Monday Poll: Any comment?
One of the most difficult challenges I face here at The Island is how to handle comments. My goal is to maintain lively but civilized discussions that are free of personal attacks and focused on the issues raised in any given story, but that’s easier said than done.
When I pull comments that seem to me to be way off-topic or focused on attacking a person instead of the quality of an idea, I am often questioned or outright accused of censorship. When I allow comments that seem like they stand just on the edge of those things but don’t quite go over, I am quite strongly reminded of The Island’s very detailed comment policy.
When a reader suggested I contact an attorney regarding the way I handled comments, I pulled the plug entirely while I did just that and moved to a letters format, which seemed to take away a big part of what makes providing news online a valuable service. Then I tried to automate with a comment system that offered reader-driven comment policing, which essentially ended in disaster.
So that’s the long way of me asking you, dear reader, how you’d like to see us handle comments. Should we be more stringent about what is posted in the comments section, or let people post whatever they want? Should we require people to post using their full names, or is a screen handle okay? What’s okay for people to post, and what’s definitely out? Are there tools that could help me put you all in the driver’s seat regarding which comments run and which don’t? (Or should I just run comments through Facebook and call it a day?)
Let me know by taking the poll below; you can click more than one answer to detail your thoughts on the issues above. And please feel free to expand on your poll answers by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How should The Island handle comments?
- Require full names (58%, 38 Votes)
- Keep doing what you're doing (38%, 25 Votes)
- Be more stringent (23%, 15 Votes)
- Be less stringent (11%, 7 Votes)
- Don't automate (11%, 7 Votes)
- Allow screen handles (8%, 5 Votes)
- Automate (8%, 5 Votes)
- Just run it through Facebook (6%, 4 Votes)
Total Voters: 65