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Touching posts show value of comments

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Scott Angus
June 2, 2008

We regularly get e-mails and messages from people who question the value of the comments we allow after stories on Gazettextra.com.

They see the comments as forums for anonymous people to post incendiary opinions, assassinate the characters of people in the news, or get into spitting matches with others that often degenerate into nasty, off-topic tirades.

All true. But that's not even half of what the comments provide. I've defended them before, and I will again, even though they have added up to a ton more work for several of us at the Gazette as we try to monitor, moderate and remove if necessary.

The comments also give people a chance to have conversations they could never have had before on important community topics. And they allow people to publish their valuable thoughts and opinions to thousands of others. That's pretty cool.

Just last Friday, I spent part of the afternoon responding to critics of the comments. Then I headed home and spent some time monitoring. In a span of about 15 minutes, I read two of the most valuable, most moving comments I had ever seen on Gazetteextra.com. "This is why," I said to myself. "This is why."

The first comment was written by the mother of Enio Torres Perez. He's a Parker student who has done great things in athletics and academics. He was born in Brazil, moved to Florida with his mother and eventually ended up with a guardian who brought him to Janesville. We told his story a few weeks ago. His mother, who still lives in Florida, posted this comment:

"My name is IRISMAR FERREIRA I am the mother from ENIO TORRES PEREZ FILHO I am so pround of my son this is true his going to live if my friend BRENDA like 3 years ago because we have financi problems But after 6 months he didnt want to come back to FLORIDA because he started doing very well in sports and many doors had opened from him so we agreed thay it was the best choice for him. Today he's a Big man he is my second son He is my BABY BOY. I have nevered forgten about him even though he's been miles away from me.He's family in BRAZIL misses him dearly and we all hope that he will come and see us very soon. He has made a huge whole in are hearts from being away from us all this time.We all love him very much.Im very thank-full for what the Slaters have done for Enio.Today as you all know he's heading out to collage..We are all very proud of him. Mommy LOVE YOU A LOT MY BABY BOY."

How touching is that?

And then, a few minutes later, another comment appeared in response to a story about the young man who was ticketed in connection with a fatal accident at East Milwaukee Street and Wuthering Hills in September that killed a Janesville woman.

It speaks for itself:

"What we need are stop lights at that intersection of Milwaukee St and Wuthering Hills for the following reasons.

1- People are never going to travel the posted speed limit on Milwaukee St.

2- When turning left onto Milwaukee St. from Wuthering Hills there is a large pine tree that obstructs the driver the view of the on coming traffic unless the driver pulls past the stop sign.

3-This is a dangerous and busy intersection and this type of accident will happen again unless something is done about it.

4-Marguerite Bladorn was my wife and the mother of my children. I do not want this to happen to anyone else. So please call our city leaders and tell them to put in stop lights at that intersection."

How powerful is that?

As I've told many people, we have to take the bad with the good when it comes to comments, but the good can be very good. These are two of the very best examples.



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