I am wondering why people don’t have to identify themselves and be checked out when responding to Town Crier articles online. I don’t think people should anonymously be able to slander others as “Misty Meanor” was able to do in the comment on the break-in at Lake Hemet Market.
It is my opinion that to have one’s comments printed either online or in the paper version, one should have to give real name and contact info which should then be verified, otherwise this becomes a free-for-all protecting those who are unwilling to sign their real names but happy to be protected in saying whatever they chose to say anonymously.
I am surprised that the Town Crier would allow this.
Editor’s note: To verify the identity of a commenter online is nearly impossible and much more costly than a letter to the editor.
The concern that anonymous comments creates is an issue that almost all newspapers have had to address in the past 15 years.
Whenever a comment is posted, we received an email notice and assess whether it is potentially libelous. Comments that fall into that category or raise any concern are deleted.
This statement appears below the area for writing a new comment:
“*READ BEFORE POSTING: The Town Crier reserves the right to remove comments that are potentially slanderous or libelous and/or outright nasty.”
Otherwise, even an offensive rant can be considered free speech.
Despite the defamation issue, I concur with this writer’s opinion of anonymity. If you are afraid to be identified with your opinion, what’s it worth?