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Last month, I put myself on a self-imposed sabbatical to recover from pneumonia and exhaustion. My doctor felt that my habit of working 70 or more hours a week was too much for a 64-year old man.
At the same time, the editor of Capitol Hill Blue established a set of new guidelines for posting comments to news stories and commentary. I did not review those guidelines until this past weekend.
In my opinion, the guidelines were too restrictive and the decision to place some posters on a “permanent” moderation status was an over-reaction to some of the problems that have arisen with some comments posted to stories.
Since I own the place, my opinion usually prevails when it comes to editorial decisions and the revised guidelines have been rescinded. I am re-assuming the role as editor of Capitol Hill Blue along with my duties as publisher and an occasional writer of articles and columns.
Does this mean commentators are free to say whatever they want? Not necessarily. I’m asking those who comment on stories to stick to issues, avoid attacks on each other and to avoid sounding like teenagers trying to outdo each other with cute insults.
It was also suggested that I have outright bans on links to certain web sites. Posters are free to cite sources that they feel validate their arguments. If I — or another poster — feels those sources are bogus they — or I — have the right to question the source and cite our reasons. I draw the line at links to dedicated white supremacist and racist web sites or those that openly advocate bigotry but I have not seen any links to such sites in a long time so that issue is probably moot.
Our goal here is open discussion on issues but not a free-for-all on insults or personal attacks. If I feel a poster is out of line, I will tell them so.
Please understand this: The only person who speaks for me is me. The only person authorized to speak for me is me. No one has the authority to do anything in my name or to represent me.
If I write something for this web site (or any other web site, publication or broadcast entity for that matter), it will have my name on it. Articles written by others appear under their names. Articles provided by news services are identified as such.
The only place where names are not used as a matter of policy are the comments posted by those who choose — for whatever reason — to use anonymous “handles” rather than their own names. I would hope that posters have enough courage in their convictions to present opinions under their actual names but the Internet has become a vast wasteland of anonymous bomb throwers.
The time may come when all posters to this web site are required to register and comment under their names but — at this time — we do not have the resources to establish such a system. Using social media — such as Facebook — as a filter for comments is one possibility but no decision has been made on that front nor is one anticipated for the near future.
As for the staff, the floggings shall continue until morale improves.
So enough talk about rules. This is an important election year. Let’s get back to business.