Quote Originally Posted by Lawrie Glick View Post
Why isn't it acceptable to quote or paraphrase a resident's comment at a public meeting? If a resident speaks out in a public forum on an issue, it may very well be relevant to me who the speaker is. For example, there are people in town who do their homework and a thoughtful analysis before making a public statement, and, there are people who, for me, simply don't have as much credibility. In other words, it can certainly be a material part of the story, and should, in most cases, not be censored. I don't think that a person who either supports or criticizes a proposition in a public forum ought to have an expectation of privacy with regard to their opinion. They are publicly entering the debate and attempting to influence the opinions of others, and it is fair for others to publicly respond to them. As an example, if a prominent person in town, who is not a public official, publicly states an opinion on an issue, shouldn't it be fair game for someone to point out in this forum that such person may have a conflict of interest with regard to that issue? And, I don't think that the litmus test ought to be whether or not the person utilizes this forum. It would be like saying that the Globe should not mention a person's name unless that person reads the Globe. It is easy enough for someone to contact the person and point out that their public statement is being discussed on Waylandenews. They would then have the option of responding if they choose. On the other hand, I think that it is legitimate for the editorial board to develop and enforce rules of civility, and to prohibit and censor name calling, ad hominem attacks, ridicule, attempts to embarass, and other things of that nature.
Lawrie, you state your case well, and a part of me completely agrees.

Here are the two cases I can think of where we deleted names from posts along the lines of Jeff's Q02:

In each case, a private individual was mentioned by name based on comments they had made at a public meeting. That meeting was taped, and is undoubtedly available somewhere (were it a more recent meeting, it would be available on WayCAM's On-Demand)

In the first case, we had a quote (I can't comment on its accuracy), in the second case a reference to an individual without saying specifically what the person had said. I do not believe the individuals' names were material to the points being made, and in both cases, the individuals were very concerned about their names being included. These posts were made during a very heated, emotional period, in which animosities were developing, even old friendships being severed, over the school reconfiguration. Given the heat of the debate, the lack of need for the names in the posts, and the specific requests of individuals, do we really need the names? Would it have been right to have left them in despite the requests? I don't ask this because I presume that I have all the answers, but because I am curious what others think looking back on this with over a year later.