I’m focusing a lot on comments these days (maybe too much? tell me if so) because they’re one of the relatively few ways readers have to interact with reporters and each other on our site. We’re working on more ways, but I don’t want to neglect something our readers are already used to.

Yesterday, I asked what you think about comments, and I got some good responses, including the fact that making people jump through hoops discourages good, moderate commenters.

Today, on this story, more people are talking about comment threads. Some are for them, some think we need to stop them now. I think most people fall somewhere in the middle.

So I put it out to you. Keep comments or axe them? Leave them as they are or re-vamp them?

I took a week off from writing about comments to see what we could do differently. This week, rather than round up up the most commented upon stories, I’m going to highlight a few of the funniest/most thought provoking comments for GazetteOnline.

Starting out on a lighter note, Adam Belz’s story about Linn County offices staying at Westdale for now drew a lot of east side vs. west side sniping.

One westsider had a solution, though. Ernest Rimrodt wrote in his comment “Succession now”

Now is the time for the Westside of Cedar Rapids to revert back to Kingston City. The name of our town before the Eastsiders took us over illegally if history is correct. We have the Police Station, Water Treatment Plant, National Guard HQs, the Airport and now City and County Government agencies so I say its time to kiss Cedar Rapids good bye and go our own way.
We have been screwed long enough by folks with nothing more than Eastside and downtown interests and now is the time for succession…The Westside IS the Best side and we need out freedom to form and carve out our own destiny..

The word he was looking for in his title was likely “secession,” and I don’t know if his comment was serious or not, but it certainly got people talking.

Moving on to more serious topics, a story by Alicia Ebaugh about Cedar Rapids’ borrowed armored personnel carrier drew a very divided reaction.

One long-time commenter, Censorship Sucks, wrote a comment titled “woohoo, more para-military wannabe’s”

Just what this country needs more of, over-zealous para-military police forces. rolleyes All you have to do is do a little research on the hundreds or thousands of botched police and SWAT raids in this country to know this isn’t a good idea. Yes, I realize it’s on loan. I also realize that even though they say it’s out of the budge NOW doesn’t mean that they won’t try to sneak it into the budget later.
I suggest reading the many articles written about botched para-military police raids by Radley Balko on his website: http://www.theagitator.com/category/paramilitary-police-raids/
Also check out the map of botched raids on the CATO Institute’s website: http://www.cato.org/raidmap/

Some people didn’t like his take, though, and were happy with the police’s decision to try out the vehicle.

Bob Johnson wrote in his comment “Show Me”

Show me where the CRPD has broken into the wrong home and killed a person under false pretenses/bad detective work or whatever. There are hundreds of SWAT/SRT teams across America and there are thousands and thousands of raids done for a variety of purposes every year. Not every one of them goes off perfectly I’m sure. But there is a big difference implying that it happens all the time, especially here in CR.
I am not a fan of buying this vehicle from our city funds, but if it could be obtained with grants etc from the feds then woo-hoo. I believe the big black and white EM50 they got a few years ago was paid for this way. A vehicle like this could be very usefull to not only CR but regionally as well. A vehicle like this could end up saving many lives in a rampaging shooter scenario, where officers utilize it to safely transport themselves and civilians to/from an active shooter.
In the end would it be useful to the police…..yes. Is it needed, depends. Officers never want to have to need their gun in a situation either, but they have one in case because we don’t live in Maybury. Should it come from the city budget, I don’t want it too for a number of reasons, but if it came from grants etc then great. I do like the idea someone said about people here in CR fabricating one, I think that would be interesting!

And for the last comment, I’ll share a funny comment on a very serious story. Whirlpool is laying off nearly 440 people from its Middle Amana plant, which made a lot of people angry, especially in light of the dismal economic news elsewhere.

In his post “New Stock Market Terms,” Tan Dog wrote:

And here are some new Stock market terms for these times;
CEO –Chief Embezzlement Officer.
CFO– Corporate Fraud Officer.
BULL MARKET — A random market movement causing an investor to
mistake himself for a financial genius.
BEAR MARKET — A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no
allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and you ain’t get’n any either
VALUE INVESTING — The art of buying low and selling lower.
P/E RATIO — The percentage of investors wetting their pants
as the market keeps crashing.
BROKER — What my broker has made me.
STANDARD & POOR — Your life in a nutshell.
STOCK ANALYST — Idiot who just downgraded your stock.
STOCK SPLIT — When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your
assets equally between themselves.
FINANCIAL PLANNER — A guy whose phone has been disconnected.
MARKET CORRECTION — The day after you buy stocks.
CASH FLOW– The movement your money makes as it disappears

What comments enlightened or enraged you this week? Tell us about it in the comments below.

As always, our stories drew a lot of comments this week. Two stories on the flood drew sharp reaction from our commenters, as did the mayor revealing she has sleep apnea and the stories written about UI and its handling of a sexual assault report.

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Welcome to the first installment of blog posts highlighting the most commented stories from the Gazette’s Web site. After the “read more” link, you’ll find a flood story and plenty of politics.

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