, trust me when I tell you this, $5.00 beers in no way keep out the riff raff. Living on Put-In-Bay, the home of expensive drinks, I can asure you that the undesirable merely save up their money or get drunk on store bought booze before they come downtown. Brutus will merely be checking every vending machine in his town in whatever state he lives in to puchase a subscription. Brutus, Brian Dubois in an earlier column gave the definition of a troll and it describes you to a tee.

brutus smith

 Aren't you supposed to be watching 80 year old ladies get patted down?

Diane Schaefer

Mr. Dubois, While I thank you for acknowledging that it took some courage to post under my own name, I think you missed the point of my first post. It was directed to (at) the Sandusky Register and Reporter Ouriel. Have you even heard the computer saying - GIGO which stands for garbage in, garbage out? The answer to a question, or this time a request, is only as good the the request itself. So if the question is not clear, then the answer will not be accurate or complete. That is what happened this time and notice that I did not say the answer was wrong.

And to answer why I used the BLOGS - first, the Register would probably not have printed my response and second I doubt that Matt Westerhold would have sat down with me to discuss the various accusations that I have been told he made about me.

Could it be that Mr. Ouriel had a preconceived story in his mind such as how much was being spent, but that his request of how much was being spent as a result of the agreement with the Sheriff's was not the same?

I was a reporter for my high school paper. We were taught to ask the basic questions of a story - who, what, when, why, where, how. We were not taught to give opinions; just present the facts. I think our former reporter Shawn Foucher did a great job at this. His articles were very concise and fair. He asked direct questions and if the first question didn't answer the subject completely he would ask another. And in my opinion, he defended his articles, maybe even when they were not what his boss wanted. Perhaps that is why he is no longer our reporter.

I try to the very best of my ability to serve the residents of Perkins Township accurately, fairly, and honestly. Do I make mistakes? Of course, I am only human. Do I do it purposefully? Absolutely not.

And finally I would not be me if I didn't correct you - it is SCHAEFER - only one F.

brutus smith

 For someone who regurgitates jim hoft's stuff on here you sure have a lot of room to talk.


And mr. who can only re-post what other people have said and demonizes anyone who thinks different, is not a troll? Yeah right winnie.


The old Erie County PTA, you know, like the song Harper Valley PTA? Point the finger at everyone else except that person in the mirror.


What are your thoughts about bloggers that use numerous user names to inflate the number of comments on their blog?


Should that be eliminated as well?

Bryan Dubois

Perkinsandlynn,  first let's have a definition of terms.  "Bloggers" are people who maintain web logs.  They write "posts" or "blog entries" that appear on the blog's main page.  On the Sandusky Register there are 9 bloggers.  The bloggers are listed at the top of the page.  They are:

Matt Westerhold Tom Jackson Sue Daugherty Jason Singer Jason Werling Bryan Dubois FIT: Clark FIT: Guerra FIT: Mortus users who leave comments under blog posts or news articles are known as "commenters."

With so many people misusing these terms - which are generally accepted everywhere else on the internet except here, it seems, it's easy to misunderstand what you're describing.

My thoughts about bloggers who use numerous user names to inflate the number of comments on their blog are that it's intellectually dishonest and should be discouraged.  This practice is also known as "sock puppeteering" and is frowned upon by most blog users, including myself.  I know there are certain commenters who do this to give the appearance that other people agree with their opinions, but I'm not aware of any bloggers on the Register who do this.  I would also discourage any blogger from having a separate identity which he/she uses to comment on his/her own blog.

Brutus,  I suspect that you believe in a first amendment right to comment on the Register.  I have news for you:  You do not have a first amendment right to free speech on the Sandusky Register.  The Sandusky Register is a service owned by a corporation and they can set up their commenting system however they like - just as all other media companies in this country.  I believe that the excessive trolling damages this product and hope that they take action against it.  We'll wait and see what they do.

Kudos to Diane Schaefer for once again posting and clarifying!  (Sorry about the misspell!  I fixed it.)

brutus smith

 Well, that is 2 stories you couldn't comprehend what the person said. 1st was the "marriage is obsolete" where you misquoted Kottage Kat, and now the 2nd with Diane. Good thing people "troll" these blogs huh?

And why is it you have problems with those on the left commenting, inferring they are trolls, but people like goofus and winnie, who by the way has multiple screen names on here, can do whatever. Same as commenting on someone's opinion column. Gee, if it's a Liberal columnist they must either be nuts or have an ulterior motive. I won't EVEN get into the fact that Mr. Sanders is an African-American. 

And finally bryan you couldn't even comprehend what I said. I never said it was a right to comment on here. I said it was a good place to comment. And I'm sure if you could have your way only people who think like you would be allowed to comment, and only articles that are right wing would be printed. I don't call for you to banned because you misrepresent what people say, so why do you want people banned because they don't agree with you. This section brings a lot of traffic to the S-R, so they wouldn't be doing themselves any favors.

Bryan Dubois

Brutus, please give me an example of how I misquoted Diane Schaefer.

Nobody should have more than one screen name on here.  I never said any differently.

Brutus, trolls write things like suggesting that people who don't agree with them should be shipped off to concentration camps.  You've done that.


Governor-elect John Kasich keeps hiring process private.

I don't like Kasich on a good day, but on this issue I understand why he is doing this.

He doesn't trust the media.

Golly gee, I wonder why?


brutus smith

 The "concentration camp" thing was a joke reply to 6079. Good grief. But you advocating for restricted speech is no joke. And my mistake of saying misquote instead of misrepresenting what Diane said. Did you even read what she wrote? Write your blog, but don't try to shut down speech because someone calls you on "your facts".

Bryan Dubois


1.  You admit that you made a mistake when you wrote "misquote" instead of "misrepresent."  Are other people entitled to honest mistakes too?

2.  Show me where I misrepresented what Diane Schaefer wrote.  Please give me an example.  You will be unable to provide an example because your claim is baseless.  I did not misquote or misrepresent what she said.

3.  I am advocating further restrictions on commenting on the Sandusky Register against those who abuse their anonymity and those who troll this site.  The Register would be well within their rights to do so - and it would be a good business decision too.  The Sandusky Register is not required to give you a platform to troll. 

4.  I never said you're the only troll on this site.  (By the way, doing so is a good example of you misrepresenting my position.)

5.  You made a "joke" about sending those who disagree with you to concentration camps - yet you have a problem with Rich Iott for dressing up as a Nazi.  Let me share the joke with you:  He was "just an actor" and you were "just joking."  Right?

brutus smith

  NOV 26, 2010 
11:57 AM Diane Schaefer says

Mr. Dubois, While I thank you for acknowledging that it took some courage to post under my own name, I think you missed the point of my first post.

Bryan Dubois

Brutus Smith, the point of my blog post was that Diane Schaefer used the commenting section under the SR article to defend her actions when it came to the public records request.  I never addressed the details of the article nor did I address the details of Schaefer's account of what happened.  My post was about Schaefer using the commenting section to relay her point of view to SR readers directly.  I did not misrepresent what Schaefer said, nor did I misquote her.   Reposting Schaefer's comment does nothing to support your claim that I misrepresented or misquoted her words.  Your claim is baseless.


Swing-and-a-miss on that point - and I guess you won't touch the other 4 points I made?


Nice dodge, you know what I meant.


Ms. Schaefer, I think he is ignoring the fact that he missed you point.  You have mentioned that twice now.  Such is life on the internet, but let me ask you this.  Recently the subject of releasing minutes from executive sessions of the city commission has come up.  What are your thoughts on this.  I find it odd that the commissioners that ran on a platform of "open and responsive government" do not want it.

Bryan Dubois


 I don't think you're getting it.  Ms. Schaefer did not post that last comment.  Brutus Smith reposted Schafer's comment from 11:47 am.  Run your cursor over it and highlight the text.  It was not a new comment.   Brutus reposted it and pretended that it somehow supported his claim that I misrepresented Schaefer's words.  You understand?

By the way:  I am not ignoring Schaefer's point.  I'm saying that Schaefer's point was never the subject of my post in the first place.  I never addressed anything in Ouriel's article, nor Schaefer's account.  Why is this so difficult to understand?

As far as your claim that I "dodged" something.  I answered your question.  What "dodge" did I make?  Please clarify!

I never met Ms. Schaefer and most certainly do not speak for her. That being said: Many years ago when I served as an appointed and elected official. We had a young lady that covered our meetings for a local paper. She would do a column reporting the action taken at the meeting. Anything that might embarrass someone was never printed. All officials will make a mistake at some point in their service. If she thought that we could have handled a situation better than we did, she would give us her opinion or spin. We learned to respect her opinions and in the end, she was a good influence, and the community was a better place because of her intelligence and patience. The lady was a class act and if she requested information, she was trusted to handle it in a sensible manner and not do more damage than good. When the SR made the decision to publish Erie County leave data, they could have made their point without printing names and dragging individual employees thru the mud. It’s that kind of “Journalism” that makes any elected official shudder. You might as well have painted a target on each and every employee’s back. If you remember, a regular poster did a quick CYA, by announcing that his “wife” was a county employee. Quote “my wife works for the county and she gets comp time, sick time and vacation!  she takes it and doesn't complain but i think it is a freakin bunch of bs’ What made him nervous? @ Ms. Schaefer, don’t let the people using you to promote themselves, get you down. You go girl.
Julie R.

@ Mr. Dubois:

While I give Ms. Schaefer credit for disputing what she claimed was not the truth, I fail to see where you are coming from that it took courage for her to post under her real name. Obviously, to dispute what was said she would HAVE to post under her real name which means I totally fail to see the connection you are trying to promote here----that because Ms. Schaefer gave her real name that means ALL commenters should. 

Also, after reading the original story that this blog stemmed from, I didn't see any comments at all by brutus smith so maybe you can tell us why this blog seem to be an attack on him? Neither did I see any comments under the original story that were all that bad so one might have to wonder why you said poor Ms. Schaefer took time out on Thanksgiving to defend (what you claimed) were lies the commenters made. And once again, if some of these UPFRONT (choke) public officials don't like what the SR and/or the commenters say about them then maybe they should follow in the footsteps of Ms. Schaefer and "dispute" it. I personally would love to see it! 

6079 Smith W
@ Mr. Dubois:   Hopefully, it’s dawned on you that attempting to have an intelligent and rational discussion with an Internet troll like “brutus smith” is an exercise in futility.   I know, I’ve tried repeatedly and have always been unsuccessful.   Byway of the definition of a troll; his goal is largely to disrupt, insult and gain attention – that’s all.   All trolls essentially need is for someone to respond to their provocative posts and they feel that they’ve won the game. Dialogue is not their goal; only their selfish childish game is important.   Finding deep-thinking Progressive-liberals or Marxists is next to impossible because the basis of their philosophy is emotional. Von Mises wrote extensively on this point.   When "Air America" was on the air, I would occasionally tune in hoping to become educated about their point of view. After a few minutes I would turn it off because the essence of the “argument” would most often boil down to: “Can we all agree that George Bush s*cks?” followed by the host and crew’s laughter.   Other than some Fox News programs, there’s little on the cable that allows the leftists to spout their views followed by a conservative or libertarian retort and visa versa.   If you choose to continue to attempt a dialogue with our parasitic troll – best wishes for having fun playing with your imbecilic charge.


Bryan Dubois

Oh, I know.


The newspaper will not "revamp" the commenting system for one giant reason.


A friend of mine that may or may not still work for the newspaper in IT (sorry I do not want to give too many details about this person) was telling a few of us one day that some of the bloggers, some reporters, and even editors have mutliple logins names.  They use these multiple names to generate friction in the commenting area and provoke more comments.  This inturn inflates the number of times the website is looked at and inflates the advertising rates.

This was brought up when one of us in the group at the restaurant that day asked why the commenting system is as bad as it is.  We asked why they do not force or encourage you to post under your own name.  This was the answer we got.  This person was even able to tell us what names were what editors, reporters and bloggers.

Bryan Dubois


Would you mind admitting that you misread the material on this blog before you continue to another subject?  You failed to see that Brutus Smith reposted Ms. Schaefer's prior comment. 

Making mistakes is expected - but when you make a mistake, you should admit it.

I answered the question you posed to me, but instead of accepting it, you decided to claim that I "dodged" it.  Why?

As for this theory, it's possible that Register employees engage other commenters in these threads.  I don't believe that it's to inflate the number of comments though.  They have the same interest you do in commenting under these blog entries and stories, so you wouldn't begrudge them for doing this, would you?  Their reason for doing this is, if they do it, is their own business.  If they do it, for the reason of simply disagreeing with other commenters, I believe the practice should be discouraged.  (Again, I don't think they do this.)

I do not share the opinion that many comments equal a good product.  The damage to the product caused by trolling and name-calling far outweighs the slight traffic increase caused by the same few commenters returning over and over to pointlessly argue with each other.


@ Dubois, 6079 Smith, Goofus, Brutus Smith, and others..........................

 This section is called the "comment" section,not the "blog" section.  Granted there are some who get confused about what a comment really is.  Personally,I like to see what other peoples OPINIONS are about the subject at hand. But instead I end up seeing people like 6079smith only giving us a repeat of what brutus smith said somewhere as a comment,and then goofus agreeing with him. As a matter of fact, I have seen more insulting and name calling from 6079smith and goofus than any other person on here.  And now after your "blog" that started this,I see you are not really any better than them. I am not taking any side here,but what I have seen, Brutus Smith will make a comment,which is his "opinion" about a story. Then 6079 smith ALWAYS comes back showing us what Brutus said, like we didn`t already read it, and begins insulting him and calling him names like some bully on the playground. Then his sidekick goofus has to jump in and spew his insults also.  This has been going on for quite some time now and isn`t even funny anymore. AND to top it off,when 6079 smith isn`t insulting and name calling, he is making comments about others that name call and insult for having different opinions ,,making it sound like HE NEVER DOES IT... It is obvious that 6079 smith is obsessed with Brutus and he needs to realize that WE DON`T CARE !!  At least Brutus Smith will give us his opinions and thoughts on the subject ,and he doesn`t  go to name calling until he is attacked by 6079 or goofus.  I just wish they would grow up and stop talking out both sides of their mouths and try to keep their comments about the subject at hand instead of always insulting people and calling them names.  EVERYBODY has a right to their own opinion and just because you do not agree with them does not mean you are right and they are wrong. So come on guys,please show us you can act like adults and stop acting like bullies on the grade school playground. SOME people have very interesting takes on subjects and  bring interesting thoughts to an issue, but when we have to read these childish comments from 6079smith and the like , it is like trying to have an adult conversation in a room with a couple unruly kids running around. 

 Now I am interested in what names and insults they will throw at me for being honest.  IF they even respond. And please don`t tell us he started it.


Didn't know I had to acknoledge that I did not notice that it was a repost....sorry, I will erect a billboard on Rt. 2 next time to make up for it.


I was told that the comments were not to just comment on the stories but to provoke agruements.  If people just make normal benign comments there is no return traffic, but if they result to "trolling" or "name calling" then they will return to see what the result is.  This is especialy true when someone provokes them into this "online war".  This, as I was told, was the reason the Register staff was encouraged to make the comments.

6079 Smith W

brutus smith writes:

“The "concentration camp" thing was a joke reply to 6079.”

Some “joke.”

I wrote:

"How about gulags or re-education camps for those of who do not agree with leftist viewpoints; would that suffice?"

brutus smith responded:  

“That would be a start.”

So the suffering, misery and death associated with internment camps is funny to you Jethro?