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Posts Tagged ‘commenting policies’

The Comment Discussion Continues: APME Editors Say Comments Are Here to Stay

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 1.14.01 PMA writeup that surfaced yesterday from The Spokesman-Review‘s Gary Graham revealed some new perspectives from newspaper editors involved in the Associated Press Media Editors (APME) organization.

Graham is an APME board member and reported some of the following noteworthy results depicting what editors and journalists really think about the often-lambasted comment section. You may be surprised at the results of the Sounding Board survey, which included 101 responses:

  • 94 percent said they “consistently allow comment” sections on their websites. According to Graham, many “believe allowing comments is important to encourage community discussions in a public forum.” Still, some cited complaints such as incivility, off-topic and ill-informed comments, and negativity as reasons comment sections can be frustrating.
  • 71 percent said it is unlikely that they would ever ban online commenting on their websites
  • 11 percent said they would never ban online commenting on their websites
  • Nine percent said it is “very likely” they will ban all comments
  • A few respondents reported that they have taken the time to ban individual commenters who either dominate conversation or are consistently uncivil in the comment section
  • 14 percent said they find a “great deal of value” in their comment section
  • 46 percent of the news organizations that responded allow anonymous comments
  • 38 percent of the news organizations require commenters to identify themselves by first and last name

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Response: No Comments, No Problem

Be QuietI would like to claim responsibility for Popular Science removing its comment section, but I am sure it had little do with my rant a few weeks ago.

That said, I was thrilled to read their post that ‘in the name of science,’ they’ve turned their comments off.

John Kroll writes in this blog post that there is no good reason to turn off the comments. In fact, he says turning them off is lazy and has little to do with science, and much to do with the bottom line.

Maybe it did have to do with the bottom line, but let’s take a look at some of his points: Read more

Should We Do Away With the Comment Section?

Once upon a time, I believed comment sections were content, too. And on some sites, I liked to read them. But now, Gawker is putting native advertisements in them and I think we should just do away with them. Yes, just get rid of the comment section.

It’s actually a very interesting move. Gawker sites have a huge, vocal following. There’s no reason they shouldn’t monetize that by putting Bill Nye in the Gizmodo comments.

There are actually very few online pubs and blogs that have good comment sections. Most online comments are not useful and often just plain old mean. I cheered when the Huffington Post announced it was no longer letting users comment anonymously. But if you take away the anonymity, maybe it’s best just to do away with them all together. It’s becoming more and more of a hassle — create an account, sign up for the newsletter, add an avatar — to comment anyway.

I used to believe that comment sections were a sign that the internet (back when it was called ‘the net’)was democratic  and a place for the open exchange of ideas. But now it’s about fighting with a troll about politics, or writing tangents to news stories that you should just post to a blog. You know, be productive, ‘own what you think.’

I feel like the comment sections should be the most authentic part of the webpage. But if even they are sponsored and –coming soon, right? — focused on going viral? Get rid of them altogether.

If you have something to say in response to a story or want to laud a writer – take it to Twitter. Write an email. Get your own blog. Just don’t do it in the comments.

How Do You Respond to Trolls? You Don’t.

Do you read the comment thread on your articles and columns? Sometimes, when a piece gets lots of social media attention, it’s hard not to. It’s even been suggested that depending on the tone of a comment thread, readers opinions can change. Comments are content, too. I’m don’t belong to any commenter community on any site, but I do read the threads on some of my favorite news sites. Sometimes they can be useful or just funny, and sometimes, they make me lose my faith in humanity.

In a recent essay, Jeff Jarvis sets out to define the troll. By using Aaron James’ Assholes:  A Theory as a jumping point, Jarvis defines the troll as a specific, if not just web-based, animal. The troll is out for blood. Your blood. And responding to them only makes them happy.

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Some Gannett Papers Test Facebook Comments, Ban Anonymous Posts

Peter Steiner's New Yorker cartoon from 1993.

The old adage, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog,” may hold less true soon, at least on some newspaper sites. Gannett Blog reports that some of the large chain’s U.S. papers are moving to force commenters to use their Facebook accounts to post comments instead of stand behind their anonymous user names.

This is, apparently, being tested in two Gannett markets:

  • Fort Myers News-Press: “When I am out in the community I can always count on one question: Why do you allow people to be anonymous when they comment online? Starting later this week we won’t on the stories that appear online. We will be one of two newspapers in our company to test Facebook comments. We will test it for 60 days and evaluate the results.”
  • Des Moines Register: “Starting late Wednesday, Facebook comments will replace our existing commenting system. You will have to have a Facebook account to comment, which will eliminate use of anonymous screen names.”

Read more

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