Here is a sampling of excerpts of online comments and emails in response to The Spokesman-Review’s ban on website comments during the holiday season. The comments were edited only for length.
• “Where I think it breaks down is when the comments section becomes 120 messages back and forth between a couple of readers in an ongoing conversation.” – karl202
• “… I can only say ‘hurrah’ to the S-R for closing down these dank warrens and hissing snakepits of bilious snarlings and yawlps from a deeply disturbed sub-enclave of angry caucasian conservatives.” – YourKittenHasEyes
• “I’m disappointed in your suspension of comments; one often finds constructive, thoughtful points of view, and to limit them is unfortunate.” – barcroft
• “The SR is trying to build a gated community for ideas. It’s their paper and they can do what they want, but the only reason I use their site is for the comment section and a few columns I can’t find elsewhere.” – William Nutcracker
• “Opinion is just that: good, bad, and ugly … opinion. As a teacher, and as an intellectual, I shutter when someone takes the time to justify why one view is inappropriate over the other, socially or otherwise.” – Inthewoods80
• “I find the comment section a crosscut of views. even if some are vile, its not all puppies, rainbows and lollipops in the real world.” – 420
• “You definitely deserve a break and I admit, it’s wonderful to not see hate speech and negativity at Christmas time.” – betseymcqueen15
• “I think your holiday hiatus is a fine idea, and wouldn’t have minded too much if you hadn’t enabled comments here, either. But good on you for doing that, and your willingness to engage the discussion.” – fortboise
• “Having webmastered a web site with a forum myself, I understand the problem. It is a thorny one.” – gmorton
• “If it is REALLY so hard on your employees, I will be happy to moderate this site for half of what you pay them. – EdvertAnderson
• “If the goal is to create a community forum then perhaps one approach would be to limit comments to editorials and local/regional news.” – pat hayes
• “I enjoy the conversational nature of the comment threads on this site, but the fact that anyone is allowed to say anything regardless of its level of relevance, makes the conversation less enjoyable. (One example out of many: the comment thread on an article about the death of Nelson Mandela was allowed to turn into a “discussion” of Obama. Why?)” – thatBruceguy
• “I don’t think you should moderate anything. However, I would eliminate the feature of replying to another comment.” – 537magspc
• “When a reputable paper gives its resources over to that man in the park to spread his anti-social views, it’s in a sense validating him and them.” – Podgorney
• “Leave the Comment Section alone and unfettered by you, the Nanny, a product of the control-freak state.” – Lazy People
• “Maybe the SR layed off the lower peeps who moinitor the comments over the holidays to save payroll..in the guise of preserving the holy season from smears. A small town journalism, they live in a box and the box is their ‘world’.” – Carter Jake
Responses by email
• “In my opinion, you should end anonymity…..if you’re ashamed to put your name on a subject, then it probably shouldn’t be said. Limit the number of responses per subject by each individual to maybe … one or two responses. – Pat O’Leary, Spokane
• “Here’s a quick two cents from the former Editorial page editor of The Time-News in Twin Falls, Idaho. Discussion forums are like Town Hall meetings that never end. At a minimum, the rules should require participants to identify themselves by their real names.” – Bill Brock, Pullman
• “When the ability to comment on stories was originally halted, I was a little annoyed. Although I have never once left a comment or participated in the back-and-forth, I read them every day. Apparently I enjoy spiking my blood pressure. Today the comments are enabled. As I read the stories, I can reliably predict the comments and who will make them. The venom and hatred from some of my “neighbors” is breathtaking and stomach-churning. I take it back. Now I miss the short-lived peace.” – Lois Strand, Spokane
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