IN a world where tapping on a keyboard can be like lobbing a verbal grenade, moderating online comments is a tricky balance.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/2/2009 (4634 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

IN a world where tapping on a keyboard can be like lobbing a verbal grenade, moderating online comments is a tricky balance.

Winnipeg Free Press deputy editor online John White said perspectives on how to best moderate controversial online content are still evolving in Canada. On the Free Press website, online commenters must register as a user, confirm their registration by e-mail, and then submit their comments, he said.

A Free Press editor goes through each comment before it's posted.

"We want to maintain the integrity of the comments. People aren't allowed to make racial (or) racist comments, even to the point of perpetuating stereotypes," said White. "I think we've trained them now so they understand what's appropriate and what isn't."

Some comments are edited by Free Press, which means offensive matter is edited out but the rest of the comment is published. A note is made on the comment that it's been edited, said White.

Readers can report comments they find offensive for editors to reconsider.

"It's challenging," he said. "When it gets into grey areas: Is it racist or is it not? Is that fair comment or is it not? You're starting to apply your own journalistic morals."

White said the Free Press site receives about 100 to 150 comments submitted per day, and about 90 per cent of those are published.