Brent Boyer: What’s in a name? | SteamboatToday.com

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Brent Boyer: What’s in a name?

Anonymity.

What comes immediately to mind?

Do you think about the ability to post online comments without fear of retribution for expressing honest opinions?

Or do you think about the cowardice of those who aren't willing to put their real names behind their words?

Granted, those are two very strong reactions to Web anonymity, but they're also beliefs held by many Steamboat Pilot & Today readers. Few newspaper-related issues elicit as much passion from community members as our online comments, and it's one we find ourselves revisiting often. And we're doing it again.

We're dedicating this Wednesday's Coffee and a Newspaper morning gathering with community members to the subject of online comments. General Manager Scott Stanford and I will lead an open discussion about the Pilot & Today's online commenting policies, and everyone with an interest in the issue is invited.

The ability to post comments to stories on SteamboatToday.com continues to be a popular feature for many readers. After first introducing the comments feature several years ago, we revised the sign-up process so that all commenters must register by first providing us with their real names and contact information. They still can choose to post anonymously, but we now know who they are and can ban them from the site if they violate our comments policies.

I think the tone of our online comments has been dramatically improved during the past couple of years, but I realize many readers still find it too caustic for their liking. Wednesday's Coffee and a Newspaper gathering is a chance for all opinions to come to the table in an informal discussion with some of the newspaper's top leaders.

Coffee and a Newspaper is from 7 to 9 a.m. in the Pilot & Today's community room at 1901 Curve Plaza. We'll provide the coffee and breakfast treats, and you provide the feedback. We look forward to seeing you.

Brent Boyer is the editor of the Steamboat Pilot & Today. He can be reached at 970-871-4221 or bboyer@SteamboatToday.com