The popular and sometimes controversial community forums on the website Topix have been nixed after a decade, according to a company announcement.

"For over a decade, Topix has proudly served up your town's latest news and hottest takes," the post said. "In that time, a lot has changed. We have grown to be one of the internet's largest entertainment sources."

The post thanked readers and contributors and said, "We hope that you continue to enjoy our content no matter what form it might take."

Topix has also been at the center of lawsuits and an attorney general inquiry in Kentucky. The community forums allow people to post anonymously. For many small towns without local media, it was one of the few places to get local news.

But its policy of allowing people to post anonymously also was challenged in Kentucky courts.

Pikeville lawyer Bill Hickman sued two people, labeled as John Does number 1 and 2, for scathing but anonymous comments that they made on Topix about his work as chairman of the Pikeville-Pike County Airport Board. His critics accused him of various bad acts, such as manipulating land appraisals, building himself an airplane hangar at airport expense and generally wasting millions of dollars in public funds.

In September 2016, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that anonymous posters did not have to be disclosed unless the person suing can prove that what was posted was false.

In 2010, then-Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and then-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to for additional information about a $19.99 fee that consumers pay for "priority review" of inappropriate posts.

In addition, Conway and Blumenthal criticized the website and said Topix forums "appear to operate without moderators and contain obscene, vulgar and abusive posts, often concerning minors."

At the time, Topix CEO Chris Tolles defended Topix and accused the two men of "grandstanding."

But later Topix agreed to drop the $19.99 review charge in a settlement agreement that eventually included 34 state attorneys general. Topix also agreed to take down inappropriate posts within three days.

Still, lawsuits about anonymous posts on Topix continued.

In 2012, a Texas jury awarded a couple $13.6 million in a defamation lawsuit. In that lawsuit, the couple argued that false and defamatory anonymous posts had labeled them child abusers and drug dealers.

McClatchy, the Lexington Herald-Leader's parent company, owned about 11 percent of Topix in 2006, according to a McClatchy written release.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.