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Welcome to the new voiceofsandiego.org.

Perhaps the most significant difference between this version of our website and the last is the commenting.

You now have a lot more opportunities to comment and doing so will be easier. Just quickly create an account and you’re off, even on our news stories, which previously didn’t allow for commenting. You can throw a picture or avatar on there, too, to go with your comment.

There’s also a new and exciting rule we’re going to experiment with: No more anonymous commenting on the website.

There’s a basic idea behind all of these changes: We’re working hard to create an intelligent, creative and constructive conversation on San Diego’s most pressing issues. We want to provide as many venues as possible for that conversation.

We want it to be civil and smart. Unfortunately, many of the conversations that take place underneath the articles on news websites devolve into name-calling, racist or sexist remarks, and other vulgarities. That’s in no small part because of the veil provided by anonymity and a lack of moderating by news organizations.

That’s also not the kind of conversation we’re willing to host on our website. We will — and already have for a long time — moderate the posts to weed out overly personal attacks or unsubstantiated allegations. It’s never been a perfect system, but we do our best. Comments aren’t moderated to exclude a specific political view or shield us or others from legitimate criticism. And we don’t discourage pointed or passionate discourse.

This isn’t censorship or a 1st Amendment issue. This is a forum we’re choosing to host and these are the rules we’re asking people to abide by.

You can register to create an account at the top left-hand corner of our site. We’ll verify your name like we do our letter writers. There is always room for shenanigans, but we’ll do our best to make sure we don’t have any imposters. If you think we do, let me know.

Once you’ve created your profile, you can always click in the top left-hand corner on “my dashboard” to see your profile and your contributions. (Cool extra feature: You can not only submit comments but also full-length submissions now through your profile.)

If you have a piece of important information or a tip that you think needs to see the light of day and you need to offer it anonymously, there’s still an outlet for that, too. You can contact me directly at andrew.donohue@voiceofsandiego.org or the reporter who covers the relevant beat.

The communication world is changing fast and rules are being rewritten constantly. We’ll always be evaluating how and why we do things. So please contact me with any thoughts on the site, the new commenting, the policies or anything else you want to share. And hold us accountable. If you don’t think we’re living up to the standards I just laid out, tell me about it.

Now, let’s get this discussion started. Thanks.

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