We like to read comments on stories as much as anyone else and we want to see vigorous debate on issues. During the 14 months SUNonline/Orillia has existed on Facebook you’ve been able to comment. Now the website is up you will still have that opportunity, just not on the website.
You probably encountered some websites that turned off comments or don’t allow comments without being registered and logged in. That’s because some people don’t know how to play nice (more on that below). But, those websites haven’t provided alternate means for people to express their reactions and thoughts about what they have read, watched, or listened to.
The bottom of each story will have a link labelled Comments, or Rants & Raves which will take you to the Facebook posting for that story and you can exercise your fingers as much as you want.
We have taken this approach for a simple reason, we want to separate sponsors from comments and still provide a forum. Using Facebook seems to be the best way to do that. It has happened (not here) someone’s comment has really upset an advertiser and the publication lost advertisers and revenue. We don’t want a situation where someone’s poor taste comment is sitting on a screen right next to a sponsorship and creating a link of association in the minds of others.
What We Don’t Allow
You may comment, even in poor taste, on a Facebook post, but don’t use any of George Carlin’s Seven Words, plus a few others in play since he made the list back in the 1970s. We’ll hide the comment from public view.
Personal attacks directed at another commenter will be hidden. We have thick skins and leave up offending comments directed at anyone from SUNonline/Orillia – unless of course they use anything Carlin would have on his list. Racist comments and anything that suggests negatively on someone else’s being for things they have no control over will also be hidden.
Please note, we are not bleeding from the heart, head and extremities, far left, social justice warriors; we are not the thought and word usage police; some people are offended by every day words, we are not. There is a huge difference between being politically incorrect and truly offensive (to a population vs. one person’s ego) and we will not bow to any pressure to hide politically incorrect comments.
We try to stay on top of the comments, but sometimes we miss one, or don’t get to them soon enough. You can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to alert us. That said, we are going to take a charitable approach to comments. We understand not everyone has the best command of the language and if someone says something which can be taken two ways; we’ll assume the positive – unless a track record has been established by that commenter. We hope other comment readers do the same. It promotes healthy discussion and also gives you a chance to ask the original commenter for clarity because our experience is some people don’t realize they’re bordering on being offensive.
The Oxford English Dictionary (1989) has more than 228,000 words, be creative, make your point, just don’t be offensive and we’ll all get along.
Also, generally SUNonline/Orillia contributing journalists will not join in discussions; we already had our say with the story. There are exceptions, if some part of story turns out to be unclear, we’ll clear things up in the comments if it means other readers need the information. We’ll also correct the original story – flagged as such. If a commenter presents evidence we got something totally wrong (factual, not just you think we’re wrong because of your opinion) please do engage us through the comments and by email. We think some of the time those discussions should be in public view, but if it’s a simple as fixing a number or changing a word to reflect intent, we’ll just make the change –flagged of course.
In short, we will always respond to comments to preserve the integrity of a story; if we don’t, well, take it we did our homework and don’t see things as you do. (Check out our editorial policy.)
We absolutely take note of every single compliment you wish to make. We also take criticisms under advisement and valid criticisms of an evidentiary nature definitely do affect our thinking, its how we grow and learn.