In a quadruple media reference this morning a very interesting topic was discussed; online comments by viewers.
The media trend now is to shut them down. Locally the Postmedia owned Standard Freeholder has had them shut down for quite awhile, while two other outlets hyper moderate. In our market we have the only open comment section with nearly 60,000 comments approved since 2009.
There have been about 8,000 comments deleted by internet trolls and what appears to be people with mental issues or rabies?
Comments are a tricky slope. If you don’t moderate them you end up with flame wars with rude people trying to out abuse others. Generally personal attacks, and insults are the rule.
That gets really really boring and scares away a lot of people that might otherwise feel safe to contribute to a debate or discussion.
Ideally as a journalist you really know your piece works, especially if it’s an opinion piece, when people are chatting about it and in 2015 with social media you literally can see that in action.
Sadly corporate pressures from sponsors and advertisers have led to an atrophying of most comment sections.
That’s a huge fail for media. It’s akin to people saying Medicare doesn’t work when you artificially gerrymander it so it’s doomed to fail. Some media outlets simply implement a social media site for its comments; but it takes time and consistency to make a column section work.
It’s also a work in process as media outlets such as CFN tinker to try and improve over time.
Mr. Giroux is a long time Montreal broadcaster commenting on a Globe & Mail story about the CBC suspending comments on stories about indigenous people which personally this writer finds unacceptable. (Dear CBC if you need a good moderator I’m available)
We currently have a policy in place where the user has to post with their own name and a working email address. If we ping you and your email doesn’t work your account is blocked. We also have a small group that were allowed (grand fathered) to register their anonymous user id’s before the transition over a year ago.
While more stringent than in the wild world of comments it seemed like a better alternative than silencing those the like to comment whether it be to support a story or criticize it. (yes we get criticized and allow the comments to go through as long as they are germane to the story.
The City of Cornwall for example even uses a policy they created for online media (which included an unfindable quote from another media outlet) as an excuse to boycott the largest newspaper in its market (that would be CFN) even though we delivered eyeballs better than any other media including in 2012 when we did so during the first year of the boycott. IE that from old archived stories with their banner we delivered more traffic to them than any other media outlet.
People can be very sensitive, but if media fold and cave in do they deserve any better? And as has been mentioned elsewhere are media in fact practicing journalism when they cave into corporate pressures? At what point are they just PR spin mags instead of covering hard news which many media outlets simply refuse to do.
What bizarre outlet boasted that they only published “good news” whatever that may be?
What do you think dear CFN viewers? You can post your comments below.