A change in commenting policy
We made a decision here at The Daily Sentinel a few weeks ago to change our policy for commenting online. We decided that the policy needed to square with our policy for letters to the editor. That is, if you would like to offer a comment on a news story or opinion piece on our website, you need to identify yourself.
Don’t get me wrong; we invite vigorous debate on the website about the news stories we have covered. But we found that, due to some quirk of human nature, allowing anonymous commenting incites many people to dive straight into the mud and start slinging. The many thoughtful comments were often shouted down by unfair or attacking comments.
So, after the policy is implemented, if you are going to make a comment on the website, you will have to stand on that statement by identifying yourself. We hope this change results in a more civilized exchange of ideas. We also hope it results in more people feeling comfortable about commenting.
Our columnist, Denny Herzog, mentioned the change of policy in his column Sunday. This led to a perception among some that Herzog was responsible for changing the policy. Actually, he learned about the policy change from me last week.
We’re still working out the bugs on how the change will occur from a technological standpoint, but we hope it results in vigorous public debate — debate this community can take pride in — regarding issues of concern to our readers.