Journal online comment stifled

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It is upsetting to see that the Auburn Journal has changed the online comment system. The new platform requires readers to use Facebook to log in to comment. While I think people should be accountable for their comments, this system — which attaches their name and picture to the comment — has also silenced public discourse. The Auburn Journal website was a great outlet (and entertainment) for the Auburn community to discuss political, economic and local issues while maintaining some level of anonymity. Articles and letters would sometimes get hundreds of comments, which promoted healthy argument. I have been reading the articles and letters since the change and almost all of the frequent contributors have ceased commenting, even on the most politically charged letters. Ms. (Jenifer) Gee, I’ve read your rationale for the new system and I don’t argue that people should be civilized regarding what they post, but instead of creating a “town hall for the community,” the system has eliminated critical discourse. The old system offered some protection to minority opinion holders; the new system promotes a spiral of silence. It’s disappointing. Emily Edris, Auburn