MaineToday Media Inc. blocked on Tuesday readers' comments on the website of its main newspaper, The Portland Press Herald, and two other local publications in response to "vile, crude, insensitive, and vicious postings," Poynter.org reported.
"No story subject seems safe from hurtful and vulgar comments," said MaineToday Media CEO Richard Connor, BusinessWeek quoted. The policy change also affected the sites of the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel.
Two days after the decision, comments were brought back under a system that allows tighter comment controls through moderating features. "We halted commenting for about 24 hours as we made the switch," said Connor to Nieman Journalism Lab. "We believe we will find a system that will correct 80 to 90 percent of the problems that can result from a totally open commenting system which we had."
According to Poynter.org, MaineToday Media is not the only media group trying to put a halt on unrestricted comments. For instance, KSL-TV in Salt Lake City eliminated in September all the comments from the site while developing a system that would not allow anonymity. Also the Las Vegas Sun filters anonymous comments and removes them after 72 hours.