When He-Said, She-Said Spills Into He-Commented, She-Commented
Does your church allow comments on your site? If you ever consider a policy on comments and moderation for your parish, this column from the Washington Post’s ombudsman will give you some more areas to explore.
An article about a man who pretended to be employed to avoid the presumed shame of losing a job turned ugly in the comments section. His estranged wife noted that the man wasn’t downsized, but was “fired for pooer performance.” His teenaged daughter commented later that he had mental problems.
These comments generated even more remarks in response.
The Post’s ombudsman wrote in the column, “Legally, The Post isn’t liable for comments. Under federal law, responsibility rests with the commenters. But journalistically, what about accuracy and fairness? Is it all right to say someone is mentally ill without proof? What if [he] wasn’t fired?
The column goes on to discuss the tradeoffs of removing a comment that has already generated many comments in response.
How would you handle such a situation at your church? It’s a difficult one to assess, particularly in a way that meets the higher, compassionate standards a community expects from a faith-based organization.
You better have a good answer before you add comments to your church’s site.