SR comment policy under review

nick
Mar 23, 2010

 

Some people seem to have gotten the impression from my last post that we were definitely NOT going to do anything to change our comment policies. That is not necessarily the case.

The fact is that how we handle our comments is a continual source of discussion internally. Over the past year we've tried a number of new things, both technologically (such as adding the "report abuse" link) and organizationally (how/when/who monitors the comments, etc.). We may do more. I can't say what exactly we will do, but we will continue to engage the problem.

But it seems to me that it's a bigger problem than just us and just our website. There are thousands of others at other sites dealing with the same problems. And I think the problems posed by the comments are not isolated. They reveal something endemic in our society.

As such, the Register may someday fix the comments, but that won't necessarily fix anything more than that. We can play a part in a broader solution, to be sure, but it's got to come from a lot more people than just us. One of the threads running through President Obama's inaugual address yesterday was a call to action. Real change doesn't occur until we all throw our hats in the ring together. The problems we have, the economic crisis, global warming, terrorism, are not going to be solved by one man in a corner. The comments on sites like sanduskyregister.com all over the country point to a social problem, and that problem is connected to those problems that make it into campaign speeches, but it is even less under the control of any politician.

In a society unprecedented in its level of connectivity, we have become so remarkably isolated that "flaming" is no longer the behavior of preschool children, it has become a hobby for an astonishingly large number of adults. That's a failure of society -- us. And it's gonna take us to change it.

To paraphrase our new president, we have to be the ones we've been waiting for.

So the Sandusky Register will continue to work on this problem in every way we can. We may have some big changes coming very soon. However, say we employed what I think of as the "nuclear option" and required all our comments to be approved by the our staffers BEFORE they are posted? The comments would be totally palatable to everyone in the community. But I'm concerned that then all we'd accomplish is to shove the problem back in the dark where it can quietly fester.

Comments

Anonymous

Nick, don't take the "nuclear option" because then you'll run into the problem of your staffers censoring comments they don't agree with.

Anonymous

Regardless of the 'flaming,' the SR is at least attracting the higher classes of the literate and the semi-literate.

I’ve used the ‘report abuse’ frequently, yet when I come back hours later I find the vulgar or racist remark still posted.

IMO, SR’s print media should be increasingly used to drive traffic and eye balls to the virtual media and not visa versa. As you’re well aware, the print version is becoming cost prohibitive as opposed to the relative inexpensive nature of SR’s internet presence. Someday the print version may not even exist.

(To quote our new POTUS, what exactly does ‘We are the ones we’ve been waiting for’ mean? To me, Mr. Obama’s somewhat apocalyptic sounding language tends to border on the psychotic.)

Anonymous

I said it in the last story, and I feel its worth mentioning again: the problem is in part a tendency to be reactionary instead of rational. Don't react to the "trolls," ignore them and move on. If you don't feed them, they have nothing to go on. As hard as it may be, ignore the racist, sexist, generally incendiary comments and continue with the civil line of discussion.

cm.sandusky

I guess I don't understand why I have to register on FUNCOAST just to vote, yet NOBODY has to register to post on any blog....
I agree, we should ignore the "trolls", and I do, but some of this stuff is ridiculus.

Anonymous

I enjoy arguing with the trolls as well as the socially and politically insane. More like an intellectual sport most of the time. Reminds me of the occasional classroom debate I’d have in college.

Most of them can't conceptually articulate an idea beyond one sentence.

They watch TV, hear an opinion, accept it as gospel and regurgitate it without any critical evaluation.

Bring ‘em on - the more loony and liberal the better.

The Reflector used to let Mr. White speak his mind. But IMO, the guy occasionally made too much sense and the people that sign his paycheck cut him off.

Yep, Mr. White could bring out the hate speech. I miss his missives.

Anonymous

WP, so then these commenting threads are more like entertainment than any kind of useful social dialogue. (That's been my contention, most of the time.)

Kimo

The comments about the Mom/daughter illness, show the need to take action.
That is not free speech, it's contributing to delinquency, and no person, male or female should be subjected to those kind of comments.

The Toledo Blade put an end to the problem, suggest you do the same.

Anonymous

You really get it in your face sometimes. Maybe that isn't all that bad. You get 100% from those that don't agree. No politics, no worry of being fired. Free unadorned speech. Maybe that isn't always bad.

Anonymous

Keep up the great work moderating and censoring the comments! I love it and look forward to the Nazi symbol replacing the current logo in the near future.

I also love how whirled peas has one of the biggest superiority complexes I've ever seen. Apparently his fecal matter has no smell.

Anonymous

Morning Journal and Elyria Chronicle don't have any kind of nonsense going on either.

Nothing like what happend to the mom and daughter this morning.

Anonymous

Great Work: Not superior, I merely enjoy an intelligent exchange of minds - do you have one? A swastika? Get a grip.

The Community: Occasionally I find that the reporting of a local event will uncover some interesting insight from a purportedly knowledgeable poster, but unfortunately those tend to be rare.

Anonymous

The instructables.com site comment policy:

We have a "be nice" comment policy. Please be positive and constructive with your comments or risk being banned from our site.

Why are you playing dumb, SR, pretending that civilized people would really need to wring their hands and gnash their teeth trying to figure out if they should provide a public forum for a few jerks to attack anybody and everybody?

Anonymous

"Its the economy stupid" observations that drive web page trolls and if the SR tinkers with the blogs the number of website hits will diminish exponentially.

Anonymous

Hooray!!! I see that Phares is finally taking control of his ship and is promising some sort of login feature by the end of the week!!!! Too bad Mr. Silverspoon (Nick the golden nephew White) could not see the light sooner instead of making lousy excuses.

Thank you Mr. Phares, next time I see you at Shifters or the YMCA drinks are on me!!!

Anonymous (not ...

(Comment deleted due to the writing of an opinion that differed from the viewpoint of the Register’s editorial staff.)

Bailey

this isn't censoring speech!! If you study real hard you should be able to convey your thoughts through speech and posts without hurting anyone. The register offers a place to communicate WITH RULES, and if your too childish to understand this go outside in the snow and talk all you want; but there are rules there too.

And the comments about the two ladies with cancer wasn't a right, it was abuse! If you were too say that in person to them you would be arrested! That was harasment, it was threatining, what many would consider a hate crime. I still think the family should get a lawyer against them.

I respect the Register, I called them and I'm sure others did and they took the HIGHER Ground. What kind of person would even THINK of saying these things to anyone, let alone a MINOR with cancer! This isn't really about free speech as much as it is prosecuting those who posted such filth and accusations against a MINOR. How many of you with children would allow your child to be treated like this in school? Once again, those who think free speech is anything goes without restriction are seriously in need of an education, either in class room or in an alley! Whats next, abusing your animals because YOU OWN them and its your RIGHT to do with your 'property' as you wish? Don't answer this, it will make you look more foolish and deviant.

Anonymous (not ...

(I will self-delete this comment as I was intending to post something inappropriate.)

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