Register Citizen opens up commenting policy for public input

The Register Citizen

A Journal Register Company newspaper in Torrington, Conn., has drafted a new reader comment moderation policy and is opening it up for public input.

The Register Citizen, which recently moved its offices and opened a "Newsroom Cafe" to the public, will host a 3 p.m. ET meeting on Tuesday featuring a live online chat and streaming video for those unable to attend in person.

The proposed policy, which allows anonymous comments, is designed to curb "abusive" behavior in the reader comments section. Among other guidelines, it states that comments attacking private individuals or involving hate speech or obscene language will be deleted.

One proposal already generating discussion on is related to local businesses:

"A comment that attacks or makes disparaging remarks about a local business that could result in a loss of customers should be considered abusive and not be posted."

Publisher Matt DeRienzo told me in an e-mail that, when finalized, the rules will help the staff better navigate the "gray areas" of comment moderation and set a clearer expectation for both staff and readers. But, he wrote, they are still a work in progress:

"As you can see from the initial comments on the story we posted, that item on comments about local businesses is most controversial. I don't know what the answer is. I hope that at our meeting tomorrow, and in putting it out there on Twitter to our audience and our colleagues, we can come up with some best practices."


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