Welcome to the new, improved PeninsulaDailyNews.com

Your best source for North Olympic Peninsula news, sports, photography and human interest stories.

If you are getting your first look at the new design of our website: Yes, this is peninsuladailynews.com.

And yes, this is still your best source for North Olympic Peninsula news, sports, photography and human interest stories —the news from Clallam and Jefferson counties.

We invite you to look around. It may take a little while to get used to the changes.

This week, the Peninsula Daily News adopted a new content management system and redesigned the website. For the PDN staff, it means a different way of delivering our journalism. Like any learning experience, it may take a while for us to discover the best way to get the work done.

For you, it means a different (and, we believe, improved) way of browsing, reading and enjoying all the things the PDN website has to offer. Overall, we hope you appreciate the clean, vivid presentation of articles and images.

Headlines are larger. Stories are organized and displayed in uncluttered groupings.

Best of all, our new design is easier to read via mobile devices and tablets.

We’re also changing the way readers make story comments on peninsuladailynews.com.

We’ve signed on to a new online platform called Civil Comments that was developed to improve the quality of commenting on websites.

Civil Comments is a fresh approach to story commenting, using reviews by other commenters to help moderate submissions. The goal: Interesting and civil debate and conversation, no spam and, we hope, a better experience for all readers.

Many readers have complained about combative, uncivil statements in some comments. We turned off the ability to comment on some stories because of the reaction from a few. We tried to monitor the comments more closely but with limited staff and the volume of comments, we couldn’t always keep up.

So we found a better way.

We’re keeping our comments. They are important to us. At their best, they add information and other points of view, and they can inform our own reporting. We value that and want to keep it.

We’re not looking to stifle or skew debate. We do want to improve the quality of the comment space, and we think Civil Comments can help us do that.

Civil is a Portland, Ore., startup that uses technology and peer review to keep things on track.

Here’s how it works: First, set up an account. You can create one in the comment space below our stories.

You can set up a Civil Comments account with an email address or your existing Facebook or Twitter logins, but you do not need Facebook to comment, which should come as good news for the many readers we’ve heard from who for various reasons don’t use Facebook.

When you post a new comment, you’ll be asked to quickly rate two unrelated comments for both quality and civility — and then to rate your own comment.

Once your comment is submitted, it will be reviewed by other commenters.

Ratings also are cross-checked by Civil’s algorithms against other users’ responses. Users collectively help determine the tone of the comments and what’s acceptable. Readers can also flag inappropriate material for us to review.

It’s a completely new approach.

Everyone’s comments are peer-reviewed to start. Commenters with a history of civil comments can earn trusted status. After that, the peer reviews become optional.

“So many news sites are turning off their comments because they can’t afford to monitor and moderate them 24/7,” Aja Bogdanoff, one of the Civil co-founders, said in an email.

“That’s a real loss, both for the sites and for their audiences. Public discussion is crucial to online spaces; we don’t want to see it disappear.

“We’re big supporters of free speech and honest debate; no one wants to see comments sanitized. The thing is, comment sections that become toxic have a real silencing effect on potential commenters.

“When participants are guaranteed a basic level of civility and respect, we see a lot more people willing to join in and debate in the comments.”

Our regular Facebook feed itself isn’t affected by any of this.

Please take some time and get familiar with the new peninsuladailynews.com. Test-drive it. Kick the tires. To help you explore the whole site, we are leaving the paywall down for one week.

If you want to tell us what you like — or what bugs you or what could be improved — please message us at lleach@peninsuladailynews.com ortward@peninsuladailynews.com.

If you are having technical problems using the new site, contact webmaster@peninsuladailynews.com.

Thanks for reading.

— Leah Leach, executive editor

— Terry Ward, publisher

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