The Verge Shuts Down News Comments To Help 'Build Relationships'
from the ill-communication dept
Oh, the poor, lowly comments section. These days, you can’t turn a corner without the comment section being blamed for the death of civility, falling gold prices, and the general, entropic heat malaise of the universe. If you haven’t noticed, there’s a bit of a trend in the news industry afoot wherein you kill off the comment section, mindlessly shove your community over to Facebook if they want to comment, then proudly proclaim you’re doing this not because you’re too lazy or cheap to moderate, but because you’re really just super passionate about improving online conversation. It’s kind of a thing.
The Verge seems to be the latest news outlet to join the trend, co-founder Nilay Patel informing readers this week that the website will be shutting down the site’s comment section because the Internet has just gotten too kooky to concentrate. Like other comment section killers, The Verge rather proudly proclaims that this move is part of an effort to build better relationships:
“What we’ve found lately is that the tone of our comments (and some of our commenters) is getting a little too aggressive and negative ? a change that feels like it started with GamerGate and has steadily gotten worse ever since. It’s hard for us to do our best work in that environment, and it’s even harder for our staff to hang out with our audience and build the relationships that led to us having a great community in the first place.”
Nothing quite says “building relationships” like removing the ability for your readers to publicly speak to you. Meanwhile, if you can’t do your “best work” because a few obnoxious trolls can’t stop pooping in your comment section, maybe don’t read the comments until you’re done working? As we noted when Reuters, ReCode, Vox and everybody else killed comments in the noble pursuit of high planes of communication, by closing comments down you’re sending a clear message to your community and lifeblood that their input doesn’t matter.
And as some (whoa, the irony) Verge commenters point out, killing comments (as is done at Verge sister site Vox.com) doesn’t do much for the local flora and fauna, either: