All along the way the Newburyport Blog has been criticized now and then for not taking comments. Even as it commenced, with a lofty goal of “civil” discourse, it was pointed out to moi, that the Newburyport Blog was no blog.
In the category of “how soon we forget.” For the most part, I’m not a big fan of the comment thing. Having seen the mean spirited, cannibal like comments from early discourse, on the Newburyport site, “Cannibal City,” and now watching the comments on the Newburyport Daily News (which I wonder if they regret, the Newburyport Daily News that is), when I started out, I set cement like parameters, guidelines for “commenting.” Not only were there no anonymous comments, but comments were to be emailed in, with a name and phone number, so that I could verify who sent them (and I did), a little like a letter to the editor, to try and keep the discourse “civil.”
I also knew of so many people who were actually devastated by comments made on blogs, and devastating people was not the aim of the Newburyport Blog.
Civility did not last long, and neither did the cement like comment thing, all of which is chronicled in the first 1-9 months of the Newburyport Blog, for anyone who might actually be interested.
I also found out, because legally a blog is a publication, that I not only could get sued for whatever I wrote, but also for the content of comments on the blog which other people wrote, and even for refusing comments, if I had comments, on the Newburyport Blog. It was a big, “good grief, who needs this,” sort of thing.
Way, way too complicated, and worrisome for moi.
I finally gave up on the comment thing, and figured that people would eventually get their own blogs, which is exactly what has happened. And now we have a whole lot of blogs, all about Newburyport, MA from all kinds of different points of view.
And I would add that I think the master of defusing nasty stuff on the comment thing is Tom Salemi over at the Newburyport Posts. It is a talent I simply do not possess.