BENNINGTON -- The Bennington Banner has a newcommenting system at benningtonbanner.com, called Disqus, that lets users join discussions using their social networking accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, or by setting up a Disqus account. (Just click on the Disqus button above the comment field for information.) This allows you post comments immediately -- if your comments follow the ground rules to begin with (see the guidelines below).

Guests also can leave comments, but there could be a delay in their posting pending the system's approval. If you want your comment to be posted without delay, use your social networking accounts or set one up at http://disqus.com/profile/signup/.

The Banner is switching to the Disqus system because of the many complaints received concerning some comments posted through the previous system, which proved too difficult to monitor on a 24-hour basis. We hope the new format will lead to healthy debate and respectful commenting on articles, and we intend to use the tools Disqus provides to block or remove offensive remarks or personal attacks. So engage in debate and share your comments. The commenting guidelines to be aware of include:

* Be civil. Debate the issues, but avoid personal attacks.

* Keep it clean. No foul language. Don't post obscene material.

* Keep it respectful. Don't call other people names, taunt, threaten or ridicule them.

* Again, keep it respectful.


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Don't make fun of the dead. Don't wish harm or death upon the living or the injured. Don't make fun of children. Don't threaten people.

* Don't post hate speech or comments that stereotype: This includes comments that stereotype, intimidate or are hateful toward a person or group of people on the basis of religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age or disability. These are not within your First Amendment rights. * Be careful. Don't libel people. Don't break copyright rules. Don't invade a private person's privacy. Know these laws before you post.

* Be who you are. You own your comments. Don't name poach or steal other identities.

* Stay on topic. Discourse that veers away from the issue steers everyone away. Stick to the issue at hand. Don't turn comments into a personality fight.

The Bennington Banner cannot and does not review all comments. If you believe a comment violates the guidelines or is inappropriate, mouse over the comment and click on the "flag" link. The Banner can ban abusive commenters.

The Banner reserves the right to remove, edit or modify comments. By posting a comment, you acknowledge they may be republished or repurposed by the Banner.

By posting a comment, you acknowledge that you alone are accountable for any and all legal claims and damages that may be brought against you by a third party as a result of your comment. The Banner is not responsible for the content of any comment.