By editorial board • 

Praise for comments fills space with plans

Year-end holiday periods are a challenge to newspapers when abbreviated weeks, staff vacations and a shortage of news cause a scramble to “fill the space.” Sometimes — as with this commentary — serendipity comes to the rescue.

Page 4 of today’s Viewpoints section is late-entry content for this first issue of 2020. The idea appeared this week following an unexpected coincidence:

First, we noticed a string of reader comments that represented some of the best qualities of a community forum connected to website articles at It wasn’t immediately clear how we might use that selection of comments, but we copied and saved them.

Then on Monday, we learned that the Oregonian’s online comments at would be eliminated, and all past comments erased, on Jan. 2. Oregonian Editor Therese Bottomly cited personal attacks and a toxic atmosphere among reasons to terminate the newspaper’s free-for-all online forum.

Suddenly, our isolated collection of comments gained more significance. Soon after, we found ourselves with an empty page for today’s newspaper issue, and the result is there today for all to see.

As stated on that page:

“Sometimes, comments at get edgy and controversial, but we welcome that challenge. We also appreciate the general reader acceptance of our moderation efforts to maintain certain measures of civility in the Forum.”

On other words, our online commenters understand that on, free speech is tempered by policies that control whether or not they are allowed to participate. It’s an arrangement made possible because only registered subscribers can submit comments to our website.

Yes, we wish more people would participate, and more often use their real names. Still, the freedom of permitted anonymity — moderated by knowledge that we know real names — adds a certain spark to the forum communications.

And by the way, about that open page today:

It’s a space we will use during 2020 to discuss diverse ways a newspaper is important to a vibrant, healthy community, and vice versa. The evolution of that idea will involve suggestions for newspaper readers to help protect the viability of community journalism here in the Yamhill Valley.

Some messages will involve our focus on “Community Partner” relationships among our readers, our business clients, the extended area and the newspaper itself. Whatever the ultimate destination of those efforts, we look forward to the journey.

Meanwhile, we hope to see more of you online at



As I read the article referenced about the Oregonian’s decision to shut down comments, I worried about who else might follow suit. I am very relieved that the N/R has no such plan! We do log in here and argue sometimes, (edgy and controversial indeed!) but as many of us have stated, this is a valued forum and we are well served by a space where we can express ourselves and reflect upon the widely varied opinions that represent our community.

THANKS NEWS~REGISTER! I look forward to the journey too.

Mike Santone

Okay real name. I feel lucky we have you, a family owned, run local newspaper. Thank you.


The OLive comments failed due to poor and unequal enforcement of the moderation policy IMO....there will always be trolls (there are a few on this forum as well) that intend only to insult and demean, but healthy disagreement of what is written is healthy.....It’s pretty rare that an owner or editor will reply to posters as they do here.......Thanks to the NR for stepping up.....

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