Tampabay.com now requires registration for comments on stories
This process doesn't apply to blogs, where the discussion is often more free-ranging and where the blog writer often takes direct responsibility for policing comments. Newspapers across the country have struggled with handling comments placed on stories when those comments violate the standards established by the Web site.
To register, you only need to provide your name, a valid e-mail address and a ZIP code. Users can report other comments as abusive and once a comment collects three flags from registered commenters, it will be removed. Stick with comments that fit the standards (outlined to the left of this blog), and you'll have few problems.
I have noticed that conversations in the comments section of my Facebook page and Twitter feed often are much more civil -- I believe, because people generally attach their actual identities to the accounts on those services.
Here's a quick Q&A prepared by our audience editor Karen McAllister on the policy. If you have any questions it doesn't answer, please post a query in the comments section here and I'll try to find more information:
Many Web sites require registration. This will allow us to better know our readers and react if readers violate our guidelines.
Will you sell my personal information once I register?
Do I run the risk of being spammed if I register on tampabay.com?
Because we will not provide your information to others, that is unlikely.
How do I know if a comment violates your policy?
We want to encourage vigorous conversation in our online community, and we think we can best accomplish that with basic guidelines. Essentially, we expect readers to treat each other with respect. Comments that are obscene, libelous, abusive or racist violate our guidelines. You can refer to our comment guidelines for our full policy.
What if readers report my comment as abusive and it doesn't violate your guidelines? Will it still be removed? Can I get it reinstated?
Three separate abuse reports from registered members of tampabay.com will lead to removal of a comment. If you think your comment has been removed unfairly, feel free to contact us and we'll review the matter.
What if I still have questions?
You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call (727) 893-8919 or share your questions/comments here.