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Ill. newspaper suspends Web comments

BLOOMINGTON, Ill., Jan. 3 (UPI) -- The editor of The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Ill., says he is suspending readers' Web site comments on local stories.

Editor Mark Pickering, writing on the newspaper's Web site Sunday, said that a proliferation of "personal attacks and assertions that have nothing to do with" the stories the comments are attached to have prompted him to shut down the feature on Pantagraph.com through the end of the New Year's holiday weekend.

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"This 'cooling off' period is meant as a strong reminder to our online readers: That the reason comments are allowed in the first place is to foster a 'spirit of community involvement and conversation,'" he wrote.

Pickering wrote that commentators often ignored its posted policy urging posters to "keep your conversation clean, civil and respectful."

"Unfortunately, some commenters choose to ignore the rules of fair play and civil discourse, which only yields responses from others that turn a legitimate 'discussion' into a free-for-all that has no place on our Web site," he wrote.

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