Except for major issues such as bond issues, we receive very little feedback from people in the community on those everyday issues that are covered in the pages of our newspaper. Thats likely to change through a new feature offered on our Web site.
As you may know, our parent company, Landmark Community Newspapers, has provided a new Web site format for us and other LCNI newspapers. The work to improve our Web sites is ongoing.
Last Thursday, a reader comment section was added to www.leaderunion.com. Through that feature, visitors to the Web site many comment on stories that appear there, including news stories, sports stories, and editorials and columns that appear on our Opinion page.
People who wish to post comments will be required to register with a verifiable e-mail address. Those e-mail addresses will not be posted along with individuals comments; instead, they can choose a screen name that will appear online.
There are several guidelines, which include the prohibited use of words and phrases that are obscene, profane, etc. Postings of that nature will be removed from the Web site.
In fact, one of the features of the readers comments section is that its self-policing. In other words, Web site visitors can remove posts that they deem inappropriate.
Web site visitors can flag those comments as obscene, profane, hateful or violent, and those comments are removed from the site immediately. The flagged comments go into a holding bin and are reviewed by our staff.
If the staff member reviewing the comment determines that it was unnecessarily flagged, the comment goes back up on the Web site.
Comments may also be flagged as tasteless or clueless. Those comments are also reviewed by our staff, but they remain on the Web site, pending their review.
In someone continually posts unacceptable comments, their ability to post comments in the future can and will be blocked.
While The Leader-Union has the ability and right to remove unacceptable comments, it will not edit those comments that are deemed to be OK.
In general, readers comments fall under the same guidelines that we have for letters to the editor. That means that readers comments should not contain:
Potentially libelous statements, including ones that accuse someone of a crime, can harm someones reputation or are deemed to be a defamation of character.
Obscene, explicit or racist language.
Personal attacks, insults or threats.
Promotions of commercial products or businesses.
Im also hoping that people who take advantage of this feature choose not to, as Ive seen on other newspapers’ Web sites, launch and proliferate attacks against others posting comments.
Its an opportunity to voice your thoughts and opinions, not to berate others for their thoughts and opinions.
We hope you enjoy and take advantage of this new feature on www.leaderunion.com. We think its an opportunity to establish community forums on things that are going on in the community.