Media Thoughts on Viewer Comments As CBC and Others Shut Them Down by Jamie Gilcig DEC 1, 2015

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.


  1. People are looking for an outlet to comment on so many issues, and we don’t seem to have leaders that can pick up on the sentiments and shape them into a cause. Of course, most causes die down after in the media for a short time, great attention spans we have.
    Some media have turned to allowing comments via account holders of Facebook, which may at least out the racists and haters.

  2. I never bother reading or post comments on the really large news sites. Who wants to read thousands of mostly asinine comments that get posted on almost every story?

  3. Author

    So what’s so special about CFN that you’ve created 2,151 posts here on CFN Furtz ol boy?

  4. It shows the sad state of media today when comments are not allowed on, it seems, most sites. The Standard-Freeholder, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun and others have stopped allowing comments. Here in Cornwall three sites allow comments. But as Admin pointed out two of them over moderate. One (the one with a paper and digital edition) I would say goes as far, IMHO, of not allowing comments they don’t agree with. Is it moderation or are they trying to save money saying that comments just incite hatred? I guess we’ll never know.

  5. Author

    Hugger it’s not moderation if you only allow posts you agree with. We had an issue with some cry babies who personally chose to be in a public boycott group of this paper and then complained when they weren’t allowed to post. Clearly the didn’t understand the meaning of the act of boycotting so we assisted them.

    It’s simple for any comment board. Posts should be on topic, not personally abusive, and try to be informative and entertaining.

  6. Admin….I agree. To me it’s censorship.

  7. A very simple reason, Jamie. Are you ready for it?
    It is Jules!!! LOL, LOL, ROLF ROLF, etc…

  8. Furtz I sure do drive Jamie nuts and if it isn’t just once it is many times a day and yes most of my posts do not make it to print even when I am so good and gentle as a lamb I still don’t make it. LOL LOL. ROLF! Jamie the mainstream/lamestream toilet papers of record are going down hill and one is the {MODERATED} Like I said many times it is only good for training your puppy, mulching in your garden, washing windows along with some other things. Jamie’s CFN is a very good paper and lots of laughs and lots of curses but Jamie tells the news like it is and does not make up things that aren’t true like the toilet papers of record. I can honestly tell you that I hardly see a newspaper being distributed nowadays – nobody wants it.

  9. I am amazed that the Toronto Star is allowing comments today on Rob Ford’s latest cancer update. Some pretty nasty stuff there. I’d hate to see the comments that they are blocking.

  10. Sometimes it’s not worth the effort of composing a response or comment on an article if it is later to be buried by ramblings or bickering.

    That annoyance aside, this forum is a welcome opportunity to read wider points of view than other media outlets offer.

  11. One thing is true that you have to be somewhat crazy to live in this insane world of ours so I can take a medal for that and have a lot of laughs because if I didn’t laugh I would literally go off my rocker. I am not for this crazy world at all. Just a few minute ago I was on and there was a mass shooting in San Bernadino California and they are also suspecting ISIS but to go and terrorize a place for those on disability makes absolutely no sense at all. This world is beyond wacky but utterly insane. The US is an insane place and the people are more wacky than anyone in the entire world. This could be one of Obama’s tactics to take away the guns as he has been promising.

  12. Jamie does a great job governing the comments here. He’s fair and not biased. Some other sites are just awful, and not worth the time. At least here I know I can’t just say anything no matter how irrelevant and I know people aren’t just going to be called names and insulted with that being the only point to the comment. The way this comments section is run should be a model that others try to emulate. Just my little opinion.

  13. Jerry you are absolutely right and Jamie is the best and I have always said that about him. I wish that other papers would emulate what Jamie does and maybe their toilet papers of record might improve a little. I cannot give enough complements to Jamie and I don’t say that he is the best for nothing – the man has earned it.

  14. Author

    Jules our local media have been emulating CFN in their own way for awhile now.

  15. Again off the subject.But why has no local Media reported on the cyclist that was hit by a city (White )pickup truck last week?The bike was crushed under the truck and the person was lying on the street near water and adolfuse.

  16. Author

    Mark if the police do not put it on the blotter we have to rely on reports from the public, preferably by a picture or video that we can follow up on. Most accidents do not in fact get reported.

  17. Cornwall is so small that all one has to do is yell and everyone would know what happened. Maybe if someone called the fire department over then they would spray him with something to show that they were working.


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