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Blog and story commentsPosted Tuesday, February 17, 2009, at 9:34 AM
We have gotten a flurry of complaints in the past few days about various blog and story comments, and I've probably killed more comments in the past week than in all the previous months we've had story comments. I don't know what has brought some of this on, but there are a few things we need to make clear.
There have been far, far too many personal attacks in recent weeks. Much of this can be attributed to two or three specific commenters, at least two of whom have been warned that they are in danger of having their accounts terminated. This forum is for discussion of issues, not for personal attacks. If you have to call someone a name to make your point, then you either don't have a very good point or you don't have the skills to defend it logically. Come back when you can debate and discuss like an adult.
Many of you are familiar with the term "troll," but some of you may not be. It refers to someone who deliberately starts arguments on an Internet message board or forum, not because they actually want or expect to change anyone's mind, but just because they like doing so. If you believe someone to be a troll, ignore them. Period. Any other response is just going to encourage them.
Enforcement of our Terms of Service ( http://www.t-g.com/help/legal/ ) is, at least in part, complaint-driven. There is no possible way we could read every comment as soon as it's posted, which would be a 24-hour-a-day job. The fact that we haven't deleted a comment doesn't automatically mean we agree with it, approve it or want it to remain. It may just mean that we haven't seen it and that no one has called it to our attention. We've had several people take us to task for not having removed this comment or that one, when in fact we hadn't even seen the commment in question.
By the same token, we sometimes have people ask us to remove comments that aren't out-of-bounds. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean their message should be deleted.
It goes without saying that any time we delete a comment or warn someone about their comments, they immediately assume that it's because we're biased towards the other side of whatever argument is taking place. It's not.
Use of the T-G's comment forums is dependent on compliance with our Terms of Service. We welcome a vigorous discussion, but we ask our commenters to behave as if they were adults.
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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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