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Monday, July 1, 2013

Somerville Journal Changes Commenting System

The Somerville Journal recently announced that it is changing the way readers can comment on stories by incorporating a Facebook/LinkedIn log-in requirement that publishes users' names and (should they be included) profile pictures. They discussed the change in a posting on their website.

The Somerville Journal writes, "On Thursday, June 27, the Somerville Journal will launch a new system for commenting. Readers who wish to participate must create new accounts using Facebook or LinkedIn, and their real identities. In our attempt to respond to your feedback, we will disable those accounts we learn were created using fake names and delete all comments posted under that name.

The goal is for people to contribute in a thoughtful, more respectful manner. The new system will give readers a better method for sharing their opinions and provide a civil forum where people can feel safe offering them."

If I am not mistaken, I believe I am the only blog that allows an 'Anonymous' selection for commenting that doesn't require an email address or Captcha phrase (Please correct me if I'm wrong). I have to admit that I don't spend a lot of time moderating comments as they are not as mean-spirited as ones found on other sites. While running this website, I have flat-out refused to publish just one comment since its launch in 2009. The comment insulted undocumented citizens and, lets face it, stuff like that doesn't have a home on Ward 5 Online. I do have a "banned list" and, should you find yourself on it, your past comments are deleted and you will not have future comments approved.

I do commend the Somerville Journal for making this change as online anonymity can be intoxicating to the commenter. This intoxication vaporizes common sense and regard for others and creates a very awful environment where people feel unsafe and reluctant to share their thoughts and opinions. The Journal even admitted that the change was requested by readers.

This does, however, beg the question: how do you feel about it? Should all media sites follow suit? Please leave your comments below.


Anonymous said...

It is good if it cuts down on trolls, but not good if it stifles discussion. For example, I can't publicly critique a public official if I need to do business in the city. This matters on a local level.

Anonymous said...

I agree. It may prevent people from commenting at all.

Anonymous said...

Dang! Guess I can't post as my alter ego J. Connelly anymore...unless he opens a LinkedIn page. Hmm...

Anonymous said...

To above poster...ha ha!

So, who's on the banned list? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Anonymous said...

I like that I can use an anonymous setting here. It's why I comment a lot. Obvi, I don't mind having the same name as everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Oooohhh...I'd like to know who is on the banned list!!