Say goodbye to your screen name.
Next month, along with other Black Press sites, invermerevalleyecho.com will be moving to a Facebook-based commenting system.
The change is set to take place December 1.
For the last few years some of our online readers have raised concerns about one issue in particular – the fact we allow visitors to post anonymous comments.
The policy has led to some unpleasant and mean-spirited postings. It’s also raised an inconsistency. The Echo doesn’t print anonymous letters, yet we’ve allowed our websites to become a place where people can hide their identity while occasionally taking shots at one another.
Starting next Thursday, people will only be able to comment by using their Facebook account, which means their name, often even their photograph, will be linked to the statements they post.
We’re not alone in making this shift. Several media companies, equally troubled by the vitriolic trend of anonymous comments, are turning to Facebook to power their website commenting.
All of Black Press in B.C., Alberta and Washington State have made the switch. Our sister publications have continued to see spirited discourse among those who post comments, yet the discourse is at a much higher level, and commentators are generally well-mannered and on-topic.
This new approach won’t be perfect. People without a Facebook account won’t be able to participate in online discussions.
Still, we’re enthused to be in the vanguard of this movement. It shows we’re listening to our readers and responding. It places us more deeply into the powerful world of social media: by using Facebook Comments, we’re embracing a social medium with 800 million users worldwide.
For those of you who choose not to create a Facebook account, remember we will continue to run letters to the editor in print – you can submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop them off at our 13th Street office in Invermere.
So please continue to be a part of the discussion. Your comments are part of an important dialogue that enlivens and enriches civic life in our communities.
We attempted to answer most common questions on our Frequently Asked Questions page.