Letter from the opinion, online editors

In what we hope will be the first full week of classes (fingers crossed), we want to first say how ecstatic we are about the discourse on campus this semester. This past year, with a completely new web-first workflow, website, social media team, graphics team, marketing team and, most recently, several new additions to the opinion section, we’ve changed quite a bit.

In this past semester, you may have noticed us restructure our social media and completely revamp the opinion section. What was once a page full of “Off the Hill” articles now includes several contributing writers and consistent submissions from the Tufts community. When we’ve spoken to authors, most, if not all, are thrilled when people critically engage with their pieces, whether by writing another opinion piece or by reaching out in person.

On a less positive note, though, we’ve been dismayed at some of the comments surrounding these pieces both on the web and on Facebook. There has been quite a bit of internal debate among us about when it is okay to censor comments on our website. As it stands, the Tufts Daily will only remove comments deemed to be solely insulting, obscenely offensive, threatening to an individual or group, contain obscene images or that are blatant spam. So far we have only removed one comment this semester, as it was deemed a personal attack on a student. These decisions are in no way taken lightly. The Tufts Daily is not in the business of silencing anyone’s voice: We are storytellers at heart, and we want to hear from you.

We’ve also had quite a bit of internal debate here at the Daily about whether to allow anonymous comments. On one hand, the veil of anonymity can be a powerful, necessary force to allow often-silenced voices to emerge. On the other hand, it can become an excuse to use racist and violent language. Ultimately, we have chosen to allow anonymous comments.

We urge each and every one of you when reading opinion pieces that you disagree with to comment on them, speak about them and challenge them. We also suggest you bring your comments back to us, either in the form of another opinion article, or by contacting us directly. We value your comments and the discourse they encourage, and hope they will be directed in a constructive, active way in order to hold people accountable.

We urge all of you not to abuse the power of your anonymity or of your comments. We have the potential to create a space for discourse through the internet, but this potential is undermined by senseless and hateful comments.

Sincerely,

Scott H. Geldzahler (Executive Opinion Editor) and Nitesh Gupta (Executive Online Editor)


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