Open Thread Mondays: Proposed Comment Policy

Several times over the past four years we have publicly raised the idea of more closely moderating our comments section. The issue always generated discussion, and the feedback has helped guide our actions. However, the site has grown to be so large that the number of problematic comments has gotten out of hand, and we’ve heard repeatedly from readers that they chose not to engage in discussion because of the unsavory tone our comments section sometimes takes.

That’s a problem. It might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s clear that taking a hands-off role in commenting is actually creating a chilling effect on the conversation.

So, in the last few months, we’ve been deleting and banning with a heavier hand, and taking note to ourselves what it is about those comments that we find unacceptable. From those notes, we’ve developed a list of broad themes. Before we add them to the template, we thought it only fair to put them up for discussion here. Tell us what you think.

Comment policy:

Sheepshead Bites is intended to be a tool to find and discuss local information. Commenting is moderated to ensure that all comments are constructive and fair. While negative comments are allowed, this is not a forum to indiscriminately bash Sheepshead Bites, other readers, local businesses or public persons. Therefore, the following policies have been implemented:

  • Comments should be relevant to the post’s contents.
  • Critical comments should be specific, relevant and constructive.
  • No personal attacks, either to businesses, agencies or people discussed above or to other commenters, are allowed under any circumstance.
  • Intolerant comments against a person or group’s race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender or age will be removed.
  • Removal and/or banning is at our discretion. If you disagree with a comment’s removal, you may e-mail us directly using the contact button at the top of this page. However, we will not engage in a debate about our terms in the comments section.
  • Any violation of the rules above may lead to the user being permanently banned.