As it becomes increasingly common for readers to get their news online rather than in print, readers have the ability to provide direct commentary and feedback in the form of online comments, a trend which we’ve seen manifest in our own website’s comment section in recent weeks. However, with this ability comes a certain responsibility.
Per Old Gold & Black policy, our readers should know that we do not censor our comments section online. Just as we practice freedom of speech in our reporting, so should our readers practice it online. The only instance wherein we consider removing a comment from our website is if it incites violence, if it is internet spam, or if it is targeted online bullying directed at an individual. These decisions are made by members of our Editorial Board.
However, the Editorial Board of the Old Gold & Black asks that our online readers treat the ablity to comment online with a certain level of maturity and responsibilty.
For instance, we hope that readers use the comments section to provide productive feedback, such as when an error is noted in an article or when they feel a part of the related dialogue went unreported. This type of comment allows us to improve our reporting as student journalists.
In other scenarios, readers might wish to comment in order to engage in discussion with other readers on a given topic. We hope that our reporting on controversial issues sparks dialogue between different campus communities, a dialogue which may exist within or beyond our comments section, but which nonetheless engages critical thought on different issues and topics.
While we do not censor our comments section, we discourage those comments that do not contribute productively to any dialogue, and which only serve to inflame audiences and promote uneducated opinions. One should not comment on an article based only on buzzwords in a headline without having read the complete piece, as this is not constructive.
As with many online platforms, readers have the ability to use impersonal names and fake email accounts when commenting. However, we hope that readers consider why they may not want their words tied to their name, and thus reconsider whether it is worth posting something if it must come from behind an intraceable pseudonym.
As our website continues to gain traction in keeping with the widespread shift to online media outlets, we hope that our website’s comments section offers readers a productive platform through which to engage with our content. We welcome feedback, and are encouraged when readers voice their thoughts on our website.
We encourage our audience to continue to give commentary on our website, and hope that the conversations that take place in this sphere remain productive and civil.