No Comments Please!

Three publications of Maine Today – the Portland Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal (Augusta) and the Morning Sentinel (Waterville) – will until further notice not allow any on-line comments on stories posted on the respective websites. The AP is reporting this comment: 

MaineToday Media CEO Richard Connor said what was aimed as a public forum for civil discourse devolved into “a forum for vile, crude, insensitive, and vicious postings.” In his words, “No story subject seems safe from hurtful and vulgar comments.”

This box appears on the front page of the Portland Press Herald and the other two newspaper websites today:

A note to readers

We have stopped accepting comments on, and while we reconsider our submission policy.

Will this decision become trend-setting or is the appeal of these comments with on-line readers too broad for more restrictions? Stay tuned.

4 Responses to No Comments Please!

  1. Marie says:

    In a related note from the Patriot at 3:50pm- “We’re experiencing technical difficulties with our commenting program. Please bear with us and we’ll have it back up as soon as we can.”

  2. DickH says:

    The CEO of the Maine newspapers says this about his very own reader comments section: it’s “a forum for vile, crude, insensitive, and vicious postings.” That describes most other newspaper comment sites, particularly the one in this city. The newspapers believe that if they exercise any control over comments they own the potential liability, so they stick their collective head in the sand and ignore what’s left there. It’s a real abdication of their responsibility to their broader readership

  3. Bob Forrant says:

    Interesting. The Sun’s comments are ‘unpoliced’ resulting in some just awful stuff while Mr. Jim C. has decided it is his official responsibility to be, in his own words ‘the conscience of the editorial page’ and as such he has said NO to columns submitted to the focus section on the upcoming ballot questions. He has also stated via email that things on that page written by outsiders – that is folks not on the payroll – should not have an opinion contained in them. If they do, he will exercise his Jiminy Cricket role and ban the work from the pages.

    Frequent Sunday Sun readers might have noticed – and then again maybe not (no biggie) – that I’ve had no columns there for weeks nor has John Edward. His ballot columns have been posted on this blog after being banned from the newspaper for, stop the presses, having an opinion in a piece written for the opinion page!

    Informed by Mr. Edward of the newspaper’s shameful position, I’ve not bothered submitting anything new, because of ocurse it would have an opinion/point of view and more than likely Captain Jim would be deeply displeased and reject it.

    So let me see if I’ve got this straight, Anne Coulter and Michelle Malkin and their usual bile are OK – but a thoughtful UML grad and a I think thoughtful UML faculty member (me) are not OK on the pages of the Sun? What the what???

    I would not censor Coulter and Malkin-I can look away or decide not to read them-so why in the name of Perry White and the Daily Planet is the ‘Big C’ keeping the two of us out of the newspaper? Whose interests does it serve to not have a monthly discussion/critique in the newspaper of the regional economy, UMass Lowell, Hamilton Canal, the stalled local economy,homelesness,closed fire stations and other social and economic issues affecting the region?

    Now, more than ever, the newspaper needs to be a place for spirited debate about how we get the sluggish economy moving again and how we build political consensus on badly needed political and economic reform. Thanks to the ‘conscience of the Sun’ at least a portion of this conversation will no longer take place in the Sunday Sun.

  4. DickH says:

    Bob, the Sun’s loss is a gain for our readers. You, John Edwards, and anyone else who has something to contribute to the public discourse in this city is welcome to send it to me for posting here.