WEHOville

Dear Readers: Keep Those Comments Coming, but Keep Them on Topic and Concise

Sat, Aug 12, 2017   By Henry (Hank) Scott    9 Comments

As of this writing, nearly 27,000 comments to various articles have been posted on WEHOville, with more than a third of those in the past 12 months. That’s a sign that we are succeeding in our mission to provide a platform where residents of West Hollywood and others who love this community can comment on stories, ask questions of one another and engage in informed debates.

Since launching WEHOville in September 2012, we have posted occasional reminders (such as this) of the standards we apply before approving comments, each of which is moderated to ensure it meets those standards before it is published.

online commentingToday we are adding a few other standards for those who want to post comments. First, what you write should be no more than 300 words long. We’re implementing that because a number of folks offer comments of 1,500 to 2,000 words that are not so much comments on the story above them as they are essays. We do welcome essays from local residents about local issues, which we publish on our Let’s Discuss page. Rather than post them as comments, please email them directly to me at Henry@WEHOville.com.

We also ask that you do not write words in ALL CAPS, which some see as a way to call out a point. Actually it makes it hard to read. And please do not include links to other websites. You can refer to a story on affordable housing published in the Los Angeles Times on July 22, 2017, which an interested reader can search for on Google.

We’re making these changes because lengthy essays interrupt the ability of readers to make their way through the comments after a story. And often they really don’t address at all what the story is about. Words written entirely in capital letters make a comment difficult to read. And adding links to other websites diverts the reader from the story and comments at hand.

Now also is a time to remind our readers that we continue to follow other standards in moderating comments. We do not post comments that contain language that is obscene or insults people because of their age, race, gender or sexual orientation. We do not post allegations of criminal activity unless they are proven and are relevant to the discussion at hand. And we do not publish “ad hominem” attacks on people. That’s a fancy term for personal attacks that aren’t relevant to the topic under discussion.

Thus a commenter who criticizes a political candidate because of his or her height, weight, hair color or parents won’t see that comment on WEHOville.com. A commenter who asks a leading question such as “Wonder if this candidate has ever been indicted?” won’t see that comment on WEHOville.com.

We do, however, post comments critical of WEHOville.com so long as they meet the standards listed above. (There have been hundreds of them.)

We don’t require those who comment to make their full names public. We want to encourage as many people as possible to express their opinions, and some are shy about doing that under their own names. We do, however, monitor the IP addresses of our commenters. When we find multiple comments under different names coming from the same computer, we reach out to the commenter and invite him or her to choose one identity. As we have said previously, we don’t want to encourage multiple personality disorder!

We invite our readers to alert us if we’ve inadvertently posted an inappropriate comment. We also are happy to answer any questions a reader poses about why his or her comment isn’t posted. Often that’s a tech glitch and your comment has landed in our spam folder. You can send those questions directly to me at Henry@WEHOville.com.

The primary goal of WEHOville.com is to foster an informed and engaged community. Therefore, we believe it is important to offer this platform for debate and to enforce standards that ensure that the debate is focused on the issues.

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About Henry (Hank) Scott

Henry (Hank) Scott is publisher of WEHOville.com. Scott is a journalist and media business executive who has worked at newspapers as varied as the weekly Butner-Creedmoor (N.C.) News, circulation 1,200, and The New York Times. henry@wehoville.com

View all posts by Henry (Hank) Scott →

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9 Comments

  1. fine7760Sat, Aug 12, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    All this is very interesting but I’m still questioning why unsubstantiated remarks about our president for instance is allowed yet when I offer links to a story that includes additional information it is not allowed. It seems that it’s not a issue of information but about what you decide as to what information you believe the riders should see and what they shouldn’t.

  2. tSun, Aug 13, 2017 at 4:58 am

    its called censorship, that’s why after this posting I will not be commenting.

  3. Ryan Robert GierachSun, Aug 13, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Then why not publish them, as promised? Why the censorship? With all DUE respect, of course.

  4. Rob BergsteinSun, Aug 13, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Hank, thank you so much for clarifying and implementing this policy. It is much the same as when people come to West Hollywood Council meetings and sign in to speak on a consent item, speak on it for 10 seconds and then launch into either an agenda item or something not on the agenda–abuse of microphone. As for all caps, it’s the same as screaming into a microphone…I don’t think the screamers “get” that anyone who was listening (or reading) isn’t any longer I have always been able to rely on Wehoville, you, Hank, and your staff to provide me with up-to-date, unbiased reporting on all that is happening in West Hollywood. You and your staff put in long hours, probably don’t get enough thanks, so let me express my gratitude!

  5. William WaltersMon, Aug 14, 2017 at 9:46 am

    I would say this. Comments such as “city council is corrupt” will have to be disallowed as not proven. I do like limits on length.

  6. TiaMon, Aug 14, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Thank you Hank. WEHOville is my constant go-to. The standards make total sense to me and I appreciate your clarifying. Carry on…

  7. MannyTue, Aug 15, 2017 at 7:26 am

    What a relief!….Thanks Wehoville.

  8. Milana RakhmanTue, Aug 15, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    suggestions may sometimes be helpful—other times it is just an oraganized suppression of speech

  9. Jerome ClearyWed, Aug 16, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Why censor at all and let freedom of speech have the platform. People’s comments are always interesting and informative and many times flesh out the rest of what may be missing in an article.

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