Why we've changed how you comment on our site

efrederick@newsobserver.comSeptember 12, 2013 

Readers who want to comment on stories or photo galleries on newsobserver.com are now required to log in using a Facebook account. All McClatchy news sites are making the same switch.

Why?

We've always wanted our story forums to be places for robust, but civil, exchanges of opinion on the issues of the day. But too often, they become pits of mudslinging and abuse that scare off folks who want a rational conversation.

The biggest reason: Our systems have allowed readers to use screen names that hide their identities.

We believe that if you have something to say, you should be willing to put your name on it. And we think most of you will agree. It's a standard we've always placed on letters to the editor in The News & Observer.

On Facebook, most people use their real names — it's a Facebook requirement, after all — and a large number of our readers already have Facebook accounts. Readers who don’t have an account can create one for free.

We realize that some of you will not like this requirement, and we know we'll probably get fewer comments on our stories at first. But we think the improvement in the tone of the conversation will be worth it. And we'll continue to monitor for comments that violate the rules of civil discourse.

There's more information in our list of frequently asked questions about this change.

You can familiarize yourself with our rules for civil conversation by reading our comment policy.

If you'd like to send us a news tip, you can do that here.

And if you still have questions about any of this, send us an email.

As always, thanks for reading newsobserver.com and for joining the discussion.

Eric Frederick, managing editor of newsobserver.com, can be reached at 919-829-8956 or efrederick@newsobserver.com. On Twitter: @Eric_Frederick.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service