Thursday, December 24, 2015

Russell Smith: Say bye to the online comment section as you know it

The Globe and Mail's Russell Smith writes:
"Has one of the great promises of the Internet finally shown to be false? The democracy that instant free publishing promised, the sense that everyone would have a say – are we bored with this already? It has been fewer than 10 years since comments sections on news stories began to be heavily plugged as avenues for 'engagement' and debate, and now many major media outlets are reconsidering their existence.
"The CBC has announced it is suspending commenting on any stories relating to First Nations issues, as the outright racism they provoked was vile and uncontrollable. The Toronto Star has announced an end to all online commenting on stories (although they will accept letters sent to the editor for a special section). This trend actually began a couple of years ago, when both Popular Science and Scientific American shut off their comments sections – following studies that showed that readers were unconsciously influenced in their judgments of scientific research if they read highly negative comments about it. In other words, comments create bias.
"The Star’s reasons are partly principled and partly pragmatic: Their editors said that the comments sections were often filled with useless vitriol and simply not worth reading."

No comments:

Blog Archive