In light of recent revelations in Wayland related to online commenting, Wayland Transparency (WT) is suspending the Comments webpage. There is no way to know which, if any, of the posts on this site were made by fictitious impersonators such as Oscar Delahunt and Filip Cohen. Regardless, the last few days demonstrate how easily a sharp expression of one's viewpoint can quickly bump up against -- and occasionally cross -- the line of civility. To help prevent a bad situation from escalating, we are hitting the reset button and starting over.
The original idea behind the Comments webpage was to provide a safe and anonymous way for citizens to voice concerns or share viewpoints regarding the recent allegations of impropriety related to the WHS athletic programs, without fear of retribution. While these issues are far from over, newer posts have veered off into other issues in town. In the coming weeks, WT will be reviewing and considering whether to broaden the scope of the Comments forum or consider a new platform that will permit productive dialogue related to issues of concern.
WT will also be reviewing its policy related to providing posters with anonymity. On the one hand, the condition gives a voice to those afraid to speak up publicly about issues that warrant attention (much like the anonymous formats hosted by law enforcement, the Office of the Inspector General and the State Ethics Commission). On the other hand, the combination of anonymity and spontaneity can lead to inappropriate comments, a situation exacerbated by the inability of the Moderator to edit inartful or ill-considered posts. Wayland Transparency has no email address, no contact information and no way to ascertain the identity of any poster. There is therefore no way to contact a poster and suggest that they tone down or remove inappropriate comments from a post (not even the IP address divulges the identity of a poster).
If you have an opinion on whether an anonymous Comments webpage would be beneficial in the future, please weigh in and let us know. In the meantime, Wayland Transparency is wiping the slate clean and we hope this gesture will be received in the spirit intended, namely to demonstrate our commitment to protecting the identity of our readers and posters, and to promote civility in Wayland's political discourse.
Let’s turn the page, and start fresh.
Please come back soon to see what's next...