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Letter FROM the Editor: Patch is a Place for Healthy Debate, Discussion

We've all got opinions, and we're interested in hearing them, but Patch is not a place to fight or attack anyone. Keep it clean, don’t try to trick people and treat others as you’d like to be treated.

Commenting on Stow Patch is sort of bittersweet for me and I'm sure it feels that way to our users/readers too at times.

I really love the engagement and love covering a city that is very involved and passionate about what's happening in their and at — you should all be proud.

But, I spend a lot of time reading comments and looking for users who are violating our terms of use and it may deter others from joining the conversation. 

I don't (always) mind monitoring comments ... it's my job, but the name calling, attacking and general disregard for our rules is getting a little out of hand.

I want you to know: I hear you.

You love a candidate; you don't love a candidate. You agree with the direction your town is going; you have concerns about where your town is going.

I hear you and I respect the opinions of each and every one of you, but you have to follow the rules. 

Take a look at our terms of use, they are written in plain language: http://stow.patch.com/terms.

Here are some highlights from our terms:

• Communities thrive when people care about each other, and as such, Patch expects all of its users to be respectful of others. If you notice any violation of this Acceptable Use Policy or other unacceptable behavior by any user, please report it to support@patch.com.

• Use YOUR first and last name: Patch believes in transparency, and we ask that all your registration information be truthful. You may not use any aliases or other means to mask your true identity.

• We understand that everyone has different opinions, but Patch will make the sole determination as to whether Content is acceptable for the Service. (Someone has to be in charge, right?) Without limitation, you agree that you will not post or transmit to other users anything that contains Content that:

  • is defamatory, abusive, obscene, profane or offensive;
  • infringes or violates another party's intellectual property rights (such as music, videos, photos or other materials for which you do not have written authority from the owner of such materials to post on the Service);
  • violates any party’s right of publicity or right of privacy;
  • is threatening, harassing or that promotes racism, bigotry, hatred or physical harm of any kind against any group or individual;
  • promotes or encourages violence;
  • is inaccurate, false or misleading in any way;
  • is illegal or promotes any illegal activities;
  • promotes illegal or unauthorized copying of another person's copyrighted work or links to them or providing information to circumvent security measures;
  • contains “masked” profanity (e.g., F@&#)
  • contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment; or
  • contains any advertising, promotional materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain letters," "pyramid schemes," or any other form of solicitation.

Thank you for visiting Stow Patch and using our services. We want to encourage a good experience on the site. 

I look forward to hearing from all of you on our stories! Please as another way to voice your opinion. 

Sincerely,

Your Local Editor, Amanda Harnocz

... and as always, please feel free to leave your comments below! (just follow the rules!)

James Thomas November 09, 2011 at 05:56 PM
Thank you Amanda, I am floored by the amount of dialog that goes on here at Patch. Good, Bad, Indifferent or Inane it is debate and devoutly to be praised.
Ed Kent November 09, 2011 at 06:11 PM
Very well stated and received! There have been times when I was so grieved by others being attacked that I thought I'd never return to this site, but then Amanda would save the day with her proper correction. I hope Patch doesn't become a free-for-all food fight like some sites have become that go unmonitored. She can't monitor the site 24 hours a day, but we can all be considerate of each other and that will help.
Joe Earley November 09, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Thanks Amanda. The Stow Patch has really taken off and must feel overwhelming at times. Your hard work is appreciated.
Amanda Harnocz November 09, 2011 at 09:07 PM
Thanks, I hope this resonates with our users. I just want to create a great Patchy environment to talk about local topics.
Marty Dennis November 10, 2011 at 03:25 AM
I also thank you for these defined statements about your site. Many last night at a few campaign watch parties were discussing the remarks made of candidates, the levy, etc. They felt this site was a place to bash and let loose. Let's keep the site pleasant for others to dialogue and not tear down individuals. Thanks again.
Steve Eaton November 10, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Thanks Amanda, great job on this site.
pamela wind November 10, 2011 at 08:11 PM
Thank you.
Maggie Balko November 11, 2011 at 02:10 AM
What a breath of well needed fresh air
Ed Fisher September 13, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Well said and received. However, I do lament the change to the TOS with regard to the use of alias identity instead of true names. Anonymity promotes the type of improper posts that we all hate to see. Just my opinion.
Amanda Harnocz September 13, 2012 at 08:01 PM
Yes, I understand that ... and I know that many feel the same way. Patch still STRONGLY encourages you use your real name. (By the way, some of the above comments may not make a whole lot of sense because I originally published this around election time in 2011.)
Janine Daymon September 13, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Thank you for the repost and reminder, Amanda! I will try to stay within the guidelines and not let the attacks be taken personally.

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