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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesEditorial: Join the Conversation, But Remember Your Manners

Editorial: Join the Conversation, But Remember Your Manners

The Source has a "comments" section at the end of each story, and we’d love it if more readers took advantage of it to speak out. Whether it’s to debate a problem in our territory, offer an opinion, or just to send good wishes to someone in the news, adding a comment is easy and strengthens the online community. It can also be a way to explore solutions to the challenges facing us.

It’s easy to do. At the top of every page there’s a link that allows you to register. There’s no risk involved, all it does is make you part of the online community. We don’t send you spam, or give out the information to anyone. Once you’ve registered, you can voice your opinion on any subject, whether it’s to endorse a political candidate, complain about a problem, offer a solution to an issue or simply congratulate someone who has achieved something.

But, when you take part in a discussion, you are also taking on the responsibility of being civil, of being constructive. Abusive language – even if it feels really good to type – doesn’t advance your argument, and it poisons the atmosphere of the online forums. And we simply won’t stand for it.

If you want to sway someone’s opinion, it doesn’t help to toss around abusive rhetoric. Mean-spirited invective, even if you believe it is justified, just makes you look like a bully or a crank. People are less inclined to join in a discussion when it seems mostly composed of bitter name calling and vile racial stereotypes. You’re trying to convince people with your argument, but all name-calling does, frankly, is convince readers that you’re someone who doesn’t deserve being listened to.

In our online discussions, we’ll put up with a lot. We leave posted comments that we think are wrong, even silly. We have never deleted a comment for political reasons, even when we disagreed with it.

But be warned that when we come across comments that exceed the limits of civility or even good taste, especially when the writer descends to racial insults, we will not hesitate to delete the comment and, in extreme cases, delete the user as well. We’ve even deleted comments we agreed with, because they were couched in offensive language.

Other readers can help as well. When you see a comment you think has gone over the line, flag it. It will come to our attention that much sooner.

A civil exchange of ideas is part of what builds a community, and we hope you take part. But an endless series of spiteful sniping will tear that same community apart. We won’t put up with that, and we hope you agree.

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