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Banned by ABA, 'Ellen' Launches Blog

"After reviewing our last week of comments, we have decided to become more assertive with our comment moderating," ABA Journal Assistant Managing Editor Molly McDonough wrote in a post to the magazine's Web site Monday. "We will more readily exercise our authority to remove inappropriate comments, those that are particularly off-topic and those that generally flout the rules of civil discourse and persistently disrupt the comment stream."

In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that Molly is a friend and former colleague of mine. What prompted her clamp-down on commenting was an increasing volume of inappropriate comments by someone Molly describes as "the fictional 'Ellen Barshevsky' and her various personas." Because Ellen provided no e-mail address, the site's editors were unable to warn her that her comments had crossed a line. So, after tolerating them for some time, Molly wrote, "As of this morning, 'Ellen' has formally been banned from commenting on the site."

No sooner was Ellen banished from the ABA Journal's site than she reappeared with a blog of her own, Ellen Barshevsky -- The BLAWG. In an introductory post, she writes:

I was banned to TODAY by the aba journal. They DO NOT like my blawgs and they know I am NOT a First Amendment lawyer so they think they can silence my writing. But my BOYFRIEND, and yes he is my boyfriend, says that I should do MORE blawgs on my own, so that is exactly what I am doing here.

A question much debated by others who have posted comments at the ABA Journal site and elsewhere is whether Ellen and her oft-mentioned boyfriend are real people and actual lawyers. Ellen, true to form, asks the same about Molly. "I don't think Molly is a real name," she writes on her new blog. "I don't know anyone who names their child Molly these days."I can vouch for Molly's existence, but I'm not so sure about Ellen's.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on November 19, 2008 at 02:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)


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