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changes next exitI’ve always been a strong proponent of allowing guests – i.e., folks not “registered” for a site – to comment on posts here. Requiring registration is a barrier to entry, however minimal, that some people will simply never cross. And I’d always wanted to encourage as much free, open communication as possible. I also wanted to get as much feedback as possible, and it tends to be the case that some of the most critical feedback will come from folks who feel that slight, additional security blanket of anonymity. I wanted the critical feedback.

Alas, as we’ve all seen over the past couple of years, and increasingly over the past few months, the comments have deteriorated into something short of a net positive experience. It is with tremendous regret that I’m thinking that the only way to get things back on track is to close comments to guests, and require registration for commenting. I imagine that there’s probably a reason that essentially every large site in the world requires registration for comments, and I think what we’ve been experiencing here is a pretty good example of why. So, the current plan is start requiring registration to comment on January 1. It’ll just be a simple name/email kind of thing, but I think we’ll find the overall quality of the comments will increase dramatically. This is your heads up.

  • A profile in the Tribune on new WGN Radio color man Ron Coomer. The man who will sit next to Pat Hughes in the booth next year grew up a Cubs fan, and is also friends with fellow noted Cubs fan, Eddie Vedder. Given that Vedder’s other famous baseball friend – Theo Epstein – also came to Chicago to be part of the Cubs’ organization, I think it’s pretty clear what’s going on here. Someone get Vedder Masahiro Tanaka’s phone number and set up a play date.
  • For those who saw Jorge Soler in the AFL, and/or for the scouts who seemed to suggest he was dogging it, Sahadev Sharma reports that Soler was indeed asked by the Cubs to take it easy on grounders when he was running out of the box. What looked like loafing was actually Soler being extra careful not to re-injure the stress-fractured leg, which cost him more than half of the 2013 season. Hopefully he’ll be 100% in the Spring.
  • Yesterday, CSN Chicago created quite a stir when an article went up, noting that Dan Dakich had claimed, during a college basketball game, that the Cubs signed Jeff Samardzija to a five-year, $55 million extension. The Twitters were on fire (and I was sitting in the pews at a wedding, thinking, “Please don’t let this be true – at least not for another hour or so”). The general consensus, however, was the Dakich was merely saying Samardzija should accept the reported extension offer, not that he had already. My night of dancing was saved. Nothing to see. (Pet peeve: the CSN article now no longer exists, and the original tweet has been deleted. I’ve always thought, in these situations, the better course is to leave the article up, but clearly edit it at the top to note the error – otherwise, the story lives on in the minds of folks who can’t seem to find it, but swear they saw that Samardzija had been extended. I know that no publication wants to have inaccurate information on its portal, so I understand the deletion, I just think that approach might actually make things worse.)
  • Jay gets you Bears fans ready for a huge game day with his morning Bullets.

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