February 25, 2018
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Maine newspapers stop accepting online comments

The Associated Press

Update: As of Thursday morning, the pressherald.com, but not the kjonline.com or onlinesentinel.com, has returned commenting to its site. A note on pressherald.com says merely, “We have ended our temporary suspension of online commenting and have implemented a new content management system.”

More to come on this later.

PORTLAND, Maine — Three Maine newspapers have halted online comments on stories posted on their websites.

MaineToday Media CEO Richard Connor said what was aimed as a public forum for civil discourse devolved into “a forum for vile, crude, insensitive, and vicious postings.” In his words, “No story subject seems safe from hurtful and vulgar comments.”

The policy went into effect on Tuesday for MTM’s Portland Press Herald, along with the Kennebec Journal in Augusta and Morning Sentinel in Waterville. Bangor Daily News, which uses a comment-moderation system called Disqus, plans to continue to offer public comments.

Connor said the MTM newspapers will consider restoring online comments in the future once a system is put into place for making “contributors accountable in some way for what they say.” In the meantime, he suggests that readers use the time-honored tradition of writing a letter to the editor.

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