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Posts Tagged ‘comments’

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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Journalists Reading Mean Reader Comments (Video)

It’s been done by celebrities, but any journalist who’s ever been published online knows cruel commentary from the masses isn’t reserved for the famous.

sharetheloveValentine-webkindThe Indianapolis Star newspaper wants to change the tenor of conversation, and recorded several of its journalists this week reading some of the comments users have left on their articles, columns and editorial cartoons. They’re using the mean things people say as a tool to encourage readers near and far to #ShareTheLove this year with a social media campaign to accompany the video.

Among their requests for visitors to #ShareTheLove?

Diffuse one unkind person today. Go to the comments on any story on IndyStar.com, or on social media — or anywhere online — and give someone a compliment. Tell them you love their hair in their profile photo. Or that you wish they have a wonderful day. Or, simply, tell them to #ShareTheLove. Celebrate the love while diffusing the hate.

To be honest, a lot of those comments were tame compared to what I’ve seen on their site and read about my own work. But they’re still mean. From “It’s going to cost the Star some subscribers AND Facebook followers” to “I know a really good stylist and photographer if you’re interested in upgrading your professional image,” it’s clear they were meant to be mean and succeeded. My favorite of the readers, who range from online editors to news columnists to the Publisher, was columnist Leslie Bailey — who previously wrote about the mean things people say — when she read the two-word comment that sort of sums up most of the comments on the Web: “You’re Dumb.”

If nothing else, I’m glad to see these professionals taking the “criticism” that’s anything but constructive or critical thinking in stride. Keep on keeping on, and oh yeah, share the love!

Boston Review Launches New Site

The Boston Review launched their new website today, and whether you’re a dedicated reader or not, it’s worth a peek.

The magazine has always seen good design as a way to engage to readers. In 2010, they switched from a black and white tabloid to a glossy, full color mag. In print, they wanted it to be beautiful and permanent, according to marketing director Daniel Pritchard, “something our readers could keep on the shelf.”

On the web, “the goal is to engage new readers, so we wanted it to be easily accessible and easier to navigate, expressing the same aesthetic but thinking about the structure very differently,” Pritchard told me in an email. I think those goals are reflected in the new design.

Some features:

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Disqus Gravity Tracks “Trending” Discussions on News

Comments are a double-edged sword. On one hand, the online community that surrounds a publication is full of some of the most ardent and loyal readers — those who are willing to engage in a thoughtful dialogue with a publication and other readers. On the other hand, the comments on individual articles could betray terrible trolls and haters that turn a thriving community into a fighting community.

Whether you live in the comments or try to avoid them like the plague, there’s a lot of value to understanding just how a community begins discussion and what makes an article ripe for trending. Ubiquitous comment system Disqus has made the discovery of trending topics visual with its new website, Gravity. The dynamic, HTML5-based website reports in real time where articles are receiving comment traffic by tracking motion across all of Disqus’s publication partners.

“What you’re seeing isn’t a simple directory of content people are clicking on,” the company writes in Gravity’s about page. “You’re seeing discussions experiencing a spike in volume. You’re seeing what people are talking about.” Read more

Emotional Design: How Recognizing Humanity of Readers Can Help Journalists Online

One of my favorite blogs to follow is a design blog that I’ve mentioned before, Smashing Magazine. It’s great because it’s functional (I can get around it), reliable (I know what I’m getting when I go there) and useful (I learn stuff). It’s also pretty. Moreover, I want to note that it’s pleasurable, too.

“Pleasurable” may sound like an odd descriptor for a website, but don’t judge me yet– take a look at it. And then take a look at its article about this very subject, “the personality layer.”

Emotion is one of the handiest online tools. Simon Schmid outlines why beautifully.

As such, if you click that link, you’ve got a double-whammy of a page to learn from: Smashing Magazine is home to good content like this piece on emotional design, and it’s an example of some emotional design itself. You may not notice the subtle emotional cues as you browse, but that’s also the point—even the smallest play to emotion helps keep readers engaged. Read more

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