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Disabling comments

Discussion in 'Online Journalism' started by wedgewood, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. wedgewood

    wedgewood Member

    Curious as to what your publication's policy is on reader feedback. We've been ordered to disable comments on every single column. Regular articles, fire away. Columnists? I suppose they don't like to get their feelings hurt. Rip someone to shreds? That's fine. Someone arguing your points? Forget it.

    It's pretty appalling, but we do as we're told. I'm OK with someone policing the site to some degree, much the same way the moddys do here locking threads that get out of hand with all the name-calling and profanity-laced bickering.

    But the policy is essentially an extension of the way our place coddles one MR. BIG SHOT, who also refuses to attach an email to his drivel. It would be shameful if it were the Podunk Press, but it's a well known columnist at a national publication. The cowardice is staggering.
  2. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    My last paper had a stupid system of using the paper's blog platform for comments. Didn't have to use a real name, but hardly anyone commented on stories after the change.
  3. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Freep is using a system where you log in with your facebook page.
  4. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    That's going pretty widespread in Gannett nowadays. USA Today's had it since some point in 2011, and a few other Gannett shops are going that route, too. You still get knuckleheads, but people are a little more cautious when (presuming they use their real name on Facebook) the comment is linked to them personally.
  5. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Toledo Blade just announced they are going to facebook comments. The hidden majority of commentor are furious (of course):

  6. forever_town

    forever_town Well-Known Member

    The publisher and CEO at my former shop were considering allowing unmoderated comments online. I was against it because of the tendency to hide behind anonymity and be extra snarky. Of course, that never happens here, right?

    The other reason I was against it was that even allowing moderated comments would require man hours to review comments either before posting or after they've been posted. Our publisher and CEO were so unwilling to even hire one full-time reporter making $18,000 per year that I wasn't about to add Internet comment nazi Website admin to my job description.

    More to the point of the OP, I would be more inclined to block comments on news stories than I would be to block comments on opinion columns.
  7. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    I was wondering how this is working out? Do you folks know if many people are signing up with fake Facebook accounts so they can continue posting drivel or troll-like material that they would not want to be associated with their real name? Finally, has this cut down on comments on individual stories quite a bit or not? I'd think all the SOCIAL MEDIA directors stealing paychecks (so to speak) out there would at least have some data on this if they are truly working 8 hours a day.
  8. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    You were correct in your concerns. Somebody has to moderate that stuff because in many cases the comments are libelous and downright vicious. What happens if you write an innocent feature on a high school athlete and somebody starts posting obscene comments or all kinds of vicious stuff? You have to have somebody on there 24/7 or you may wind up in court.
  9. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Same with Kentucky.com/Lexington Herald-Leader:

  10. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    I wonder how many good reporters and copy editors who have long groused about newspapers allowing anonymous comments have long been let go and how many suits who laughed in the faces of those individuals to suggest such a "click-killer" and "views-disintegrator" are still making $200,000 or more a year. It's amazing how many years these anonymous comments lasted. Oh well, at least after 10-15 years newspapers are finally making people sign up through facebook, clicks be damned.
  11. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    We eliminated anonymous posting a couple of months ago. We use a combination of site registration and Facebook for posts now, but we verify the names somehow for registration (not sure how, honestly). On big stories, we still get a ton of comments (like all the Baby Veronica stuff). On others that might have drawn a bunch before, we get nothing.

    Before that, we had a system where only registered subscribers could comment. Now anyone can, so that opens it up some.

    As to the OP's point, disabling comments on columns is BS. If you're too thin-skinned to take some criticism, you shouldn't be dishing it out to others.
  12. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    I think commenting on stories has jumped the shark so badly it should be allowed now. There's no chance of a reasonable discussion so just allow the people to entertain themselves in a comments section nobody reads because of all the trolling and stupid behavior.
    Remember when online comments first started many years ago? All the higher ups were so happy. The 9 to 5 bosses told the reporters to read the comments and even respond to them. Think of all the national conferences and meetings in which publishers bragged about the new concept of online commentary at the end of stories. Reporters could engage directly with the reader! The reader could interject himself/herself into the actual story! What a bunch of b.s. that turned out to be. Now online comments are either disabled because of the gutter language or they are nonfactors because of all the trolling and disgusting words.
    cjericho and spikechiquet like this.
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