What happened to online feedback?

Question: How come there aren't any "reader feedback comment forms" at the bottom of the stories anymore? -- Jeff Danner

Answer: For a couple of reasons, we have discontinued the practice of publishing reader feedback that was collected at the end of stories published online.

First, it was very labor-intensive to gather that feedback. Once a day on weekdays, an editor had to read through each of the comments to make sure they weren't libelous, or obscene, etc. That also meant the comments weren't posted in a timely manner, especially comments posted from Friday through Sunday.

Second, a small number of readers habitually commented on numerous stories every day; it never was intended to be a platform for individual users to repeatedly air their political or social views.

Third, many of the comments were rude and obnoxious. The intent of reader feedback was to allow for constructive criticism, offer candid commentary and/or suggestions. Too often the comments were uncivil and pointless.

We've had the very same problems with several of our online forums, where users are able to post their comments instantly, without review by S-R staff. And that's why we have suspended the news and opinion forums.

Still, we are committed to the idea that the delivery of news should involve a conversation between the newspaper and its readers. We are trying to figure out better ways of facilitating meaningful conversation that adds -- rather than detracts -- from civil discussion of important issues in our community and world. -- Ken Sands, managing editor of online and new media

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