Tuesday, September 16, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Commenting system to change

Untitled-1

By
From page A10 | July 25, 2014 |

As a journalist, I believe people should stand behind their opinions.

We ask our news sources to be quoted by name in our stories. We ask our readers to sign their true names to their letters to the editor. And now we’re requiring that commenters on our website, www.davisenterprise.com, post their thoughts by signing on through their Facebook accounts.

No more anonymous comments. No more fake names. No more posting multiple comments on a story using different personas. Now, you have to be you when you post a comment on our stories.

The change is scheduled to take effect Friday. Current comments will disappear and we’ll start with a clean slate.

This decision has been made with lots of thought and care. For months, we have been struggling with how to encourage dialog with our readers without merely offering you a platform for rampant vitriol. We’re not alone: Popular Science has totally eliminated comments from its site. The Huffington Post now requires comments submitted through Facebook accounts. The Chicago Sun-Times has temporarily suspended comments while it re-evaluates its policy.

Sun-Times managing editor Craig Newman reported in a blog that the forums “too often turn into a morass of negativity, racism, hate speech and general trollish behaviors that detract from the content.”

At The Enterprise, we have observed the same type of behavior and, despite our best efforts to moderate the comments, we continue to see abuses. This week, in particular, has been particularly troublesome as commenters have stooped to new lows in casting blame and pointing fingers in the wake of an 18-year-old Davis man’s death after he fell from the trunk of a moving car.

We’ve also seen disgusting language, personal attacks and even impersonation of other people. We believe the switch to comments through Facebook will resolve those issues.

We’ve also heard many complaints from readers who don’t want to become mired in ugly, downward spirals of dialog. Readers who come to newspapers for intelligent, vetted comment are often repelled rather than engaged by that kind of talk.

Sasha Koren, deputy editor for interactive news, community and social media at The New York Times, said it best: “You can allow for passion. You can allow for a certain amount of strong wording, without it degrading into personal attacks and incivility, which is the kind of environment that’s a turn-off to read, as well as to participate in.

“But I think we’re all struggling — publishers, in general — about how to make a good space that people want to engage in, and maybe add something to the journalism, rather than detract from it.”

Our goal always has been to foster meaningful discourse among readers in our community, and it will remain so. Now, however, you’ll have to rely on your Facebook profile to post comments.

You don’t have a Facebook account? Get one! Then, let us know what you think.

— Debbie Davis is editor and assistant publisher of The Davis Enterprise. Reach her at ddavis@davisenterprise.net or follow her on Twitter at @DebbieDavis15

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Davis school nurses are stretched thin

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Sierra Club gathers for morning walks

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    DPNS has afternoon openings

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Paws for Thought: Socialize your new pup at UCD’s Yappy Hour

    By Evelyn Dale | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    DHS parents go back to school

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    New DHS Hall-of-Famers

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A3

    Exploration of dementia lecture set for Sept. 25

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sick-pay benefits expanded to millions

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A4

     
    Bad roads cost Californians billions

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Farmers market continues at Sutter Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Yolo County’s looking for a few good advisers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Search the Internet at Connections Café

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Garage, bake sales benefit outdoor education trip

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5

    Sutter qigong classes start Sept. 22

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Halloween costume sale benefits preschool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Hundreds flee wildfires; homes burn

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Harmony Award nominations sought

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Da Vinci seniors take on Constitution essay

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    .

    Forum

    Sounds like a swell party

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Maybe not the best rebound guy

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Nate Beeler cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Many reasons to back Sunder

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    I support Madhavi Sunder

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    A leader with heart and vision

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Carbon fee and dividend plan is the answer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Open Cup final has local flavor

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1

     
    Devil volleyball victories keep piling up

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS needs just 10 boys to top Elk Grove

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Finding the good in a tough DHS football loss

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

    More pressure on QB would be nice for Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Raber: glad to join in bringing readers golf column

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B1

    Highlights galore in Junior Blue Devil weekend

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Big Monday for Masiel as DHS golfers win league opener

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Jane Eyre’ to screen at I-House

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Anais Mitchell to play Third Space

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    ‘Shrek, The Musical’ shines at DMTC

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Irish fiddlers come to Davis house show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Jenny Lynn and Her Real Gone Daddies play at Picnic in the Park

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Woodland artist hosts event at her new studio

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7