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Anonymous online comments to stop | Editorial
After countless emails and phone calls asking us why we don’t print anonymous letters yet our website has unlimited anonymous – frequently negative – commenting, we decided to take action.
Starting Thursday, Nov. 17, the Whidbey News-Times and its sister paper, the South Whidbey Record, will introduce a new comment moderation policy through Facebook.
We hope to improve your experience of reading and participating at www.whidbeynewstimes.com with this new policy.
The news industry is clearly moving away from anonymous commenting, and we are proud to be in the vanguard. It’s not an endorsement of Facebook per se, but at present their comment system offers the best way to ensure an environment of decorum and mutual respect amongst readers who participate in our news sites. That, we believe, is ultimately good for both our business and our communities.
Any logged-in Facebook user will be able to comment on our stories to encourage and reward real identity. Anonymous and negative comments will be curtailed.
Other papers that implemented this system include the LATimes.com and Gannett, Media General and American City Business Journals, and most recently seattlepi.com which links to many stories from the Whidbey News-Times.
We realize that not everyone has a Facebook account, but with 800 million users worldwide, we’re confident its social media net is wide enough to capture most of our readers.
If you don’t belong to Facebook, please remember that you can still send us a letter to the editor. We are proud to publish a robust letters section.
We hope this new commenting system improves your experience with whidbeynewstimes.com and southwhidbeyrecord.com. We encourage you to comment on our sites. It’s a great way to continue community dialogue beyond the printed page.