Online trust depends on you |

Online trust depends on you


The internet is far from becoming a trusted venue for public discourse. Our virtual world has decided very little about how to govern online dialogue in the ongoing, litigious process that should help define what and who can be trusted.One case, however, could clarify our grey, outdated laws. Craigslist, an internet classified site, is being sued for Fair Housing Act violations for discriminatory practices (they allowed ads to be posted saying “African-Americans and Arabians tend to clash with me,” etc). Craigslist executives are adamantly defending themselves. Their case is clear: Craig’s List is a physical space, not a publication like a newspaper. What happens at the “physical space” is up to the individual – meaning the liability for slander, discrimination and pornography lies in the hands of contributors.What the court will eventually decide could shift how all reader-contributed content is handled, edited and trusted. At, we take the current industry-standard approach (the less we touch reader-posted online content, the less liable we will be), and we follow the Fair Housing Act to the letter through our paid classifieds.We will not edit anyone’s online comments to a story. However, we will delete a comment if it is:• slanderous, pornographic or illegal; or• a blatant advertisement for a product. If not, then the full comment is cleared, sans any spell checking, grammar fixing or any editing of any kind. In summary, it is up to you, the reader, to make our web comments valuable and useful. We want to encourage everyone to comment – anonymously if they so choose – on stories, letters and columns. Not only do these comments help guide us to the “buzz” of the news, but they truly help us do our job of enhancing community discussion.To our engaged readership: Please think of this website, which we provide for free, as community space. And please consider any dialogue discussed therein to be reflective of our community values.

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