New policy on online comments | IN OUR OPINION

Some people haven’t been nice.

In fact, they’ve been downright nasty.

We’re hoping that we’ve found a way to end the sometimes rude and nameless comments that are posted on our website. The South Whidbey Record, and its sister newspaper, the Whidbey News-Times, has decided to join the news media pioneers that are requiring readers who comment on their online websites to use their real names.

Starting Thursday, Nov. 17, the Record and the Whidbey News-Times will introduce a new comment moderation policy through Facebook. Starting next week, online readers will be able to match a name with the person who’s making a comment.

We hope to improve your experience of reading and participating at www.southwhidbeyrecord.com with this new policy, which is much like the policy we use when publishing letters to the editor in our printed edition.

The news industry is clearly moving away from anonymous commenting, and we are proud to be in the vanguard. It’s not an endorsement of Facebook per se, but at present their comment system offers the best way to guarantee an environment of decorum and mutual respect among readers who want to join the conversation on our news sites.

Any logged-in Facebook user will be able to comment on our stories, and anonymous and negative comments will be curtailed.

Other papers that have implemented this system include the LATimes.com and Gannett, Media General and American City Business Journals, and most recently seattlepi.com which links to many stories from the Record.

We realize that not everyone has a Facebook account, but with 800 million users worldwide, we’re confident its social media net is wide enough to capture most of our readers.

If you don’t belong to Facebook, please remember that you can still send us a letter to the editor. We are proud to publish a robust letters section.

We hope this new commenting system improves your experience with www.southwhidbeyrecord.com. We encourage you to comment on our sites. It’s a great way to continue the community dialogue beyond the printed page.

We've attempted to answer the most common questions on our FAQ at www.southwhidbeyrecord.com/commentfaq.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
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