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Subject: News Sites Banning Comments: Quick Poll rss

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Crypt Keeper
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A recent article from Yahoo News discusses how some big name news sites are shutting down the comments sections for their articles. The reason? Oh come on, this is RSP. You already know: trolling, ad hominem attacks, foul language, bigotry, general nastiness etc. Sound familiar? It's created quite a dilemma in news circles. On one hand comments allow users to interact with the site forming a community bond. Plus commenters usually keep returning to check their posts thus creating more clicks/views for advertisers. On the other hand many news stories lead almost inevitably to strong feelings and flame wars which turn off many users, some of whom may never return again. Plus a vile post in a news site's comment section is still associated with that site no matter who posted it. It's all sort of newsie catch-22. Apart from throwing in the towel entirely several alternatives have been offered...

You could add more moderators, but news sites usually run on slim profits and many simply can't afford a moderator department.

You could dump comments but go old school by adding a "letters to the editor" section, but this tends to feel like censorship and can anger people whose letters aren't selected.

You could try the Facebook approach where all commenters must have verified identities, but when the Huffington Post tried this it sparked anger since it added obstacles to posting, sort of like asking for voter I.D.

You could try the tech approach. New shareware is being looked at by various sites that "aims not only to filter out the ugliness but to identify the "trusted" readers and display constructive comments more prominently." Some might call it the Big Brother approach.

According to Greg Barber, director of digital news projects at the Washington Post...

"When users come in and see a pie fight, they are likely to pick up a pie and throw it. If they see a reasoned discussion, they will want to contribute in a reasoned way."

So what to do? If you were in charge of a news site big enough to have a reputation worth protecting...

Poll
What would you do to deal with nasty comments?
I'd just dump comments altogether. They're more trouble than they're worth. After all, People visit the site to read stories by the reporters and columnists. Who cares what Joe Blow the passive aggressive beer swiller thinks?
I like the moderator system. Lets face it, comments are part of the 21st century so let the people interact. A moderator lets everyone have their say (within reason) and gives a human touch by checking out complaints and flags on a case-by-case basis.
I prefer the "letters to the editor" approach. How many comment threads are filled with garbage and off topic ranting? An editor keeps the discussion on track with the best letters representing entire factions of thought so that readers get all sides without wasting time.
I'm all for the Facebook approach. Let the people talk but, if you're going to jump into the arena, pull off your mask of anonymity so that if you want to be a vile bigot the whole world can see you for who you really are.
The tech approach sounds interesting. It seems to reward good posters and punish foul posters with neutral alacrity and there is no human emotion or bias from moderators or editors. I'm not exactly sure how the program works but I'd like to give it a try ... if the price is right.
Oh come on. It's the internet! Welcome to the Caribbean luv! Let the people have their say and get out of the way. Everyone knows the comments section brings out the good, the bad and the ugly of humanity. But that's what humanity is, not a Walt Disney movie. If you can't stand the heat then read the article and don't click on the comments.
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Poll created by Gialmere
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J
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they've been getting rid of comment sections for years now
 
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Crypt Keeper
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Yeah, I've been noticing that. I just hadn't mentally articulated it until I read the story. I'd read some controversial article and scroll down to see what the mob thought and find ... nothing.
 
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Walt
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Another option is the metadata approach. Maintain metadata on users and, as search engines tend to, put users into their own self-confirming bubble of fellow users. Everyone will be happy until the bubble bursts on election day.

Of course, with so many people in bubbles, the elections will feel rigged because their confirmation biases are suddenly not being confirmed. But that's nothing new.
 
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casey r lowe
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comment sections arent any worse than the letter to the editor sections in newspapers - the difference is that every submission gets printed
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Boaty McBoatface
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I visit news sites for news, not what Naziboy18 thinks about it (that is what RSP is for).
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Comments sections are usually relatively pointless. Getting rid of them is not hindering free speech, obviously.
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Eðvarð Hilmarsson
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If I think a story is being a bit to vague or misleading I usually check the comment sections. Often someone will present missing information.

Sometimes I have to wade through a bunch of crap to find it, but reader comments have often encouraged me to check more sides of the story out.

Getting rid of the comments on some stories and not others is the worst type of censorship however (and the Guardian for example is more and more often guilty of this).

I do not think we have a "right" to having public comments, but they increase our liberty for good or bad.

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You can comment on news stories anywhere such as Twitter, Facebook, or your own blog. the news agencies have no requirement to give people a platform on their own sites.
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Comment sections open to the general public are utterly worthless. They are dominated by fringe loonies who have too much time on their hands and no other outlet for their views. Whatever room is left after the loonies have spammed them is taken up by fanboys and spewers of talking points from the other side of the issue. This isn't confined to the news. Gamer sites and sports sites eventually suffer the same fate. The only solution is moderation, and that's both time-intensive and subject to the same biases being expressed by the commenters.

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Steven Woodcock
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SPIGuy wrote:
Comment sections open to the general public are utterly worthless. They are dominated by fringe loonies who have too much time on their hands and no other outlet for their views. Whatever room is left after the loonies have spammed them is taken up by fanboys and spewers of talking points from the other side of the issue. This isn't confined to the news. Gamer sites and sports sites eventually suffer the same fate. The only solution is moderation, and that's both time-intensive and subject to the same biases being expressed by the commenters.


Umm.....so where does RSP fall here?


Ferret
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Trey Chambers
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How will Peter and Valentine take over the world now?
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Oldies but Goodies ... Avalon Hill and
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Ferretman wrote:
SPIGuy wrote:
Comment sections open to the general public are utterly worthless. They are dominated by fringe loonies who have too much time on their hands and no other outlet for their views. Whatever room is left after the loonies have spammed them is taken up by fanboys and spewers of talking points from the other side of the issue. This isn't confined to the news. Gamer sites and sports sites eventually suffer the same fate. The only solution is moderation, and that's both time-intensive and subject to the same biases being expressed by the commenters.


Umm.....so where does RSP fall here?


Ferret
Used to be two or three notches above. Still a notch above. Not guaranteed to remain that way.

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