Web commenting blessing, curse

By David Stevens: Freedom New Mexico Editor

Yes, I know the comments left by readers on our Web sites are sometimes unfair.

I know some of the statements posted are probably not even true.

And I know our Web site’s credibility has been called into question because we allow readers to say anything they want without revealing their identity.

I also know, as Leonard Pitts explained in his commentary on the same topic last week, “they don’t have this problem in Cuba.”

I’m not happy that a few of our readers are misinformed, morose and just plain mean. I am happy they’ve helped spur conversation on important issues in our communities with their ability to interact with others in a public forum.

I wish our comment system was a little more advanced so we could require some kind of registration and limit readers’ ability to delete other readers’ comments. We hope to have a better system in place by the spring.

For now, we have what we have, I think it’s better than nothing, and the Web site comment system stays.

Thanks for asking.

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One of my favorite writers of letters to the editor is Glenda Bly, who lives in Farwell and works in Clovis.

She believes government is way too involved in our lives and she is loud and proud in expression of those views, often annoying even conservative readers, who prefer some degree of structure in their lives.

On Tuesday, Bly joined an online discussion about Curry County’s battle with the Mounted Patrol for use of the rodeo arena at the county fairgrounds.

Bly wrote that county actions of late are “a disgrace” and pledged to “never spend another dime at the fairgrounds.”

That led to this comment from an anonymous reader: “If I would have known that is all it would have taken to get Glenda Bly to go away I would have suggested it a long time ago.”

Ha, ha.

Bly will always be welcome on our Opinion page. And on our Web site. She may live in a dream world, where every man, woman and child is free to do as they please without Big Brother’s oversight, but there’s no harm in hearing about it, or even dreaming about a visit.

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Last week we unveiled a new way for readers to monitor the news and even report their own news on our Web site.

Brightcove is a quick-loading and easy-to-use media player now at the bottom of our home page at www.cnjonline.com.

In addition to being able to view video produced by our news staff, readers can post their own video. Just follow the prompts, like you do on YouTube or MySpace.

Let us know what you think of the new wrinkle. Better yet, show us.

David Stevens is editor for Freedom New Mexico. Contact him at:
david_stevens@link.freedom.com