Rupert Howell column

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 28, 2011

After breather, paper’s comment policy restated

A spree of ugly, vulgar and threatening comments submitted to the comment section of our online edition,, caused editors to embark upon a “cool down” period where the plug was pulled on comments for posting for 10 days.

Although the exact cause of the sudden spree of negative comments has not been determined, it followed a week of snow on the ground and the shooting of a U.S. Congress person in Tuscon, Arizona. Maybe it was communal cabin fever or winter depression setting in on some of our readers.

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Editors also learned last week that editing comments posted by readers is no longer frowned upon by the attorneys whose job it is to keep our profession away from lawsuits.

And while some Web sites post unedited comments no matter their content, that model doesn’t fit our purpose. Those who pay attention to Web postings already know that persons who do not have to reveal their true identity will sometimes write things out of character.

So we ask you to keep it nice, please.

To those who visit and comment on our Web site, welcome.

We are glad that you, along with thousands of others, read on a regular basis and we encourage you to make comments concerning news stories, commentary, features and ongoing local issues.

But there are some rules of civility that we apply before posting and we ask that you adhere to those rules. Unlike letters to the editor published in our newspaper edition, the name and address of the sender are not required.

However, your e-mail address is required. Comments with e-mail addresses from which we get no response, will not be published.

We will not post your comment if it contains an attack of someone’s character, unproven charges, known false statements, profanity, potentially slanderous or libelous content, racially sensitive rhetoric, or comments in just plain bad taste.

We reserve the right to edit comments although we will do so without changing  intent or meaning of your posting.

We really want your participation, your thoughts and input. But, it is our house and while you’re here, we ask you to behave.

Thank you for reading The Panolian and