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Thread: Curtailing Comments

  1. #11
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDAHL View Post
    I'm not sure whether it's worse to be a playground for trolls or to curate comments to match the opinions and sensibilities of the editorial staff.
    Do you imagine that "Letters to the Editor" are curated any differently?
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    Do you imagine that "Letters to the Editor" are curated any differently?
    I think the limited space involved makes that a somewhat different situation.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I can't recall reading a comment section on politics that was worth the time, other than Breitbart, which is an education unto itself.

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    This thread is closed for further comments.

    Had to before Alan thought about that.

  5. #15
    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToomuchStuff View Post
    This thread is closed for further comments.

    Had to before Alan thought about that.
    Honestly, I have mixed feelings about moderation. I think it should be handled differently in open forums such as online newspapers or magazines where anyone can comment, and community type forums such as ours. When a community forum is heavily moderated it breeds resentment which causes problems. We saw that in the previous version of our community where many of the mods and admins quit citing burnout from the pressures of enforcing their ideas of acceptable discourse.

    Allowing members to read opinions contrary to their own seems to have a calming effect on the site zeitgeist, or at least that's my belief.
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

  6. #16
    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    Do you imagine that "Letters to the Editor" are curated any differently?
    I actually work at a newspaper and at least for my employer, can speak to this. We welcome views counter to "our" own, as long as they are written in a civil way. If they are demeaning, use vulgar or incite-ful language, they will not be printed, that's the policy as warned up front. We have, right on the editorial page, the guidelines for length. Writers must submit their name and address (address not published, only city) for verification purposes. Yes, people do try to write under fake names or use someone else's names. We check. It happens.

    Can't speak for all newspapers, but for ours, we do want to hear from all sides.
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

  7. #17
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Thank you, Kay.

    I believe real news organizations in any medium welcome commentary on their reporting/opinion pieces as long as they are responsibly stated and backed up by a name (and, ideally, standing to speak on the matter). On-line media are different in that they present commentary in much higher numbers than newspapers or TV and radio stations (which impose an arbitrary limit on how much commentary they present). That makes moderation difficult. So does the disassociation of email addresses and such from given names and addresses. But I honestly don't believe newspapers curate commentary any differently in principal than on-line media organizations.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  8. #18
    Senior Member flowerseverywhere's Avatar
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    few big news organizations that exist to tell the actual news. The Internet news comments are fueling that fire
    Some news sites want to advance a political agenda, like CNN, FOX, Breitbart, and some only want to make money and will forgo the truth. Sensational or misleading headlines and “unnamed sources” lead the way. They are no longer news shows, but opinion pieces.

    Especially now when our country is so divided between Trump haters no matter what he says or does, and Trump lovers no matter what he says or does. Any political comments quickly deteriorate with anonymous posts. “Obama, The deep state, Hillary, missing emails, idiots, crybaby sore losers” vs. “racist, sexist, rich getting richer, deplorable, cruel, idiots“.
    Rudeness, name calling, sexist or racist comments, how can a responsible editor allow those to remain unchecked?

    It would benefit us all as a country if these news organizations held themselves themselves to much higher standards and cut the commentary on TV and online sites. Trump has been the biggest windfall to news sites, and a large majority of these sites spend most of their time on him. They must do a happy dance every day that they can fill 24 hours a day with opinion and people bite.

    kay cites a newspaper that actually tries to do a good job. Read the comments on Fox or CNN sometimes and it takes two or three comments and someone has crossed the line to being uncivil, rude or downright hateful. Internet comments are published rapid fire and could be from Russia, Mexico, a teenage boy in his parents basement having a good laugh stirring the pot and so on. unscreened unlike what Kay describes.

  9. #19
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KayLR View Post
    I actually work at a newspaper and at least for my employer, can speak to this. We welcome views counter to "our" own, as long as they are written in a civil way. If they are demeaning, use vulgar or incite-ful language, they will not be printed, that's the policy as warned up front. We have, right on the editorial page, the guidelines for length. Writers must submit their name and address (address not published, only city) for verification purposes. Yes, people do try to write under fake names or use someone else's names. We check. It happens.

    Can't speak for all newspapers, but for ours, we do want to hear from all sides.
    Certainly the St. Louis Post Dispatch called to verify authorship of Letters to the Editor because they called me back in the day when I was reading and responding to their rag.

    I would subscribe to their online service if the site worked properly. I use the free version of it, and it sucks at loading and display.

    DH still gets the printed newspaper.
    Last edited by iris lilies; 2-7-18 at 10:50am.

  10. #20
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flowerseverywhere View Post
    kay cites a newspaper that actually tries to do a good job. Read the comments on Fox or CNN sometimes and it takes two or three comments and someone has crossed the line to being uncivil, rude or downright hateful. Internet comments are published rapid fire and could be from Russia, Mexico, a teenage boy in his parents basement having a good laugh stirring the pot and so on. unscreened unlike what Kay describes.
    I see far fewer comments on a given story from readers of the printed Minneapolis StarTribune than I see for the same story on the StarTribune Web site -- and that on-line commentary starts appearing in minutes. I want to chalk up the difference in volume to how many fewer people read the printed news than view the paper on-line. But maybe whoever edits the print Letters section gets just as many comments and simply rules with a heavier fist. I don't know.

    Once a letter appears in print, though, there's no way to facilitate conversation about it other than writing more letters to the editor and hoping at least some see print, depending on the space the paper decides to give commentary. On-line, there are no space restrictions and much shorter delays in the conversation. Comments can be moderated by the organization's staff before they're made visible (some articles likely to "trigger" quickly-deteriorating conversation don't even get comments switched on). Most systems permit upvoting/downvoting or flagging a post if viewers feel it doesn't meet the "publication" standards identified by the Web site when the viewer is granted access.

    It's certainly different from the constrained space offered by newspaper. And it certainly is different from the commentary mechanism offered by most radio and TV stations (when was the last time you saw a "Viewers Talk" segment on national or local news that went beyond a twitter ticker at the bottom of the screen?).

    Discussion about how awful commentary is on-line should at least acknowledge the paucity of opportunity in the more traditional news media. Unfettered posting of commentary is a bad idea, as history and several sites' comment sections prove. But I think it's fair to consider how readily people may comment on content presented in other media. Is that greater interaction of "decent" on-line commentary desirable even if some posters abuse the system before being removed? Is it better to switch off comments altogether? Or staff up to handle increased moderation? Or open the doors to commentary in other media? As with so many things technological, the technology is not the issue as much as what humans tell it to do.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

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