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Thank you, BikePortland commenters

Posted by on June 6th, 2014 at 12:01 pm

“…a multitude of comments germane to the subject matter with the vast majority displaying not only reasonableness but also sanity.”
— Mike Deme, editor of Adventure Cyclist Magazine in reference to BikePortland comments.

I just want to take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to say thanks to everyone that comments here.

As blog comments have increasingly become the butt of jokes and scorned for their lack of constructiveness and compassion (John Oliver’s amazing net neutrality segment being the latest example) — you have been the exception to the rule.

It seems not a day goes by here on the Front Page when Michael and I aren’t impressed at the level of civility and smarts displayed in our comment section (like the one going on right now about land-use changes on SE Division). Sure, we have had our share of messiness and meanness that requires intense moderation. But like in real life, public conversations — especially when emotions and intellects get involved — are not always nice and tidy.

Of course I’m biased about our comments, but I also hear regular compliments from readers who appreciate them. And a few weeks ago I even saw very nice words about them from a unlikely source: the letter from the editor in an issue of Adventure Cyclist magazine.

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The focus of Editor Mike Deme’s monthly letter to readers (PDF here) was to encourage them to check out the digital version of their magazine. He started it off by explaining his fascination with blogs and comments, but he also issued a warning:

“Typically, my fascination is derived from reading comments connected to any random online article or news item. What they are about is unimportant because rarely do the comments pertain to the article’s subject past the first three or four. The remainder either succumb to Godwin’s Law or devolve into an online food fight that leaves me in a state of utter stupefaction, revealing what appears to me as the inability to reason, an affliction that may eventually contribute to this version of human society reaching some sort of conclusion.”

But Deme had just come across our article about Nick Falbo’s “protected intersection” design. And he held your comments up as an example of what Internet conversations could be:

“In the case of the Nick Falbo article, however, my fascination was because of the opposite occurrence: a multitude of comments germane to the subject matter with the vast majority displaying not only reasonableness but also sanity. Perhaps I should be hanging out on more august websites in the future…”

From day one, I have held your comments in the highest regard. I see no difference in value or importance between the words we type in stories and the words you type below them. That perspective has guided my (very loose and open) comment policy for the past nine years and I suspect it will guide me for the next nine years. Your comments are not just moving important conversations forward, they are a key part of our mission to inform and inspire.

So thank you, commenters for being so awesome and on point — and for shattering the blog-comment-sections-are-cesspools stereotype.

(If you have feedback about our comment section, or would like to ask me a question about our moderation policies, feel free to ask below. To further highlight our appreciation, and as a way to encourage others to leave great comments, Michael and I will be starting a new “Comment of the Week” feature. Watch for it here on the Front Page starting next week.)

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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9wattswsbobq`TzalJerrywBella Bici Recent comment authors
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Mark
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Mark

It is, to a great extent, the sensitivity, rigor, evenhandedness, and spirit of probing inquiry of your reporting that inspires the high level of discourse found in your comment section. So, kudos to you, to Michael, and to your other contributors.

John Lascurettes
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Yeah, what he said and stuff.

AndyC of Linnton
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AndyC of Linnton

I read all of the comments because it feels like a continuation of the articles you publish.
Congrats on being an “august website.” I heartily concur.

Scott H
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Scott H

Thank you for hosting a site that encourages constructive comments and discourages the particularly unintelligent ones.

The headache-inducing, mindlessly offensive comments spewed onto our other local news outlets by knuckle dragging chimpanzees that frequent them have made said news outlets something to be avoided.

So again, thank you for hosting and moderating this one.

q`Tzal
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q`Tzal

Speaking of civil, polite and constructive yammering:
Any hints on where the forums are going?
The private reply was lawyery vauge.

Spiffy
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Spiffy

…meanwhile the forums are being killed off…

Chris I
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Chris I

There have forums here?

😉

q`Tzal
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q`Tzal

Thus witness the usual limits of our tr0lliness. (;

TOM
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TOM

I post up what I think are safe & sane comments and a little yellow pop down box appears and merely says “error” . ???
(no explanation at all)

Or some go straight to “awaiting moderation” , while another similar post goes right in.

does the software scan keywords or IP address or posters name ?

it really gets frustrating sometimes, and some good posts (IMHO) get lost forever.

K'Tesh
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K'Tesh

Thanks for creating the site Jonathan!

All The Best!

TOM
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TOM

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

I post up what I think are safe & sane comments and a little yellow pop down box appears and merely says “error” . ???
(no explanation at all)

But hopefully no comments ever get “lost forever”.
Recommended 1

by “lost forever” , I was referring back to the yellow “error” message , after paring down the post over & over and not getting past the error , i just give up, quit and lose the post myself.

9watts
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9watts

“comments are not just moving important conversations forward, they are a key part of our mission to inform and inspire.”

I too am addicted to reading bikeportland comments, and appreciate all the work that everyone puts into them. I always learn a ton here and have acquired a deeper understanding and even changed my views on quite a few issues after lively back and forths with many of you. Thank you all.

I suspect not all agree, but I feel that the disagreements can be the most interesting and productive conversations. A special thanks to you, wsbob!

Bella Bici
Guest

I certainly appreciate your posts, 9watts, and wsbob’s as well. The civility and that commentators stay on point is highly valued.

And of course, q’Tzal as well as many other commentors have given me insight, education and a perspective that a solitary person could never acquire.

Many times I wait to read a story after several comments have been accumulated.

Lastly, Jonathan, et.al., set the tenor by the quality of their initial article. Thank you ALL who make BikePortland!!

Jerryw
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Jerryw

I get the feeling that BP is going to start charging to post a comment 😉

9watts
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9watts

If we manage to vanquish the Street Fee, I’ll happily pay my $97.31/yr to bikeportland. And perhaps even if we don’t. A pretty cheap graduate course in Transportation, besides everything else it is.