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OUR VIEW: Policy is changing on anonymous online commenting

Starting this week, the Daily Post is changing its protocol for commenting on stories at www.gwinnettdailypost.com, eliminating the practice of making comments anonymously. Beginning with Monday’s stories, readers posting comments to online stories will do so by using their Facebook accounts.

It’s a big change, but one that has been made after much discussion — both internally and as an industry. The Huffington Post made the change from anonymous online posting this past week— joining other major outlets, such as ESPN.

The change in policy brings the online comments in line with what newspapers have always required of readers who commented through letters to the editor— a verified name to go with the contributed statements. The idea is not to prevent comments, but to promote a more civil forum for them.

Anonymous comments are rarely, if ever, used in the print version of the Daily Post. And if they are, the commenters are known to the writer and editor. The reporters have their names attributed to the stories they write, as do the columnists. But previously that same requirement has not been extended to online commenters.

With only pseudonyms attached, it’s easy for commenting threads to devolve into name calling and rudeness. Cruelty is an easy sport to master when practiced anonymously.

We want readers to continue commenting on the site, but it’s our hope that the new system, where a real name is associated with the comments, will result in higher-quality comments and more civil discourse. Let us be clear: You can still say what you want regarding the stories and the people in them (within reason), it’s just that now your name will go with them.

Again, it’s not as easy to be nasty if your comment has attribution.

It’s not a perfect system, and we expect that some will try to find a way around having their names attached to their comments. But comments will still be moderated and can be removed if deemed inappropriate, and it’s our belief that those things will happen less frequently.

There will certainly be an adjustment period as readers get used to the new system. We know it’s a major change, but we think it is one that creates a forum where ideas can be discussed and debated in a more civil and productive way.

Comments

Mack711 11 months, 1 week ago

'We want readers to continue commenting on the site, but it’s our hope that the new system, where a real name is associated with the comments, will result in higher-quality comments and more civil discourse. Let us be clear: You can still say what you want regarding the stories and the people in them (within reason), it’s just that now your name will go with them.'

Did you at the GDP ever stop and think that by using a facebook account will truly stop the anonymous comments? Many out there have fake accounts just like some of the users of the comment section of your paper. You have our email addresses as part of your program to contact us if you wish. The problem is that you do not wish to weed out the ones that may or may not agree with your policy, You have taken away the free speech right to some extent and all that you want is the political correct thoughts and ideas. That amounts to censorship, not policy.

By the way the GDP is part of Charter cable bill we do not pay for your paper directly. Since you have changed your policy, will be contacting Charter Cable to change their policy of including free delivery of the GDP.

Mack

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sst 11 months, 1 week ago

You will know these fictitious facebook accounts by the ridiculous names they have and the cartoon character or abstract design profile pics. People use them precisely to remain anonymous as they make the online connections necessary to play those facebook games. Now they'll also be used for anonymous comments on news sites requiring a facebook account for comment. You've solved nothing.

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SabrinaWorks247 11 months, 1 week ago

How funny and ironic that the author of this editorial is listed as: By none (12)

Sabrina Smith

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wally 11 months, 1 week ago

nuff said. You have ran myself and my comments off for good. See Ya

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citized 11 months, 1 week ago

I do not have a facebook account because there are more pop ups as I have to deal with as well as privacy This is a wrong policy but as always few speak for the many.

Thanks for nothing------AGAIN

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Kent 11 months, 1 week ago

I do not have a facebook account and never will. It is just another avenue for the NSA to intrude into your private life in addition to their access to the path of this response. I am no fan of the progressive Mr. Zukerburg and have no intention of adding to his bottom line, unlike the GDP. Like the old saying goes "You are only as good as the company you keep". ADIOS AMIGOS..............

By the way---The Gwinnett Braves Popup has gone beyond being annoying, especially since the taxpayers footed the bill for this boondoggle. One last thank you to the commissioners who voted for the stadium, and especially to Mike.

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NewsReader 11 months, 1 week ago

I wasn't going to dignify this nonsense with a response, but seeing as how others did, I'll post mine as well.

I particularly like this little gem of rationale "...The Huffington Post made the change from anonymous online posting this past week..." Well there's a good reason for ya. What a monumental bathroom tissue this publication is.

I don't need, nor want, facebook, so I too am done here. Besides, your publication is no longer worthy of my time anyway, let alone some of the dumb masses reading and contributing their bovine bowel movements to the cause. As Kent has said, "ADIOS AMIGOS"!

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R 11 months, 1 week ago

*Division of AOL that laid off staff because they cant grow the market base ...

You're following right down the path of insanity. * Patch insert town here

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Gwinnettsince1991 11 months, 1 week ago

"I'm so glad we had this time together, just to have a laugh or sing a song, seems we just get started and before you know it, comes the time we have to say, 'So long.'" -Carol Burnett

And with that, I'm out.

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FordGalaxy 11 months, 1 week ago

As stated elsewhere, I like commenting here and discussing/debating with other commentators. However, my work does not allow any Facebook related activities and I mostly comment from work while on break. This is a wonderful move, GDP. You've run off many of your most prolific comment writers, all so you could be like the Huffington Post. I hope this works out for you. I'm saddened that my voice will no longer be heard here.

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Reason 11 months, 1 week ago

Interesting. The media outlets you mention (none 12) are being put in place by nationally read examples, where the topics are less homegrown with comments, from folks abroad. The commenters in that type of format may not have insight and first-hand knowledge to local news items. A good bit of information is made public, by a public affairs representative of some sort. Locally, for the last half decade, there have been topics that have not made Gwinnett look very well in the political decision making process. At times, it has been refreshing to see public comment as a sideline to the actual articles, without commenters being mean to one another. However, if you are a news outlet, you should take the time to remove comments when they get out of hand. So, what you are in effect saying is, you are too lazy to do this anymore and will take an extra step to make the readers do something you should be doing on your own... What a disappointment, GDC. I kind of thought you were above that, I would have expected it from a national chain, not the local news. I understand your not wanting to see a readers feelings hurt by another reader. I just hope as a local news outlet, that the concern for a commenter, or tax paying citizen, equals that of a sponsor, or something of the like. In the future, if the article needs and deserves public comment in an open format, the public voice shall be heard, somewhere....So sad it may no longer be here. This way was a good way, worts and all. Reasonably, yours. P.S. Now I know how the old timers felt, when Ludlow was replaced by Neal, on 750.

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ggcmom 11 months, 1 week ago

Have you considered that some of us cannot post on certain subjects under our own name for fear of repercussions in our jobs? As my name implies, I work at GGC and have had a student there. There is no way I would post a comment regarding the college under my own name! That would just be professional suicide. There are other sensitive subjects that I would not comment on for fear of a co-worker taking offense and causing workplace distress.

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FordGalaxy 11 months, 1 week ago

As much as I don't want to be "that guy" when it comes to conspiracy theories and all, this really does smack of a way to limit negative comments about the county, the schools, and the government. John Adams would be proud.

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R 11 months, 1 week ago

So whats the REAL "cut" on FaceBook increased activity?

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Mack711 11 months, 1 week ago

lining Zuckerburg's pockets. Controling what they want to publish and stop the comments that they do not agree with the GDP editorial staff.

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Don_Coyote 11 months, 1 week ago

Dear (none)12,

If the GDP actually asked the local politicos and chamber types the questions that matter rather than just serving as their mouthpiece and "legal organ" then anonymous comments wouldn't be necessary.

I used the internet before it obtained the name and learned decades ago the perils of using my unique name. I also do not participate on Facebook and therefore bid you adieu while I charge at my windmills elsewhere.

Sincerely, Don Coyote

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teelee 11 months, 1 week ago

Monkey see monkey do! The Huffington Post is the biggest Liberal Propoganda machine there is, why would the Post want to do anything they do? I know the answer, lol! Does this mean the government will target us now for our comments? Will our jobs? No that would NEVER happen would it!

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Mack711 11 months, 1 week ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Mack711 11 months, 1 week ago

Just logged on to a new article and saw that a relative's facebook account pops up in the comment section. Yes that relative did use this computer over the weekend but since we do not have a FB account why did the relative's account pop up? This new format will cause some one lots of trouble in the future if the GDP continues with this new policy. If you have ever had your identity stolen then you will know what we are talking about. You are guilty until you prove yourself innocent.

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Jason Braverman 11 months ago

Mack711 -- Your relative didn't log out of Facebook when using the computer. As a result, that Facebook "session" is still active — even if the browser window for Facebook has been closed. You should go to Facebook.com and the active session will load which can subsequently be ended with a "log out" request.

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PatrickTMalone 11 months ago

It seems to me that most of the posters here have provided the justification for this change of policy.

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R 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Funny in a way - just as perhaps your position here lends credence to the concern of negative comments being ferreted out as they tend to hinder (bad) policy.

We remember your stanch support of the Briscoe development right up to that train wreck of the final proposal that went down in the flames it so richly deserved.

The next go around it just might squeak through...

But I won't bet on it

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Oliver 11 months ago

I will miss the comments from most of the above posters. They have provided insight, clarity and addtional points of view on many issues.

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Pompano 11 months ago

Have to agree with FordGalaxy on this one. The goal of this policy is to limit negative comments made against the county, etc. The GDP already often screens out negative comments if it doesn't fit with their agenda on a topic.

Like many others have posted in this thread, I also do not utilize Facebook. Guess this will be my last visit to the GDP.

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Cygnus_God_of_Balance 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Bah! 99% of the comments on this site did nothing but prove just how shortsighted, bigoted, and ill-educated the average person leaving commentary is! I'm not going to miss yet another person hiding behind a pseudonym talking about how the Mexicans are stealing our tax dollars, Obama is a Commie Socialist (which, anyone with half a brain can tell you would be mutually exclusive) Muslim hell-bent on the destruction of America, and that only the Republicans can fix everything.

Good riddance, and don't let the door smack you on the way out!

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JV 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Okay it's been two weeks now that this has started. Some observations. Comments are only shown while you are logged onto Facebook. Once you log off Facebook, your comments on GDP will disappear. Since a lot of people do not stay constantly logged onto Facebook. Many comments will never be seen. It seems that GDP doesn't want any comments to be shown on their website. What a shame.

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