Friday, April 24, 2015
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 [email protected] 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

    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

     
    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5