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NILES Online forum sets up new rules



Published: Tue, November 13, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Those who want to post messages must register with a user name and e-mail address.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

NILES -- City residents can again speak their minds -- with a few restrictions.

Last month, the community forum section of the Niles Community Homepage was suspended after city officials complained about postings of derogatory statements and profanity on the Web site.

The forum has returned with some changes.

"We will continue to monitor all activity to assure that all visitors and participants follow the rules and regulations as intended," reads a message on the Web site. Previously, anyone could post statements or comments anonymously.

Procedure: The site now allows people to read posts without registering, but those who wish to post to the site have to register with a user name, password and current e-mail address.

Posts since the forum returned earlier this month indicate users are trying to acclimate themselves to the new format.

Community Homepage of Niles runs the site, www.cityofniles.com, at no charge to the city. The site also includes information about the city, its history, schools and other attractions. A message from the company indicates additional changes are expected, but company officials couldn't be reached.

At the time the forum was suspended, the company asked viewers to respond to a survey about whether or not the forum should continue. Many responded that they wanted it to continue but wanted some kinds of safeguards against threats or profanity.

To post a message, a user must enter first and last name, an e-mail address and a password. The name and password may be used on all public forums on a system called World Crossing that operates forums for Web sites.

Earlier problems: This is the second revision to the forum since it opened. The company removed its message board in February 2000 because of similar problems.

At that time, the site instituted a policy requiring postings to be reviewed before they hit the forum. Company employees review postings daily, but officials have said manpower constraints prevent them from intercepting each message before it is posted.

The latest change comes after meetings between company and city officials.

Before the change, company officials estimated that 4,000 to 5,000 people visit the site weekly and that only about 5 percent post messages.

dick@vindy.com




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