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Comments are a crucial and highly valuable part of our site. The core vision for The Sacramento Press is an open media platform to inspire ongoing, healthy conversations and reporting. In addition, when conversation is lively but civil, we see tangible business benefits in terms of page-views and visitor loyalty.
When conversations are dominated by bullying, name-calling or off-topic comments, we see a tangible loss in terms of unique visitors and page-views. Most importantly, it is a severe detriment to our purpose and philosophy and angers our community.
By making that last change we have banned our first user from the site. The user we have banned goes by the moniker “bbbbmer.” Our operations staff has had to remove more than 50 comments from this user, and has sent the user more than 40 e-mails and one official system warning. More than 10 users of varying backgrounds have e-mailed us to complain about comments this user has made. For more than any other reason, we are banning “bbbbmer” because he has single-handedly degraded the quality of conversations on our site, primarily through personal attacks and instigation.
This is a sad day for us. While “bbbbmer” had many comments removed from our site, he also made over 1,000 comments which were not removed and often has been a vibrant and positive member of our online community.
This is only the beginning of our planned changes to the commenting system. We have many more changes in the works, from how we operate to technical changes to policy changes.
I personally have attended conferences and led sessions focused on finding long-term solutions to running a healthy comment system. I attended one such conference in Detroit only two weeks ago.
Thank you for reading and participating on our site. Let the conversation commence!