Reporters, editors and others involved in the news industry know that reader comments can often be a blessing and a curse. News orgs have taken several different approaches to reining in the dregs of online commenters while highlighting the valuable, important reader feedback that appears below stories.
My paper, the Bangor Daily News, has a pretty awesome, casual list of guidelines for user comments. I hadn’t read them in a while, and had forgotten how no-nonsense they are. I just thought I’d share.
The primary rule here is pretty simple: Treat others with the same respect you’d want for yourself. Here are some guidelines:
It should be noted this is not a comprehensive list.
That’s about it: Stick to writing about the stories; be civil; be kind; enlighten your neighbors. And we’ll keep moderating posts to try to ensure everyone meets those standards.
- Don’t insult one another or the subjects of BDN stories. You may be ticked off at what someone did or said, but you can explain that without resorting to name-calling or obscenity. Remember that young people are on this site too.
- That nasty line that makes your buddies go “haw, haw”? You’re better than that.
- Comments should be your own work, not copied and pasted from elsewhere, though brief quoted passages to make your point are fine. And please don’t use all capital letters. There’s no need to shout.
- Stay focused on the issue in the article. Off-topic posts will be deleted.
- This isn’t a forum to chat about your personal life.
- Some ideas — the fate of the earth, abortion, gun control, the nature of God — aren’t going to be resolved in a reader forum, so no need to get frustrated if others don’t see your point of view. State your position once and leave it at that.
- If you mouse over each comment you will see a “Flag” button. Please use it if you feel comments on the site are out of line. Quite often, we won’t see a comment until it’s reported.
- Questions about why a comment was — or wasn’t — deleted? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your username and where you posted or saw the comment.