Alas, the Comments section of NancyOnNorwalk.com remains a constant topic of debate between the governing board and the Managing Editor responsible for administering it. Over the years changes have been made to NoN’s Comments Policy – some minor tweaks (ALL comments now are subject to moderation review) as well as major improvements (EVERY commenter must use his or her real name). We try to improve it and always aspire to make it a space for civil discourse available to all.
Yet challenges remain.
Perhaps surprisingly—or not—some people persist in submitting comments regularly that are in clear violation of the comments policy: They use fake names, brazenly insult neighbors and other commenters and use profoundly abusive and hateful language, sometimes expressing shocking levels of anger from innumerable real or imagined grievances. Others state claims that are objectively false. The list of violations seems to cover nearly every base, and the violators — there are more than a few — seem determined and tenacious.
Of course, readers never see these comments but at the same time, it is apparent that for some our comments policy has been too effective. There may, in fact, be some who might enjoy reading the hateful vitriol submitted by the persistent violators, whom we now recognize represent a profoundly underserved group.
After extensive deliberation, NoN’s board has arrived at a solution to this conundrum.
Borrowing a clever social engineering idea from a popular 2013 movie, NancyOnNorwalk will suspend ALL comments policy rules one day each year so that users who wish to may submit any comment on any subject they wish, using any language they prefer, free of any obligation to be factual or even polite. A sort of online “purge,” if you will.
It is our sincere hope and expectation that this brief respite will allow blocked commenters to finally participate with NancyOnNorwalk in a way that will be meaningful for them, and may allow them perhaps to release some of the pent-up anger that has accumulated throughout the rest of the year due to the harsh implementation of comment policy rules and misunderstanding of First Amendment rights and private property laws.
Through this annual event, which we propose to call “The NoN Purge,” we are hopeful that NancyOnNorwalk and the community it serves can emerge each year stronger, wiser, and more united than ever.
John Levin, Chapman Hyperlocal Media Inc. Board of Directors President
Editor’s note: April Fools.