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Commentary: Tribune to move online comments to new site

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opinion Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

The West Central Tribune will soon be making a change in how reader comments are published in connection with stories posted on wctrib.com, our newspaper's website.

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We will be moving all reader comments from wctrib.com to topics.areavoices.com, a website published by the Tribune's parent company, Forum Communications.

The change for wctrib.com is scheduled to be completed Thursday or shortly thereafter.

When this comments move is completed, Wctrib.com readers will be able to read comments posted at topics.areavoices.com about wctrib.com articles .

Readers will now play a role in moderating the tone of comments posted concerning Wctrib.com stories. All readers will be able to vote -- positive or negative -- on any specific comment. Comments generating an overall negative ranking below a certain threshold will be downgraded or hidden.

However, readers wishing to post a comment or talk about a story on wctrib.com via topics.areavoices.com will be required to register.

The move to topics.areavoices.com is being made for a number of reasons.

First, while many wctrib.com readers have posted comments, the conversation has often digressed into a personal attack contest between selected individuals, rather than a meaningful debate about issue or the article. This turns off many readers and has little value.

Second, some readers seek solely to spread their own personal political agenda, rather than honestly discuss the story topic.

Third, some reader comments are simply uninformed.

Fourth, some reader comments are just plain offensive to others.

Finally, some reader comments are frankly just plain spiteful, mean or hateful.

The topics.areavoices.com platform has been upgraded with additional social networking tools, which will be beneficial to our readers.

Readers will be able to report inappropriate comments or perceived violations of decorum. These violation reports will be reviewed by a system moderator and addressed accordingly.

A team of moderators will also review comments on topics.areavoices.com. Individuals who refuse to listen to moderator direction or routinely violate our basic simple rules will be dealt with accordingly, up to removal of their ability to comment on stories.

The rules on topics.areavoices.com are simple.

- Stay on the topic of the article.

- Keep your comments civil in tone at all times.

- Do not post any profanity, vulgarity or racial slurs.

- No verbal harassment of others.

We believe this comment move to our new platform: topics.areavoices.com will be beneficial for all of our readers as well as those who post comments.

Readers will have a more robust experience and can rate comments -- positive or negative, which will help moderate the tone of the conversation on any given article.

In addition, those readers who do not want to view the article comments will not have participate or view the comment platform.

We encourage you to check out topics.areavoices.com. There are some comments on articles from The Forum of Fargo/Moorhead already posted on the site.

Finally, please give us your feedback on this coming change by posting a comment or sending an e-mail to my address below.

Thank you for reading the West Central Tribune and our website: wctrib.com.

Kelly Boldan is the editor of the West Central Tribune of Willmar. His e-mail address is kboldan@wctrib.com.

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West Central Tribune (320) 235-6769 customer support
Kelly Boldan has been the editor of the West Central Tribune of Willmar, since joining the newspaper in October 2001. He has previously worked as the editor at the Bemidji Pioneer, also part of Forum Communications Co., and other daily newspapers, online Web sites, and weekly agriculture newspapers in Wisconsin, Texas and Minnesota. You can follow via Twitter at @KellyBoldanWCT or read about the Tribune's newsroom blog at: insidescoop.areavoices.com or the Tribune's blog at: westcentraltribune.areavoices.com.
(320) 235-1150
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