When the Kingman Daily Miner launched its new website several weeks ago, we dropped the requirement for people to sign in under a valid Facebook account if they wanted to comment on stories.
This caused quite a bit of anxiety for some of us here at the Miner.
We required the Facebook connection because it brought a tone of civility to comments – turns out people are kinder when their name is attached to what they say. Who knew?
Once the new site launched, it didn’t take long for people to sign up to comment using a pseudonym that gives them anonymity. The difference in the tone from Facebook was stark and immediate.
The attacks on other commenters came back with a vengeance, and some people need a lot of words to launch an attack.
Not everybody got their comments posted, which led to accusations of censorship and First Amendment violations.
As for the First Amendment, the Constitution protects people from the government, not private businesses or individuals. This is why you can lose your job, an election and even valued friendships for making inappropriate comments, online or out loud.
Free speech can be expensive.
We also reserve the right to limit word count. We don’t have time for rambling diatribes – and truth be told, neither does anyone you might want to read your comments.
We think 100 words per comment – that’s a good-sized paragraph – is sufficient.
We don’t fact-check comments – another common complaint from commenters – and we don’t spellcheck or correct anyone’s grammar, which nobody complains about.
We do, however, reserve the right to not subject the people we write about to unfair commentary, such as those of you who felt compelled to make crude comments about a heavyset woman who is experiencing severe health issues. Sorry for censoring you, but we hold to our sense of decency.
You might also want to know you can continue to blast the president, the presidential candidates, Gov. Doug Ducey, and even our local leaders.
They are public figures and the rules are different for them. However, because they are local, we reserve the right not to post comments we know to be factually incorrect or simply beyond the bounds of what a reasonable person would consider appropriate.
In any event, we only refuse to post comments that don’t meet the newspaper’s standards.
To be sure, the Miner wants to post every comment we receive, but they have to meet our guidelines.
Please keep posting, but before you submit, ask yourself: Would I want my mom or dad, or children or grandchildren to read this?
The Miner is, after all, a family newspaper and we’re better than that.
And so are you.