There’s a tipping point between constructive criticism and destructive disparagement, and when the latter category is layered with an onslaught of spam from spellcasters, solicitors, and scammers — well, those scales have now tipped for us at the Bay Guardian. We’ve decided to indefinitely suspend comments on SFBG.com.
It was a decision that we resisted for a long time, despite a growing number of people in our community who have asked us to drain our online swamp and remove the trolls. Regular readers of the Guardian have been turned off from our website by the caustic tone, political agendas, and relentless nastiness of our most frequent commenters.
We strive to be accountable for what we write and to provide an online forum for community discussions, welcoming a wide range of opinions and perspectives. And that will still continue on our Facebook page (and yours when you post our articles), our Twitter feed, and other social media platforms.
But the anonymity that Guardian commenters enjoy on our current website has poisoned the well and rendered this forum a poor place for respectful public debate. We are currently constructing a new website that we’ll launch in the coming months, and at that time we’ll reconsider whether we want to restart our comments.
In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or directly to the writer you love or hate. We always welcome requests for corrections or thoughtful, provocative, and/or well-written guest editorials, which are handled by Editor Steven T. Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org). And whenever the demand is there, we’ll devote space in the paper or online to letting you speak, even if you want to rip us to shreds.
But the daily free-for-all is over, at least for now. Trolls and spammers begone.
PS It may take us a little while to disable comments on all previous posts, so be patient and ignore our Recent Comments links to the right.