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If ever there were a slam-dunk case against allowing Internet comments, it would be in the launch plan for The Daily Beast’s new Zion Square blog, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which went up without them. Can you imagine the Backpage-like effort it would take to keep those readable? Josh Sternberg surveys some of the current thinking on comments:
There have been two main ways to deal with this problem. The absolutists view Internet commenting as messy but essential. The registrars believe real identities will do away with the willingness to spill bile. Neither solution is perfect, of course, because both are blunt approaches.
Sternberg leaves out people who do not value comments at all and those who believe anonymous commenting can be valuable (though perhaps he would include them in the “messy but essential” camp).
One of those people is Gawker boss Nick Denton, who recently told an audience at SXSW that while he thought anonymity is “at the heart of the Internet,” he’s lost faith in, or maybe just patience with, comments sections: “The idea of capturing the intelligence of the readership — that’s a joke,” he said. Read more