For some reason, in recent months, some of the comment threads on this site have become filled with negativity, personal insults, and conduct unbecoming of respectful and mature conversation.
There have been over 55,000 comments left on this site in the past three years and I have generally had a pretty open and loose style for moderating them.
Amazingly, even though we’ve dealt with many contentious and emotional issues, I have only had to edit and/or completely delete a very, very small percentage of those comments. I tell people all the time that the comments on BikePortland.org are one of the most valuable components of this site. I feel that is due in large part because I have worked hard to create an environment of respect that is (luckily) heeded by the majority of readers.
But lately, I feel as though a unnecessarily critical and negative tone is creeping in, and based on feedback I’ve received from several people that I respect, that tone is driving away readers.
Contrary to what you might think, this site is not an open, public forum. BikePortland.org is not a non-profit organization. This is a private corporation (under the name of Pedaltown Media) that I founded with the intent to “inform and inspire”. My goal is to create the largest tent possible and have everyone feel welcome to come on in.
I don’t have an official comment policy, I don’t like rules (because I like to break them when necessary), and I require no log-in to leave comments. I don’t want to do anything that might stifle your opinions or your feeling that you can respond quickly and candidly about the issues. That style has served me well for three years now and I hope to continue in that vein into the future.
Don’t get me wrong. I welcome opposition and criticism, but there’s a way to accomplish that without resorting to name-calling and off-topic diatribes.
The Golden Rule of commenting is to act like we’re all having a nice, social get-together in my living room. Please conduct yourself the same way you would if we were all present, face-to-face.
Remember, a large part of this site’s success has been the quality of your comments. It would be an immense loss — not just to me personally but I think for the entire community — if that ever changed.
Thanks. I welcome your feedback and questions.