Editorial | Comments, anyone?

— by Lin McNulty, Managing Editor —

A few years back, Orcas Issues made the decision to incorporate reader comments on our stories posted. Since then, a number of remarkable things have occurred. For the most part, we embraced it and even built your comments into our brand: Orcas Issues: Voice of the Orcas Community.

There have been some sticky situations in moderating those comments, and we even wondered at various points if we should moderate them at all. It became apparent to us, and those who read Orcas Issues, that commenting had perhaps become challenging to keep on top of. Most comments do not come to us for approval before being posted; it can be a full-time monitoring job for someone to make sure we read each comment as it comes in and that it isn’t getting out of control (whatever that means).

Not to mention the times that comments are posted while our staff takes time off to sleep (and eat). And that’s what happened yesterday while I was doing the evening meal thing. Three commenters expressed, in turn, their concerns about the actual story, and then their beef with the other commenters, as well as problems with the “recent bias of journalism” at Orcas Issues with the departure of Margie Doyle. (I’ll be contacting that person to try to understand what’s behind that.)

We don’t have to allow the ability to comment on our site. With just a few keystrokes and mouse clicks, we can wipe that scourge from our system. But I don’t want to! Our readers who comment add a level of involvement that pleases me greatly. It excites the site.

So let’s do this. Click here to take a brief reader survey and share your opinion. What should we do? As the voice of the Orcas community, tell us what you think.

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Steve Henigson

As Editor, you gotta edit.
If someone uses extreme or unnecessary profanity, it’s gotta come out. If someone sinks to an ad-hominem attack, it’s gotta be deleted. It’s even appropriate to correct misspellings, bad grammar, and malapropisms (but please leave in my “gotta”s).

But, other than that, every comment deserves to be read. Every opinion deserves to be heard. Censorship and thought control have no place in our society.

This community has under the benign monarchy of Margie and Lin, evolved a means of discussing many sensitive topics in a generally civil and respectful manner. I believe the blog-ware employed by this site has been a good safeguard against most misuse, and the editorial policy, such as one can tell, has evolved. I do think that being effectively On-Call 24/7 is above your calling. There is nothing that must be said in that time frame. A more reasonable approach could be to set “office hours” and cut off the actual posting of comments during certain hours, to allow you… Read more »

joseph murphy

Yes, by all means sort out posts the next day. This has got to be a tough gig but it does provide those of us who don’t do social media a way of gauging the conversation and temperament of our neighbors.

Thanks for taking that on.

B. Sadie Bailey

hmmm… i left a comment here -as innocuous as possible – it got removed. May I ask why?