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NewsOK switching to Facebook commenting

by Alan Herzberger Modified: April 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm •  Published: December 10, 2012

Have you read the comments on our articles on NewsOK.com? Have you participated in the conversation? Plenty of users have. This year alone, more than 196,000 comments have been posted on NewsOK.

But far too often in far too many stories, the comments contain vitriolic, hateful and attacking language. Far too often, those comments overwhelm those attempting to have constructive dialogue.

So beginning today, NewsOK is making changes designed to improve the nature and tone of the dialogue for its audience.

We’re switching to Facebook commenting, requiring users to login with their Facebook account in order to make a comment on an article.

We care about the conversation. We care so much about the conversation that we are willing to give up quantity for quality. We expect this change to result in fewer comments on our site. But we also expect this change to encourage more users to participate. And we’re confident that we will see more constructive discourse about issues in Oklahoma.

Why? Because all the comments will be tied to a real person’s Facebook profile, making users accountable for what they post and eliminating the veil of anonymity.

We understand that this decision won’t make every NewsOK user happy. Some will say we’re trying to censor voices. Others will extol the virtues of anonymous posts for freedom of expression. Still others will refuse to use Facebook and therefore won’t be able to comment on NewsOK.

But we expect a far greater percentage of our users will be pleased with this move.

After all, we want to encourage an open exchange of ideas. We want people to participate without fear they will be attacked by anonymous profiles. We want our users to have healthy, constructive debates.

We think moving to Facebook commenting will allow more of that to happen.

And as always, we welcome your feedback, either below on this post or in an email to me.

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by Alan Herzberger
Digital Managing Editor
Alan Herzberger is the Digital Managing Editor for NewsOK.com and The Oklahoman. He focuses on content within OPUBCO Communications Group’s variety of digital products. He’s been with The Oklahoman since 1997, when he joined the sports...
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