Ruibal column: Rules of engagement for online comments – Colorado News

Ruibal column: Rules of engagement for online comments – Colorado News

Hi, Post Independent readers. I’ve read all your comments online.

There are nice comments. Sometimes readers tag their friends to share with them a cool event coming up. Sometimes readers have thoughtful discussions on issues that matter to their communities.

Other times, there’s nastiness.

On Facebook, we have a filter to catch the dirtiest potty words. If your comment includes any words that would be bleeped out on television (but not HBO), it will likely be hidden. What does “hidden” mean? It means I can see it, you can see it, your friends can see it — but no one else.

Occasionally, I will “reveal” a hidden comment if it seems clean enough and not attacking anyone in particular. I have also sometimes hidden comments if they are technically clean but targeting others in a threatening way.

On a recent Facebook post, comments devolved into crude name-calling. My boss made the decision to delete the thread as there was too much nastiness from different threads to regulate.


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What I want most from digital engagement is the ability to have open forums of discussion. There should be no reason to deep clean comments with one fell swoop of the “delete” button.

But to maintain this dialogue, there have to be some guidelines we all — you, other readers and I, the engagement editor — follow. Here’s a sampling:

As engagement editor I will:

• Respond to questions with relevant information. If I do not know, I will forward on to reporters to look into.

• Embrace suggestions and criticism.

• Understand that people make mistakes.

• Admit my mistakes.

• Monitor comments to ensure there aren’t any harassing or threatening…

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