Advertisement

Letters to the Editor

Curb comments

July 15, 2008

Advertisement

To the editor:

I have always appreciated the online version of the Journal-World and the "breaking news" feature, which helps us stay informed on all the latest happenings in Lawrence. Usually, I also appreciate the "discussion" section in which people are free to make comments. However, I am wondering if you might want to consider a change in policy concerning these comments.

Several tragedies have occurred in and around Lawrence this summer. Within minutes of the news appearing on LJWorld.com, people are posting comments, usually anonymously, and very frequently laden with unnecessary speculation about the people involved, their motivations, etc. These are heartbreaking stories involving murder, suicide and vehicle fatalities. Is it really necessary to open these articles up for immediate and often thoughtless comment from the community at large?

Wouldn't it be more considerate of the friends and families involved to just disable comments on certain stories?

I suspect that some people might object to disabling comments on some stories on the basis of their "rights" being violated. Online comments are not a "right." They are a convenience made possible by modern technology. They are also an excuse, apparently, for people to make rude comments, personal attacks, or political diatribes at the expense of people who are already suffering.

Sarah St. John,

Lawrence

Comments

fu7il3 6 years, 5 months ago

Maybe make it so you have to click the comments link to see comments. I'd be for that.

geniusmannumber1 6 years, 5 months ago

I think a large amount of problems with other message boards (the Star for example) is simply the sheer size. For one, there's a greater pool of crazies to draw from, and for another, effective moderation becomes impossible after a certain point. If you want to be truly offended, check out a really big site--like aol.com's news, for example.

Penny_Bullock 6 years, 5 months ago

I usually read the comments that follow a story when i look at things on the LJW website, but this is the first time I have ever signed up to make a comment.I guess I just find it interesting that there are users that complain about other people who post on here, yet when i read "their" comments, they are guilty of the same stuff they are blaming on other people. I don't really want to name names, but if you read spiderman's comments - he (or she) frequently belittles other people who post, or ideas that are not consistent with his (or her) own. If you don't want to read the comments, then don't. Personally, I like to read them. I can filter out the bad from the good. I just think it is wise to look inside the mirror when making accusations and the like.Penny

Marty_McFly 6 years, 5 months ago

I think the LJW needs to start making people use their real names and the problems would go away.

KU_Dude 6 years, 5 months ago

Nice letter Sarah.Another thing about this forum is when people post the same things over and over again on the same topics..See Cool now known as Spiderman as an example.And why has spiderman posted an additional 2 times since announcing that he is leaving the forum?

jonas 6 years, 5 months ago

It might as well be universal in it's application as well. You can hardly say that the potentially offensive comments are solely on threads related to personal tragedy.

KU_Dude 6 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Kealing,I was wondering how some people (Cool) get kicked off and are then allowed to return using a different name (Spiderman)?Thanks,KU_Dude

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

"yesterday someone had the nerve to claim that the moped driver was too impaired to drive and should never have been allowed to drive and that he/she was glad the person killed wasn't in a Suburban"That's not exactly what I said, or the way I said it. I'm sorry if you found it hurtful, but I was merely pointing out some basic facts that could be gleaned from the article. But I'm curious-- Do you drive a Suburban?

KansasPerson 6 years, 5 months ago

I have to agree with spiderman about the comments being an embarrassment. I have sometimes sent links to family members in other states for stories that I think they'll find interesting, but sometimes I feel like I should say "stop reading after the story" or somehow apologize for the comments! (Certainly not all of them. As others have pointed out, several of the comments are good examples of courteous discourse.)

twaldaisy 6 years, 5 months ago

The only thing about using real names is that people may look you up and may actually harrass you in person via phone, coming to your house, your work, etc. Some people take their world views very seriously and can get quite angry and may take the arguing further than an on line forum arguement. I believe there were some problems with this last year or the year before and it got quite ugly. I like the idea of a "clickable" comment section. However, I also believe that people have a choice not to read the comments. I know when the comments start to get too negative about things, I stop reading comments and go on. I also admit that sometimes they are quite entertaining and really can be quite informative. Kind of like a car wreck, you know you shouldn't look, but you look anyway.

rumor_man 6 years, 5 months ago

How man last posts from Spiderman should we expect? It's at least 3 now.

jonas 6 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Kealing: My biggest fear in this, which has been mentioned previously, is the necessarily arbitrary nature or which articles to restrict commentary on and which to not. I think it's going to be pretty difficult to codify "Stories dealing with tragic circumstances," and much more difficult to evenly and consistently implement it. I'm sure that this has occurred to you already. I think Kansasperson above has a pretty good, easily implementable suggestion: make it a clickable option (an opt-in, if you will) to display commentary. It covers it up for those who would not want to read, and it's a much more directly-attributuble action than just scrolling downwards. People who claim offense at commentary then, frankly, have only themselves and their morbid curiosity to blame.

KansasPerson 6 years, 5 months ago

Jonathan:We're talking about two different things:1) Make it so the reader has to click to go to the comments page. Basically what you've got now plus one more click.2) (more complicated probably) Make all comments accessible. Have a "is this comment helpful?" voting option like they do on amazon.com or other customer review sites. Have an option where readers can request a PARTICULAR comment being "hidden." The comment is still accessible, but it says something like "users have voted that this comment is not helpful -- do you want to see it anyway?" That's a clickable link that opens up the comment for you. Democratic (voting!), peer pressure, nobody gets censored, but it makes it possible to read the helpful comments without having to wade through the negativity.

ksdivakat 6 years, 5 months ago

I think that twaldaisy is absolutely right! We are a generation who is supposed to be teaching our children NOT to give out personal info on the internet and now some people are wanting it required? And there would most definately be some fanitical people who would harrass people on here who disagree with them, or have a different belief system or opinion.Freedom of speech isnt card blance to just say whatever you want, along with that freedom comes responsibility.Take for example Fred Phelps and his clan, their claim is free speech, yet look at the harm that their free speech has done!!!You may have a right to free speech, but I also have a right to live free from harrassment. I absolutely agree that there are a few people on here who are insulting and demeaning, however, as long as they are not hurting or slandering someone else, then they have the right to their opinion.If they infringe on insults or slander, then they should be permanantely removed, period.I cannot imagine having a tragedy in my life, and logging onto the LJW to see what some insecure people have to say about someone they dont know. Also keep in mind the people who make the rude and distastful comments, especially after a tragedy, may not really know how to process the info themselves and they are grasping at straws to look good or to feel good.When the radical people who insult other people on here, keep in mind that the issue is the insecurity within themselves that makes them say the things they say.You have to almost address it as the class bully, If im not disrespectful to you, then I also will not allow you to be disrespectful to me.But I would agree that when there is a tragedy, the last place im going to be is on LJW.com seeing what other people are saying about something they know nothing about!

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 5 months ago

Warpony,Many of us check out the comments regularly, but no one monitors as their only job. In addition, several of us are notified whenever a comment is suggested for removal. Jonathan KealingOnline editor

Orwell 6 years, 5 months ago

There's plenty of bandwidth out there. I'd suggest you maintain a moderated discussion, or at least a discussion where commenters are required to use their names, and perhaps a separate "Wild West" comment section for anonymous irate trolls to call each other names.

bearded_gnome 6 years, 5 months ago

Sarah,thanks for your letter. however, I'll note you apparently read the comments. also, yesterday, under the followup on the bus vs. moped fatal wreck: because there were comments allowed, I was able to register w protest with the ljworld folks about publishing the name of the bus driver. btw, I'll say again, that was completely unnecessary and the driver's certain anguish should have been considered! as you read the comments under the tragedy, and you react to the postings of idiocy, note that others post sensible and considerate posts. well, good riddance spiderman, the former cool who got himself disappeareded for violating terms of service and harrassing others. you and curtis make it clear that the only kind of speech you really want to shut down is speech you disagree with. hmmm, thought liberals used to be in favor of free speech? guess not anymore. and using the term "wing nuts" is antiquated and silly. you are, however, occupying a far left fringe in our society as identified by your expressed views. and as to anonymity:all of the threats, and nearly all of the harrassing private mails I've received, have come from people communicating liberal views. so, by that logic of yours, then all leftists should be banned from this forum. hope your boycott really works out ol' spiderman/unCool!

jonas 6 years, 5 months ago

"Also I would like to note that the Kansan's site was just as guilty of this same issue in recent months. This is not a problem unique to the LJWorld, but this site seems to be an example to others."I doubt it really works that way. As someone mentioned, the KC Star is the same. Fark.com's commentary is, if anything, worse, simply because they have many, many more posters. Youtube, imdb, other regional papers, they are all pretty much the same. People are just jerks on-line. I saw a great picture, and haven't been able to find it again, called something like Forum Calculus, which went as so (with illustrations):Nice Guy + Anonymity + Audience = Raging !@#$wad. Anyway, I would tend to agree more with MultiD than with the LTE, but I would have no objection to shutting off the commentary on the tragic stories if that were to happen. In the mean time, if some jerk offends you, I recommend visiting the Flame Warrior website and trying to find the one that best fits the offensive jerk. You should find that quite enjoyable.http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/

kcwarpony 6 years, 5 months ago

jkealing (Jonathan Kealing) says: "1. Many times when we have closed comments on a story, people just post the same things on a different story - not only getting their message out there but also derailing another comment thread.2. Is it fair to stop people from commenting on a story of great community interest just because a few people can't play nice?"Instead of disabling the comments (or the story for the Discussions on Stories page, you know the "Page Not Found") how about disabling those few who, as you say, "can't play nice"? When I was a kid, if I didn't play nice I was removed from the situation and told to go home. LJW has the power to determine who post and who doesn't, use it. Feel free to set higher standards but don't let a few people ruin it for everyone else.I have a question for Mr. Kealing. Is there someone who follows the comments on a regular basis or is the only time someone looks at what is being posted is when someone hits "suggest removal"?

leslie 6 years, 5 months ago

Jonathan, I'd like to see real names required and displayed with comments. That way, the dialogue really is closer to the coffee shop/watercooler conceit people often use to defend the forum.

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

I feel some stories do not warrant comment. As far as some posters thinking they are harrassed by liberals and/or conservatives, what side of an argument were you taking? Did you address the issue in a civil tone, or did you take part in name calling and blatant exaggerations to demonize the other side? Some of the posters I see (bearded-gnome is a perfect example) can rarely write a comment without taking part in name-calling (he is a big fan of using "green-wheenie" for people who believe in science). If you use language fit for a fifth grader, don't be surprised if the comments you receive in return are just as childish.The one thing that bugs me even more is when someone is banned for obnoxious or racist views, and then re-appears again and again (I'm thinking of the former right-thinker and current Mr-Nancy). I believe in second chances, but after the third or forth time, it gets tiresome. What is up with that, Mr. Kealing? Finally, I think if you click on "suggest removal" on your own comment, it should be removed without question.

Speakout 6 years, 5 months ago

I agree with the LTE. Some things are news not commentary. We should discuss the heck out of LTE and opinion pages, but read the news and move on. Some on here, and I might be one, are very opinionated and one sided and that is fine. But when someone has a tragedy, there is no point in discussion. It happen and the heartbreak that follows is very private and sometimes painful. I guess if you want to discuss everything, you can, but I think it is very poor taste. But then with some, what is taste?

penguin 6 years, 5 months ago

I agree that people tend to want to derail the discussion with talk of other stories. The poster yellow house comes to mind on well just about every story lately. However, I like KansasPerson's suggestion. I just know that after the tragedy that struck a few weeks ago that many of my friends were very disturbed by comments made on this site. It was so bad that I was even told not to bother reading the comments because of some of the sick/uninformed commentary that had been made. It would just be nice to not have to read some random moron attempt to blame a friend's death on that friend when that moron has no idea of the circumstances of the incident. This policy would in no way be the perfect solution to any problems. However, I would believe that the death of a member of a community member should be an easy call. It would seem to be the same as not allowing comments on obituaries. Overall, I do not think that would be too limiting. However, I guess it would stifle the seemingly endless supply of detectives that exist on these forums.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

Some people are just easily offended, I guess, blessed.

twaldaisy 6 years, 5 months ago

Also, I have stopped reading the KCStar comment section as they are very nasty and mean spirited. Believe me LJW comments are mild compared to the venom spewed there. I was/am quite shocked at the rampant racism there.

KansasPerson 6 years, 5 months ago

A friend of mine just had another idea -- if there are complaints about a comment, then the J-W could make the comment one of those where you have to click on a link to read it.So the comment is still there, no one is being removed, but you can still read the helpful stuff without having to wade through the other.I think amazon does this -- I know I've seen it somewhere.

Confrontation 6 years, 5 months ago

"fu7il3 says: "Maybe make it so you have to click the comments link to see comments. I'd be for that."I agree. The KC Star does this, and it seems to work just fine.

curtisdbennett 6 years, 5 months ago

Editor of LJW and Sarah St. John,These people of whom you write are that less than one percent, (probably around 8-10 self-deluded individuals) who apparently feel the urgent need to disparage, bad-mouth, bully, insult, and belittle any and all who express an opinion in order to call attention to themselves and feel important. It matters not even what the opinion is about; all is considered fair game for these little, small minded cowards hiding behind invented screen names where they can never be identified, or held accountable for their words, small mindedness, or obvious character flaws and insecurities. This in itself, speaks volumes of their "character or lack thereof", and the main reason no one should ever take their words seriously or in meaningful context as they are coming from total "nobodies" whose tasteless opinion is a pitiful cry for attention. Every time anyone writes an opinion in the LJW, this little group of small minds pile on, and then the conversation quickly deteriorates to a "cat-fight" as these "Rush Limbaugh wannabes" start snarling, hissing, and name calling among themselves with idiotic comments which quickly deteriorates to total stupidity and has nothing to do with the original letter to the editor. If they really want to be taken serious, they should have the guts to give their real names, not conveniently hide behind their self-invented pseudonyms. (Yeah, that'll happen!) Thank you for your letter Sarah, believe me, you are not alone.

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 5 months ago

Hi all,I'd love to hear more people's thoughts on this issue. A couple things I would point out:1. Many times when we have closed comments on a story, people just post the same things on a different story - not only getting their message out there but also derailing another comment thread.2. Is it fair to stop people from commenting on a story of great community interest just because a few people can't play nice?So discuss. I'll be checking back to see what ideas you all come up with.Jonathan KealingOnline editor

geniusmannumber1 6 years, 5 months ago

There is absolutely no way that this policy could be anything but arbitrary. This is a solution in search of a problem. I find at least 50% of the comments on any thread distasteful. Just don't read them.And I'm sure that refusing to comment until the policy is changed is sure to be effective.

domovik 6 years, 5 months ago

mom_of_three has the right idea. Everyone has the choice to read comments that are posted and everyone has the choice to post their comments. You are the keeper of yourself and no one else. If you don't like it, don't read it. If you have a problem with something someone else has said them by all means speak up. That is what this is all about. Don't take away the option to discuss topics that are important to everyone because a few people don't know how to use tact or know how to govern themselves.

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 5 months ago

I think the idea to let people "opt-in" to the comments is an interesting one. Do you think you'd be less likely to look at them if you had to click a link to show them?

ralphralph 6 years, 5 months ago

Leave the comments alone. Free speech is free speech ... it's sometimes informative, sometimes offensive, always welcome in a free society. Unless someone is forcing you to read them, then it's your choice. If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the comment kitchen.

mom_of_three 6 years, 5 months ago

No, do not disable the comments, regardless of the article. I have found that some comments after tragic events help people sort out issues, and ask questions, which sometimes is helpful to the reader. Yes, there are tasteless and useless comments, but I think if LJW removed the comments when requested, and quickly, then it won't be such an issue. If someone knows they will be upset by the comments, then don't read them. If you make a comment, and know someone will make a stupid retort, then don't read the comments. But many people are respectful. I appreciate the LJW having comments on all articles and even pictures.

blessed3x 6 years, 5 months ago

While I certainly do not agree with posters that write inconsiderate, hurtful comments of tragic stories (yesterday someone had the nerve to claim that the moped driver was too impaired to drive and should never have been allowed to drive and that he/she was glad the person killed wasn't in a Suburban) I do feel that it's important to allow comments on every story or none at all. Otherwise you leave this particular path of discourse up to a few people. How do you decide which stories are "tragic"? What if a tragic story is controversial? Would if the political/social leanings of the "deciders" affect which stories are deemed worthy of comment? I have seen people twitter gleefully at Ted Kennedy's cancer diagnosis and others joyously celebrate Jesse Helms's death. Is one more tragic than the other? Is one worthy of comment, but not the other? Too slippery a slope.

tvc 6 years, 5 months ago

I would not mind one link to all the comments on the article, but I would not want to open each comment individually. I also like the idea of marking a comment as not helpful instead of removing it.

not_dolph 6 years, 5 months ago

worth repeating...spiderman (Anonymous) says: Dear Sarah,thanks so much for writing to LJW after many comments which are really an embarassment to our community.i am withdrawing from the forum and have sent an email to LJW ...------------------If you are withdrawing from the form, Sven, why do you continue to post throughout this thread. You are not a man of your word...but then again, we knew that. Are you withdrawing only temporarily so that you can come up with a new LJW online personna? This is rich...keep up the great work - cool!

Ragingbear 6 years, 5 months ago

Yeah. It's only a few more rights to take away. Not like it really matters anymore, as the Constitution is good for toilet paper now.

tvc 6 years, 5 months ago

Here is an idea... Don't READ them! Americans are a bunch of whiners!

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 5 months ago

I think it's safe to say we wouldn't block comments across the board ever, and it's very unlikely we'd disable comments on a single story. In our experience, that just doesn't work.As for some of the other suggestions, we are working on features that would allow commenters to rate comments. How that would display publicly is still theoretical, but it would give you a hint that some comment just might not be worth reading. Keep talking and you can always drop me a suggestion by clicking on my name and hitting the send this user an e-mail link.Jonathan KealingOnline editor

jaywalker 6 years, 5 months ago

I would agree with removing the commentary string when it follows a local tragedy. There really is little point to it and does open the door from some tasteless comments and not a little bit of racism. The story concerning the Del street shootings of two young men a few weeks ago is a case in point, with people discussing motives and character of the people involved.That being said, the comment section of the LJW is so far above other paper's, notably the KC Star. I've never posted there and try not to even glance at the strings below stories. There is obviously no auditing going on there and the ignorance and hateful racism is so rampant it makes my stomach turn.

jonas 6 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Kealing: No. Laughingly, I think that it will not make a damned bit of difference on the amount of reading the comments will get. Although people get offended, they will not stop reading them, because I think a lot of people Like to get offended. After all, obviously, if you think the comments are distasteful, you have the option of not scrolling down past the article at all. Unless you have some sort of Continuous Scrolling Disorder, or something. What it will do, however, is Cover Your !@#. With an opt-in clickable feature, the comments are only displayed if someone takes the direct initiative of displaying them, and then if they're offended, they have no one to blame but themselves.

KsTwister 6 years, 5 months ago

Good LTE, and I would hope just once LJW would take notice or care.

rumor_man 6 years, 5 months ago

By the title, "Curb Comments", I thought that this letter was going to be about the horrible shape they're in. Boy was I wrong.

temperance 6 years, 5 months ago

@ Joanthan Kealing I think this letter is much ado about nothing. The dynamics of the LJW comment section are not especially ugly or nasty, especially compared to other online forums. You have humans acting like human the good, the bad, and the ridiculous. I agree with Multidisciplinary that "the comments for the most part are no different than those made when humans meet anywhere. . . Be it the barbershop, beauty salon, diner, church dinner, bar, workplace or on the telephone:"The current comment moderation seems more than adequate and fair. The online LJW is award-wining for a reason, and there's no need to change anything. Some people (like the letter writer) still have a hard time getting their head around blogs, comment sections, the general openness and freedom that the Internet provides. But it's 2008 and you shouldn't let them dictate your comment policy.

penguin 6 years, 5 months ago

As a friend of someone who was a victim of one of the recent tragedies I could not agree with you more. I could only scroll through a few comments before I was sickened by a group of morons commenting on the possibilities that floated into their mind on the nature of the horrendous crime that had taken place. In fact, I had discussed this with a number of friends. We had all wished that the LJWorld would just disable comments on the story concerning our friend. It was hard enough to deal with the reality without having to deal with others attempting to defame her name through their anonymous posts. However, one friend was quick to point out that a good chunk of the LJWorld Online's money is derived through internet advertisement. This money only increases when more hits are made on the site. So it really is in their best interest to have said morons posting away on subjects they no little to nothing about. I for one really enjoy the comments sections on many of the stories. I see it as an interesting feature to the site. I also find that some of the comments can be thoughtful and intelligent. However, the past few months have shown when it comes to tragedies that involve the loss of life that some are just well....sick. If you want to discuss the story that is your right and feel free to do so. Unfortunately, when family and friends read through stories they are bound to see these comments and feel further saddened by some of the insensitive and ignorant comments regarding their loved ones. In the end, I am sure the need to keep revenue coming in through internet hits will trump the need for families not to endure further pain.Also I would like to note that the Kansan's site was just as guilty of this same issue in recent months. This is not a problem unique to the LJWorld, but this site seems to be an example to others.

KansasPerson 6 years, 5 months ago

Jonathan, how about this: For stories of tragic import, disable comments for a certain period of time (like a week or even three days... heck, even 24 hours) before opening it up for comments. People still get to make comments, but without the knee-jerk reactions. Most family members and friends will have already read the story by then and will be "out of harm's way." People who want to get down and dirty will still have their chance. And maybe with the delay of whatever gratification they get from writing nasty things, they will lose interest and go on to something else.What do you think?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

I think a link to the comments section would be preferable to disallowing comments altogether.

blessed3x 6 years, 5 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "That's not exactly what I said, or the way I said it. I'm sorry if you found it hurtful, but I was merely pointing out some basic facts that could be gleaned from the article. But I'm curious- Do you drive a Suburban?"I do think that is exactly what you said and no, I don't drive a suburban. I drive a Chevy Cavalier if you must know, but by all means continue on with whatever slam you had prepared. Your comments on that article yesterday were hurtful and a disgrace. Any rational person saw that. Don't worry yourself, however, I imagine that just about everyone that read your comments was properly ashamed for you.No matter what I think about your comments, though, I do support your "right" (for lack of a better term) to express them on this forum. I just wish you and others would show a little more decorum and class. We can all stand to learn that lesson better.

temperance 6 years, 5 months ago

@ rumor_man -- Me too. I thought it was going to be about the sorry state of curbs, roads, and perhaps roundabouts.I like the idea of avatars and "ignore" buttons, but I don't think anything is broken, so I don't see a pressing need for change.Does anyone remember the yahoo! boards? Now that was a cesspool.

blessed3x 6 years, 5 months ago

Your attempt to rationalize your crass behavior by suggesting that "some people are just easily offended" by your unbelievable comments on the death of a human being is what I have come to expect from you.

paavopetie 6 years, 5 months ago

"Also, I have stopped reading the KCStar comment section as they are very nasty and mean spirited. Believe me LJW comments are mild compared to the venom spewed there. I was/am quite shocked at the rampant racism there."KCStar is the worst, especially when it comes to Kansas/Missouri things, as Missourians will insult anything Kansas and vice versa. My favorite so far has been a comment after it was disclosed that K-State's tornado damage deductible was going to be $5 million. "typical idiot k-state happening lol, the city is so dumb and cheap they deserve it lol!!!! "http://pod01.prospero.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?msg=34328&nav=messages&webtag=kr-kctm

mom_of_three 6 years, 5 months ago

I would also agree with a poster above about NOT using real names. There would be some people who would harass someone for a comment. I have friends and family who are not as liberal as I and I like commenting anonymously. Call me a chicken, but I like the harmony I have now.

fu7il3 6 years, 5 months ago

No one makes anyone read the comments. If you read a story like that, chances are you are pretty sure you won't like the comments on it. Yet, you read them. Why? Because human beings LIKE to be made angry. They like to have something to complain about. Right now, the LTE writer is sitting back, and while maybe disgusted by the comments, is reading the comments on his own letter, with a sense of morbid curosity and pride that his letter was published.You know the way the comments are going to be. Don't read them. I will continue to read them. Some days the comments are more entertaining than the stories.

Ken Miller 6 years, 5 months ago

Let it fly. Leave all comments as they are posted.If (God forbid) something horrible happened to someone close to me, the LAST thing I would do is go searching through the comment section of this or any online publication. I'll censor myself, thank you. I don't need any of you doing it for me.

acg 6 years, 5 months ago

Finally, I can agree with barrypenders on something. ; ) How about trying to be less touchy and sensitive and suck it up? Do people's comments, whether they be rude or tacky or insensitive, really affect your daily life that much? And if so, don't you think it's time to get over it and move on? I don't understand wanting to remove or disable some of the comments sections at all. People have said awful and nasty things about me and I laugh at them because they're idiots and then go about my life. There are really truly offensive things in this world, folks, and childish comments made my asinine people aren't that offensive in the grand scheme of things. When did be become a nation of whiny little babies? "Waaaaaa, JWorld guys, that person said something that offended my fragile wittle sensibilities. Now please shield my eyes from it and protect me from reality. I'm not able to do it for myself. " Lordy!

geniusmannumber1 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't think opt-in is a terrible idea. It would seem to address some of the concerns that others have posted (which I somewhat disagree with) without infringing on my ability to read/comment on 99% of the content. I think that most people who are already into the commentary thing won't be put off by having to click on an extra link. However, you may put off your infrequent visitor, who might otherwise have something to contribute. I think many commenters, if not most, first commented because they saw an article (or a comment) that interested them enough to go through the registration process, and eventually stuck around long enough to become members of this community (such as it is). Even those who do not become frequent commenters often have something to add to the discussion. In particular, some of the discussions regarding food/restaurants/BBQ benefit from these drop-in, "never commented before but I wanted to tell you" sort of comments. If the comments are not immediately visible, it might discourage this sort of thing . Having some demographic/marketing/usage pattern information would allow you to better judge the risk/reward. I obviously do not have access to this information and so this is just my anecdotal two cents.

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 5 months ago

All,A few last comments on some final questions that came. Number one, people that are banned can come back because generally we don't ban IP addresses. But, that being said, because most of us use DHCP to reach the Internet, even if we did ban IP addresses everyone would eventually be able to come back. It's pretty hard to permanently rid ourselves of someone who is determined to keep coming back. I will say though, there's one user who I ban on an almost weekly basis within the first four posts he makes. It's pretty easy to tell who he is and he's always breaking that playground rules.As for removing your own posts, for a couple of reasons we don't allow that. One of the reasons is, as a news organization, we can't unpublish or unbroadcast our work. We don't think comments made should be removable. Also, I think it would promote more ridiculous comments if people could post whatever they want, knowing they could go back and delete or edit it. This way people have to know their online name, at least, will be associated into perpetuity with what they've said.Thanks for the smart comments. I didn't have anything to do with running this LTE, but I thought it was a good chance to get some feedback. I'll take some of these ideas and throw them in the hopper with ones we're percolating on here. If you have other ideas, feel free to send me a note.Jonathan KealingOnline editor

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

Apparently you are quite sensitive, and projecting your dark side, too.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

"Your attempt to rationalize your crass behavior by suggesting that "some people are just easily offended""There was nothing "crass" about my behavior, therefore there is no need for me to rationalize anything, blessed. I think you're just overly sensitive, which makes it difficult for you to understand the content of my posts without projecting your own dark side onto them.

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

SuzyQ 6 years, 5 months ago

Jonathan, I certainly will continue to read comments even if I have to click on a link. I don't make comments very often but I do often go straight to the stories that have the most.

beatrice 6 years, 5 months ago

Jonathan, you are comparing these posts to a news organization? Now that is funny. The big difference, of course, are editors. If one of your reporters writes something egregious, bone-headed, or even a simple error in fact, hopefully someone will catch it along the way before it goes to print. That isn't true for everyone else. People should have the liberty to remove their own posts.

notajayhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says: "1) an "Ignore" button that could be clicked so that any particular commenter's posts would not be visible to anyone who selected the button."I see two possible problems with that. First, it wouldn't keep you from seeing the post when it was quoted in someone's reply to it. Second, how long would you be able to resist the urge to unblock those posts? Imagine for a minute you had my posts blocked (okay, I know it's a stretch, but run with me on this one - and get that smile off your face!); you see tidbits of a post I made in other people's replies, enough to figure out I was replying to one of your posts - how long are you going to resist looking at what I said? Not to mention there'd be posters here we'd all block, which would give them pretty much free reign to say whatever they wanted.I like the edit button idea, though - and as infrequently as I agree with Beatrice, she's absolutely correct that 1) we don't have the benefit of editors that the regular press enjoys (even being able to correct typos would be nice), and 2) let's face it - this isn't journalism.Overall, I have to agree with Mr. Kealing that people will just post to other threads. And the comments will likely be read there by the very people who, perhaps anticipating hurtful comments, wouldn't have read the comment section on the original story. For example, a family member of the moped driver may have been offended or hurt by the comments of some on that thread. It would seem likely they would click on this story, and voila, people are hashing it out here.I have to agree with Multidisciplinary. The comments are going to be heard. The same comments people read online about a tragedy are going to be overheard waiting in line at the grocery store, while sitting in a restaurant or bar, at work, or while just walking down the street. At least online the people who might be offended have the option to not read the comment section. While it may seem like a good idea to have a 'Click to read comments' button, what difference would that make? You have to click on the scrollbar (or take some other deliberate action) now. And like jonas said: People are still going to read them - for the same reason people can't take their eyes off a car wreck.

notajayhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

"And then eventually, perhaps it would remove his/her desire to post here:and the same for other users who see the forum as little more than their own personal single-issue axe-sharpener:."But would they even know other people couldn't see their posts?"I do sorta remember a poster that seemed to have 9 lives and would re-appear after having been booted-sometimes with the exact same moniker, but I can't remember any of the screennames that were used."I can't think of the name either. If it's the same one I'm thinking of, I didn't know they ever used another name - I just remember them being 'disappeared,' usually within minutes of making a post, and then re-appearing over and over, sometimes several times in the same day, with the same name.

jaywalker 6 years, 5 months ago

I think the idea of clicking into the comments section following each story is the best solution from this thread. Considering this LTE was (or seemed to be) focused on insensitive comments following local tragedies, the 'click in' option would insulate the family and friends.I kind of like logicsounds' ideas as well, though not so sure 'bout the 'edit' option. Seems to me the more thoughtful and intelligent posters rarely flub with typos or the like. I'd hate for someone to post something inane or nonsensical and then be able to go back and clean it up and hide their mistake, racism, lack of fact, etc.

notajayhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

logicsound04 (Anonymous) says: "Not explicitly. They would catch on after failing to elicit a response from someone after several tries."Yeah, I thought of that almost immediately after I hit "Post."Where's that darned 'edit' button?One thing, though - it would be just that much longer before a truly offensive post was removed, 'cause it would be that much longer before any of the regulars saw it and clicked the 'suggest removal' button. Unfortunately, the occasional visitors who don't know who to block would be at more risk of reading the offensive post that way.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

Oh. come on, if people weren't at least occasionally offended, at least 75% of the posters on this forum would go elsewhere, along with a similar number of the lurkers.

classclown 6 years, 5 months ago

If the comments section is closed, what will LJW do for spell/ grammar check? How will any of their editing get done?:p

Commenting has been disabled for this item.