iBerkshires readers will notice a change at the bottom of our stories (and soon to be at the bottom of our blog posts) to the use of Facebook for comments.
While we encourage vigorous debate, too often lately our comment sections have been taken over by readers who seem more eager to grind personal axes than engage in civil discourse.
In the old days, people would have to provide their name, address and contact number. We're hoping that using Facebook will keep people on if not their best, at least their better behavior. We also think it will make it easier for people to share articles and information.
We've also made it easier to share through sites like Pinterest and Linked-In. There's been a lot of concern about copyright infringement over posting things on Pinterest. We at iBerkshires have no problem with you sharing articles or photos that interest you on Pinterest or any other social site as long as you don't remove or cover our bylines or image watermarks. Our images and stories also won't disappear behind a paywall. So share away!
We do recognize that posters may be wary of posting with their real names. The old anonymous system is still there — you just have to click on "comments." If you use that system, remember that your comments are not automatically posted. There may be a delay of several hours, up to 24 on a weekend, before someone approves your words.
That system, too, will be changing. It's taking us longer than planned, but we will be moving to a registration system for the entire iBerkshires network, just like we've implemented on our hyperlocals. You'll still be able to have a username for posting but you'll have to let us know who you are.
Registered commenters will be able to post letters, photos, events on our calendar, poems, videos, etc. We're hoping that will create more engaged and active users in the iBerkshires community.
Pittsfield.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Best of luck registering "as many fake IDs" on Facebook. You'll need a valid phone number for each account; and it's also against the site's terms of service to create fake accounts.
Furthermore, are you really that into posting so much under separate identities that you'd go through all that trouble? If you have a point it just seems silly to agree with your own post using other accounts.
Speak your piece. Sign your name, and be done with it.
I understand the issue that is driving this and many other sites to force people to register to comment on one's site. I don't like how Facebook is becoming all things Internet especially given their privacy issues.
On the other side of the coin, people and their opinions and perspectives change over time. Once something is deposited on an Internet server it is there for all time. Should someone down the road have a change of heart or whatever, there is no way to go and fix or even explain what the circumstances were at the time of a previous comment.
You may be able to create a Facebook account without a phone number. However, Facebook has generally made it very difficult if not impossible to continue using said account without verifying it with a valid phone number.
The only options I see here are to either not change anything, use an in-site registration system, or use Facebook. The first isn't a very good choice, and the other two are similar options with the latter being something a lot of people already use regularly.
It's a great step in the right direction. It will cut down on the never-ending ridiculousness to a degree. Rabid posts made with Fake Facebook accounts will look even lamer than they do now under the anonymous system and be easier to ignore. Those with considered statements and the conviction to stand behind them will be easier to spot.
Editor: There's no perfect system but we believe it will reduce some of the more outrageous commenters. There are only a handful but they take a disproportionate amount of our time that could be far better used. I Agree (18) - I Disagree (2)
Tammy thats true but they will just create fake accounts on facebook which takes less time then to create an account on iberkshires.
Just saying. And if you continue and lock it down too much, people just wont come here, and you will lose advertisers. Just ask the trasncript how charging was going for their web version. They stopped it because word got out fast that all you had to do was delete your cookies.
Editor: We're not charging. Facebook and the way we're setting up our comment system will give people greater control over their comments. If people want to waste time making multiple FB pages, that's FB's problem. But it seems a lot of effort just to post "the mayor sucks." I Agree (13) - I Disagree (1)
People like "Reality" are whats wrong with that area...so pessimistic it's revolting...
Do you honestly have nothing better to do than complain about the Comment system or Main St. parking??? Wow...what a life that must be........
Reality's opinion was also not asked for, but anyone is free to post their opinion.
Reality's problem is primarily one of resentment and small mindedness. iBerkshires is right to attempt to stem the tide of those who are overly concerned with what is said at a City Council meeting as opposed to what is done. Reality is mired in the past, and in the politics of personality instead of the politics of policy.
For example, the notion that it matters, in a fundamental way, to the future of main street whether a car is straight or diagonal is silly. What matters is the socioeconomics of the City. Nearly 2/3 of the students at Brayton receive free lunch. More than a quarter of the City's residents are on welfare. Neither Mass MoCA, the Heritage Park, or a train ride are going to do much to improve the overall quality of life in this City.
Fundamentally, most of the City Council members, while well meaning, are not serious. Certainly, they want to improve the quality of life in the City, but how exactly are they doing that? Where is the Housing Authority? Why is there not a more active community policing effort? Why not a symosium on job creation in and around the City?
It's really just talk, and it results in putting a plan on a shelf in City hall.