Today, redbankgreen introduces a new comments system.

In order to post a comment on this site, you’ll need to be a Facebook user. A log-in prompt will appear when you attempt to post; the same window contains a link for non-Facebook clients to follow in order to get started.

The Facebook Connect system was adopted in order to bring a greater degree of accountability to the site’s comments. With that, we hope, will be more civil behavior than we saw in the months leading up to the change.

With the implementation of this system, we’ve turned off access to our archive of more than 33,000 comments dating from June 1, 2006 through December 2, 2010. Those comments will no longer be displayed. We’ve also dropped our “Back Alley,” the forum to which comments we considered thuggish and/or cowardly were  steered beginning in June, 2008.

Comments will continue to be moderated by redbankgreen.

As before, we will not delete  comments because we disagree with them or solely because they contain words your mother told you not to use.

Rather, comments will be evaluated according to an admittedly subjective standard of what constitutes abuse, either of other parties or of the forum itself.

Defamatory, unwarranted or unsupported attacks on an individual or group, whether implicit or overt, may be deleted. Critiques of public figures (elected officials, prominent persons and people in the news, for example) will get more leeway than those about nonpublic figures, but don’t take that to mean anything goes. We aim to be fair to everyone who uses redbankgreen.

Threats will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete comments from those we suspect have created fake Facebook identities. Same goes for those who use the comments forum to promote commercial interests; who disclose (or purport to disclose) someone’s sexual preferences; who reveal a cop’s home address; who posts comments that are off-topic from the article beneath which they appear; who engage in petty squabbles or name-calling; or, frankly, any reason whatsoever.

Violators will have their Facebook accounts blocked from posting future comments.

By submitting a comment to redbankgreen, you agree to indemnify redbankgreen, Mister Pine LLC, their partners, employees and contributors from any and all legal action arising from your comments, including by not limited to suits alleging libel and copyright infringement.

If one of your posts gets removed, feel free to rephrase it and repost it in accordance with this policy. If your Facebook account gets blocked, you will be asked to prove your real name in order to have commenting privileges restored. If you have any questions about our comments policy, email us at the address below, using your real name. Be aware that we will not discuss this policy with people who do not properly identify themselves to us.

With the implementation of these changes, it’s our hope that readers who’ve previously been reluctant to comment will want to join in with those redbankgreen readers who cherish this site as a “town square for an unsquare town,” where people who have something to say do so with integrity and respect for others.

John T. Ward
December 12, 2010