Sunday, February 27, 2011

Feedback on the comments

A few readers have complained recently about the comments on this website. This is frustrating because some complain that the comments are restricted too much, while others argue that the comments should be restricted more. Obviously all of the readers are never going to be happy, but here are a few thoughts on how the comments are approached.

There are basically three possible options on comments:

#1 - We could have no comments at all. This option is unacceptable because the whole idea of DarkeJournal is for the community to be part of it. Before DarkeJournal, a few local media outlets controlled the media dialogue for the entire community. Now you do - and it would be foolish to go back.

#2 - We could let comments go up on the website without any prior review at all. This option is not preferred because someone could post a slanderous message - or post with foul language - which would stay on the website until someone complained.

#3 - We could do comments with prior review. This is the current approach, but the readers of this website should understand that the review is very cursory. There are days where hundreds of comments are submitted, and it is impossible to carefully read every word of every comment. Frequently, a scan is made for foul language, names of individuals, and obviously abusive comments.

The current approach presumes self-policing by the people on this website. At any point in time, readers can send an email complaining about an abusive comment. This has been part of the official Visitor Agreement since September 2009. What has occurred over time is that a lot of people like to complain that the comments are "nasty," but rarely does anyone ever complain about an individual comment. Without any feedback, it is impossible to determine what is allegedly "nasty." Occasionally, there are discussions that get out of hand and are shut down. But often it seems that some commmenters like to dish ... but not receive.

Here are a few points in defense of DarkeJournal: 1) the comments on DarkeJournal are no different than the normal commentary that goes on at the post office, the hair salon, or any place else where people meet and have discussions. If you are seeing it here, you can bet it's being discussed out in the community as well, 2) the comment policy here is much more restrictive than mainstream outlets such as The Columbus Dispatch, for example, which allows anonymous comments without any prior review at all. Other sites utilize facebook for comments, and we may also do that at some point in the future.

In an effort to further improve the comments, you are being reminded that you are part of the process. If you see an abusive comment, please report it. Further the message below has been added to the comment page as a continuous reminder.

Guidelines: You share in the DarkeJournal community, so please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards (or our Visitor Agreement), report abuse to


  1. It's your website. Keep the forum as open or closed as you like.

  2. No matter what you do you cannot please everyone. I am a moderator on a very large message board for Newfoundland dogs. It has over 7800 members and over 700 active members. I know how tough it can be. What makes it even worse is you cannot see facial expressions so the comment can be taken the wrong way. You just have to weed out the trouble makers. Generally those are the same people complaining over and over again.

  3. The First Amendment gives us Freedom of Speech, but does not include the right to make personal attacks on individuals or the harassment in the process. Voice your opinion on issues that are important to you without demolishing a person's character in the process.

  4. I think you do a good job policing the comments. I've had some of my comments not posted, and that is ok in my opinion. The way I look at it, this is your Website, and you have the right to police in any manner you see fit. If people don't like it they will move on. I think this website is a great alternative to the old fashion print method of keeping us informed, and I do appreciate given the opportunity to post my feelings on the subject.

    Keep Up the good job...

  5. When this site first was born I became interested in it because I did not have to fill out a form and give any personal information. It is still a good site where you can get more one on one info from many people. It seems to be less political in any certain direction as the other local site seems to be, in my opinion.
    When I first started posting comments on diferent issues, I knew some of the tipics that had comments posted were just out of touch and is easy to write some thing that you might regrete later. Many people feel they can say any thing hiding behind the key board as I have felt at times, even when it was true. For what ever reason political or not some times it did not get posted. But over all more deverse comments gets posted here than other local sites. I have no problem with the guidelines. Theirs going to be a few topics comming up in the near future to comment on like the levey, we will see then how political the screening becomes on the comments then. That will be a good test to see if the guidlines get changed or added to. Even though every one has a url or an account of some kind it should not shut you up. This is American, their is still freedom of speech, even if you spell a word wrong here or their. Laws do change from time to time as do some rules or even guidelines. Hopfully politics don't take over the right to have comments posted here that may not agree with how others wont them to be.
    Thats what makes this site so attractive. Reading how people feel about issues shows who is for or against an issue but if you just wont to try to change how they feel, you need to go some place else.

  6. I make comments periodically, and I like MOST of the comments that others will post. The current format is what you shuld keep up with, but perhaps watch those that go "off topic" of the main artical and start to rant with other posters over things that just simply get out of hand.
    I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you can't civilly post about the topic at hand....keep your fingers away from the keyboard!

  7. Well said Darke Journal! Onward with the quality news and dialogue!

  8. Many times I type comments and end up not posting because of how of how blunt they are. The things posted are warm and kind compared to the rest of the world. Ignorance is bliss I suppose.

  9. Jason does a very good job and nothing is broken, so no fixes are needed.

  10. DJ,

    You could give everyone a $20.00 bill for visiting the website and SOMEONE would complain because they wanted it in dollar bills. Keep up the good work.

  11. I personally think the DJ has grown since it was started, probably into more than you, "dj", suspected that it would, it has expanded in the proper directions and I know that it will continue to expand.
    "Say what you mean and
    Mean what you say", is what I have always been taught.


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