Well, we certainly have heard from Web commenters asking us not to act on our proposal to limit comments from our online articles. Now we want to hear from the rest of you readers, especially from those who agreed with our proposal.
In our weeklong Web poll from May 18 to 25, two-thirds of the 395 voters said "no" to the question, "Should the Enterprise eliminate comments from its online articles except editorials, polls and blogs?" The "yes" option got just 31 percent of the votes, and 3 percent were undecided. That's pretty decisive, and even though we said from the get-go we wouldn't promise to obey the majority vote, we do take into consideration that far more readers vote in such polls than just those who post comments regularly. You don't have to register with our site to vote, although you do have to register to comment. Then again, the poll is quite unscientific.
Meanwhile, that poll and our editorial announcing our proposal were loaded with comments, almost all of which asked us to keep the comments. Of course, that's to be expected, since these are folks who clearly like being able to comment, but still, we read them with interest. Some of them made strong points. It was actually a good discussion, although we still think it would have been better if people had the integrity to identify themselves.
We got only one letter to the editor on the subject, from Jack Drury of Saranac Lake agreeing with our proposal to cut the comments. Since he put his name on it, his single letter outweighs a whole bunch of anonymous commenters, but still, it's just one letter.
We want to hear from more of you who think eliminating, restructuring or limiting anonymous Web commenters is a good idea for this paper. We encourage you to write a letter to the editor, with your first and last name, hometown and contact information (not for print). Keep it short; just make your point. If we get a convincing number of letters, we may well follow through with our proposal. If not, we may not.
So far, the commenters have the upper hand.