The tone of our culture's online discourse claimed another victim this week, as Advance Publications' statewide web site announced they are ceasing to host comments from readers.

In a statement published this morning, Advance announced that as of Thursday, February 20, they will discontinue allowing comments on their publication's web site, which locally includes the Grand Rapids Press and the Muskegon Chronicle.

The reason for the decision is probably obvious to anyone who has perused a comments section on lately, and that is the tone of discourse has gone sour.

The editorial announcing the decision was penned by John Hiner, who stated:

Conversations routinely go off-topic, the tone can get uncivil or even nasty, and our moderators (and a vendor our company hires) stay busy around the clock policing the conversations, addressing flagged comments and even going so far as to ban some users.

Those resources are better put to use by our staff in creating more news content...

Don't worry, crank pots, you can still hurl your insults on the web site's social media pages. And, just to let you know, you're the reason we can't have nice things.

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