As readers may recall, after a hiatus of several months we opened up the blog for commentary from the readers, but we added an additional requirement for submissions.
So I pointed out that we would allow comments, but we would insist that a real name and city of residence be included with each entry.
And then I fumbled and allowed comments that didn’t comply with that request. The failure to do so was nothing more than the exigencies of the day-to-day workload, which often meant I simply got stuck in other areas.
But it was a sound idea then and it remains so today. Parts of what follows are verbatim from that earlier blog.
Including a name and address is essentially how letters to the editor have been handled for 100 years or more and I see no reason why the new rules of cyber mayhem should scuttle that basic requirement.
It should be relatively simple: no name and city address, no inclusion in the commentary section. Obviously, someone could simply utilize a pseudonym, but that strikes us as particularly damning because it suggests a near-total absence of willingness to take responsibility for what you write. Commentary received without name and city address will be deleted at our discretion.
So to the best of our ability, we’ll monitor the commentary with that in mind, and also simply to ensure that the observations are appropriate and suitable for inclusion under the umbrella of our website.
That doesn’t mean that the only thing a reader can do is comment in some fashion in reaction to something I’ve blogged about; indeed, we welcome the new ideas and suggestions that this kind of venue can provide. It does mean that we’ll maintain the site in a fair and professional manner with an eye toward open communication that doesn’t meander all the way into the kinds of excesses that define so many pockets of cyberspace.
It truly is – just as letters to the editor are in print publications – an important and well-read addition and complement to conventional online media offerings.