Improving Reader Comments

I’m constantly finding myself frustrated by the reader comments below news stories. They too often are ignorant manifestos of misunderstanding, and responses typically devolve into racism, sexism, and other discriminatory slogans NO MATTER THE STORY.

Interestingly, Gawker’s experiment to try to improve readers’ comments is bearing some fruit. According to a survey of Gawker Media, placing inconveniences before posting comments initially dropped the sheer volume of reader feedback (as expected) — but the numbers later bounced back to unprecedented highs.

Crucially, says the author of the post, the average comment is “better”–i.e. better reasoned, less gut-check, more informed.

Might Gawker have found the solution to anonymous wind-baggery?


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