Articles about "User commenting"


How the Huffington Post handles 70+ million comments a year

The Huffington Post has accumulated more than 70 million comments so far this year, far surpassing the 2011 total of 54 million.

To take a single example, its post (the first published) with the now-famous video of Mitt Romney’s “47 … Read more


How journalists can turn their stories into conversations

Social media have made it easier than ever for journalists to engage their readers in conversation. They’ve also changed the way we think about other, “nonsocial” media.

Maybe that’s why many journalists have given up on monitoring our comment sections. … Read more


NPR, other news orgs tighten comment moderation to improve conversation | MinnPost | Charleston Gazette | Vancouver Sun | MarketWatch
NPR switched its user commenting to the Disqus platform this week, and is increasing its moderation efforts in response to user demand.

It took the unusual step of sending readers an email survey in advance, asking for ideas and feedback about how to improve the commenting system. More than 6,000 responded. The big surprise, social media product manager Kate Myers writes, is that readers called for more comment moderation.
We asked this question in our recent NPR audience survey: (more...)
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Judge orders Spokesman-Review to ID anonymous commenter

Seattle Weekly | The Spokesman-Review | NPR | Los Angeles Times
An Idaho judge ruled on July 10 that The Spokesman-Review had 14 days to reveal the identity of an online commenter after a Kootenai County politician sued the paper, claiming the commenter libeled her. On July 24 the paper reported that the commenter had revealed herself: Linda Cook, who's also active in county politics.

Judge John Patrick Luster also waded into the question of whether the staffer who removed Cook's comment from the newspaper blog was entitled to journalistic protections, Rick Anderson writes in Seattle Weekly:
Idaho doesn't have a reporter's shield law, to protect sources, and even if it did, Luster said, [Spokesman-Review blogger Dave] Oliveria was not acting as a journalist, in the judge's view. Oliveria, who removed the comment a few hours after it was posted, was merely the "facilitator of commentary and administrator of the blog."

Protections thus didn't apply to the paper, nor to the commenter, the judge said (though he did turn down Jacobson's request for the names of two other commenters). "While the individuals are entitled to the right of anonymous free speech, this right is clearly limited when abused," Luster wrote.
The case put the newspaper in the position of defending its website comments, which its columnist Shawn Vestal called a "sewer of stupidity and insults and shallowness." After the news of the ruling broke, Vestal wrote, the paper's comments section went nuts: (more...)

New study: Real names improve quality of website comments

A study of South Korean website commenters adds to the debate over whether requiring real names improves online discourse. Gregory Ferenstein writes:
For 4 years, Koreans enacted increasingly stiff real-name commenting laws, first for political websites in 2003, then for all websites receiving more than 300,000 viewers in 2007, and was finally tightened to 100,000 viewers a year later after online slander was cited in the suicide of a national figure. The policy, however, was ditched shortly after a Korean Communications Commission study found that it only decreased malicious comments by 0.9%. Korean sites were also inundated by hackers, presumably after valuable identities.
The study, he writes, provides some real data to combat the theorizing that using real names fosters better online discourse. His conclusion: "The presence of some phantom judgmental audience doesn’t seem to make us better versions of ourselves." (more...)

Anonymous comments can be ‘a frothing, bubbling cauldron of insanity’

Adweek | Mental Floss
Ryan Broderick has a job I suspect would make me flee the grid after about two days: He's BuzzFeed's community manager, responsible for combing through about 22,000 comments a month, reports Adweek's Charlie Warzel. Broderick says comments, even the worst ones, have a socio-biological explanation:
“There is a social realm where things are rationally sorted and then there’s the anonymous place that brings out a person’s base instincts. It can become a frothing, bubbling cauldron of insanity,” he said. “Yet, you need that animalistic part of yourself. I think of it almost like your sex drive.”
Both Broderick and Huffington Post community manager Justin Isaf defend anonymous commenting, however: "Anonymity can do amazing, extremely creative things if you believe in it," Broderick says.

Mental Floss' Chris Higgins spotlights a video from popular vlogger Ze Frank in which he tries to get inside the head of a troll: On a video about optical illusions, Ze Frank says, "Some young gentlemen said they wanted to punch me in the face because my voice was so annoying. I can easily see how someone could find my voice annoying, but an annoying voice doesn't generally warrant a face-punching." (more...)

Gawker plans a business model based on comments and conversation, not posts and ads

Reuters | GigaOM
Nick Denton is betting that comments will be a big new business for the future of Gawker Media. Felix Salmon explains how Gawker is reinventing comments and plans to sell advertisers the ability to create conversations. In an earlier memo, Denton wrote, "the days of the banner advertisement are numbered. In two years, our primary offering to marketers will be our discussion platform."

Will it work? Salmon points out the biggest potential flaw: "The problem here, for Denton — and the reason why he got an editorial guy to run this new project — is the old one: how to persuade his websites’ readers to read the sponsored posts and to engage in their comments sections."

Earlier: Denton's new advertising system may foreshadow a post-blogger future (Poynter) || Related: The problem with Facebook’s ad model (Technology Review) | Why GM and others fail with Facebook ads (Business Week).
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Google, Disqus working on new article commenting systems

The Next Web | Disqus
Google is developing a new article commenting system tied to its Google+ social network, an unnamed source tells The Next Web.
The Google comment system, which will almost certainly rival that of Facebook, will have deep links to Google’s network of services and websites, indexing comments in Google Search, and most significantly, the system will be available for use on third party sites.
Meanwhile, Disqus is beta-testing the next version of its popular commenting plugin, codenamed Disqus 2012. The biggest addition to the new version is a "community" tab that shows the most active discussions and the most frequent commenters across the site. (more...)

Why we’ll never stop struggling over comment sections

Digiday | CNN | Digital Test Kitchen | Winnipeg Free Press
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. Denton's next move is comments sections with a guest list: "What I want is, I want the sources -- I want the experts to be able to comment in these discussions."

Comments sections might not attract experts, but they're visited by a select group nonetheless. Digital News Test Kitchen is analyzing about three months' worth of comments from the Greeley Tribune, which doinked its comments section last May. So far it's found that 45 percent of the comments at the Tribune were written by 20 people, and it's promising "a textual analysis of the most-commented stories" from the final week Greeley allowed comments.

In Winnipeg, Free Press reporter Greg Di Cresce interviewed some of the paper's anonymous commenters. One, who goes by the handle Intangible, is so emboldened by the freedom of her new name that she's become a reliable advocate for mental health issues. Di Cresce also quotes Red River College journalism professor Duncan McMonagle, who told him, "That kind of freedom means a lack of personal responsibility." (more...)