New community forum gaining popularity
In the wake of Trumbull Chat changing to a new format, requiring users to log in using Facebook or LinkedIn, another community forum is gaining popularity.
Eye on Trumbull, moderated by Tom Kelly — a Democrat on the Board of Education, who is also a regular on Trumbull Chat— is similar to the format of the old Trumbull Chat.
Kelly initially created Eye on Trumbull in 2010, when rumor was that Trumbull Chat would be shut down — before it was taken over by The Trumbull Times. Kelly’s site then lay dormant for a couple of years until now.
“I am not trying to compete with Trumbull Chat,” Kelly said. “I just want to make sure that people have the opportunity to be heard. This is not about freedom of speech by any one political party; the intent is that everyone have free speech.”
It’s been a couple of weeks since Trumbull Chat has switched to a new format, which can be found at TrumbullChat.com. While new members continue to sign up, discussion has been slow to start. Some have criticized the change, saying they feel more comfortable posting anonymously and won’t be using the new site.
Trumbull Times Publisher Thomas Nash said the changes were made because of a few people using a cloak of anonymity to be nasty.
“We got many complaints from those who were criticized and sometimes these people were in positions of power, which may make some people think we changed TChat because of pressure from them, which is not the case,” Nash said. “A few people abused it and ruined it for the others. TChat is intended as a place for civilized discussion and it became too unwieldy and distracting to continue without making changes requiring stricter registration.”
As of this Thursday, Kelly said, about 100 members had signed up at Eye on Trumbull, found at Eyeontrumbull.proboards.com. Eye On Trumbull also has a Facebook page.
While he says he hopes the new TChat takes off, he understands why some people want to remain anonymous, and so far, he hasn’t had to delete any posts.
He also sees the role of forums like Trumbull Chat and Eye on Trumbull as more than a place for politics.
“I look at Trumbull Chat as it existed for the last six years as more than a political opinion board,” Kelly said. “People posted lost pets, or recommendations on a plumber or electrician. It’s also been a place for community announcements and a place to exchange information during incidents like the hurricane.”
Kelly said he hopes residents of varying opinions will continue to use Trumbull Chat and Eye on Trumbull, inviting First Selectman Timothy Herbst, who had been critical at times of the former Trumbull Chat.
“I welcome him and anyone else to go on Trumbull Chat or Eye on Trumbull and talk to people and have a legitimate discussion about issues,” Kelly said.