The Must Read Alaska comment section is a gritty, entertaining, and wild-west forum for discussing issues of the day, and it is growing in popularity. You don’t have to be a Jack-London-level writer to comment here at Must Read Alaska. But there are a few things that can help everyone have a great reading experience.
Recently, the story about the attack on Paul Pelosi at his home in San Francisco has had 165 reader comments approved in just four days (as of this writing), with about five sent to the trash for the sin of being tedious or trashy. There are a few more waiting to be posted on that story, so I expect the conversation about the Paul Pelosi hammer attack will continue for days to come.
It’s terrific to see so many new visitors in the comment section of stories in recent months. Over 95% of comments are accepted for posting. Every comment is skimmed by a human — me — and most get the OK for posting, typos and all, because “skimmed” is the operative word. Sometimes they get skimmed after a long, long day, and I accidentally let a truly offensive comment go through. I apologize for that. A few comments go in the trash when they are not contributing to a healthy dialogue, or when they are too clumsy with their thumbs, thus having too many glaring errors. In the history of Must Read Alaska, 855 comments went to the trash, and nearly 200,000 have been approved.
What I’d like to see: I’d like to see the name-calling kept to a low roar or not at all. Also, when you spell a political leader’s or candidate’s name, please refrain from spelling it “Dumbleavy” or “Sleeza” or “Peltolosi.” Please spell people’s names with proper spelling, regardless of how much you don’t like them. Same goes for when you are responding to other commenters in the comment section — don’t butcher their handles on purpose to demean them. It’s the little things that make a difference in my workload and sometimes when I see those intentional misspellings, I just put that comment in the trash.
Also, it helps the forum become more enjoyable — and makes my life a lot easier — when people give their sentences one last read before sending in. I have no copy editor here at Must Read Alaska, and plenty of typos of my own to chase down. There are not nearly enough hours in the day to fix punctuation and spelling of 500-600 comments that arrive daily.
I ask for your patience. With all the great feedback from readers, I get to them as quickly as I can. Sometimes as much as five hours will go by without me being able to get to the comment “pending” bucket and get it cleared. Those five hours will be when I take time for family or am writing stories … or am stuck on a plane that doesn’t have working wi-fi.
Approval of comments is an imperfect and subjective process, but mostly it’s just a very fast process once I get to the task, which is several times a day.
Must Read Alaska got its start because the Anchorage Daily News was not publishing the comments from conservatives. Thus, this has become the home of conservative commentary, which comes in all varieties.
Mostly, I just want to say thank you to everyone who posts their comments at Must Read Alaska. I really do love hearing from readers, even the critics who fly under those clever secret identities. Keep the comments civil, and keep them coming. Thank you to all readers of Must Read Alaska.
— Suzanne Downing, publisher, Must Read Alaska