Jon Ratner, owner of the popular Floyd County in View web site, took his communiy forum and other pages down this week and replaced them with a one-page apology that reads, in part:
Once I realized there were comments on this forum that were not political or issues for debate, and were specific about private individuals and businesses, I removed the forum from the website.
Other commentary based on input from residents and concerned individuals was not written to disparage nor attack any, but was included to provide general and alternative information in response.
Any statements made in the forum did not issue from nor represent the opinions of either Floyd County In View nor me.
The comment forum has been permanently removed as it is not possible for me to moderate it in a manner which has become obvious that it requires. The entries were like spam that we cannot control nor keep from our own email inboxes in that entries were made that were not solicited nor warranted.
The hopes for creating that forum was to provide the Floyd public an opportunity to express their views and opinions in a location and manner where other Floyd residents could be aware of them and then respond or reply to them in the spirit of public debate.
The purpose of this website for nearly 10 years has been both as a public forum and as a community service to and for the people of Floyd County where information and news and public expression might have their free and open venue. Again, I am very sorry for any hurt these messages may have caused.
It’s a shame Jon felt the need to shut down his comment forum but his move is understandable. We recently had to change the comments sections of Blue Ridge Muse from an unmoderated to a moderated forum because too many people with too many private agendas tried to take over the discussions and fill them with hate, false information, invective and diversion.
Running a community news web site is like dancing barefoot on barbed wire. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, you will get end up bloodied. Unfortunately, we live in a fractous society where anger replaces reason and hate replaces debate. The Internet makes it too easy for people with false agendas, fake names and free email addresses to misrepresent themselves and the truth.
We hope Jon gets Floyd County in View back up and running soon. It was, and should remain, a valuable community resource.