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New rules for a reopened comments section – second try

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Editor’s note: this column was posted Monday but a glitch prevented readers from submitting comments. We’re trying again. We apologize for the inconvenience.

NancyOnNorwalk’s comment section is open again but with some important revisions.

As you may recall, we experimented last month: first we suspended the comments section, then we sent Nancy Chapman on vacation for two weeks, with no reporting or publishing while she was gone. We conducted a survey to gain feedback from readers on a variety of questions, including comments.

One thing we learned: overwhelmingly, readers want the comments section to return, as they see it as an integral part of the organization’s mission “to provide a forum for information and a healthy exchange of ideas.”

The Comments section needs more management attention to achieve its goal, and it will get it. While moderation is a significant daily task for NoN’s one reporter/editor, we are exploring ways to reduce that burden.

Therefore, the new rules:

  1. Be “nice.”
  2. Use your own full name. Comments submitted without a real name will not be published.
  3. Stay on topic.
  4. Use and make comments, but do so thoughtfully.

 

What’s “nice” mean? Please present viewpoints and opinions without nastiness and anger, and without presenting opinion as fact.

If you have information that you wish to share but feel you can do so only anonymously for whatever reason, send it to [email protected] so that it can be considered for reporting.

We welcome letters to the editor.

More changes will come.  The Knight Foundation development grant awarded to NancyOnNorwalk.com in July will fund a significant upgrade of the website user interface, to include expanding the capabilities of the Comments section. We are excited about these prospective changes, although they will require significant resources to implement effectively during the next year.

We expect to revise the existing Comments policy (available here) to reflect the anticipated website changes.

As has been mentioned, Nancy and her Board spend countless hours debating the merits of continuing to have a Comment section and how to improve it. If you wish to share your concerns about this matter, please feel free to contact me directly: [email protected]

4 comments

Paul Cantor September 13, 2022 at 7:29 am

Comment on comments. There are many legitimate reasons someone may not want to sign her or his name when making a comment on an issue addressed on NON. If the comment is offensive, it need not be published and if the person who made it wants an explanation for why it was not published s/he can ask the board for an explanation. It is as simple as that. Nancy and the board have handled the comments well in the past. I see no reason for a change in policy. Nancy is a first-rate journalist. Norwalk owes her a debt of gratitude. Thank you, Nancy, for helping to keep those who take advantage of your site up to date on important local issues. You are a treasure to our community.

Bill Dunne September 13, 2022 at 10:36 am

Bravo! To move away from allowing people cloaked in anonymity to post their thoughts on this site will reduce the number of comments but will make for healthier discussions. Applause applause.

Bob Schumann September 13, 2022 at 3:28 pm

That’s assuming everyone is actually going to be using their real names. It could also turn into a different version of posting anonymously.

Priscilla Feral September 13, 2022 at 5:50 pm

I agree with your new comment rules, and the expectation that people reveal their identities and use their real names after a comment. This both levels the playing field, and helps us be accountable for opinions .

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