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]
“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]
Instead of websites shutting their comment sections, might they want to keep them in order to remain in control of the conversation?
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.
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]
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.
"...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]
Ice Cubes - A Recipe. The comments offer many helpful tips.
If your website is full of assholes, it's your fault. from Anil Dash. [more inside]
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."
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]
xkcd had an idea to counter YouTube comment stupidity, and apparently someone at YouTube was paying attention. Not everyone is convinced however. (And there's always Comment Snob).
NPR's On The Media presents a short set of pieces about comments on news websites and the challenges of "digital democracy," with discussion from Ira Glass about responses to a show about teenage runaways, and New Republic editor and critic Lee Siegel, who posted anonymously to respond insultingly to comments on his own blog. And a Roanoke newspaper editor discusses how one paper sees the integration of comments into online news sites and whether it's a valuable reader service. [more inside]