The Guardian Investigates What Goes On "Below the Line" Comments allow readers to respond to an article instantly, asking questions, pointing out errors, giving new leads. At their best, comment threads are thoughtful, enlightening, funny: online communities where readers interact with journalists and others in ways that enrich the Guardian’s journalism. But at their worst, they are something else entirely. [more inside]
Going forward, the Guardian will refrain from allowing comments on articles discussing sensitive issues such as "race, immigration, and Islam". Per Mary Hamilton, executive editor, this move is necessary in order to address "a change in mainstream public opinion and language that we do not wish to see reflected or supported on the site".
“I realize I’ve begun writing defensively on the web, putting in hedges and clarifications that really aren’t necessary for a charitable reader. I’ve also taken to toning down any rhetorical flourishes that could be interpreted uncharitably in a way that annoys some people. The result: boring writing stripped of a lot of my own personal style.” Paul Chiusano discusses how online feedback has affected our writing styles.
Say goodbye to online comments as you know them We have finally realized that the kind of person who devotes his day to arguing with strangers anonymously on the Internet is not necessarily representative of a large swath of public opinion or necessarily good at articulating anything. [more inside]
Because of ongoing problems with racism, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has temporarily closed comments on all articles about indigenous peoples. [more inside]
Instead of websites shutting their comment sections, might they want to keep them in order to remain in control of the conversation?
Not all comments are created equal: the case for ending online comments - Jessica Valenti for The Guardian. Previously: All of the commenting, none of the comments., What We Comment About When We Comment About Commenting
When the Internet’s ‘Moderators’ Are Anything But [New York Times] The title suggests a steward of civility and decency. But online, unpaid moderators can become a force for mayhem. [more inside]
"When a user submits a comment, echochamber.js will save the comment to the user's LocalStorage, so when they return to the page, they can be confident that their voice is being heard, and feel engaged with your very engaging content. It does not make any HTTP requests. Since LocalStorage is only local, you and your database need not be burdened with other people's opinions."
Queer women's web magazine Autostraddle, one of the few sites where it's safe to break the rule of "don't read the comments", muses about online commenting culture and how the move to social media commentary affects communities on comment-heavy sites like itself.
It was revealed this week that YouTube gaming star Felix Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, made $7.4 million in 2014, sparking predictable Internet grizzling. He responds to the report in an admirably frank and charming way, discussing money, work, charity, hotdogs and the haters.
The US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York has issued a subpoena to Reason magazine, in order to identify anonymous commenters mouthing off about a federal judge. Ken White at Popehat broke the story. [more inside]
In general, we can conclude that trolls of all kinds post too much, they obsess about relatively few topics, they are often off topic, and their prose is unreadable as measured by an automated index of readability. Readability was one of the strongest predictors they found. They also generate lots of replies and monopolise attention.Alex Harrowell summarises the results of a study into automated predictions of commenters most likely to turn trolls (PDF link to original paper).
Anyone who writes articles on the web knows the maxim: "Don’t read the comments." Fortunately for Yoni Appelbaum, a recent Ph.D. in history from Brandeis University, the well-known writer Ta-Nehisi Coates routinely ignores that rule.How a history Ph.D. who was on the tenure-track market ended up in with a pretty good gig in journalism, primarily because of the quality of his comments.
A Jewish magazine is testing an unusual solution for toxic internet comments. I think we can all agree that this proposal is ridiculous. Please leave your toxicity in the comments.
YouTube Comments Reconstructions are gloomy, dramatic reenactments by British actors of YouTube comment wars (including spam) about topics as varied as Nelson Mandela's death, Soccer vs Football, sexual semantics or Lil' Kim vs Niki Minaj (by the UK comedy group Dead Parrot, featuring actors Eryl Lloyd Parry, Grahame Edwards and Anthony Sergeant) (NSFW audio).
All The Comments on Every Recipe Blog is a list of, well, the most common comments on every recipe blog.
Rainbow-Cake Recipe Inspires Comment Apocalypse - sometimes you should read the comments, because they're an amazing trainwreck.
Like cheesy 3D animation and PornHub comments? Here you go!
[W]e may not stop to think much about moderation as a form of labor that composes the Internet. But as the need to grant the audience “a voice” has become conventional wisdom, almost every media organization now needs this work done. [...] This complex tension—between voice and civility, eyeballs and deliberation—is one that future-of-news enthusiasts are good at waving away, but that comment moderators must bear. Within representative democracy, we can think of moderators’ bodies as being like that element of an electronic circuit that dissipates excess energy and allows it to function. They absorb the excess affects in a period of political dysfunction, and allow institutions to appear stable and unchallenged.Jason Wilson argues that, in the comments section, "the facade of liberal democracy only stays clean by putting young women [moderators] in hate’s way."
Blorpy: Interesting stories found in comments "Internet comments are NOT all stupid. If you read through enough comments, you come across some amazing stories. I find them and post them here." [via mefi projects]
Pornhubcommentsonstockphotos combines the (NSFW) comments left on porn sites with stock photography. (NSFW because of text). [more inside]
Why Popular Science is shutting off comments.
A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to “debate” on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.
Ken M is that magical blend between idiot and artist that really pushes all the buttons. Here are his contributions to College Humor. [more inside]
"...on the Internet, a sockpuppet is an alternate account that lets people post anonymously. And that's where we get our drama." Based on, and linked to, actual comment exchanges at LiveJournal, YouTube and elsewhere, performed by some of the top voiceover artists* and lip-synced by... duh, sockpuppets! So obviously they had to call it Sockpuppet Theater. In the words of your host, Jonas Sock, "How Meta.**" [more inside]
YOUR QUESTION: You have the ability to, for one night, reanimate any two historical personages (“historical” = “not currently alive”) and have them discuss/debate a topic of your own choosing. Which two historical personages do you choose, and what subject do you have them discuss/debate? (from MeFi's own Jscalzi)
Ice Cubes - A Recipe. The comments offer many helpful tips.
"Forget the actual product. What you want to read is the comments." As said by a friend who pointed this out. Boy howdy was she right.
Youtube comments are famously bad, and nearly universally maligned. All the same,Youtube Reacts is giving them a voice (NSFW due to a great deal of cursing). [more inside]
When the commentariat attacks!: 14 entertaining cases of collective Internet satire. As evidenced in the recent Star Wars Uncut project (previously), crowdsourced satire can produce hilarity of mind-boggling magnitude, far beyond what any one mind could muster. The AV Club has collected a few remarkable and side-splitting examples.
"Pseudonyms are the most valuable contributors to communities because they contribute the highest quantity and quality of comments." As anonymous and pseudonymic online contributors struggle to remain non-identifiable, Disqus data show pseudonymous commenters are the best. (most recently previously)
If your website is full of assholes, it's your fault. from Anil Dash. [more inside]
GigaOM writer: "Anonymity has real value, both in comments and elsewhere." In the wake of the faux lesbian Damascus blogger, the question over whether or not to allow anonymous comments is being raised again. Some claim anonymous comments allow for dissent and are essential to democracy. Other claim that that anonymous comments lead to harsher, uncivil conversation that serves nobody. [more inside]
Comment OR Vote: "A civilized cyberspace being necessary for the sanity of a free state, the right of the People to be secure against unreasonable Internet comments shall not be infringed. No person leaving a comment, or any legal incident thereof, on any web site shall vote in any federal, state, or local election within two years, or within such lengthier period as the Congress or the legislatures of the several states shall direct."
Facebook Connect Comments are not a new feature, but ever since Techcrunch started using it the outrage has started to pour in. [more inside]
"Every day there are untold millions of comments, texts, and online interactions. Millions. And each one says, I am here and I extend my consciousness to there. There might have been a time when humans were content to sit and simply be, like the goat I saw yesterday sitting contently in a patch of sunshine at the Lincoln Park Zoo. That time was long ago. We want the news. We want to chatter and gossip. We want to say "I am alive" in a billion billion different ways. And now here is internet, providing such an easy, easy way to do that."
Have you ever found yourself frustrated while reading some stupid comments written on a website? We've all been there. This addon, CommentBlocker, is the perfect solution for us who get annoyed daily on comment posts. Firefox only. (via)
Does the immediacy of the internet tend to make people more bad-tempered and ill-mannered than they would have been otherwise? Theodore Dalrymple seems to think so, but is comment moderation the answer? (via) [more inside]
"Publishing anonymous, unvetted, and unreviewed commentary online is hugely divergent from the policies of [mainstream media] publications' print editions. It's a different kettle of fish, one that can stink for the publishers. Indeed, those publishers and their new-media managers are being reckless." [more inside]
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