The Daily’s new online comments policy

To avoid the cesspool, editors will enforce new rules for online commenters.

Devin Henry

Twin Cities media critic David Brauer may have said it best when he dubbed the comments section of news websites a âÄúcesspool.âÄù For many news organizations, anonymous handles and the tendency for readers to pick fights with each other can give comment sections an unsavory feel. To avoid arriving in the cesspool ourselves, the Minnesota Daily is rolling out a new website commenting policy. For the most part, keeping mndaily.comâÄôs comments section clean has been an easy task âÄî most of our regular commenters hold legitimate discussions about the news with other readers. But for the sake of clearness, the Daily has devised a system to maintain a meaningful comments section. WeâÄôve established three simple rules to be enforced by our editors: âÄî Stay on topic and keep it civil. No personal attacks against those who disagree with you. âÄî We wonâÄôt tolerate comments that include profanity or slurs of race, gender, sexuality or religion. Abusive or libelous remarks directed toward others will be removed. âÄî Comments with commercial messages or promotions unrelated to the news will be removed. The policy sounds ominous, but itâÄôs not. Nearly every comment posted on mndaily.com will stay, but we donâÄôt want there to be any confusion over when weâÄôll pull down a comment. WeâÄôre also committed to keeping the comments section open on all stories, but we plan on policing articles with sensitive topics âÄî about crime victims or discussing racial or sexual issues âÄî more carefully. The journalism industry is becoming a social one, and readers have a valid interest in interacting with the news. At mndaily.com, weâÄôve just added some ground rules.