The Lansing Journal is a community newspaper, and our community comprises diverse opinions. We do allow commenting on posts, and our purpose in doing so is to give readers opportunity to engage with the content—whether that content is a news article or an opinion such as those in our “Lansing Voices” feature. Our formal comment policy is a work in progress, and these are some of the guidelines that currently shape it:
1. We will not allow personal attacks. Readers may certainly disagree with an author, but disagreement should be expressed in terms of the content.
2. We expect thoughtfulness and respect from all contributors. Related to #1, we expect commenters to think about what they are saying and express themselves respectfully, whether they agree or disagree with the content they are responding to.
3. We will rarely allow anonymity. Our comment form requests people to submit a name and email. (Including your email allows you to be notified as other people respond to your comment.) Sometimes commenters provide a false name and a made-up email. In most cases, not all, this is a cowardly choice. Real engagement and real conversation require real names. If we suspect that the name and email address are false, we will send an email to the address given and ask for a response. If no response is given, the comment will not be posted.
4. Remember, comments have a limited audience. Comments are not necessarily a direct conversation with the author of the post (depending on whether the author has a linked account on the site). And the subject of an article—whether it’s an elected official, a local centenarian, or an honor student at one of our schools—does not receive any kind of notification when a comment is posted. Readers who want to ask questions, express disagreement, or extend birthday greetings are welcome to do so but should be aware that their comments won’t necessarily reach the person they are commenting about.
Email the Managing Editor directly (email@example.com) to offer further input on this comment policy. It is a living document that we will update as new situations develop, and we appreciate our community’s involvement in developing it.