MidlandToday welcomes letters to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). This letter is in response to MidlandToday's decision to close comments.
I am offering my thoughts for why comments are important and how to re-instate them without the perils such publication can entail.
In support of comments, I see them as being windows of perception with regard to how the public views reported events and incidents. This is similar in concept to the government survey but on an emotive level. Certainly human failings are evidenced – racism, misogyny, sexism, anger, etc. However, there are also viewpoints shared by numbers of readers (see the likes and dislikes) that reflect the reality of what the more pro-active readers feel about the item reported.
We live in what we think of as a civilized society, managed by officials (elected, appointed or assumed) that once in place manage things in whatever manner they see best, usually within the law. That doesn’t mean what they do is acceptable and should be whitewashed. We need public outcry to keep these people in check, and not just at election time. This should include police activities.
There is a great deal of news that has nothing to do with official activities and I would suggest that, as long as such things are reported on a ‘this is what happened as far as we know’ basis without taking a position for or against, could be left without public comments.
As to how to allow comments again – make it mandatory that real names be used. Confirm these with email response at every post (this isn’t that complex once set up).
Having the automatic censors eliminate curse words is a choice. Me, I don’t care either way. I judge the comment by the rationality, not prose.
Anyway, that’s my take on this at this time. I am prone to changing my mind when good arguments are received.