Monday, April 11, 2016

Wellsville: Village Board concerned about lack of public participation and "anonymous" comments on RNN

The spotlight shined briefly on Regional News Network (RNN) during Monday night's village of Wellsville public hearing on the budget. RNN was asked why it publishes "anonymous" comments on stories. Mayor Judy Lynch said, "why aren't they (citizens) here?" The mayor and others expressed frustration about no-name, negative comments and again asked why they were permitted on this site. RNN suggested that the board view any media website (Buffalo TV, Daily Reporter, Facebook,Times Herald, NY Times, Washington Post, etc)...they all allow comments, good and bad, many are anonymous and often not filtered for language. "90 percent of the comments are denied, based on language, threats or tone," said the RNN reporter. He added, "whether it's in this board room or online, it's part of the community discussion and is relevant. The fact that a person doesn't want to share their identity on the world wide web doesn't make their thoughts less important."
Trustee Dawn Ketchner said she just wished more people came to the meetings and hearings. Deputy mayor Pete Cook expressed concerned that he doesn't always know "what the community is thinking" because there is so little input. "Call me," he said..."I want feedback....It makes ya wonder." Mayor Lynch said the lack of public participation is "defeating."
Lynch said she encourages people to reach out to the board with questions or input.
Editor's note: Allowing comments on this site has been openly debated in the past. We prefer people identify themselves to help in a broad-based community discussion of issues. We have and will continue to deny and delete comments that contain threats or abusive language. Further, every comment doesn't have to be negative. Some stories contain very good, uplifting news and we certainly encourage people to say something nice (gasp) every now and then!
RNN acknowledges that online sites have made it easier for people to snipe, belittle and be asses. It takes little effort to toss a turd from the shadows. It's more difficult to toss the turd with your business card attached. If you wouldn't say it in person, maybe you shouldn't say it at all.