To keep our pages open to as many voices as possible | In Our Opinion

There’s been a bit of confusion of late on the letters and viewpoints seen here, so it may be time for a reminder on what’s fit to print on our Opinion page.

First off, the Herald welcomes a diversity of voices on our Opinion page, and we are grateful for the letters that we get from readers. Thank you to all our readers for their contributions over the years. Each of you has participated in the great democratic tradition of opinion sharing and community discussion, and provided food for thought on issues of local importance.

Unfortunately, we have space limitations in our print edition, so we have a letters policy that limits the length and frequency of letters to the editor. We generally limit letters to 350 words — we publish most longer letters online. We also limit letter writers to one letter a month. This helps ensure that there is room for as many voices as possible.

We discourage form letters and letters from writers far outside our area who are not writing about local issues. We will not publish letters that are submitted anonymously.

The purpose of the Herald’s Opinion page is to foster conversation and reflective thought. We don’t screen the letters we receive nor publish only the views that we personally agree with, but we do ask writers to keep a respectful tone, stay focused on addressing the issue at hand, and refrain from personal attacks.

Many times, a letter will prompt a response from another reader. That’s great, but we sometimes have to remind writers that when they start a conversation by submitting a letter, they shouldn’t expect an opportunity to pen a response to everyone who disagrees with them. If we allowed response-to-response letters, our Opinion page would be dominated by fewer voices repeating the same points and issues they had raised in previous editions, and there would be no room for other writers addressing other topics.

We realize it can be tough for some people to not get the last word on a topic. They can continue their conversation on NorthKitsapHerald.com and contribute on the comment section after each letter.

It’s a balancing act to make sure each edition reflects a diversity of opinions and viewpoints, and we understand that not every reader will appreciate the letters that are chosen for publication.

That said, we remain grateful to the readers who have the courage to share their viewpoints, however controversial, with other readers. It makes our Opinion pages one of the best-read sections of the newspaper.


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