Do Newspapers Need Comments?

from the probably-not dept

A few weeks back, we wrote about the question of whether or not newspapers should be getting into the community business by noting that you don't build communities, you enable them. But, the question still remains how you enable those communities. Gawker had an interesting post recently along those lines arguing that newspapers shouldn't allow comments on articles. The argument is, basically, that a lot of the comments are really dumb, and don't add very much. That may be true, but in many cases, that's because the newspaper doesn't give anyone incentive to add smart comments. There's no indication that anyone at most newspapers read the comments. The authors of the articles rarely, if ever, respond to people in the comments. There's little to no engagement or discussion. So, instead, the comments just become a way for readers to vent. Just tossing up comments and thinking you've created a community is a mistake -- but that doesn't mean newspapers shouldn't enable comments. It just means they should do so in a more intelligent manner.

Filed Under: comments, community, newspapers


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2008 @ 4:04pm

    That's why I like community comment ranking. It helps filter out the dross for the real gems. Granted that ranking systems can be gamed it still has the advantage of floating most of the cream to the top. It is especially important for the authors of the articles to respond to articulate commentary. It is that kind of correspondence that I really enjoy. You see that here on Techdirt quite frequently which is one reason many consider it to be one of the better blogs.

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