The Daily is now pre-moderating all comments on our website. I’m sorry it’s taken this long.

Opinion by Holden Foreman
Dec. 6, 2020, 6:55 p.m.

Thank you to former Opinions Editor Jasmine Liu ’20, current Opinions Desk Editor Rachel Lauren D’Agui ’22 and everyone else who has ever spoken up about unacceptable content in The Daily’s comments sections. You all laid the foundation for the change that has been made this year.

The Daily has switched to pre-moderation of its website’s comments sections, after years of unacceptable comments being allowed to sit on our site unchecked.

As recently as last school year, discrimination, misinformation and personal attacks could be left untouched for months in the comments sections of articles. These comments caused harm to members of our community that cannot be undone. All of the comments made last year happened under my watch, as vice president of The Daily in fall/winter and president in winter/spring.

I am sorry about my inaction on this front. It was entirely inexcusable. We’ve known for years at The Daily that people use our comments sections to lob hate. In the past, we took a generally passive approach of deleting comments that violate our standards when they were brought to our attention, instead of reviewing and deleting them before our readers and writers could be subjected to them. To require that someone come across a hurtful comment and report it, instead of deleting the hurtful comment before it could be seen, was deeply irresponsible and dangerous.

This school year, the executive team and I have carefully watched the comments and removed those that violate our policies in a much more timely manner. But this isn’t enough.

Even if a problematic comment is visible for only a short time, anyone who views the page in that time frame is subjected to it. Furthermore, the content of that briefly visible comment, potentially containing damaging information or lies, could be spread in other comments, and on other platforms like social media, even after the original comment is deleted.

We do receive many thoughtful and respectful comments on our website, and we are thankful for the time that readers take to contribute to discussions in a manner that is consistent with our standards. Pre-moderation does not mean that it will be any more difficult to leave comments like this on our website. However, it may take some time for comments to appear, depending on the date and time they are left, because we will be reviewing each comment individually.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Contact Holden Foreman at hs4man21 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Holden Foreman '21 was the Vol. 258-59 chief technology officer. Holden was president and editor-in-chief in Vol. 257, executive editor (vice president) in Vol. 256, managing editor of news in Vol. 254 and student business director in Vol. 255.

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