We've updated our site comments rules; Guest comments now allowed

Comments on the internet seem to have become a topic of conversation all their own in the last couple of years. Often they become the primary reason people come to a story they might already knows the facts about, so they can read what others say, and weigh in with their own thoughts.

We've been through a few different commenting systems at Robinson Newspapers and we've found that anonymous comments can frequently become a problem. Some, laced with profanity or hate speech, can become so called "flame wars" as commenters attack one another. No accountability leads to irresponsibility.

Still, we want to hear your voice on community issues and want you to feel free to say what you'd like to say without fear.

We've been using a system called DISQUS which allows you to register once, and then on all DISQUS enabled sites you don't need to re-register. Your voice can be seen to be what it is...yours and yours alone. No masquerading, no fake representation. For people who choose to be accountable and don't mind that kind of linkage, it's a fine system. It allows easy moderation to control the comments that are out of line.

All that being said, we've gotten comments from people who don't like it or who would prefer no registration (even a fake one) when they comment on stories. This is problematic since we also face the issue of "comment spam" where thousands of automated comments are posted full of links to who knows what.

But as of today (Oct. 8) we've enable GUEST COMMENTS meaning you can now comment on stories on our sites. You still need to enter SOMETHING ...a screen name is fine, but no sign up is required.

The DISQUS system describes it this way:

How is guest commenting different?

Commenting as a guest is different than commenting with a registered Disqus account in two main ways:

Neither a Disqus account nor profile will be created using your credentials. This also means all benefits of having a registered account, such as being able to customize your avatar, settings, display name, and website address, are not included when commenting as a guest.

Commenting as a guest also means you will not be subscribed to email notifications of new comments, including replies to your comments.

Is guest commenting the same as anonymous commenting?

No. Guest commenting is the ability to comment without registration. You may do so anonymously, with a pseudonym, or with your real identity.

Anonymous or pseudonymous commenting with registration remains available as always.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.