Weighs in on comments policy
To the editor:
The Messenger and (Jesse) Helling have only themselves to blame for comments in the digital edition having, as Mr. Helling correctly observes, “degenerated into a vehicle for misinformation, malicious statements and outright lies to be spread anonymously.”
Why, unlike those whose letters appear in The Messenger’s print edition, did not those who commented digitally have their real name and city of residence appended to their comments rather than a pseudonym that lets them avoid the opprobrium due not just their incivility but the ultimate disdain for the misinformation and outright lies they spread?
The Messenger might similarly have promoted more temperate and thoughtful comments by limiting the number of posts one could make with respect to a single article rather than, as in one recent case, allowing a single person to post no fewer than one-third of the 145 comments, the bulk of which had nothing to do with the issue initially raised.
Personally, notwithstanding the misinformation, maliciousness and outright lies so apparent, the comments posted digitally have been more revelatory than printed letters of the extent to which Messenger readers are or are not aware, knowledgeable, and concerned with specific national, state and local issues. I regret, therefore, that The Messenger has eliminated comments posted digitally altogether rather than first altering its policies with regard to anonymity for those who comment digitally as well as the number of comments allowed with respect to a single article, editorial or printed letter.