Named executive editor of The Augusta Chronicle in March 2009. Previously was executive editor of The Times in Shreveport, La., for five years and managing editor for four. Started professional career as a staff photographer with the Knoxville Journal in Knoxville, Tenn., in 1987. Worked in different roles at several newspapers on the East Coast. Recently elected to the Associated Press Managing Editors board of directors after efforts helping coordinate convention events and will serve as program chair for the 2010 convention.
Posted January 20, 2010 04:52 pm - Updated January 21, 2010 08:39 am

New site includes assertive moderation

We are nearing the launch of on a new platform.

You will get to see it soon.

Registered users should expect an e-mail next Wednesday explaining where to preview the site and how to log on (see bottom too). Their data has already been copied to the new site.

Every user can have a profile page with a photo. They can start personal blogs and follow each other.

Here and in an upcoming newspaper column, we’ll share a details about the new features and let you know about items “under construction.”

First up… We are changing our approach to managing story comments. We’ll be more assertive about eliminating inappropriate comments and warning/banning users who abuse the feature.  Mean-spirited notes do not foster the dialogue we seek on the feature: a place where users can interact and exchange ideas without fear of personal attacks.

Our new guideline for what is acceptable: comments are enabled for a robust but respectful conversation, not for personal attacks or harassment of others. You agree not to make racist, obscene or hateful remarks. Please stay on topic. Click the abuse button to help identify inappropriate posts. Violations may result in removal of accounts.

To oversee this, we have a social media committee headed up by our Social Media Editor Sarah Day Owen and Customer Service Director Sean Moores. They will help drive consistency in our approach. They’ll be listening to your comments and highlighting insightful conversation.

Wrangling the out-of-bounds comments might be a pipe dream, but we are going to try. Bullies, who name call and make threats, will not be tolerated for very long. This is to enhance your experience interacting on the site.

The community of users will drive many of the reviews by exercising the “abuse” reporting mechanism on comments. With hundreds of comments flying at a given moment, this report helps us identify trends.

 The requirement of registration and development of a profile page may encourage some to knock it down a notch. We can hope.

 ALSO…. Your login… Preview of “Subject: Your account is migrating to the new site”.

Next Wednesday, you will be directed to our development site. Features on the old site will stop working on the old site as they start working on the new site. This is a moving day.

In the past, some readers chose a username to log in with and a different name (a "display name") that appeared with their comments and/or Spotted photos. If you are one of those readers, you'll now log in with your display name.  In other cases, we've altered usernames slightly because they contained special characters no longer allowed in the new system.

(You’ll get an e-mail telling you what username to use…)

Your new username (for login and display): [E-mail program inserts actual username]

We realize this change may take a little getting used to but know that it will be well worth it. We’ll be working through any bugs that pop up – common with any launch.

We look forward to sharing the new site with you soon!

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Clarification -- The Wednesday referenced above is Jan. 27. E-mails about changing logins will only go to users whose username has actually changed. Word "next" has been added to original post for clarity.