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Publisher's Point: Offensive comments rejected

March 11, 2011
By PATRICIA J. BECK, Publisher of The Leader-Herald

Our intent was good: to open up dialogue with our readers, and allow them to give constructive criticism and suggestions regarding the news that affects them. We wanted to take advantage of the technology available on our website and open a new channel for communication, believing it would add value to the newspaper's site.

Yes, the intent was good, but it hasn't worked.

After months of careful consideration, The Leader-Herald no longer will allow comments to be posted with news and sports stories on its website. The only exceptions, for now, will be on our daily editorials and blogs.

Friends of The Leader-Herald's Facebook page will continue to have an opportunity to comment on that site.

We have chosen to disallow comments on all other online stories to guard against the hurtful and offensive comments posted by contributors who cannot be held accountable for what they say. Few stories have been safe from crude language, smears, threats and vicious postings from mean- spirited contributors.

We will consider restoring online comments in the future, once a system is put into place for making contributors accountable, in some way, for what they say.

The Leader-Herald website welcomes more than 8,300 daily readers who look to us, with confidence, as a respected source for the local news and information they seek. We apologize to our readers who have kept their posted views civil and on the subject.

To all our readers, we encourage you to continue to submit letters to the editor for possible publication in the newspaper's print and online editions. Your insights and opinions are a valuable piece of our daily publication and important to the readers.

Letters may be submitted via the Virtual Newsroom on The Leader-Herald website at; via e-mail at; or by mail (Letters to the Editor, The Leader-Herald, 8 E. Fulton St., Gloversville, NY 12078). Letters must include the writer's name, address and a telephone number where the writer can be reached.

Comments will be accepted on this opinion column.



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