News

Editors’ Note: Website and social media issues and our coverage of controversies

It has recently come to our attention that some of our readers have had problems posting links to our recent story about Wang Ping’s discrimination lawsuit on Facebook and Twitter. Some were not able to post the link at all, while others had their posts immediately marked as spam. At the same time, others have shared the link without issue.

Given the contentious nature of the story, and its potential to paint Macalester in a negative light, there was some speculation that the college administration may have played some role in limiting the dissemination of the article, perhaps by contacting Facebook. The Mac Weekly staff would like to put that speculation to rest.  Until we get our website fully up and running on themacweekly.com, our current interim domain name is .tk, a free-use alternative to .com that is unfortunately common for spam links and malware because it can be used by anyone. The most likely explanation is that the volume of traffic and action on the Wang Ping article (over 7,000 views and 1,000 Facebook likes) in combination with the unusual URL is what caused the problem by triggering automatic spam filters. This idea is supported by the number of times the article was successfully shared by many readers and the problems that have occasionally come up liking or sharing other non-controversial articles.

While we are on the subject of our coverage of the Wang Ping case, we’d like to articulate a few key points about our methods of reporting both that story and the Lara Nielsen appeal story. The relative absence of direct comment by college administrators implicated in the stories is not due to any editorial design of ours, as we consistently reach out to all parties involved in any story that involves a dispute. Rather, the administration is legally limited in what they can say publicly in regards to these cases. They have also often refused to comment, and both these facts are noted in our articles, but we think for clarity they bear repeating here. Our news stories on these topics are not intended to advocate for a position, but rather to present the situation at hand as completely as possible. Any editorial stance taken by The Mac Weekly on any issue will be expressed in the opinion section as a staff editorial.

February 22, 2013

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