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YOUR TURN: Do We Need a New Comment Policy?

We've heard a lot of readers call for change in our comment section this past month, and we want your input - what's the best way for us to keep the conversation interesting?

Hey readers – it's your friendly neighborhood news editor.

No no, don't worry, I'm not here to sell you anything. But, I do need your input so we can decide the best way to go forward as an online community.

Over the past month, I've gotten a lot of feedback that our approach to comment moderation just isn't cutting it for some of our readers. While it's always great to see so many passionate contributions to the site, it can impact the quailty of our community's conversation when threads stray wildly off-topic, get needlessly heated, personal and/or worse.

My personal policy, as a guy that likes to get into the trenches myself, has been largely hands-off: I'd get involved if a comment was threatening, promoted bigotry or was otherwise obviously inappropriate (spam, swearing, etc.), but felt the conversation would be best served by letting our readers speak freely and even get a little testy with one another, just as they would with their offline neighbors.

But, there are other approaches available, should we so choose. Some publications, like The (British) Guardian, have a complex system of “community standards and participation guidelines,” which far more stringently regulate readers' comments. 

Moderators there not only delete the sentiments I described above, but further regulate the use of “smear tactics,” reserve “the right to...curtail conversations which descend into flame-wars” and delete comments they deem off-topic.

After hearing the complaints from our readers, I thought enforcing a "community standards" model may be the best way to keep our conversations civil yet engaging. 

Readers: should we develop some Malden Patch Community Standards? Would you like to see more regulation of the comment section? Some regulation? Or do you like it just the way we are? (aw).

If you've read this far, you know what to do: share your thoughts with us and other readers in the comment section below.  

BIG FISH LIL BROOK September 03, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Why the personal attacks this is supposed to be about discussions. I think the best thing to do is have an ignore button. Ive seen too many attacks on average Joe's because their average working or retired. What makes these people who do this so special. All they are doing is Cyber Bullying the average man or woman. They love to attack but they cant take it when their buttons are pushed. Yes Chris Ignor Button is the way to go.
Joe Gray September 03, 2012 at 08:17 PM
I'm so pleased that average Joes are getting so much press time. Makes me want to weep for joy. "-)
BIG FISH LIL BROOK September 03, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Me Too Joe Im so very happy Thank You your a true gentleman. OOps did I spell everything correctly? Again I say From One Joe to another many thanks.
Claire Murray September 04, 2012 at 11:45 AM
I've seen names on these comments that I seldom see in comments on other articles - which is great. I get tired of the same people devolving into personal attacks on a regular basis on most of the articles I read. if it's a family discussion, Chris, then these are the family members who can't be in the same room with each other without sniping. Limiting the family bickering would be great but requires a lot more work to define. I find myself less and less inclined to read any comments on patch because they so often devolve into personal attacks and name calling. So I'll go along with whatever changes the majority of the family recommends.
BIG FISH LIL BROOK September 04, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I agree Claire I dont need anyone to tell me take my meds, that Im stupid, and more insults Ive recieved. Their was even a threat here to someone that they can look up their police backgrounds and post it. Its allways seems to be the same 3 all the time. The site has become a brain game. But im not whinning Ill give it right back and then some. Like vulchers they sit and pick their pray.

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