Today we launch new tools on our Web site.
We call the system SiteLife.
SiteLife allows readers to start their own blog and share photos. But the biggest change is tied to commenting on stories.
We gave readers the ability to comment — anonymously — on stories, starting last year. Comments poured in. Sometimes they were enlightening and added to the story. Sometimes they were just mean and offensive.
Starting today, readers must be a member of the site to post comments. That means readers must register. It’s free and fast.
Readers can still guard their true identity and use a special “username” when posting comments. But a valid, verifiable e-mail address is required. Readers will be asked to fill out a simple form, and set up a profile page. That profile page displays all of a users’ contributions, and allows them to track issues and easily connect with others.
Want to try your own blog? We’ve got a quick, easy solution to get you going immediately. Look for “Publish Your Stuff” on the right side of the home page.
These new features are designed to give greater access to readers’ views and a greater sense of accountability in the online communities we are building. Please take them for a test drive.
The new “comments” feature also gives us better tools to banish those who spew off-topic and sometimes hateful bile. Those kinds of comments violate our user agreement.
Readers can click “Report Abuse” when comments break the rules. That sends a message to editors who can suspend abusers’ accounts and/or delete the comment.
The whole point of online discussion at a news site is to debate issues. We hope people will join the discussions and add to the conversation because they care about what’s happening.
The new tools are more than just a better discussion board. They help readers become better connected to the community.
We believe the first good use of these new tools will be to give readers a place to share information about the elections, local education, local crime and everything else that impacts life in our communities.
– David Stevens, editor, Freedom New Mexico