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Editor’s Notebook: All Caps in Comments and Losing Sleep

Keeping a civil tone in the comments section isn’t always easy.

The following comment was posted on Tuesday, October 9, by reader James in a daily police log article on Benicia Patch yesterday:

ALMOST GOT RAN OVER WITH MY KIDS THIS MORNING AT MARY FARMER 
IN THE CROSS WALK !! WHEN ARE WE GOING TO PUT THE CELL PHONES 
DOWN!!!!!!! EVERY TIME I COME TO A LIGHT AND STOP I LOOK AT EVERYBODY AND EVERY BODYS LOOKING DOWN AT THERE CELL OR THERE TALKING ON IT LIKE ITS OK I CANT BELEVE IT!!!!!!!!!!! PUT IT DOWN 
WORRIED PARENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The sentiment is understandable but the all caps is a problem.  In the world of the internet, using all capital letters is akin to yelling and as editor of Benicia Patch I prefer my readers not yell at each other.  Also, it should be known I’ve removed comments written in all caps on other occasions.

In this case I let the comment stay for two reasons.  First, the commenter wasn’t yelling directly at another reader and secondly the comment isn’t a harsh personal attack but rather a comment on the actions of many in this day and age.

It is decisions like this one that keep local Patch editors awake at night.  Is it the comment I don't like or the tone of the comment?  Is it the right decision to leasve this comment or the wrong one?  I’m sure there are good arguments on both sides of those questions and I would be happy to read what readers think.  You are an integral part of what makes Benicia Patch a source for local news and a platform for conversation.

I should also note that even Patch's Terms of Service has a section that is in all caps.

Should comments in all caps be removed and the commenter asked to resubmit? 

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If there’s something in this article you think should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call editor JB Davis at 707-628-0051 or email him at benicia@patch.com

Joe Feltcher October 11, 2012 at 01:39 AM
THANKS FOR THE CLARIFICATION JB.
Kenny October 11, 2012 at 03:39 AM
He brought up an excellent point. Too bad it was lost on Caps policing. Can't you edit a post JB?
Babaloo October 11, 2012 at 03:44 AM
you have nothing better to write about ? really ? ayfkm ?
Babaloo October 11, 2012 at 03:44 AM
REALLY ?
Aaron Nowling October 11, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Granted, the person using all caps is a problem, but I can see how upset they would be with an incident like the one described. Cells phones have become the addiction of the decade. Several times, I have had to swerve in traffic to avoid an accident due to people using their cell phone while driving, A most recent occurence which I observed while stopped at a traffic light in Benicia was a lady text messaging with three toddlers in the back seat of the car. This person continued on to the freeway doing the same. The way I see this incident is a traffic citation for using the cell while driving and three citations of child indangerment. One can see cell phone users in the grocery store with their cell phone glued to their ear like wall paper on the wall. If only they knew how dumb looking they look maybe they wouldn't do it. Many offices have had to post signs stating no cell phone use in this building. Personally, I do not like to listen to other people bloviate when I have to hear what they are talking about. I do not understand why there is so much to bloviate about in public. In addition, I do not think the authorities have done enough to enforce the law concerning cell phone use while driving. It appears the people using the cell phones while driving are playing the "It's all about me game".
Kenny October 11, 2012 at 04:04 PM
+1
T. Gunter October 11, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Ironic.
Babaloo October 24, 2012 at 12:42 AM
HEY... I'M USING ALL CAPS....call the cap police....wooo woooo woooo.......calling all cars,,the cap police are out there. beware...
DDL October 24, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Some people would want to see you knee-CAPPED for that offense.

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