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A reminder: Play nice in the sandbox

Dear readers,

While the majority of you, regardless of age, gender, race or political orientation, seem to be able to express yourselves in an intelligent, respectful manner, there is a growing minority that seems to be growing, shall we say, less restrained. This is especially true when the subject involves race or nationality, but it doesn’t stop there.

So, in the interest of giving everyone fair warning, here’s a reminder of our standards, quoted or paraphrased from our published comment guidelines:

No name-calling. We have had a lot of this lately.

Do not insult, bully, threaten or harass the writers or your fellow commenters.

Racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments will be deleted. Continued violators will be banned.

Do not include email addresses, physical addresses, or phone numbers in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion, or for the purpose of harassing or publicly exposing the private data of others. Such comments will be redacted or removed.

Offensive, inappropriate or annoying comments may be deleted or subjected to distempering. This includes character assassination by innuendo.

Anything we deem libelous or slanderous, or otherwise open to legal action, will be deleted.

Sock puppets – alias accounts created by previously banned commenters or by commenters who are seeking third-party approval the easy way – will be banned.

These rules, and the enforcement thereof, have nothing to do with politics and everything to do with maintaining a civil, mature atmosphere where people of disparate opinions can engage in vigorous debate without being subjected to playground-level taunts and bullying. Continued violations will lead to commenters being banned.


25 responses to “A reminder: Play nice in the sandbox”

  1. Don’t Panic

    Thank you NON for working so hard to maintain this valuable public conversation space.

  2. Kathy Leeds

    Bravo! If only the entire world would play by these rules. Thank you for all you do to investigate, inform, and inspire intelligent exchange.

  3. Marjorie M

    Sounds quite restrictive. Annoying comments? You mean comments you don’t like? Why not treat people as adults? Yes, there are all kinds of people living in this country, some nice, some not so nice. Don’t they all deserve a voice?
    By the way, why not have an open forum once in a while, like Norwalk Speaks? They allow issues to be brought up by the public, not just controlled issues by the person in charge.
    Well, I hope this is not considered “annoying.” It’s just my opinion.

    1. Mark Chapman


      If civil is restrictive than yes, it’s restrictive. We treat people as adults if they act like adults. The others do deserve a voice, and there are sites that allow that. Good luck to them.

      As for the open forum: We call them letters to the editor. Feel free. They can be whatever, not a response to anything we’ve covered. Otherwise, like the editors/publishers of all newspapers, websites, TV news casts, etc., we decide what to cover. But letters? Have at it. Same standards, though.

  4. lifelong teacher

    Thank you for keeping this civilized.

  5. spanner

    Thank you NON as well.

    Dont want go against the grain but for those who are interested in Metro train Bridges and Trucks hitting them there has been 8 bridges in and around Norwak that has been hit within the last 72 hours the same bridge in Stamford 3 times.Metro police for the most part have been the prinary law enforcemnt agency in charge of the invesigations and police reports .If your wondering how it effects a commuter my son waited on the train another extra 20 minutes last night coming home to South Norwalk while the Ct DOT bridge inspectors were checking the Elm St bridge in Stamford before the train could pass.

  6. Lisa Thomson

    I for one would welcome a letter to the editor from Marjoriem about education, notwithstanding the fact that he/she disagrees with everything I write or post. However, that would require him or her to ‘own’ their remarks, facts, and opinion and not hide behind a pseudonym.

  7. EveT

    Thanks for the reminder about civility and the rules against trolls and sock puppets. I am glad NoN is upholding these standards.

  8. Bruce Kimmel

    NON: Thank you. I appreciate what you’re doing.

  9. Marjorie M

    So, NoN, are Lisa Thomson’s comments (challenge) about me considered inappropriate, harassing or annoying? I am questioning this because I would like to do the same to her, but I thought it might be censored. Just checking the boundaries.

  10. Rod Lopez-Fabrega

    Bravo NON. You are the keepers of what used to be common civility during public discourse. The Hour please take note.

  11. @Marj~
    As with all things NoN, the publishing of Lisa’s post tells you the answer…
    Remember, this is NANCY’S sandbox and its her way no matter what.

  12. Marjorie M

    Thank you, Irishgirl. I will be censored for disagreeing with Lisa Thomson, Peter Berman or Mike Lyons. No doubt about that!

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Marjorie M

      You know better, as should IrishGirl. Both of you have expressed lots of opinions that run counter to those people. People are censored for name-calling, racist comments, bullying, character assassination by innuendo — all of these have gotten people censored in the past two days, since we ran this story to remind people to clean it up: https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2014/02/a-reminder-play-nice-in-the-sandbox The Lisa Thomson comment you referred to did not violate any of these things. You could have simply responded the way to usually do, but you decided to make an issue of the restated guidelines instead. Fine.


      No one has ever been banned or censored for their opinion here, just for expressing it inappropriately. You are right, it is our sandbox, and we intend to not allow it to be used as a cat box.

  13. I guess that will remain the question when the next politician who has ruffled your feathers. We will see how quickly (or not…) this blog will malign against him/her (as seen with Moccia).

  14. anonymous

    name calling, character assassination by innuendo and bullying, it seems like these comments by Mushak on this blog about Mike Greene do that?

    “The Redevelopment Agency (NRA) commissioned the study, and since Mike Greene sees any suggestion by the NRA as a personal assault on his authority(I am not kidding, bizarre and childish as that is)”

    “Trust me, many in City Hall including Council members on BOTH sides of the aisle know exactly what I am talking about, and support me privately. They know what Greene and Santo have done to the city and the process,…”

    “It is ugly and exhausting work to directly confront this entrenched ignorance and petty nastiness, and suffer the repeated bullying, on the Zoning Commission and from staff,..”

    1. Mark Chapman


      You are partially right. Mea culpa. Sometimes I glaze over a bit on the long and repetitious comments by some posters. I will go back and edit that one again with fresh eyes.

  15. @Anon,
    Reread what Mark Chapman wrote above – it is THEIR sandbox and they will be the ones to decide which letters are not pooper scooper material.
    I guess you really do have to politicize with their way of thinking if you want to fully express yourself like Mike Mushak (really, how much time does he spend writing this stuff and hopefully not on the taxpayers dime).

    1. Mark Chapman


      Mr. Mushak is a volunteer, as are all appointed commission members. He does not receive any taxpayer money, so your innuendo is invalid. Rather, the taxpayer is getting the benefit of hundreds of volunteers who do it on their own dime.

  16. PS ~ And as it has been advertised – this is not free press, it comes with a price.

  17. Marjorie M

    Let me ask a question, please. Is Lisa Thomson a personal friend of yours, NoN?

    1. Mark Chapman


      In 3 1/2 years in Norwalk, I have met Ms. Thomson maybe four times. It is hard for many people to understand, but in this business you don’t have friends, at least among those who are people you might have to write about or whose causes are part of your coverage area. You keep people at arms length. You can be cordial and professional, not not friends. That said, we wish you would get back to questioning and commenting on school issues. You comments provide a valuable service by creating a dialog. And no, Lisa Thomson’s comment did not violate any policies. Intelligent discussion does not need to go there.

  18. Marjorie M

    Thank you, Mark for answering my question. Lisa Thomson and I do disagree on most issues. But then I have advanced degrees in education with an extensive research background in literacy. I am not union, nor am I administration in Norwalk. I thank you for recognizing the importance of dialog.

  19. It wasn’t an innuendo – it was an outright question…
    Very nice to hear they are volunteers.

  20. the donut hole

    Anyone else’s parents ever tell them about sticks and stones? Hopefully this society turns it around and worries more about being competitive again some day instead of what some other a-hole has to say. Me included.

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