Have a thought? Feel free to share

Posted: Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Peninsula Clarion last week made a change in our policy governing online comments, part of our ongoing effort to provide the community we serve with a forum to discuss the issues of the day.

Our user policy for those posting comments on online content now states: "Comments that are incendiary or antagonistic toward other users are considered off-topic and will be removed. Repeated violations will result in a ban without notice."

Last week's changes come after the comment feature on our Web site was revamped last fall in order to make it more user friendly. The comment feature now requires online readers to click to view comments, meaning those who don't want to read them don't have to see them. The comments page also includes tools for readers to rate posted comments, and to flag offensive or derogatory posts.

Our mission at the Clarion is to provide our community with accurate and timely news. By providing a mechanism for reader comments at the end of each online story, we hope to facilitate a discussion that adds to our community's understanding of various issues, and how they affect each of us. Likewise, we invite letters to the editor for the same purpose.

For the most part, our readers provide insightful comments, some complimentary, some critical. But in some cases, the conversation degrades into insults and name calling, things that do little to promote a good dialogue and may even stifle it.

Our intent is to continue to encourage robust discussion. Our policies governing that discussion will likewise continue to evolve in order to raise the level of discourse.

We hope that online users find our new guidelines to be beneficial to the discussion, and that they encourage those who post comments to discuss and debate the content of the story, rather than the character of other commentors.

And we'd love to see more letters to the editor. They can be submitted through the Clarion's Web site, www.peninsulaclarion.com or by e-mail to news@peninsulaclarion.com. Letters also may be submitted via mail to the Clarion, P.O. Box 3009, Kenai, AK 99611, or delivered to our office at 150 Trading Bay Road, Suite 1 in Kenai.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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