1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Where do you stand on "reader comments"?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Dave Kindred, Jan 1, 2008.

  1. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    I'm wondering about the value of "transparency" and "interactivity" that is supposed to be gained by running "reader comments" at the end of stories and columns.
    A couple quotes from another thread:
    "If you're going by the comments under the story to back you up, you've already lost. With little to no accountability needed, you can get the most vile, racists, sexist, whatever kind of '-ist' comments you want on any story. It's why I don't even read the comments on the Post's site unless it's a transportation story."
    "Thank you. Put this story (a reporter on his crack addiction) in my local paper and I promise you 80% of the comments will say to deport the reporter back to Mexico.
    "Want to absolutely degrade your product? Post reader comments."
    Are we for or again'?
  2. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Point for: It encourages interaction between the paper and its readers.

    Point against: What Flying Headbutt said.

    I would say, unless your paper has some sort of registration process involved, it shouldn't allow reader comments.
  3. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    against. use your blogs for comments and interactivity
  4. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    I hate them. We have them and we have registration, and I had to delete some one Saturday night because two idiots were calling each other names and saying the other one's sister gave great blowjobs.
  5. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    does she?
  6. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    Yeah, sc, you don't know that's not factual. :D

    That being said, I'm with Hoops. I think that can work on blogs, where interaction is more organic or whatever. But opening comments at the end of stories seems to be more problematic...though I can't put a finger on exactly why I feel that way.
  7. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    If you wanna believe the readers, yes. Oh, and then there was the time a readers decided to come out on the comments on a story about a local guy who made the NBADL. There were over 50 comments on a 4-inch story, not one of which about the player.

    Yea, reader comments are dumb.
  8. Pro - it drives up the number of hits.

    Con - They bring to light that so many of our so few, supposedly educated readers, are a bunch of mindless, racist morans.
  9. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    I'd say they're more of a very small, but vocal (when the platform, along with anonymity, is handed to them) minority of readers. Most people don't bother with the comments.
  10. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    Ah, yes. I keep forgetting that our integrity is for sale, cheap.
  11. ECrawford

    ECrawford Member

    I don't mind the comments, but here's what I do mind.

    I don't like the comments being attached to the end of a story. You finish a piece, and instantly are hit with it. I think the comments sections are great, but you should have to hit a link to get to them, not just have the story serve as an introduction to a free-for-all (and usually degenerating) debate of anonymous posters.

    And my paper (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, no secret) takes a view on reader comments that I don't think I've seen espoused at many other places. I think it's basically on the advice of legal counsel.

    Anyway, the policy is that the more the comments are moderated, the more the newspaper is responsible for anything truly actionable that gets posted. So the comments at our site are moderated for only the most extreme language or comment. And that, in my opinion, is not enough.

    We allow words and a tone onto our web site that we'd never allow into the paper, and I don't think that's right.

    I think most papers need draw a clearer distinction between the work they produce and reader reaction to it.
  12. I was giving a pro that hadn't been mentioned yet. There are others. I've gotten lots of good leads off of comments. Heck, the police departments got a good lead about a murder. It is a good way to keep in touch with the readers.

    The con is pretty much the same no matter how you dress it - it's a place for racists to play.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page