Free press relies on community engagement

Strong journalism depends on an engaged community that is willing to share its diverse voices and perspectives, and Jackson Hole residents have never hesitated to jump in with their own views.

When you run into someone at the post office, you can have a friendly debate over the issue of the day and then later, regardless of your political leanings, find yourself joining with that person to help a neighbor in need or to enjoy a favorite pastime.

In recent years, though, we’ve noticed the tone has begun to change, at least online. As a result, we’ve begun phasing in some changes to our online commenting policies.

Our goal is to encourage a healthy and productive community discourse so that it remains in the spirit of those conversations at the post office — real people, real names, neighborly debate.

To reach that goal, we have implemented two changes to our online commenting policies: 

1) Comments on our website no longer publish immediately; they now go through digital and human review to ensure they meet our written standards, which can be found in full here. Name-calling, swearing, discrimination, calls for violence, rumors and conspiracy theories, and other remarks that go against the spirit of civil discourse will not be approved.

If you as a reader see a comment that you think violates those standards, we request that you assist us by flagging the comment for further review.

2) Subscriber-only commenting. We have also shifted to subscriber-only commenting on our website. We are excited about this change for two reasons. First, it will allow us to better enforce a long-standing policy that requires commenters to use real names. Second, our subscriber base comprises many of the valley’s most knowledgeable and invested community members. We want to know what you are thinking, and we hope that this transition provides a forum for your perspectives that is respectful and productive.

For our readers who are not subscribers, we want to hear from you, too. We invite you to subscribe for as little as a dollar a week and add to the discussion, or contribute to the Letters to the Editor and Guest Shot opinion sections.

A strong free press is a catalyst for community dialogue, but it takes you, the readers, to put the “community” into community journalism.

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As of Oct. 18, 2020, the News&Guide has shifted to a subscriber-only commenting policy. You can read about this decision on our About Us page. Thanks for engaging in the conversation!

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