Change in Policy for Story Comments

For legal reasons, SCAtoday.net is changing its policy on anonymous comments about news articles. Effective immediately, SCAtoday.net will no longer allow anonymous messages to be posted by readers of our newswire. Those who are logged in with a personal account will still be able to respond to our stories as before.

We have given this change careful consideration, and the change is primarily driven by legal considerations. SCAtoday.net is an all-volunteer, part-time effort, without commercial funding or other large financial resources. Talkbacks posted in response to our recent stories about the alleged child abuse case have ventured into a grey area where we are concerned about our possible legal liability. We have not the funding to risk a libel lawsuit, and must therefore be extra cautious about what we allow other people to post.

Members of our staff who work in the modern-world publishing industry advise us that we are in a better legal position if our talkbacks have an attributable source, rather than just being anonymous.

It is worth noting that most printed newspapers, and many online news sites, do not allow anonymous posting, either. We have allowed this in the past when the topics discussed were only SCA-related things, such as what color of duct tape is best. But recent events have caused the topics to stray into modern world legal matters, and this is where we have begun to be concerned. We do not want to compromise the investigation in Pennsylvania, and we do not want to expose ourselves to undue risk of litigation.

We apologize for the inconvenience that this will cause some of our readers, and we ask for your understanding as we take this step, reluctantly.

We invite those who do not yet have a personal account to create one, by clicking on the headline above or here:

http://scatoday.net/profile.php?AUTH_CREATE_BUTTON=1
Be careful to type your email address correctly, or the system will not be able to mail out your activation code. Once you have created the account, you can go to the "Profile" page (linked from the main page, where the login form is) and ask the system to automatically log you in every time you visit from that computer. (Don't do this on a public computer, of course!)

If you have any technical problems creating an account, please send a detailed explanation of the problem to webmaster@scatoday.net and we will be glad to assist you.

Please address comments or questions about this change in policy to me.

I should also mention that we have seen a number of duplicate or even multiple identical talkback messages submitted. Please do remember that, to prevent abuse of the forums, your messages do not appear in the story until reviewed for profanity, copyright violation, spam, and libel by our forum editors. Our policies are documented at http://scatoday.net/info/tos.php and in the FAQ at http://scatoday.net/info/faq.php (topic "Is this site censored?"). In general, we try hard not to limit discussion unless we have an extremely compelling reason to do so. This is one reason for our decision to disallow anonymous posts, because we can be more open with our editing policies if someone with a registered account is willing to take responsibility for what they are saying than we can if the poster is anonymous.

We understand that some readers may disagree with this decision, and we are very sorry for that. Please know that we have made this change with reluctance, because we feel that we must do so for modern-world legal reasons, and that we ask your patience as we try to work within the limits of what we can do as an un-funded non-commercial project staffed entirely by volunteers.

Thank you, to all who have helped make SCAtoday.net a success. We hope you will continue to find our site to be informative, entertaining, and interesting.

Sincerely,

Iustinos Tekton called Justin,
Publisher -- SCAtoday.net
publisher@scatoday.net