There is something to be said for those who leave comments on articles online. Everyone has the freedom of expression and the First Amendment right to say anything that comes to mind.
While potentially great discussions and debates occur in the comments section of articles online, these words are usually hidden behind a cloak of anonymity. The Chronicle feels there needs to be accountability for comments online. Whether comments are positive or negative, the Chronicle grants the writer an option to use his or her real name, or a pseudonym. Most of the time, it’s the latter.
That’s about to change.
The Chronicle is in the process of overhauling the comments section on the website. Soon, a Facebook account will be required to leave comments on articles. The Chronicle feels it is important that comments preserve the same level of integrity and accountability as the article.
Finding a college student without a Facebook is like searching for a needle in a haystack. People without Facebook accounts still have the option to contact the Chronicle directly via email. Letters to the editor will continue to be published online and in print at the editor’s discretion.
The Chronicle’s new commenting policy might lead to fewer submissions, but it helps challenge everyone to participate in a more thoughtful, tolerant and civil discussion.
Comments that are threatening, harassing or libelous toward writers, photographers or other commenters will not be posted online. Any comment attacking a person’s gender, race, ethnicity, class, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, reputation or disabilities is completely unacceptable.
What is written online would more than likely not be repeated in person. Writing hurtful and demeaning comments online is cowardly.
It is vital to engage in thought-provoking discussion about the articles and what they stand for.
These community guidelines will enhance the user experience on the Chronicle’s website, thereby addressing the integrity and accountability of all content posted for public consumption.