The LA Times‘ struggles to improve the quality of discourse on the comment sections of its stories continued over the weekend. A piece posted online one week ago entitled “Israel fires on pro-Palestinian protesters; 20 reported killed” has drawn over 700 comments so far. But, as of late last week, despite the Times‘ requiring users to leave comments through a Facebook account, trolls still dominated the discussion. Moderators had to intervene, and now all comments on the article will require a moderator’s approval.
From the Times:
Comments on news articles (as opposed to blogs) run through an automated profanity filter, then are posted automatically. The idea, as announced in that 2010 memo, is that the commenting community will police itself, with users being able to report inappropriate comments as abuse. Any comment reported twice will automatically be removed from the site. These hidden comments will be held for review by a small group of Times moderators, who will decide whether to republish the comments or keep them off the site.
More often than not, this works.