What do you think about the slow death of news comment sections?

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Jorick

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I just read yet another article about how many news sites are completely removing their comment sections, others are requiring Facebook logins to prevent anonymous posting, and others are trying more nuanced approaches to deal with things like trolls and spews of hateful nonsense. I've got some thoughts on the matter that I'll hold on to for now, but I'm curious as to what the people of Iwaku think.

Do you actually participate in news comment sections? If so, do you comment or just read what others say and from what you've seen do you think these comment sections really are as bad as they're made out to be? If not, why don't you participate in them and can you think of any changes that could be made that would push you to use comment sections in some way?

Should free and unfettered speech reign supreme in news comment sections? Are news comment sections just garbage that should be disposed of with all haste? Something in between?

How do you feel about anonymity in commenting? Should anonymity be left alone, or should people be required to attach their identity to their comments?

Do you think this is even a big problem? Are the news sites overreacting, or do you think something really should be done to control or remove the nastiness of comment sections? Also, whether or not your country is one that already has laws about this sort of thing in place, do you think news sites should be held legally responsible for the content of comments made on their platform?
 

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I actively and consciously try to avoid all comments on ALL sites, ESPECIALLY on news sites. @___@ The amount of comments on there from people who are crazy, dumb, uneducated, trolls, etc is insane. And these news sites aren't equipped to moderate comments and discussions like that.

They can barely handle reporting the actual news with accurate and well researched information. How are they supposed to manage thousands and thousands of people throwing in their comments and arguing with each other on top of it? O_O
 
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Kagayours

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I don't ever contribute to news comment sections. I occasionally scroll down and read them, and when I do, I always regret it. It's just as bad as the infamous YouTube comments section, except with an even higher likelihood of nasty debates around heated topics, seeing as how a lot more of the content that's commented on is likely to actually be about those sorts of issues.

Really, news sites putting up comment sections and expecting civil discussion just sounds like another example of corporations not understanding the Internet. Anyone who sees a comment section knows that it'll be full of shit. It shouldn't be surprising that this would happen.

I'm not surprised that a lot of them are getting rid of comment sections. Trying to actually facilitate civil discussion seems like a lost cause.
 
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Spaceguitar

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Free speech on the Internet is giving every autistic, racist asshole carte blanche to say the most horrendous things possible. 4chan is the place for that, not an article about some tragedy where some edge lord can invite a flame war.
 
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It isn't violating anyone's freedom of speech to remove or restrict any comment section. If you own the website, you provide the services you want, plain and simple. Back when people had to buy newspapers, nobody complained about not being able to say their opinions to the world, they simply did it at the dinner table or in the lunch room at work.

Like Kagayours Kagayours said, every time I was dumb enough to browse down to a news comment section, I immediately regretted my decision. Internet commenting sections are the scourge of the internet and nothing of value would be lost if they were all closed down. There's still places for people to go to talk about whatever (like this site, for instance), so having to wade through dozens of racist, hateful, and crackpot posts from dipshits with no filter before I find an actually reasonable post by somebody just isn't worth the time or annoyance of reminding myself that when you take away consequences for running your mouth, people's ugly sides emerge hard.

So, if I ran a news organization, I would not allow a comment section, if for no other reason than to keep the article page clean and professional.

An alternative would be to set up a forum where you had to register like this one that you have to join to look at and participate in, with a moderation staff along with a reputation/ warning system to try to curtail bad behaviour.
 

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Absolutely. Kill every comment section on news sites with fire. All of them.

We don't need them up there to hear the same bullshit on every news story. We all know within the first 10 comments, someone will make a political/religious/troll attack on their opposing viewpoint and by the end of it all, no intelligent life will be found anywhere.
 
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Do you actually participate in news comment sections? If so, do you comment or just read what others say and from what you've seen do you think these comment sections really are as bad as they're made out to be? If not, why don't you participate in them and can you think of any changes that could be made that would push you to use comment sections in some way?
Rarely.

If I have a specific thought I want to say on the topic, and it's a topic I feel I can't bring up somewhere like Iwaku without people simply shit throwing I'll comment right there on the article simply so the thought exits my mind.
Other times I might just be curious about what others think, so I'll scroll through the comments briefly to see what the reaction of others is.
Should free and unfettered speech reign supreme in news comment sections? Are news comment sections just garbage that should be disposed of with all haste? Something in between?
Usually the comment section ends up being just garbage, with people pushing their own agenda's and attacking anyone who disagrees.

But at the same time that's their right as human beings to do.
And it's restricted to the comments, meaning people knowingly enter it rather than there being an innocent forcefully dragged into it.
How do you feel about anonymity in commenting? Should anonymity be left alone, or should people be required to attach their identity to their comments?
I personally am fine always attaching my Identity to my comments. But I believe others should have the option of anonymity if they desire it.
Do you think this is even a big problem? Are the news sites overreacting, or do you think something really should be done to control or remove the nastiness of comment sections? Also, whether or not your country is one that already has laws about this sort of thing in place, do you think news sites should be held legally responsible for the content of comments made on their platform?
I think they're over reacting.
The news profits off people's reactions to big stories, they should expect this more than anyone.
Besides, it means more traffic spelling more profit for them, why the hell would they want to remove it?

And I don't think they should be legally responsible.
The New's responsibility of the news they report on, the comments it's just the public's means of discussing it.
 
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unanun

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I'm just really glad that nothing any of us does will have any influence, regardless of political spectrum. So I don't care, flame away on reddit, cnn, slate, huffpost, whatever.
 

Shadon Xarian

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Whenever I read an article. The FIRST thing I do is scroll down to comments. Not to say anything, just to read what others are saying. There's some really funny stuff sometimes. Some of the arguments... I mean debates are just golden >:D
There's a few times where i'll read like half way through an article and be like "This is boring, lets see what the people have to say"

Yeeeaaahhhh, I love drama. Not a fan of being in it though, but enjoy watching drama play out. Actually kinda shocked how many of you hate observing such discussions o.o Despite all the bullshit, there is a thing or two to learn if you scroll down far enough.


But what's the true reason to remove comment sections. Is it to prevent people from saying stupid/insulting things? I wouldn't think so. News websites entire careers are basically built by reporting what stupid people do. People love drama, and the more dramatic your story, then more money the news place gets. There is no benifit for removing comment sections. If any, it's quite the opposite as many won't even visit if there's no comment section. Which means less money.

I think it's closer to the line of preventing criticisms. People in the past year have REALLY been pushing to make a bubble around themselves, block out anything negative about them. With how lazy news reporters are these days, I'm sure they're getting quite tired of being called out.
A recent one is this girl who tried to get a scientist fired. WELL this scientist also has a massive youtube following and as retaliation, the fan-base went to go get her fired. Due to her being a company co-owner, her company is basically in ruins. Karma, Poetic justice call it what you will. (Not that it matters much as her company was going down hill even before she started the war)
Point is, the news website "covered it" by asking her their side of the story, making it as fact, when a simple google search and like 10 minutes of reading will tell you that she tried to ruin this guy's entire life, and failed. But they are making her out to be the innocent victim. (Basically lying) As you imagine, hundreds of thousands of people are quick to call them out on their lies.

Now THAT is bad for businuss. So I think it's more to silence criticism/being called out rather than to prevent what gets them money in the first place.


Now for the main questions :D
Should free and unfettered speech reign supreme in news comment sections? Are news comment sections just garbage that should be disposed of with all haste? Something in between?
I personally think so. They don't HAVE to, but I think it's better for business to keep comment sections. (And it keeps me entertained and satisfies my curiosity)

How do you feel about anonymity in commenting? Should anonymity be left alone, or should people be required to attach their identity to their comments?
If someones anonymous, then their comment probably isn't taken seriously at the news websites. Whenever I see an anonymous person say something, there's almost no replies. But when someone else says similar, it's an entire 200 reply message. So really I think that anonymous people is basically telling you early that what they say probably isn't legit. As for attaching an identity to their comment, of course :D Doing otherwise is a bit shady o.o
 
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Do you actually participate in news comment sections? If so, do you comment or just read what others say and from what you've seen do you think these comment sections really are as bad as they're made out to be? If not, why don't you participate in them and can you think of any changes that could be made that would push you to use comment sections in some way?
I don't know, do you enjoy swimming in acid cesspools, feeling your skin burn away at every stroke you make and never advancing anything regardless of how you struggle?

Personally I don't, particularly.

These comment sections would require moderation because there is sheer poison in them. Even if you make people attach their facebooks to them. Free speech is fine, but it reflects poorly on you as a medium when you're associated with turd-flinging monkeys.

Should free and unfettered speech reign supreme in news comment sections? Are news comment sections just garbage that should be disposed of with all haste? Something in between?
Ideally you'd facilitate proper discussion, but ask any moderator how easy that is. Now try the same on a site without sense of community or moderation.

Freedom of expression is fine and dandy and should remain a value held high, but expressing how you feel and being out for a senseless fight are two different things.

How do you feel about anonymity in commenting? Should anonymity be left alone, or should people be required to attach their identity to their comments?
I value anonymity in commenting, it allows people to speak their mind without fear of repercussion in their personal lives. Some environments people live in are truly oppressive of ideologies, so they have no other outlet than the interwebz. Especially if they also happen to be dependant of these environments.

Do you think this is even a big problem? Are the news sites overreacting, or do you think something really should be done to control or remove the nastiness of comment sections? Also, whether or not your country is one that already has laws about this sort of thing in place, do you think news sites should be held legally responsible for the content of comments made on their platform?
It's a big problem for the news sites. For me it's just... Well, we're on the intewebz. Look around you.

I honestly don't want to dictate who should do what and is responsible for whom. I think the agency should be left with the platform. I'll just not scroll down. My power as a consumer is to consume or not to consume.
 

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The only news I get are either from other people or some (second best) Steamgroup titled 'I wrestle with manly creatures such as hydras and bears'...the name speaks for the quality of those 'newsposts', yeah. I usually never read the comment section though except for really bizarre 'stories' like a drug addicted father beating up his daughter for not having brought home enough Halloween candy.

Though I don't participate myself in those because ultimately I couldn't care less about and not like I am going, or planning, to change anything. And whatever other people may think of my opinion being right or wrong, well, I don't care about that either?

I'm fine with being required to login to actually comment. I don't really know how "bad" such news comment sections actually are and if it is as bad as it seems, I'm also all for restricted access. Though that might just be me being biased because I used to be a silly internet troll 15 years ago when I didn't even hit puberty.
 

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Ideally, news comments sections should allow people to step in and call out when the news articles go wrong.

Unfortunately, the average intelligence of a person in the first world is barely above "consumer of inedible paste", and it shows. Painfully.

People who really care to critique news articles have their own sites for it. That, or blogs, or YouTube videos, or numerous other venues. There's not really a need for news sites to have comment sections, since it's so easy to call them out in other places where you can't and won't be censored by them anyway.
 

Kagayours

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Actually kinda shocked how many of you hate observing such discussions o.o Despite all the bullshit, there is a thing or two to learn if you scroll down far enough.
Sorry, but I prefer not to wade through a cesspool of atheists claiming that religion is the source of all problems, theists rebutting that the decline of religion is the source of all problems, people claiming that minorities are scum and that the poor deserve to die/suffer, extremely cynical "kids these days" remarks in which commenters claim that people wouldn't be so problematic "in their day" and essentially blame the current generation and/or technology for all problems, people claiming that Democrats/Republicans/conservatives/liberals/WHATEVER are the worst thing to happen to humanity and the source of all problems, people claiming that mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD don't actually exist and such labels are just the result of "kids these days" not being able to deal with the real world and/or society being too soft, people suggesting ludicrous solutions that, even if they manage not to ostracize one group or another in a completely callous way, still show that they have absolutely no idea how the world actually works, and of course all the awful personal attacks thrown from one commenter to the next... just to maybe "learn a thing or two".

The only thing I tend to "learn" from these things is just how awful humanity is, and, sometimes, I just prefer to go about my day without receiving such a reminder. Hate to say "ignorance is bliss", but, everything I "learn" from these comment sections just puts me in a shitty mood, hence why I always regret reading them.
 
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Spaceguitar

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Sorry, but I prefer not to wade through a cesspool of atheists claiming that religion is the source of all problems, theists rebutting that the decline of religion is the source of all problems, people claiming that minorities are scum and that the poor deserve to die/suffer, extremely cynical "kids these days" remarks in which commenters claim that people wouldn't be so problematic "in their day" and essentially blame the current generation and/or technology for all problems, people claiming that Democrats/Republicans/conservatives/liberals/WHATEVER are the worst thing to happen to humanity and the source of all problems, people claiming that mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD don't actually exist and such labels are just the result of "kids these days" not being able to deal with the real world and/or society being too soft, people suggesting ludicrous solutions that, even if they manage not to ostracize one group or another in a completely callous way, still show that they have absolutely no idea how the world actually works, and of course all the awful personal attacks thrown from one commenter to the next... just to maybe "learn a thing or two".

The only thing I tend to "learn" from these things is just how awful humanity is, and, sometimes, I just prefer to go about my day without receiving such a reminder. Hate to say "ignorance is bliss", but, everything I "learn" from these comment sections just puts me in a shitty mood, hence why I always regret reading them.
I got so much love for this, my face has gone heart shaped and I'm bleeding skittles.
 
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But how else am I going to see the genuine stupidity in the world?

Seriously, there are very few insightful posts to news articles. Most of the time all they become a public debate where everyone feels entitled to bash everyone else's opinion. I rarely post on those sort of sites, and if I do, it's usually just to make a comment about the story, not other people's opinions.
 

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Remove comments from news sites? But what will I do when I want to lose all faith in humanity?
 

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Remove comments from news sites? But what will I do when I want to lose all faith in humanity?

There's always the horde of white power morons on YouTube, mate.
 

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Oh right.

I forgot that YouTube is used for things other than music and video game streams.
 
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I have addoons to chrome that removes most comment sections. I can even browse youtube without having a aneurysm
 
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