Town Square

One Month Later?

Original post made by Harald A. Bailey, another community, on Nov 9, 2010

Dear Dolores and Gina,

Can you please explain to your readers what happened to the following actions promised by Emily West on behalf of EMCEB?

"When the Town Square forum rolled out as a part of our updated sites in early 2007, we weren't exactly sure how the community would respond. Designed to be a digital version of a local meeting place for people to discuss issues and comment on stories, it has since grown to become a topic offline as well.

Commenting on news stories and taking part in forums has become the norm for news stories. Yet, those in the newsroom are still trying to figure out how best to manage these online discussions. After all, moderating anonymous posts wasn't part of our journalism school curriculum. When walking around town, I hear both positive and negative feedback from readers about our forum. Everyone seems to enjoy the ability to comment and be part of the news process. Yet, there is some frustration with the mean-spirited and sometimes just plain stupid comments that go on. We hear you.

It's about time that we revisit Town Square to see what's working and what isn't. Moving forward, it is our goal to focus on thoughtful discussion as a part of a valuable online community. Debate is welcome, but not bullying, personal attacks or telling someone to "get a life." We also want to discourage postings that do nothing more than link to stories or blogs; we're looking for discussions, not kindling. Our terms of use have not changed, but we are trying to be more diligent in controlling the quality of postings featured on our sites.

As we work toward making Town Square a place of respectful discussion, we are also looking to you, our readers, to help. We are grateful to those who click "report objectionable content" links when a post or comment has gotten out of hand. By clicking these links, it alerts the editors to the objectionable items and we deal with them as soon as possible.

Our goal isn't to stifle debate and discussion, just to achieve a level of decorum."


What happened?