NRC won’t muzzle blog comments; urges ‘civility’

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been posting a public blog for almost five years now and will continue to post blog feedback in its “comments” section, although the nuclear regulator urges “civility” online.

“And it is true that a small number of people submit a substantial number of comments to our blog,” NRC Public Affairs Director Eliot Brenner, said in a Dec. 16 blog titled “Moderating the Social Media Marketplace of Ideas.”

Brenner said, “It’s also true that they tend toward the critical. (Six individuals account for 40% of the most recent 1,000 comments).”

NRC has looked at various changes in the blog’s operation – including the possibility of closing the comment function “as many federal blogs do,” according to the public affairs official.

“We already ask that submitters refrain from personal attacks – and while some comments may come close to that line – the vast majority of comments submitted are approved and posted,” Brenner said.

“In the end, we decided it is important for now to keep the platform open to all points of view – even those critical of us or with which we might disagree,” Brenner said. “We do continue to ask for civility, though.”

The NRC official added, “And we hope that an expanded number of blog readers will see fit to contribute to the comment dialogue.”

Since the online feature’s inception, NRC has more than 600 blogs on various subjects.

NRC will continue to try to address direct questions posed in comment, and to occasionally point out factual errors in comments. “We will continue to refrain, however, from weighing in on every comment discussion,” Brenner said.

‘Public Pit Bull’ and others have say on NRC blog policy

Brenner’s Dec. 16 blog has, as might be expected, stimulated various comments online.

“I guess you feel NRC that not all of the ‘1,753 amazing people’ who follow your blog are really all that amazing,” said a commenter who goes by “Public Pit Bull.” The commenter added that it’s “tragic and sad,” that many federal agencies are closing online blog feedback.

“I always thought that federal agencies were part of our government and that as such they would always welcome feedback…good, bad or even ugly,” Public Pit Bull said. “How naïve I am! I am glad that at least “for now” the NRC has not done the same.”

Another poster, identified as “CaptD,” saluted NRC public affairs for “taking the high road” and continuing to allow comments.

CaptD went on to say: “As one of those that does comment often, I’d like to assure those that always cry foul when comments that are not gushingly Pro-Nuclear are posted, that the NRC does have problems, just like other subsets of the U.S. Government and where better for those to be posted than on the NRC Blog?”

A link to the NRC blog site can be found here: http://public-blog.nrc-gateway.gov/

 

 

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.