Gerber: Our online comments policy is changing

Free speech is the principle under which newspapers operate. As such, the journalists of the Times Free Press have wrestled with how - or whether - to regulate reader comments to our online stories.

We've allowed readers to comment anonymously on any story since February 2008. But starting today, the newspaper is changing its policy. Readers are free to comment anonymously on any works of opinion such as columns, editorials and cartoons. In other words, you can give your opinion when the writer is giving his or her opinion.

Don't worry, those of you who love-or love to hate-editorial cartoonist Clay Bennett are still free to comment on his works since they express an opinion.

But we are closing off comments on fact-based articles such as news, features or business stories and accounts of sporting events.