Articles about "comments"


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 cheap nike air max.

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

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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. Read more

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NPR says the sources it gets through Facebook are worth the heated comments

Thursday morning NPR posted a query on Facebook: “Do you know of an innovative African American start-up or technologist active in Silicon Valley or in your community? Share your thoughts here or email tellmemore@npr.org #NPRBlacksinTech.” The NPR show “Tell Me More” often features the stories and voices of minorities.

Here’s a smattering of what followed, organized into some themes that emerged.
The outraged and confused:
“Why does their race matter? Racists!!!” Read more

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Splitsider, too, ends Web comments

Splitsider | On the Media

The comedy site Splitsider is turning off comments on most of its stories, Editor Adam Frucci writes. “For one, we’ve never had much of a commenting community to begin with,” he explains, continuing:

Unlike sites about politics or social matters, people don’t seem to have much to say about comedy news. And when we do get comments, much of the time they’re either offensive or just without any real substance. We put a lot of work into the content on this site, and it’s frustrating to have folks finish reading an article only to be confronted with mean-spirited garbage at the bottom of the page. Furthermore, we’re a small team without the time and energy to dedicate to policing and cleaning up comments. So we’re getting rid of them. And I’ll be honest, it feels pretty great.

So, no comments completely unmoderated comments,” PJ Vogt writes for On the Media. Read more

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Climate-change deniers can still leave comments at L.A. Times

The Los Angeles Times will not publish letters from climate-change deniers, but it does allow online comments that express that point of view, as long as they’re not too mean.

The Times can remove “inappropriate” comments, Hillary Manning, director of communications for the Times, told Poynter in an e-mail yesterday. Otherwise, its policy is similar to those at many other sites: Comments must be “germane to the article,” and they can’t be “abusive, off-topic or foul.” They can’t be “racist, sexist or homophobic.” They can’t advertise or spam, and they can’t “celebrate the death, injury or illness of any person, public figure or otherwise.”

At the bottom of each comments section, Manning notes, is a sentence saying, “The Times makes no guarantee of comments’ factual accuracy.”

Related: L.A. Times will no longer print letters that deny climate change | Report: Stories about politics inspire best, worst comments Read more

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What a commenter has to do to get banned from The New York Times

In a recent WAN-IFRA report, New York Times Community Manager Bassey Etim said his organization has banned commenters “maybe once or twice in our history.” Reached by phone, Etim said the number has gone up since he gave an interview to the report’s authors, but not by much: “It’s very, very rare for us,” he said. “It’s fewer than 10 nonspammers.”

Yes, the Times will ban spammers, but real people need to seriously misbehave to get the hook, Etim said. One early stop for someone violating the site’s commenting rules is a “low reputation” list that gets his or her comments reviewed by one of the Times’ 13 moderators. (The Times has “essentially had the same team of moderators for years and years,” Etim said, giving the Times’ decisions, which it acknowledges are subjective, some continuity and institutional knowledge.)

“Threats of violence are the only thing I’ll ban for, really,” Etim said. Read more

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Report: Stories about politics inspire best, worst comments

Researchers from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) spoke with online editors and community managers at 104 news organizations from 63 countries to help assemble a report written by Emma Goodman about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to online comments.

Many said stories about politics attracted the most high-quality comments. Several respondents, however, said such stories are “the type of articles that attract the worst comments.”

Next best were niche lifestyle areas such as travel, women-specific content, cars, technology, science and history, with 12 mentions.

Sebastian Horn from Germany’s Die Zeit cited “anything that is technical in nature” as a good-comment magnet. But a respondent from The Dallas Morning News told the organization most people in its newsroom “are not interested in comments or feel they’re a necessary evil.”

On average, respondents said they deleted 11 percent of comments. But few organizations view moderation as a chance to do more with the remaining comments. Read more

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Popular Science editor: Comments ‘became too much to really fight back’ against

KPCC | Paid Content | Slate | The Atlantic

Bad comments “became too much to really fight back” against at Popular Science, associate editor Dan Nosowitz said in a radio appearance Wednesday. “We’re not in favor of discouraging discussion or discourse,” he told KPCC. “It’s just that we think that the current form we have for comments wasn’t doing our readers much of a service.”

Popular Science is “totally in favor of substantive disagreements,” Nosowitz said. “What we are not in favor of is having those published on our site. I don’t think that diminishes public discussion, to just decline to publish anything on our site that anyone wants to write.”

Popular Science’s decision to shut off comments prompted both negative and positive reactions this week: Read more

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Popular Science eliminates comments

Popular Science | The New York Times

Intellectual debate has been overwhelmed by “trolls and spambots” in Popular Science’s comments section, Suzanne LaBarre writes. So the publication is turning them off, as of today. “Comments can be bad for science,” LaBarre writes.

A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.

Coincidentally, Michael Erard, whose New York Times Magazine story about comments said news organizations may have erred by placing comments below stories, offered several ways to improve comments in a blog post Monday afternoon. Read more

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NYT community manager: Good comments shouldn’t sit among those designed to cause conflict

The New York Times | Digiday

Newspaper comment sections are often “filled with racism, homophobia and barely literate anti-feminist rants,” New York Times community manager Bassey Etim says in an interview with Samantha Henig.

I don’t see how you can claim to respect your readers and allow their well-considered thoughts to live side by side with comments from people who write countless posts every day to satisfy a perverse craving for causing conflict among humans.

Etim and Henig spoke about Michael Erard’s think piece about comments, published in Sunday’s Times Magazine. Among the ideas Erard floats: By placing comments below posts, news organizations misread their potential and created “the steerage class of the public discourse.” Read more

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