Personal attacks out of bounds

Published 8:44 pm Thursday, April 16, 2009

Earlier this week, The Advertiser reported the arrest of a volunteer fire department’s chief for “interfering in a governmental operation.” The story, which we felt provided all the details that could be provided, quickly drew dozens of comments on our Web site.

We understand the sensitive nature of the incident and the implications by some of what appeared to be a territorial dispute between departments. As the days since this story first published have passed, the comments posted offered some insight into the workings of departments, both how it is and how it should be.

But what started out as a quality discussion on the issue quickly turned personal, complete with innuendoes and allegations about people and departments not even involved in the original story.

People’s names were brought up who were never mentioned in the article and claimed actions by those people that we later found out were untrue.

The discussion portion of our Web site is for good, honest and open discussion on a story. This, in no way should be a place to make cheap and personal attacks. This area is designed to further the discussion and enhance the coverage of a story, not drag it down to the gutter.

There is a code of conduct we ask everyone to follow when posting comments. It is when this code is broken that we — as a staff — are required to delete comments.

Our Web site and newspaper is blessed to have the thousands of readers we have each day, and we are thankful for those who participate in our online discussion and those who send in letters to the editor. In no way do we ever want to discourage participation.

We simply ask that common sense and fair play guide those who wish to make comments and for them to avoid cheap and personal attacks.