Since running our Letter from the Editors | In search of humility, empathy, and common purpose on Friday night, we’ve received a number of comments, some anonymous. Although there’s a case to be made for anonymity, we believe commenters should be accountable and debate should be transparent, so we will ban anonymous comments on all our articles going forward. Because this feature was not often used, we had been lax in following our own commenting policy (HERE) that requires the use of a full name. The anonymous commenters to this recent editorial — anyone with a verifiable email address — were all notified and they were welcome to repost their comments with their full names. A couple did so.
As many of you know, incorporating a comments section at all in an online news site can be controversial, and many publications decided years ago to eliminate them entirely. It’s a tough thing to monitor when you are as small an operation as we are, and we may decide at some point down the road that it is too much for us to track and moderate. For now, though, we think it’s reasonable to simply ask readers to provide their full names and a verifiable email address — we’ll see how it goes. (Berkeleyside recently updated their comments policy — it’s worth a read to see how other local papers manage their systems.)
Thanks to everyone who is participating in good faith and using their real names. We will approve all comments unless they contain derogatory or offensive language, though, like Berkeleyside, we do reserve the right to delete comments at any time. (Please be patient with us as we update this language on the site.)
1, 2, 3, 4 … I declare a thumb war
We also discovered that there was no limit on the number of times a reader could click the “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” approval buttons at the bottom of our articles. After our analytics revealed a few people were manipulating the system (300+ downvotes by one person alone! And 200+ upvotes by another!) we have disabled this feature. If we reinstate it, we will limit the number of times individual IP addresses can “vote” going forward.
You are always welcome to email us at email@example.com with any thoughts or suggestions about this editorial or anything else we publish on our site. Thank you.