Debate Not Hate: Change to our comments sections

News / Tue 14th Mar 2023 at 07:46am

WE have decided, for a six week period, to make a change to our comments sections on the main website.

You are now asked to use your real name.

We will do this right up to the local elections (May 4th) and then review.

We are doing this for a number of reasons.

We were aware that The Times and Sunday Times started doing this since New Years Day and has seemed to work well.

We wanted to also show our support for the Debate not Hate campaign run by the Local Government Association and endorsed by all parties.

A Harlow Labour’s James Griggs has endorsed this decision: He said: “There have recently been some cases of mistaken identity in the YH comments section and on other media platforms, some contributors have incorrectly attributed comments to Labour Councillors or candidates.

“I wish to make it clear that Harlow Labour Councillors and candidates will, at all times, fully identify themselves when commenting or making statements, they will never attempt to deceive by hiding behind pseudonyms or ‘forgetting’ their surnames.

“I will be writing to the other political parties in Harlow inviting them to make a similar commitment to transparency in all communications”.

We have noticed an increased angriness from some commentators. In short, in the last year, we have had to “ban” more people/internet addresses, that in the past fifteen years.

On our Facebook page, most people seem to be able to comment in their own names, so why not here?

In many ways, it is a return to the letter page of the printed paper, where each letter was simply signed in their own name.

Of course, you are still welcome to write your comment as a letter to editor.

Thank you

Michael Casey

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18 Comments for Debate Not Hate: Change to our comments sections:

Adam Taylor
2023-03-14 11:12:09

Interesting idea lets see, as long as it is genuine hate and not holding our elected representatives account which gets removed. One observation though, perhaps an increase in angry comments is due to the increasing insanity of positions pushed by both parties which are making the lives of many harder. Coupled with a media which increasingly does not speak truth to power or question (hello covid).

Ray Thackeray
2023-03-14 11:42:51

How do you know this is me, it is but can you be sure?

iain lindsay
2023-03-14 13:40:24

Overall, there is an even mix of hand-wringing liberals, communists, and right-wingers on YH which makes for a sometimes amusing debate. Some are like a broken record and spout the same old muck over and over, but it's not malicious. Unfortunately of late, there does seem to be a large number of imbeciles appearing who probably can't even be bothered to have a shave let alone string together a sentence.

James Leppard
2023-03-14 14:34:09

I have some sympathy for Iain Lindsay's sentiments. I confess that I find poor prose, grammar, punctuation and spelling infinitely more disturbing than the content of any opinions expressed on YH.

Cllr James Griggs (Lab)
2023-03-14 16:07:02

No comment from Cllr James Leppard on the main issue raised in this article, that of transparency and not deceiving through the use of pseudonyms, just an insensitive moan that completely disregards the possibility that some contributors may have dyslexia, additional needs or that English may not even be their first language.

Cheryl Stringer
2023-03-14 17:10:22

We are always being silenced. This country is now a laughing stock not to mention harlow,

James Leppard
2023-03-14 17:31:46

James, please lighten up. I do not condone the wanton propagation of hatred. Too often though, opinions at variance with one’s own are being deemed to be ‘insulting’ or ‘offensive’, based upon purely subjective criteria. Freedom of speech is far too precious to be treated in such a cavalier and capricious manner. It is the essence of a free and civilised society. perfectly. If I find bad prose and spelling more irritating than most of the opinions posted here, surely I am entitled to my preferences. You would do well to embrace the words of the great French writer and philosopher, Voltaire: “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” I think that encapsulates it perfectly.

Cllr James Griggs (Lab)
2023-03-14 17:39:28

James Leppard, telling me what I ‘would do well to embrace’ is surely a contradiction of your earlier assertion towards freedom of speech and thought. I notice you still haven’t taken the opportunity to commit to being entirely transparent and not to use pseudonyms!

James Leppard
2023-03-14 18:28:30

James, ‘Would do well …’ constitutes a suggestion, a recommendation. It is not a command or dictate. Your response goes someway to support my view that the meaning of ordinary English words is constantly distorted to give grounds for simulated affront or spurious indignation. Let’s respect our fine language. By the way, you may have noticed I am using my own name. I can’t possibly answer for others anymore you can.

2023-03-14 19:04:20

Jim Lippard..you reall are a tw at. Fancy a few rounds Queens rules

James Leppard
2023-03-14 19:34:40

Neilwbaker, I sure even you will appreciate that as a Councillor I cannot be drawn by your invitation. However, I would that your boxing skills are better than your appalling spelling and punctuation. Incidentally, for you education, it is not ‘Queen’s (notice the apostrophe) Rules, but rather Queensberry Rules established by the 9th Marquess of Queensberry and published in 1867. It was designed to ensure gentlemanly standards and conduct; another area which you might wish consider for self self-improvement. Only a suggestion!

Cllr James Griggs (Lab)
2023-03-14 20:42:21

James Leppard, after reading your response to Neilwbaker I’d like to assure you that I do not find your poor prose or grammar remotely disturbing although I suspect you will if you apply the same rules to yourself as you do to others. Time for a glass of Malbec methinks. Sleep well.

James Leppard
2023-03-14 20:48:06

Yes, I made some typos. Bit tired, but no excuse. I think Google Translate was challenged by his gibberish. Your Malbec suggestion is greeted with full approval.

Iain Lindsay
2023-03-15 10:29:12

Rather ironic that a piece entitled 'Debate Not Hate' ends up populated by insults hurled between Messrs Leppard and Griggs regarding the standard of grammar employed. Also ironic given that Mr Grigg's party has been responsible for the dumbing down of the education system to the extent that graduates leave university with degrees that aren't worth the paper they are written on and struggle to compose a cover letter for a job application.

David Forman
2023-03-15 17:36:58

Would the editor Michael Casey consider imposing a restriction in local councillors who hog the comments section with inane to and fro remarks. I understood the point made by each of the two councillors, James Leopard and James Griggs, emanating from their first comment in this thread. I don't need a ding-dong to clarify their views any further.

Edward Vine
2023-03-15 21:21:37

James your remarks about grammar and spelling are inappropriate and intimidating. It's what people are saying that's important. Your criticism should be directed at the failures identified of a long broken two tier education system, the national curriculum and OFSTED and not people trying to make a difference. People use often pseudonyms because once identified they get bullied and intimidated.

James Leppard
2023-03-16 03:48:52

Edward Vine. Fair point. Certainly no intimidation intended.

Clive sims
2023-03-16 19:30:08

People tend to use pseudonyms because it is the norm in chat rooms etc. most forums etc actually advise against using your real name primarily for the reasons mentioned by Edward above. Some people also use then to create humor. Some use pseudonyms to shield others

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