“While many signed up and interacted in good faith, others took the opportunity to use the public forum to post inappropriate and hateful speech,” Brusic said in a letter to readers.
OCRegister.com will make the switch to Facebook Thursday night, forcing those highly opinionated readers that aren’t on Facebook to sign up for an account.
After the jump is Brusic’s entire letter:
Letter to Readers
We tried. But it hasn’t worked. So we’re trying a different way to allow comments on our website.
About four years ago, we contracted with a company to provide a state-of-the-art commenting and self-publishing system for ocregister.com. Only the commenting portion of it took off. Our goal was to create a place where Orange County people could comment on stories, share their insights and engage in an ongoing community conversation.
In retrospect, the mistake we made was allowing the comments to be anonymous. We thought that would allow for the most diverse audience. While many signed up and interacted in good faith, others took the opportunity to use the public forum to post inappropriate and hateful speech.
We tried blocking comments and banning the worst of the users. At one point, we had two people policing the comments as their full-time work. But the most persistent kept finding ways to return, ruining the experience for others and driving away the larger audience.
So as of Thursday evening, you will need a Facebook account to post comments on ocregister.com. Those comments will be tied to your Facebook identity. Facebook has recently developed a series of privacy controls allowing others to see only what you want them to see.
We understand this is not a perfect solution. Some readers don’t have or want a Facebook account. Others may not want to give up their anonymity for legitimate reasons – concerns about their employment, for example.
Our hope is that the tradeoff will be worthwhile. We encourage disagreements, debate and strong points of view. We just want the discussion to be civil. Like most of you, we abhor racism, sexism or intolerance and will continue to block those comments.
We look forward to reading what you have to say to us and to each other. We just want to have your name attached.