In response to an apparent uptick in abusive comments, the Durham Herald-Sun has decided to suspend the comment feature on its stories:
Users who would prefer to discuss ideas or content of the news are being drowned out by a few participants who lob insults at their fellow users. The discourse in our comments section is devolving and it's time to pull the plug.
Silencing all readers for the behavior of a few is never a good idea, but to do so in the critical part of an election season makes it even worse. When news outlets cover ads and publish campaign statements, very often the only fact-checking is done by the readers themselves. Shutting that off will leave many important questions unasked.
Being a member-driven site that not only provides a platform for reader participation, but thrives on it, we (of course) find this kind of draconian measure appalling. But that doesn't mean we are immune to the frustration of trying to balance the needs of the many against the (sometimes selfish) desires of the few. But it is an inescapable facet of human nature that makes us want to be heard, lest we become merely part of the herd.
But I would ask a few favors, while I've got your attention. If you find yourself in disagreement with most of the content posted here, please take a long, hard look at what you hope to achieve before engaging in an all-out effort to challenge viewpoints and/or those who hold them. Life is too short for unnecessary and gratuitous conflict, and patience is a virtue that wears thin from continued use.
I would also ask that arguments which have become static or monolithic, with little hope of reconciliation, be viewed as the rash that they are. The desire to scratch may be overwhelming at times, but it ain't healthy.
BlueNC is dedicated to making North Carolina a more progressive and prosperous state. If your intention is to disrupt this effort, please find somewhere else to express your opinions.