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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Majority of Stltoday.com Readers Vote To Drop Comments From Website

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 8:04 AM

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Last week editors at the Post-Dispatch asked readers to take a poll weighing in on the voluminous number of comments often appended to articles on its stltoday.com website.

The poll, which followed an incident in which a commenter allegedly made a vulgar remark on the site (what it was the paper didn't elaborate), yielded some 673 votes.

By an overwhelming margin, 57 percent of readers voted in favor of the site eliminating all comments. Another 23 percent agreed that the comments were "worth having" but needed improvement.

Just 4 percent agreed that the site should leave things as they are with stltoday.com editors trolling the site for offensive comments and censoring or deleting the must slanderous.

Another 8 percent believed the paper should ban comments on potentially sensitive stories while 7 percent said that they should not monitor the comments at all, allowing people to post whatever they want. (The latter, "free-speech" model, is what we employ here at Riverfront Times).

So what does the Post-Dispatch plan to do? 

They're going to do what any big company does: form a committee to look into the matter. But, writes deputy managing editor Steve Parker, "The results were clear: The way we're handling story comments isn't working."

What do you think? Does stltoday.com need to rein in its comments, many of which tend to stray toward racist rants? Or are they doing things the right way now?

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