I’ve been meaning to write about comments for a little while. Today, I got the extra bits of inspiration I needed to finally put fingers to keyboard.
The main push for me to write about comments is the Edmonton Journal‘s un-moderated free-for-all comment system. It’s great that they are trying to get people to register, but that doesn’t seem to be taking off.
So, I wanted to highlight a couple of truly outrageous comments, especially on fairly mundane stories, to help show those big bosses that something needs to be done.
As if all the “This comment was removed for being absolutely the stupidest/angriest/most racist thing,” wasn’t proof enough. My original inspiration also comes from people smarter and funnier than me.
Today’s extra pushes came from a neat look at Gawker’s comment system, which is more community-moderated, keeping the first-timers and one-timers (usually the angriest people) from getting much play and distracting the conversation.
The other was waiting 2+ hours for my comment to appear on an iNews880 blog. Ugh. Just don’t even bother. It’s the web and if my comment isn’t going up anytime soon I’m not even part of a real-time conversation and that’s what the Internet is supposed to help provide. If I wanted to opine and wait to see it appear I’d just write a letter to the editor.
Now…onto what this is supposed to be all about…
10:32 AM on April 13, 2010
Hyphenated Canadians are dragging this country down.
10:34 AM on April 12, 2010
This comment has been removed because it contains material which was deemed inappropriate.
– There were actually quite a few “inappropriate” comments. No respect for the dead I guess.
The Journal is Edmonton’s largest and most popular news source (That’s not really up for debate.), so it stands to reckon their comment section should be a big ole online water cooler – but they’ve basically got an anonymous comment system. While they’ve begun to ask people to register, that’s doesn’t really seem to be happening. So, really angry, hate-filled people are saying what they really think. Well, great. I suppose it’s sort of nice reminder about the price of democracy, but the Journal (or any other newsroom/website) doesn’t have to put up with that.
Now, over here at the edmontonian, we have neither the volume of readers, nor the amount of comments to deal with that the Journal does. This makes it easy for us to approve someone the first time they comment (which is required), since, generally speaking, angry, dumb people tend to say things that are angry and dumb right out of the gate. So far, once approved, nobody here has crossed the line.
We’ve sent a few “don’t talk like” that e-mails to first-timers, trust me. And then we never hear from the troll again. That’s what I hope for my friends at the Journal: a forced registration/held for moderation system that allows them an e-mail/URL/IP address to block stupid people.
4:46 PM on April 13, 2010
Who taught these rednecks how to use the internet… Go back to your double-wides.
4:40 PM on April 13, 2010
Bunch of old people in this section who can’t see the big picture. Maybe we should build more nursing homes for you old farts instead.
– Play nice.
The super-angry people with loads of time might get another e-mail address or block their IP, but if the whole system was being moderated in some capacity the Journal’s online staffers could spend a few minutes zipping those people cease and desist style e-mails instead of having to read every. single. comment. because one (or many more) might contain hate speech or libelous accusations.
I don’t think letting people come to my site or your site and say whatever they want is a part of free speech. It’s the Internet, after all, and they can go ahead and get their own hatetank blog for that. The Journal, and hopefully all newsy websites (even this little one), should be trying to raise the level of conversation and keep discussion on track.
Now…what do you think about commenting? I open up this comment section to you, and all of your intelligent, thoughtful, hilarious insights. Keep the hate-speech for the Journal.
5:07 PM on April 13, 2010