It's been said that a computer keyboard and a degree of anonymity can be a volatile mix. There's a term for making offensive comments over the internet that one wouldn't do in person: keyboard courage.
A few years ago we joined other publications in our parent company as well as newspapers around the country and around the world in removing the comment section from our websites. But the conversations continued on Facebook, where we routinely share links to stories.
We have thus far taken a hands-off approach to comments on these posts, only occasionally deleting those that are obscene or espouse violence. These decisions were made on a case-by-case basis, with no stated social media policy for reference.
For the new year, we resolve to do better.
We will take a more active role in 2019 to encourage comments that contribute positively to community conversations, while discouraging those comments that fall short.
And we need your help as readers and community members. Here at RiverTown Multimedia we take great pride in telling local stories about local people. If you feel the need to comment on the news, we ask that you do so respectfully. Remember that the people we write about are your neighbors, coworkers or someone's family member.
Below is our new policy for acceptable behavior on our social media accounts. It has been pinned to the top of our Facebook pages and can be found in the page menu as well.
Our mission is for this to be a place to share news and events that are important to the community, as well as a place for you to share your opinions on the news and how we report it.
We value comments that enhance the conversation in a civil and thoughtful way. What we do not tolerate are personal attacks, threats of violence, obscenity, commercial promotion and spamming.
We may delete comments that stray off topic or are abusive. Moderating decisions are subjective, but we aim to make such decisions in a careful, fair and transparent manner.
We encourage your messages through this page or directly to the newsroom by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for joining us.