Regular readers of Civil Beat will remember that we killed off our comments section in February after it had devolved into mainly a handful of commenters arguing back and forth with each other. Many of you applauded that decision, others not so much. It seems people have a love-hate relationship with comments and we get that.
In the past six months a couple of things have changed to make us want to try it again.
For one thing, we now have the means to fairly easily suspend commenters who take advantage of this forum aimed at encouraging civil conversation and discussion. That would be those of you who think you’re smarter or more important than everyone else, the 15 to 20 people (out of tens of thousands of readers) who turn the comments section into a verbal fight club to smack each other down.
The new tool affords us more options to deal with misbehavior. You will be cut off — for the rest of the day at first but if you persist for even longer. We’re not going to argue about it. You know who you are and you need to exercise restraint this time around.
More importantly, there are big issues on the horizon that thoughtful people need to weigh in on. One thing Hawaii could use more of is civic engagement, which doesn’t mean you just need to get out and vote. There are many kinds of civic action and participating in public discourse — even at the bottom of news stories — is an important kind of civic action that has become a part of our democratic culture.
The Civil Beat Editorial Board is especially interested in getting people to think through and talk about whether we should hold a constitutional convention, a question voters will be asked to answer on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.
So today we are opening up comments again, starting with an editorial that lays out our position on why we think there should be a convention as a way for citizens to come together and talk about important issues facing Hawaii in 2018 and beyond. We’ll be writing more editorials about a con con as Election Day gets closer, and we really want to hear what you think about this issue and many others.
Thanks for keeping it civil.
Thoughts on this or any other story? Write a Letter to the Editor. Send to email@example.com and put Letter in the subject line. 200 words max. You need to use your name and city and include a contact phone for verification purposes.
And you comment directly on this editorial by scrolling down a little further. We are enabling comments on some stories in the spirit of having a robust community conversation.
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Patti Epler is the Editor and General Manager of Civil Beat. She's been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, primarily in Hawaii, Alaska, Washington and Arizona. You can follow her on twitter at @PattiEpler, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 808-377-0561.