Steamboat Springs The Web site www.steamboatpilot.com launches its new verification process for online commenters this morning.
The new policy means any online user who wants to comment about a story or create a thread of his or her own on www. steamboatpilot.com first must be verified through a new registration process. That process requires users to provide their first and last names, year of birth, zip code, sex and a daytime telephone number.
If they choose, users still can hide their identity from the public by posting under a pseudonym. The new registration process is for new and existing users of www.steamboatpilot.com.
After submitting their registration information, users will receive a telephone call from the Pilot & Today's Internet Services department to complete the verification process. Once a user has been verified, he or she will have the ability to post story comments and create threads and blogs.
Steamboat Pilot & Today Editor Brent Boyer said the new policy is part of an effort to encourage responsible and thoughtful discussion.
"Many of our online commenters are responsible posters who follow the guidelines of our Reader Submitted Content Policy, which all users of steamboatpilot.com agree to do during the registration process," Boyer said. "However, those commenters are often overshadowed by users who continually violate the terms of our policy while engaging in personal attacks against other users of steamboatpilot.com, as well as news subjects and community members in general."
Prior to today, users needed only a working e-mail address to sign up for a free www.steamboatpilot.com account and immediately begin posting comments to stories. While site administrators had the ability to remove abusive users, those users simply could re-register with a new e-mail address.
Boyer said the new system will help ensure readers have only one account. And, by having to provide Pilot & Today site administrators with their real name, valid telephone number and e-mail address, users who fail to obey the Reader Submitted Content Policy can be removed from the site and stripped of their ability to re-register under another e-mail account.
"Since first allowing reader comments two years ago, we have seen our Web site become a place where passionate discussion and debate about local issues is possible," Boyer said. "I believe our new registration process will take it one step further by encouraging accountability for posters, similar to what we require for anyone who pens a letter to the editor."
Since the verification process change first was announced more than a week ago, some Web site users have expressed concerns about their personal information being used for marketing purposes.
The registration process remains free and gives users full access to all www.steamboatpilot.com content.
Anyone with questions or concerns about the new policy can call Boyer at 970-871-4221 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.