Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions that might come in handy during this shift:
What will this look like for me?
*The look and feel of Facebook Comments is similar to the previous CarolinaLive.com comments feature. You will be able to scroll to the bottom of a story to view existing comments. Unlike the old comments feature, however, you must have a Facebook account in order to post a comment.
OK, I have a Facebook page, but how do I submit a comment?
*If you are already logged into a Facebook account, you can open a story and immediately post a new comment or reply to an existing comment. If you are not signed into Facebook, you will be asked to login after you type their comment and press the submit button.
Can I create a fake Facebook page just so I can comment on your articles?
*You can try, but you likely won't be successful. Facebook does a great job of figuring out whether or not a commenter is an actual person. This means that a comment made by someone using a non-verified, new or low-activity Facebook account cannot be viewed by others until a moderator approves the comment or Facebook (not the station) decides you're a real person.
All right already, I'm buying into this Facebook comment thing, but what do all these new boxes and options mean?
*Follow a post. If you select "Follow a Post" under a comment, you will receive a Facebook notification each time someone replies to your comment. You don't have to reply to the post or like the post. And you will not be identified on the site as having "followed" the post.
*Mark post as spam or abuse. The more people who report a particular comment as spam or abuse, the more likely the comment will be removed from public view
*Facebook notifications. You will receive a notification on your profile when someone replies to your comment, likes your comment or posts an additional comment to the article.
*Post to wall. You now have the option to post your comment to your wall along with a link back to the story - this is in addition to appearing in the story's comment stream. When a friend replies to this wall post on Facebook, their reply will be visible in the story's comment stream on our website as well as on the Facebook page.
*Like an individual comment. The fact that you liked the comment will not show up in your newsfeed on Facebook. This simply lets Facebook take note of a comment that is getting a lot of attention, and it may encourage the Facebook platform to boost that comment to the top of the comment stream.
I've purposely avoided getting a Facebook page, and I don't want one. So, why are you excluding me?
*We hear you. There are many people in our community who don't have or want a Facebook page. However, the reality is that Facebook has become the accepted standard for commenting on not only news websites but also entertainment pages. Here are some examples:
OK, the reason I haven't signed up for Facebook is that I really don't want people to know what I'm doing every minute. I'm more private than that.
*We understand the concern over privacy. It's become a huge issue for people looking for jobs, and with the ability to Google everything, we can see how you wouldn't want those Vegas pictures to surface to the wrong person. Ever. We could help you set up a private Facebook profile that may allay your concerns. Let us show you how.
I'm on Facebook, but my boss is my friend. I don't want him to know my political views, is there a way to comment honestly and protect my privacy?
*Yes and no. The only way you can truly be sure your boss won't see something you don't want him/her to see is to not be friends with him/her on Facebook. That said, there are definitely a couple ways to protect your posts. First, you can simply choose not to share your comment on the Facebook wall. That way your boss would only know you commented on a story is if he happened across that exact article and read the comments. Alternately, if you protect your posts so that your boss cannot see pictures, comments and articles that you share, he won't be able to see your post even if you do share it on your wall. Find out more about your Facebook privacy settings here. Plus, if you've protected your wall and your boss does happen across that exact article, he won't be able to see your comment. BUT (and this is a biggie), this assumes that he is logged into Facebook. If he isn't logged into Facebook and comes across that article, he will see your comment as a public post.
If I've blocked someone from my Facebook page, will they be able to see my comments on your story page?
*Yes and no. If that blocked person is logged into Facebook at the time that they view the article, they cannot see your comments. If you've blocked them on Facebook, they will see other people's comments and replies, but they cannot see yours. BUT (the big one again), if they are not logged into Facebook at the time they view the comments on our story page, they will be able to see your comment as a public post. Keep in mind, you are still commenting on a story on our website, not on your Facebook wall, so you have to be sure that what you write here is something you are OK with the public viewing.
You actually think people will be nicer just because you've attached their Facebook profile to their comment?
*Yes. There are certainly people out there who are mean-spirited and don't care who knows it. But websites that have adopted the Facebook commenting platform have noticed a significantly reduced backlog of off-color comments. Plus, this new platform makes it easier for you to flag a comment or user, and it makes it easier for us to ban them if they're consistently inappropriate.
Is this supposed to shut me up or muzzle me in some way?
*Not at all! We absolutely welcome your opinions, and we hope you'll keep them coming! What we think, hope and expect will happen is that people who hide behind an anonymous name to hurl threats or racial slurs will clean up their act. And, if they don't clean up their act, we think that you, our community, will self police those people by flagging their comments and helping us to ban them from our site.
What if I'm offended by user's comment?
*You can mark a comment for abuse. The comment will not disappear until a specified number of different users flag the same comment, at which point it goes to the attention of the moderator.
How many flags does it take?
*Unfortunately, we don't have that magic number to share. Facebook controls that, the station does not.
Can I delete my own comment or reply?
What happens when I do?
*If you made a comment and had it posted to Facebook as well, deleting the comment from the story page will remove the comment from both the story page and your Facebook page. If you remove the comment from Facebook only, your comment will remain on the story page.
I'm a public figure, and it's really important to keep my opinions private. So, now you're saying I can't join in the conversation?
*We're sorry you feel that way. Our goal is for real people to have real conversations on this website about real issues that impact our community. We would hope that, for the most part, public figures would find such a forum useful, as public figures often use TV, radio, newspapers and websites in attempts to get their message across, reach members of our community and foster important conversations. Our view is that all opinions will be welcome here, but that they must made by real people willing to stand behind their point of view, rather than hide behind a cloak of anonymity. A "real world" metaphor is that we would like this forum to foster the same types of passionate conversation one might find at a town hall, PTA, school board, planning commission meeting or other public forum for important conversations about our community. We don't see being a "public figure" as an inhibitor to participation in such conversations and hope that you do not either.
Why don't you just block the IP address of the offenders?
*While this seems like an easy out, blocking an IP address is a little more complicated than it appears, and it doesn't help us reach the goal we're trying to achieve: real comments from real people. By blocking an IP address, you block all content associated with that IP, which means it isn't selective. So, if someone is using a computer at a library, every future user would also be blocked from commenting on our site. And, just because you block an IP, that doesn't stop someone from going to another computer and logging back in, any more than the banning of any single "anonymous" alias would stop that user from creating five more and posting more undesirable commentary.
You have the power to delete comments, why not just do that?
*We do have the power to delete, but as soon as we delete one comment, we become liable for all comments. And as a news organization, we choose not to be a censor. By switching to Facebook, we think the need to delete and censor will disappear, as this forum is much more "self-moderated" than our current commenting platform. Users can opt to report abusive comments, and Facebook algorithmically decides when that comment should be blocked. Plus, when people have to attach a real name to their reply, they choose their words more carefully.
Well, that's just discrimination. I don't use (and don't want to use) Facebook.
*If you want us to know what you think on a topic, you are always more than welcome to call us at 843-234-9733 x212 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We value your opinion. However, by switching to the Facebook commenting platform, we do not believe we are discriminating. We are simply requiring people to attach their real names to their comments. Right now Facebook is the best option to do this. As others arise, we will explore them and, if appropriate, add them to the site. It is worth noting that more than 800 million people worldwide use Facebook and that more than 90 percent of adults in the US who are online use it. It is 100 percent free of charge, available worldwide, accessible to all and as the world's leading forum for online conversation, brings far more assets to provide effective moderation and other features and functionality that users enjoy, than any TV station (or radio station, newspaper, etc.) website could hope to. This is why, as noted in other parts of this documentation, so many other websites, blogs and online properties are doing the same thing.
Do you get paid by Facebook to implement this change?
Why don't you just get a moderator?
*It's an overwhelming task. We've researched other solutions, and we've even tried a few. At this time, Facebook is our best option to ensure that people "keep it real" while commenting on our stories. In truth, we honestly do not wish to "moderate." We do not seek to delete comments or to ban users. What we seek is to raise the level of conversation to the point where it meets our community standards and to ask all members of our community to adhere to those shared values. We feel like the best way to do this is to require users to comment with their "real names." For those who value their online anonymity and would prefer we find a solution that would preserve that, we respectfully disagree. There will always be other online forums for anonymous debate, and we welcome your use of those at your discretion. CarolinaLive.com and WPDE NewsChannel 15, however, wish to move forward with a conversational platform between those willing to stand behind their comments with real names, as we do online, on Facebook and on TV every day.
Does this change affect how I submit calendar items, birthdays and other community information?
*No. You can submit birthdays, calendar items and other community information just as you've always done.
And just so you know, we aren't the only ones who think this is a good idea. Here are some articles that give a little more background on what commenting via Facebook means | and why it's a good thing:
Facebook commenting system is good and bad news
Facebook comments have silenced the trolls - but is it too quiet?
The pros and cons of Facebook comments