Monday, October 7, 2013

How's that new commenting system workin' out for ya, KC Star?

Posted By on Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 12:02 PM

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Late Friday afternoon, The Kansas City Star's website posted a short piece by AP Kansas correspondent Roxana Hegeman. Slugged "Kansas gay couples must file taxes as singles," it's a basic, factual summary of the Kansas Department of Revenue's plan to make life unpleasantly complicated for gay people.

Kansas, of course, isn't about to end its constitutional ban on same-sex marriage or otherwise acknowledge that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in June. But its newly announced tax-filing policy suggests an eagerness to challenge the feds by countermanding the IRS's filing guidelines.

But all that's just Kansas being Kansas - which, way to keep up the good work, geniuses.

No, the fun part is seeing the Star throw up its little hands immediately upon publication of a potentially divisive news item. Well, someone must have said over on Grand Friday afternoon, this one's just gonna be too much for people to deal with.

"Commenting disabled for this story," the site read Friday afternoon. It's still disabled this morning.

Media watchers and trolls alike took note last month when the daily began requiring every commenter to log in through his or her Facebook account. The idea was to avoid another trollpocalypse such as the one that followed the Star's coverage of the Missouri State Fair's clowngate crisis.

Now every story that allows comments at kcstar.com kicks off that section with this sunny verbiage:

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

One issue of the day, I guess, is whether it's cool for Kansas to make a punitive tax code. Not that I'm especially eager to hear what the Star's readers think about that, but it always smarts a little to be denied the pleasure of reading "lively, open debate" from some of the most hateful, ill-informed media consumers in America.

So this means the new plan's going great, right?


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