Articles about "comments"


Why are so many news organizations still worried about retweets by staffers?

Here’s our roundup of the top digital and social media stories you should know about (and from Andrew Beaujon, 10 media stories to start your day, and from Kristen Hare, a world roundup):

— At Reuters, Jack Shafer picks up on my piece yesterday about how so many news organizations — with The New York Times being a notable exception — still seem afraid of reporters’ retweets coming across as endorsements: “Are NPR, the AP, and Reuters’s editorial reputations really so fragile that a 140-character tweet or retweet by a staffer can blow the whole thing down?”

— Three months into the “temporary” Chicago Sun-Times comments ban, publisher and editor-in-chief Jim Kirk tells Robert Feder “he’s heard no complaints lately and he’s seen no drop-off in online traffic.” Comments should return with a new CMS “sometime around the fourth quarter.”

— BuzzFeed’s director of editorial products, Alice DuBois, on the photo “slide things” in popular posts lately: “I do think there’s a part of the editorial mission to keep pushing and experimenting,” she tells Poynter’s Andrew Beaujon.

— The Dallas Morning News has abandoned its “premium” website, which was ad-free and aimed to be more nicely designed.… Read more

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Technology can’t vanquish trolls completely, says leader of comments project

The just-announced partnership between The New York Times, Washington Post and Mozilla holds a lot of promise for the future of comments and communities at news sites, but don’t expect a new system to make trolls disappear completely.

“Try as we might, I don’t think we’re going to create magic,” Greg Barber, the Post’s director of digital news projects, told Poynter by phone. “What we’re going to do is try to take technology and apply it to the work we’re all doing as humans.”

Or, as Knight-Mozilla Open News initiative’s Dan Sinker put it: “We are not declaring war on assholery. It’s not a war we’ll be able to win, certainly not at a technical level.”

But what the team does aim to do with technology is augment the kind of human moderation currently required to make the Times’s comment section the gold standard in the industry. That means semantic analysis, machine learning and other automated tools, Barber said. Human moderation has its limits: the Times can only allow comments on a select number of stories, and despite the high quality, the conversations aren’t the most free-flowing and engaging on the Web.

It seems appropriate here to cite a comment from the Post story announcing the partnership this morning, comparing the Times and Post approaches to comments:

“That’s great news.

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National Journal eliminates comments from non-members

National Journal

As of Friday, National Journal Editor-in-Chief writes, “we’ll join the growing number of sites that are choosing to forgo public comments on most stories.”

Comments are currently disappointing, he writes: “For every smart argument, there’s a round of ad hominem attacks—not just fierce partisan feuding, but the worst kind of abusive, racist, and sexist name-calling imaginable.”

Comments sections will stay “open and visible to National Journal’s members” and “Our reporters and editors will remain extremely active and accessible on Twitter, where the discourse is abbreviated but usually civil,” he writes. You can also email your thoughts, and occastionally NJ will open up comments sections on stories “where the unique perspectives and ideas and suggestions of individual readers can add immeasurably to our journalism.”

Last year The Huffington Post changed its commenting policy, requiring a Facebook login to post. Splitsider and Popular Science eliminated comments altogether. Ugly comments “became too much to really fight back” against, Dan Nosowitz, then a PopSci writer, said in an interview at the time.

“Some sites have responded by devoting substantial time and effort to monitoring and editing comments,” Grieve writes, “but we’d rather put our resources into the journalism that brings readers to National Journal in the first place.”

Related: Anonymous comments can be ‘a frothing, bubbling cauldron of insanity’Read more

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Guardian has deleted almost 500 comments from pro-Russia trolls

The Guardian

On Sunday, The Guardian’s Readers’ Editor Chris Elliott wrote about a growing problem in the comments section of stories about Ukraine — pro-Russian trolling, which one moderator told him appears to be “an orchestrated campaign.”

Trolling covers a multitude of sins but a particularly nasty strain has emerged in the midst of the armed conflict in Ukraine, which infests comment threads on the Guardian and elsewhere, despite the best efforts of moderators. Readers and reporters alike are concerned that these are from those paid to troll, and to denigrate in abusive terms anyone criticising Russia or President Vladimir Putin.

One complaint came to the readers’ editor’s office on 6 March. “In the past weeks [I] have become incredibly frustrated and disillusioned by your inability to effectively police the waves of Nashibot trolls who’ve been relentlessly posting pro-Putin propaganda in the comments on Ukraine v Russia coverage.

Elliott included links with three recent stories on Ukraine from The Guardian with the listed number of comments and those deleted “for reasons of abuse,” including this one, from which they spiked 259 comments. Out of 4,817 total comments on the stories, Guardian moderators deleted 494.

In the comments for the story about comment trolling, one person wrote “as long as paid EU trolls are allowed to post, it should be OK.”… Read more

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Judge acknowledges racist, sexist Web comments, withdraws from race

Arkansas Times | Blue Hog Report

Judge Mike Maggio withdrew from a race for the Arkansas Court of Appeals after acknowledging he’d posted sexist, racist and homophobic comments on a website, Max Brantley reported Wednesday.

Maggio posted under the name “geauxjudge” on a message board called TigerDroppings.com, sharing musings on topics like “rodeo sex,” someone who was “black by injection” and “Why do two men get their weiners cut off to them date each other.”

Matt Campbell compiled a dossier of Maggio’s postings, triangulating personal information he mentioned in his comments with facts about Maggio. In his statement acknowledging the postings, Maggio decried “the politics of personal destruction.”… Read more

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Is the Internet a workplace? Lawyers debate whether online comments merit ethics probe

Feminist Law Professors | Above the Law | myShingle.com | Pacific Standard

Nancy Leong, a visiting law professor at UCLA, wrote in late December she had filed an ethics complaint with the bars that licensed a public defender who “commented about me approximately 70 times on at least five different websites, frequently remarking on my physical appearance.”

The commenter used the alias “Dybbuk.”

I don’t see how it’s workable to sanction lawyers who say disgusting things online,” Elie Mystal writes. “Lawyers say racist, sexist things all time. Are only the ones who say it online in ethical violation?”… Read more

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Poynter experiments with ReadrBoard reader comments

Poynter is experimenting with a new commenting and annotation tool, ReadrBoard, which allows users to chart their reactions by paragraph and leave comments inside a story.

You can tell which Poynter stories we’re testing with ReadrBoard by finding the Reactions button; under the headline of some stories, there is a button with an icon that looks like bubbles with the word “Reactions” and a caret (the arrow pointing downwards):

When you hover your mouse over the button, ReadrBoard will show you how other readers have responded to the article. Click on the reactions to read comments other readers have left.

To leave your own responses, click on “What do you think?” and a series of rectangles will appear. You can click on the rectangles which best encapsulates your reaction to the story: Hilarious. Love it. Uh, no. Amazing. These are the options are now available in the story on email encryption by Jeremy Barr.

If the categories don’t fit your response, create a new one by clicking “Add your own” and type in your response.

To comment on a particular paragraph, hover your mouse at the end of the paragraph to see the ReadrBoard icon appear with other reactions. Click on “What do you think?” to leave a comment.… Read more

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FILE This July 16, 2013 FILE photo, shows a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Government agents in 74 countries demanded information on about 38,000 Facebook users in the first half of this year, with about half the orders coming from authorities in the United States, the company said Tuesday. The social-networking giant is the latest technology company to release figures on how often governments seek information about its customers. Microsoft and Google have done the same. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

Want to comment on HuffPost? Just give Facebook your phone number first

Huffington Post

Grab your pitchforks and text art tanks: Huffington Post is doubling down on its anonymity crackdown.

The site’s new commenting system, explained by Tim McDonald, HuffPost’s director of community, requires users to have a Facebook account:

Here’s how to get started under this new system. When you log in to your account and go to make a comment, you will be prompted to link your commenting account to your verified Facebook account. Then, choose how you’d like your name to be displayed. You can either display your first and last names, or your first name and last initial. This is the only information that will be viewable to the community at large, and you will have control over your private information via Facebook’s privacy settings.

How do you get your Facebook account verified? You have to enter a confirmation code sent to you by Facebook via text message. So to comment on Huffington Post, you need to give Facebook your phone number, and you need to give HuffPost access to your Facebook account, which, Facebook says, must list your real name. Then, you can choose to post HuffPost comments under your full name or just your first name and last initial.… Read more

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Newrooms can co-exist with online comments with moderation and a strategy. (Depositphotos)

Can reporters help repair online comment sections?

Several years ago during a seminar at Poynter, we were talking about engaging our audiences.

“We ask our readers and viewers to comment on our stories,” one participant said, “but unless we respond to them, how will they know we’re listening?

“Their assumption,” he said, “is that we’re not.”

In the years since, I’ve heard from a lot of journalists who confirm that, indeed, they’re not listening. They don’t read users’ comments for a variety of reasons: no time, no interest, no stomach for the cesspools they often find there.

Meanwhile, I’ve heard other journalists and newsroom leaders say that journalism’s future requires a different, more interactive relationship with the audience, one in which people outside the newsroom share their expertise and engage in productive debate. That’s how democracies thrive.

Which brings us back to those cursed Web comments sections. What can be done to make more of them places for productive debate?

Three ideas I hear most often are these:

  • Comments need to be moderated.
  • Comments sections need to be more than fenced-off areas for the public to talk among themselves. They need to be part of a newsroom’s coverage strategy.
  • Reporters and editors need to participate in the conversation.
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Screen shot 2013-11-01 at 9.49.00 AM

Despite complaints, comments broadly allowed on many news sites

With the recent focus on online reader comments — see The New Yorker on “The Psychology of Online Comments” and The New York Times Magazine on “Four Ways to Improve the Culture of Commenting” — it’s a good time to survey the field and see how news organizations allow comments. (We’ll save the subject of moderation for another day.)

Starting with Alexa’s list of the top 500 sites in the U.S., I took the first 50 that could loosely be defined as news sites, removing sites such as Drudge Report and AOL that primarily linked out to other news sources. I also removed sites with strategies that would be redundant to include (such as Businessweek because Bloomberg was already on the list, and Lifehacker because it’s part of the Gawker network).

Finally, I focused only on the site’s main domain and not on affiliated sites such as blogs, which often have different commenting systems and standards.

Of the 50 sites I identified, none lacked a commenting system. In fact, just five of the sites — The New York Times, Fox News, BBC, The Guardian and CBS News — seemed to limit the number of stories available for comment in a significant way, with stories allowing comments particularly hard to find on the BBC’s site.… Read more

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