IT’S A New Year and at The Oldham Times we are restating our commitment to stamping out online abuse.

On our website we regularly turn comments off on stories that are either prone to abusive comments or risk contempt of court but in the past have been more limited in what we could do on external sites like Facebook.

With more options now available to us we are following our policy through on that platform too.

The last thing we want to do is stifle debate and people are generally free to comment on the stories we share.

We actively encourage it, in fact.

But what we won’t stand for are racist, abusive or anti-vaccine comments that do nothing but spread hate and misinformation.

So, as you may have noticed, we have been more active recently in either limiting who can comment on some of our Facebook posts or deleting and hiding offensive responses.

As we are a small team, we would be grateful if readers who spot inappropriate comments report them so action can be taken.

On some stories, which seem to attract the worst offenders, we will be turning commenting off entirely.

It is not something we want to do but the toxic comments we have seen on some of our posts recently leave us with no choice.

This will also apply on active court cases where there is the serious risk a comment could be in contempt of court and jeopardise fair court proceedings.

To the vast majority who read and who make thoughtful comments on our stories, thank you.

We appreciate your support and do our best every day to provide the borough with a trusted source of local news.

Oldham is a fantastic place to report on and we are determined not to let a vocal minority ruin that.