Let’s keep it clean
There’s an old joke about Aspen’s opinionated people, and it goes something like this:
How many Aspenites does it take to change a light bulb?
Five. One to screw it in, and four to say how much they liked the old one.
Yes, Aspen is full of opinionated people who find plenty of things to disagree on. And that’s one reason The Aspen Times allows readers to file online “comments” at the end of stories on our website.
For years the comment section has been a popular way for readers to express their opinions on a medley of subjects. Some online commentators use their actual name, others choose an alias. The alias gives commentators anonymity, if they so please.
While often the remarks are tasteful, sensitive and provocative, other times they cross the line into a realm of mean-spirited attacks that do nothing to elevate the dialogue among readers.
And in this spring election season, we have noticed that the comments, on a daily basis, have become increasingly offensive and counterproductive.
We are in the business of free speech, so we dread the thought of telling anyone what they can or cannot say. We appreciate the value of a strong, heartfelt opinion.
But we also recognize that free speech must be exercised responsibly, and some comments being made these days ” chiefly about certain Aspen mayoral candidates and city officials ” are simply irresponsible and offensive.
Saying that, if online commentators want to play in the sandbox, they need to know a few simple rules:
– Racist remarks will be removed;
– Harmful allegations about an individual that offer no evidence, or inconclusive evidence, will be deleted;
– Comments that the editors find to be simply hateful, and offer nothing to the dialogue, will be spiked.
However, the only way these comments will be deleted is if an “abuse report” is filed online, which can be done by clicking the icon next to the comment in question.
Filing an abuse report sets the wheels in motion; if an editor feels the comment is out of line, it will be removed. If the editor feels the comment is acceptable, nothing will be done. We ask readers to give editors 24 hours to address the situation. If it is not handled within that time, then feel free to contact us directly.
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