A Comment on Commenting
As discussions continue to grow on Highland Park Patch, here are a few guidelines.
As Highland Park Patch continues to grow, so too have the discussions occurring in the comments section of stories.
This is an incredible thing, and I'm so pleased to see readers share their opinions openly and thoughtfully on a website that's only a few months old. It speaks volumes about Highland Park's democratic spirit that residents engage in political conversations so readily, and seeing those conversations occur makes the work that goes into maintaining this site more than worth the effort.
I've gotten a few calls and emails lately asking what Highland Park Patch's comment removal policy is. I spoke with my editor, who passed Patch's policy onto me. That policy is as follows:
A comment will be removed if it:
- is defamatory, abusive, obscene, profane or offensive;
- infringes or violates another party's intellectual property rights (such as music, videos, photos or other materials for which you do not have written authority from the owner of such materials to post on the Service);
- violates any party's right of publicity or right of privacy;
- is threatening, harassing or that promotes racism, bigotry, hatred or physical harm of any kind against any group or individual;
- promotes or encourages violence;
- is inaccurate, false or misleading in any way;
- is illegal or promotes any illegal activities;
- promotes illegal or unauthorized copying of another person's copyrighted work or links to them or providing information to circumvent security measures;
- contains "masked" profanity (e.g., F@&#)
- contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment; or
- contains any advertising, promotional materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain letters," "pyramid schemes," or any other form of solicitation."
While I have not yet seen many comments that fit the descriptions above, I have seen discourse that has been more confrontational than constructive. As happy as I am to see a conversation beneath a story, I hope that those conversations will continue to be enlightening, which they overwhelmingly have been, rather than argumentative.
I know that there are many issues in Highland Park that elicit strong opinions; however, as a middle child, I also know that the only way to change someone's mind is to be open-minded.
Of course, if you think everyone (including the writer) has an issue completely backwards, I encourage you to email me at email@example.com. I'm always looking for new columnists, and your voice may be just what Highland Park Patch is missing.