Hopeless idealists that we are, redbankgreen today brings out of mothballs an effort to encourage civil discourse in its reader comments.

Comment of the Week, which we stopped running after three months a little more than a year ago, is back.

Why did we stop? Not sure, really. Perhaps because it seemed to attract very little attention, and did nothing to stop the nearly incessant flow of the kind of comments we hate to read. It fell through the cracks one week, and the idea of bringing it back generated nothing more than a shrug here.

So why bring it back now?

Well, because we’ve got that silly graphic above that’s a shame not to use, for one thing.

In all seriousness, though, a good percentage of the comments posted on this site just make us wince. Reading every crass or cynical thought that pops into the head of a few self-important gasbags and verbal snipers all day is no fun, especially when we have to take some heat for allowing it.

They’re not all like that, of course, but it can seem so. Then we come across a comment that’s thoughtful, or smart without being smartypants, or seems to reflect the character of the community we serve, and we remember why we started this publication: to provide an online “town square for an unsquare town,” where people of good intentions can agree or disagree without using nastiness as a first resort while hiding like cowards.

So even if not many people are looking at or posting attaboys under this feature, we think those comments deserve a little attention. So we’re going to give this another try.

The idea is the same as before. We’ll pick a comment that over the course of the week strikes us as deserving some admiration. The criteria are subjective, but we’ll try to offer a rationale for our choice where we think one is needed. Nominations are welcome. You can nominate a comment in the comments area itself, or send us a private email if you prefer.

We’ll kick off this new era with a comment from a reader who identified herself only as Maureen, on the death of former Fair Haven Mayor Nancy Kern, who was also a math teacher at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High. We like it for the nostalgic sweetness:

My thoughts and prayers go out to mr. kern and whitney. i rememeber as a child in fair haven, when you went to the kern’s house trick or treating, you had to get a math question right before you got got your treat. i used to have a panic attack on my way up the driveway! haha¬† rip ,mrs kern!

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