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Wednesday, October 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries Online

Statesman Ends Anon Comments

In Friday’s paper, letter writer Geoffrey B. Clark declared it “is past time to end anonymous posts.” He’s right. Starting Sunday, Sept. 15, we will no longer have anonymous commenters at For years, we have struggled with the dichotomy between our print commenters, who have to provide their name, address and phone number and be verified in advance, and our online commenters, who need only an email address, often with an alias that hides their identity. Despite our best efforts to encourage and police our online commenters to create a robust but civil conversation on important issues, often the conversations have deteriorated into name-calling and abusive attacks. As Clark put it: “Trolls are ruining entire online communities/Vicki Gowler, SR. More here.

DFO: I've always contended that a newspaper can have good dialogue in an anonymous comment section, as long as it paid someone to monitor the comments closely. The overwhelming majority of papers don't want to do that. So they attract trolls who inflame the comments threads, driving legitimate commenters off. Huckleberries has walked this line for almost 10 years -- and, despite, the move by the Idaho Statesman, will continue to do so. Thoughts?

D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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