Three Maine newspapers restore online comments

Posted Oct. 22, 2010, at 5:19 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A ban imposed on online commenting on stories posted on the Portland Press Herald’s website lasted only 48 hours.

MaineToday Media announced on Thursday the lifting of the ban for websites after having implemented a new content management system for the Portland Press Herald, along with the Kennebec Journal in Augusta and Morning Sentinel in Waterville. The Press Herald had lifted the ban early Thursday morning, and the other two news sites switched back later that day.

MaineToday CEO Richard Connor announced the suspension Tuesday, saying the company needed time to get a handle on online commenting that he described as “a forum for vile, crude, insensitive, and vicious postings.” In his words, “No story subject seems safe from hurtful and vulgar comments,” and a ban on comments was needed while he searched for answers.

Damon Kiesow from the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank, says the new system includes filtering, blocking or deleting of comments by keyword, e-mail address or IP address. The new system is similar to the one that has been used by the Bangor Daily News for several months.

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