March 2013
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Journal Star to exclude all non-Facebook users from commenting

Mark Zuckerberg is feeling the love coming from Peoria’s only newspaper of record.

The Journal Star posted on its website today a new policy: to comment on stories, you have to have a Facebook account.

Beginning Friday morning, readers who wish to comment on articles will do so using their Facebook account. Facebook accounts bring context to our commenting platform, linking to the identity of a registered user who might think twice before saying something they might not otherwise say face-to-face. Consider it similar to an Opinion Page letter to the editor, which is verified by our newsroom before being published in our print edition.

It’s our hope that the move to Facebook commenting will raise the level of dialog on and encourage more readers to participate. We will continue to invite debate and contrary opinions – we just encourage that the discussion be respectful.

Oh yes, I’m sure it will raise the level of dialog, because people never say uncivil things under their real names. People using their real names are the epitome of restraint and civility. I’m confident this move will create a comments section for the Journal Star that is full of real people talking about interesting things in civil ways.

There will likely be spontaneous conversations about Pindar and Chekhov breaking out all over the place. Perhaps when the next science story is published, Facebook users will instinctively turn the course of the conversation toward reconciling general relativity with quantum physics.

We’ll undoubtedly see more people saying respectful phases like, “pardon me,” “if you please,” and “with all due respect.” At worst, if someone is really upset, they may lash out with an impudent “great balls of fire!”

I can’t wait to see the comments once this new Facebook policy goes into effect. The reserved and prudent language will be like reading a Jane Austen novel. It may even encourage more readers to participate — just not the 40% who are not on Facebook, like me.

35 comments to Journal Star to exclude all non-Facebook users from commenting

  • Just commenting

    What’s that banging I hear? Ah, the final nail in the coffin of the Journal Star.

  • Vonster

    Voting takes place with anonymity in order to protect the voter from backlash. Anonymous commenting does the same. Yes, some commenters are assholes but this doesn’t change the facts.

  • East Bluff Cynic

    I have no problem commenting using my real name. I would never say anything that I wouldn’t say in person.

    What I do have a problem with is some nutbar from the other side of town disagreeing with a statement I make, looking me up, and vandalizing my house or worse.

  • cttsp5

    I also refuse to use facebook. I will be dropping my subscription too. I am sure there are things going on with various employers that employees have added their comments in the past, but will not do so now for fear of retaliation; this includes county, city, and Dist 150 employees. So the public will never know. Thanks Journal Star!

  • Anonymous

    @ East Bluff Cynic.

    Please tell me that didn’t really happen.

  • Mahkno

    Sounds like PJStar is just too cheap to hire a moderator.

    It is a bad security practice to employ ‘shared’ logins. There have been some recent well documented and well publicized hacking incidents that involved ‘shared’ logins. The safe and secure advice is to have a unique login on every website. You should not be using a Facebook login anywhere but Facebook.

    The PJStar’s move encourages bad internet behavior as a solution to bad internet behavior of a different sort.

  • Mahkno

    Is it fair to say, that in producing original reporting, what little there is now, that the Journal Star will be disallowing any sources from ‘wishing to remain anonymous’ or to be otherwise ‘undisclosed’ ?

    Wonder how that would affect the recent scandal with the police department?

  • Mahkno

    GHSE: $0.0611 a share.

  • Anoni II

    to Anonymous – Regarding the comment by cynic – even if it didn’t happen yet its entirely feasible it can happen. If they’re too lazy to do that maybe they’ll bad mouth your business on a ratings sight. Theres all kinds of nutjobs out there. Some of them even run for office. Remaining anonymous is one way to protect yourself from them.

  • Vonster

    EBC: Just don’t get on Bill Dennis’ bad side. He’ll offer to come to your house and beat you to death with a tire iron.

  • The Mouse

    It’s meant to limit comments, NOT encourage more to participate. Vonster is right.
    Let’s not offend anybody with an unpleasant truth.

  • Eye in the Sky

    Why not just shut the comments OFF since they are being discriminant to folks that don’t have/use facebook. Time to call ACLU and get the lawyers involved.

  • The PJS is sooo cheap. Won’t pay a moderator for the comments.
    Can’t even deliver the newspapers to print subscribers. We had to put a sign in our front yard to get our daily newspaper delivered, after weeks of mostly no delivery.

    Went on vacation, requested they deliver our papers when we got back. Don’t have them yet. They had 2 weeks to get that organized and didn’t do it.

    Now this. One of the comments on the site suggested they get paid by Facebook to do that. Can that be true?

    Meanwhile, do they want the PJS to go bankrupt? I’ve heard there are people who have a plan to buy it out of bankruptcy and run it right.

    We can only hope.

  • CJ, do you yell at the neighborhood kids to get off your lawn? As for the PJS, good for them Who is it here to decide if they have the money or not to moderate their columns? Yes people are still going to be snide and make crude remarks but at least they aren’t hiding behind a keyboard. I know one commenter that hides behind a screen name, calls me every name in the book, but when I see him face to face, doesn’t have the balls to say the things he types. In fact, one would think we were best friends. That is the crap the PJS will get away from. I too have had phone calls to my home because of comments in the PJS. From spineless nameless people who won’t even admit to your face. If you don’t want to join Facebook, fine, I am sure I won’t miss your once every 3 month comment on something there.

  • P.S. I am almost sure that bankruptcy for the PJS won’t be from a handful of people here not making anymore comments.

  • I had someone track me down at work from my blog and at that time I had never mentioned where I worked, so that feasibility exists.

    I think Gatehouse is slowly trying to find ways to bankrupt the PJ Star so they don’t have to have it in their portfolio of newspapers anymore.

  • Emtronics has made my point perfectly. He not only agrees with the premise of my post (“Yes people are still going to be snide and make crude remarks”), but he demonstrates that people do, in fact, still say uncivil things even when their identity is known. Hence, requiring Facebook will not lead to a higher level of discourse. Thanks, Randy!

  • Touche CJ I didn’t mean to come off so crude here. Apologies.

  • Also, requiring Facebook will indeed lead to higher level because many of the really racist and foul remarks made in the forums was done behind a keyboard. Now, with FB, if you make that crude or snide remark, you’ll own it. I wonder how many Nuns will no longer be commenting on the PJS site?

  • I agree that the racist remarks are made by cowards hiding behind fake identities, and to the extent that these people are forced to use their real names, this change in policy will likely keep those comments off the Journal Star website now. And that’s a good thing. Still, I don’t think that using Facebook as the gatekeeper is the only way, or even the best way, to accomplish that most desirable outcome.

  • Dennis in Peoria

    The technology of the Internet is constantly changing. I have no doubt a new ‘Facebook’ type site will emerge soon, and give FB a run for its money and users.
    That goes for commenting platforms as well. What works today could change in 6 months or a year from now.

  • Commenting

    I see very few truly racist remarks on Pjstar or anywhere else. The problem is that any remark that contains a key buzz word is automatically lumped into the racist category- usually when the counter-opinion is losing the argument.

  • JustMe

    I don’t recall racist comments, but comments would be blunt with topics that had a demographic or political clash of views.(and that I’m sure made some unhappy) People are kinder gentler and more politically correct with their real names, but ain’t nobody got time for that. I predict the new fakebook scheme to be the death of their comments. Comedy has surged in popularity for news lately in part because people want the harsh blunt perspectives these days….especially online 🙂

  • MW

    Agree that the reasoning offered seems to be iffy at best. But it is their website, they can do what they want. I don’t pay for a subscription and read the articles online. So if they change how the comments go, I don’t have a right to complain. I guess if you are a paying subscriber, maybe. But it’s still their website. And they are by no means the first to do this. Not trying to be a PJ Star apologist. Just trying to point out some other aspects of this.

  • lanestar7

    I pay the online subscription fee every month to read their articles but my employer, OSF, the second largest in the area, blocks all access to Facebook. Not only can I absolutely NOT log in to comment, I cannot even see the section where comments are made. So that is 7,000 people not able to see/make comments. My sister works for CAT and can view Facebook but not log in so I’m sure the same thing is happening over there too. Employers now block Facebook to increase productivity and that is becoming more and more widespread. “Other newspapers are doing it” is not good enough for me now that my subscription fee is paying for not being able to even READ comments.

    And like Phil’s article flipping us all off today says, maybe I should quit my job at OSF and same for my sister over at CAT so we can start commenting on the crappiest articles ever written again. I pay to read this rag because that’s all there is. If there was even one other choice, I would be there in a heartbeat. This is what a monopoly gets you.

  • I tried Facebook-only comments on my blog once. But I quickly stopped. Why? Because I didn’t own the comments. Facebook did. I could get kicked off Facebook for any reason and I love the comments. i could have to move my blog to a new domain and I might not be able to move the comments. Sorry. I just don’t see the reason for this.

  • rev. smartass

    this is most likely a kickback from facebook. facebook didn’t just hit the scene last week and the comments at the peoria urinal star didn’t either. didn’t see any racist comments there. so the united states has a president with a fake birth certificate, no school records and a fake social security number. people who don’t like barry soetoro don’t like joe bite me either. emtronics you are in fat demise. why don’t you go take a spelling class and shut yer yap.

  • Yes sir, the comments have really gotten better since the change to Facebook. Consider this gem:

    Michael Levan · Woodruff High School
    dist 150 need the money to give that superentandt a nother raise she does’t deserve’they just gave what she wanted becase she is black and is playing the race card to get her way get rid of the loser.

    What teacher wouldn’t want this fine young fellow on his or her speech team?

    And don’t we all appreciate the way this comment raises the level of discussion?

    Steve Harper · Top Commenter · Mechanic at Komatsu
    Ever wonder why an undocumented, illegal alien from kenya is pushing so hard for immigration reform? So he can stay in OUR USA. HEY ovomit, Kenya called they want their idiot back.

    Not exactly the Komatsu Way, methinks. But hey, it’s what the Journal Star thinks is a higher level of discourse.

  • First of all…Fat? I have lost 65 pounds Second of all, maybe “smartass” needs an English lesson. Third, you almost had me until the fake birth certificate. Shows what a nut you are.

    At least the nut jobs are using their names.

  • Jon

    CJ, I remember a time when you had some difficulty moderating comments. The World According to KCDad? 🙂

  • I blame constant spelling errors on Smartphones and big, fat fingers and tiny little keys.

  • KCDad? Boy, now THERE was a troll.

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