(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
comments, community, voice

Companies:
al jazeera



Al Jazeera Gives A 'Voice To The Voiceless' By Killing News Comments

from the enjoy-your-new-muzzle dept

We've noted time and time again how numerous websites have been killing news comments because they're too lazy and too cheap to cultivate an on-site community, and/or don't like having story errors pointed out in quite such a transparent, conspicuous location. Of course editors and publishers can never admit this is their real motivation, instead offering a rotating crop of disingenuous prattle about how they're muzzling their readers and shoving them over to Facebook because they're just so very into building relationships and are breathlessly-dedicated to improving conversation.

This week Al Jazeera joined the hottest trend in media, penning a missive over at Medium about how they're banning public news comments as part of their quest to... wait for it... give a voice to the voiceless:

The mission of Al Jazeera is to give a voice to the voiceless, and healthy discussion is an active part of this. When we first opened up comments on our website, we hoped that it would serve as a forum for thoughtful and intelligent debate that would allow our global audience to engage with each other. However, the comments section was hijacked by users hiding behind pseudonyms spewing vitriol, bigotry, racism and sectarianism. The possibility of having any form of debate was virtually non-existent.

Except that's simply not true. Numerous websites, including this one, have shown repeatedly it's possible to discuss complicated, divisive subjects without the metaphorical house burning down. Yes, it's true that when you don't moderate, show up, or give much of a damn about your comment system, it's quick to devolve into a cesspool of trolls and nincompoops. But the reality is that websites can't monetize quality discourse during budget meetings, so it's easier to just outsource all conversation to the homogeneous blather zone of Facebook, where listening to what your own customers are saying becomes somebody else's problem:

`Over time, we found social media to be the preferred platform for our audience to debate the issues that matter the most to them. We encourage our audience to continue to interact with us this way. We realise that this move will come as a disappointment to the members of our audience who did try and engage in thoughtful debate on our site. However, we will be working hard over the coming months to figure out how best to bring back debate to aljazeera.com. To continue the debate on social media, please share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page and get in touch via Twitter.

Again, does anything really give a "voice to the voiceless," foster quality conversation, or cultivate relationships quite like muzzling your customers, then shoving them toward a massive social media site where their thoughts, insights and contributions will get lost in a tsunami of prattle? It's clear that countless publishers really love the idea of reverting back to the era of "letters to the editor," when public feedback to your reporting could be carefully censored and repackaged as a genuine dialogue with your readership. But this line of thinking is a disservice to the quickly-evolving conversation the news has become.

I keep waiting for a news website to ban comments then candidly admit it was because they just didn't give much of a damn. Until then, the best we'll get are missives about how the best way to bring a voice to the voiceless is apparently with a good, swift kick in the ass.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 1:51pm

    The mission of Al Jazeera is to give a voice to the voiceless

    …they hired CM Punk?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 2:08pm

    When I read that paragraph, I don't think Al Jazeera is saying "giving a voice to the voiceless" is the reason they removed comments, but rather the reason they added them in the first place.

    As a side note, I'm still not entirely sure why Techdirt finds these stories of news sites closing off comments to be such a big deal. I know we're all big fans of free speech here, but doesn't that include the right to decide whether or not you publish comments on your website? I totally agree that the comment section doesn't have to be overwhelmingly toxic or off-topic if you put the effort in to moderate it and so forth, but opting not to have a comments section at all - while a lazy approach to the problem - just doesn't seem like that big of an issue to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 2:11pm

    Re:

    Techdirt cares less about the act of closing comments than it does about the “we care about your voice” hypocrisy usually shown by those who close them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 2:11pm

    "Except that's simply not true. Numerous websites, including this one, have shown repeatedly it's possible to discuss complicated, divisive subjects without the metaphorical house burning down. "

    We'll see if that holds true once this site achieves a real degree of popularity, the kind that produces comments sections on articles numbering in the 1000s or 10s of 1000s instead of dozens. With scale comes the general public and with the general public comes uncontrollable bile.

    Bottom line: This site is in no position to weigh on on the difficulties and problems experienced by more popular outlets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 2:34pm

    Re:

    Umm, no one is saying that they don't have that right, only that the decision(s) are misguided.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 2:35pm

    Re:

    Oh, which magic number threshold do they need to pass?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 2:39pm

    Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    "There are white people, and then there are ignorant motherfuckers like you...."

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110621/16071614792/misconceptions-free-abound-why-d o-brains-stop-zero.shtml#c1869

    Moderated down? EVER even admonished? Even after he obstintately repeated it recently? NO, Masnick hires him to re-write here!

    By the way: Masnick at least once called Geigner Techdirt's "comment enforcer". What does that mean? Was he given privilege and administration rights way back? Paid at all? If so, then Techdirt is responsible for all Geigner wrote...


    An AC already said what first occurred to me about IF the site accumulates a few with MY views. The unmoderated fanboys would simply try to shout them down as have done me over course of years, but with numbers more evenly balanced, it'd be different. You pirates have spewed your vile ad hom only because Techdirt tacitly sides with you -- the censoring, I mean "hiding" is EVIDENCE of that: no fanboy's comments have EVER even been "hidden", while literally THOUSANDS of mine have been! Even though well within common law and common decency.

    If there's now some actual consideration given to whether comments are within common law -- instead of the alleged "community" by some unspecified number of clicks without any administrator involved -- then reasonable persons might accumulate here, and in short, you fanboys will be the ones moderated, NOT ME.

    OR Masnick's apparent new policy is just trying to tone down you fanboys and exit with grace when the site gets handed over to Ayyadurai. That's my bet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 2:39pm

    Re:

    This site is in no position to weigh on on the difficulties and problems experienced by more popular outlets.

    What you meant to say is this:

    This site has every right to weigh in on the the difficulties and problems experienced by more popular outlets. How seriously you take this site’s arguments on that subject is your responsibility.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    ysth (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 2:49pm

    I'm still not entirely sure why Techdirt finds these stories of news sites closing off comments to be such a big deal

    These stories fall squarely into the intersection of technology and business models (and how to do or not do them) that is TechDirt's main interest.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 2:50pm

    vote with mouse button

    I visit news sites with comments far more often than those without comments. Probably about a ratio of 3:1, at least.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 2:55pm

    Overly moderated comments with much of the dissenting views removed is all that impressice either.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 2:55pm

    Re:

    As a side note, I'm still not entirely sure why Techdirt finds these stories of news sites closing off comments to be such a big deal. I know we're all big fans of free speech here, but doesn't that include the right to decide whether or not you publish comments on your website?

    TechDirt isn't reporting on the closing of the comments section (the "Tech") as much as they are reporting on the false narratives accompanying the closing of the comments (the "Dirt").

    Here, the website claims:

    [W]e will be working hard over the coming months to figure out how best to bring back debate to aljazeera.com.

    Why not figure it out before closing the comments, rather than months after (which most certainly will not happen)?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 2:56pm

    Re:

    As a side note, I'm still not entirely sure why Techdirt finds these stories of news sites closing off comments to be such a big deal. I know we're all big fans of free speech here, but doesn't that include the right to decide whether or not you publish comments on your website?

    It's not the closing of comments -- it's the claims that they're doing this for the benefit of their readers... And, yes, as others pointed out separately, part of it has to do with how we think about the journalism space and community.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:01pm

    So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    "There are white people, and then there are ignorant motherf*****s like you...."

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110621/16071614792/misconceptions-free-abound-why-d o-brains-stop-zero.shtml#c1869

    Moderated down? EVER even admonished? Even after he obstintately repeated it recently? NO, Masnick hires him to re-write here!

    By the way: Masnick at least once called Geigner Techdirt's "comment enforcer". What does that mean? Was he given privilege and administration rights way back? Paid at all? If so, then Techdirt is responsible for all Geigner wrote...


    An AC already said what first occurred to me about IF the site accumulates a few with MY views. The unmoderated fanboys would simply try to shout them down as have done me over course of years, but with numbers more evenly balanced, it'd be different. You pirates have spewed your vile ad hom only because Techdirt tacitly sides with you -- the censoring, I mean "hiding" is EVIDENCE of that: no fanboy's comments have EVER even been "hidden", while literally THOUSANDS of mine have been! Even though well within common law and common decency.

    If there's now some actual consideration given to whether comments are within common law -- instead of the alleged "community" by some unspecified number of clicks without any administrator involved -- then reasonable persons might accumulate here, and in short, you fanboys will be the ones moderated, NOT ME.

    OR Masnick's apparent new policy is just trying to tone down you fanboys and exit with grace when the site gets handed over to Ayyadurai. That's my bet.


    Trying again with asterisks just to see if certain words are NOW in the "filter"...


    And sixth or so attempt! Are we back to the status quo ante already?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:04pm

    Re: So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    >>> And sixth or so attempt! Are we back to the status quo ante already?

    Effectively so. I tried first with a browser session that had made a dozen, and I dared hope a change was on... But back to it for this topic, and only to the "Held For Moderation" page; none came in several minutes...

    I'll keep noting this so long as your system is broken, IF that's the line you're taking. My view is necessarily that it's viewpoint discrimination.

    You might start on transparency by stating how many clicks out of how many reads it takes to censor, I mean "hide" a comment...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    Moderated down? EVER even admonished? Even after he obstintately repeated it recently? NO, Masnick hires him to re-write here!

    That comment, as was made clear to you multiple times over multiple years, was Tim making a joke. It's a very famous quote from Barack Obama's own memoir. He was not making that statement on his own behalf. In context -- again, as has been explained multiple times to you -- he used it as a clear joke. If he'd used it as a normal ad hom, I have no doubt that the folks here would have moderated it.

    But instead, it was him, responding to a known troll (you), and quoting from Obama's memoirs. I don't know why you continue to bring it up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:05pm

    Re:

    And people who whine all the time about the same imagined injury to your person are part of the problems that causes these closures.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:10pm

    Re: Re: So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    Again, as you well know, if your comments get caught in the spam filter, they get cleared out when someone here reviews them. That's why we had already cleared one of your repeats above by the time you reposted it again here. There is no need to keep trying. We always allow your comments through when they get caught in a spam filter. The fact that you keep shifting Tor addresses is probably the issue. Spam filters tend to be more skeptical of tor addresses because lots of spam comes from them (we get over 500 spam comments per day caught -- mainly via tor). Similarly, repeating the same comment over and over again is often seen as an indicator of spam. So, no need to keep posting.

    As idiotic and nonsensical as your posts are, we always let them through.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    Dang. Those never show before another gets in.

    I DO check before each attempt. But I DON'T HAVE ANY CONTROL OVER IT being okayed simultaneously with my later efforts.

    You'll note from time stamps that over 20 minutes elapsed.

    And you still don't see the (alleged) four or five other attempts in between.

    SO. If Techdirt will state maximum latency, I'll try to be patient. But it's difficult given the history -- as I see it, to forestall the gainsaying.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    Now, you see, THAT went into "Moderation", yet "Resend" got it through at once.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    "I KEEP SPAMMING AND MY SPAM KEEPS GETTING BLOCKED I DON'T UNDERSTAND!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    I'M NOT TAKING IT AS A JOKE, NEVER HAVE.

    SHOW ME ONE TIME THAT WAS EXPLAINED.

    Everyone else go the link and you'll see Geigner trying to make a deal in which he'll stop if I don't pursue it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    Similarly, repeating the same comment over and over again is often seen as an indicator of spam.

    I responded to an in(s)ane comment on an article earlier this week with a single-word reply: “what”. I tried making that exact same comment on another in(s)ane comment on a wholly different article and the spamfilter caught me. (Not that I mind; not only did that comment deserve to get filtered, it wasn’t even all that funny the first time.)

    You can express dissent without having to spam it. If anything, not spamming it will make your argument stronger than your trying to shove it down everyone’s throats.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    I'M NOT TAKING IT AS A JOKE, NEVER HAVE.

    Well, we never take you seriously, so it all evens out in the end.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    >>> But instead, it was him, responding to a known troll (you), and quoting from Obama's memoirs. I don't know why you continue to bring it up.

    A NEW LOW. YOU ARE FLAT LYING.

    YOU set the tone here, kid. You've now okayed fanboys to definitely target me.

    Geigner was/is Techdirt's "comment enforcer", trying to be nasty enough to run people off site.

    I bring it up because important for reasonable folk to know just how nasty the site is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:23pm

    Facebook eh?

    Talk about voiceless - I refuse to comment if I have to have a Facebook account to do so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    But I'm IN now! Explain THAT if it's a spam filter!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    Hey!

    That’s Mr. Geigner if you’re nasty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    >>> "Well, we never take you seriously, so it all evens out in the end."

    Thanks! That's stating you've been lying all along: I'm not really a problem here, just a harmless fool, good for contrast.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:30pm

    "The mission of Al Jazeera is to give a voice to the voiceless,"

    Except the ones we wish to make voiceless...

    "However, the comments section was hijacked by users hiding behind pseudonyms spewing vitriol, bigotry, racism and sectarianism."

    When they said things we did not like...

    ~comments closed~

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    >>> Hey!

    >>> That’s Mr. Geigner if you’re nasty.

    But I'm NOT nasty. I'm just an ordinary person stating personal beliefs. And yet you clearly don't want me here.

    By the way, I've yet to HOOT and WHOOP at the alleged new change, waiting to see if lasts. But if so, I've leisure and a $300 internet connection with 300GB per day "cap", so I think you'd do well to just let me say what I want ON TOPIC, and you say what you want ON TOPIC, and the site won't be cluttered with childish back and forth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    >>> "As idiotic and nonsensical as your posts are, we always let them through."

    That's not what I see this end. Evidently you're picking up on blaming Cloudflare, even though I reached the "Held For Moderation" stage and my comments often NEVER appear.

    But I'll see how goes.

    Any statement on how many clicks out of how many readers to "hide" posts?

    By the way, I've NO intention of losing interest here for foreseeable future, so expect me nearly every day, interest in topic prevailing. Thanks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    SHOW ME ONE TIME THAT WAS EXPLAINED.

    Um, like just a few comments down. And you responded to it so you clearly saw it. I mean, come on...

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110621/16071614792/misconceptions-free-abound-why-do-brain s-stop-zero.shtml#c1965

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    That's not what I see this end.

    Well, then you might need to get your eyes checked. The only stuff by you we haven't let through would be when you do that idiotic thing of spamming the same thing over a bunch of times. Then we just clear one, and dump the rest. But if your comments get caught in the spam filter, we clear them when we have a chance. It's always been that way.

    Evidently you're picking up on blaming Cloudflare, even though I reached the "Held For Moderation" stage and my comments often NEVER appear.

    Who said anything about Cloudflare? And, again, you're simply wrong if you claim they never appear. We don't let through spam comments, but we always let through critical comments, no matter how inane -- as yours tend to be.

    By the way, I've NO intention of losing interest here for foreseeable future, so expect me nearly every day, interest in topic prevailing. Thanks.

    Sure. Given how long you've been around the site, that doesn't surprise me. It does amaze me that someone would want to spend so much of their time trolling a site with inane comments, but, it's your life to waste as you choose. And it's our community's call as to whether or not your comments remain visible. So far, they don't seem to appreciate you much.

    Perhaps try not making completely clueless statements that just reveal a staggering level of ignorance. Or is educating yourself not worth it in your ample free time?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    >>> "It does amaze me that someone would want to spend so much of their time trolling a site with inane comments, but, it's your life to waste as you choose."

    Yup. And in twenty years, you've not accomplished anything visible except managed to insult people enough to get sued for fifteen million. I think I'm ahead.

    Your reply here is just to insult, so seems you're in a rut.

    Now, I'm DONE with ad hom and this topic. We're just not going to agree. I hope you'll actually Moderate, though: that'd be enough to fix the fanboys.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 3:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    >>> But I'm NOT nasty.

    >>> It’s a matter of perspective, really.

    Yes! Thank you for saying you find me equal, instead of disputing. All I ever wanted.

    You're not going to win this, except I weary of STUPID one-liners back and forth.

    Try to stay ON-TOPIC, best for the site too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    You CANNOT explain such vileness as a "joke".

    To which I replied: "I take that line as directed to me and as racist (especially as confirmed by your post in the Kardashian piece). As I pointed out, it's not in quote marks or attributed. And no, I don't recognize it or others."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 4:04pm

    Hoo boy.

    If you believe Shiva Ayyadurai’s lawsuit has any merit, you are more foolish as the rest of your comments prove you are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 4:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    And ALSO, you do not answer the question of when Geigner was ever "moderated" for that. You simply state shouldn't be, then go on dodging with an attack. That's ALL I've ever gotten here. You NOW seem trying to get me to drop repeating that, but no, so long as useful and on topic as here, I'll use it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 4:06pm

    Oh, really?

    You're not going to win this, except I weary of STUPID one-liners back and forth.

    Your version of “winning” looks awful.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. icon
    Gwiz (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 4:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    ...just a harmless fool...

    That about sums it up for me, but really more along the lines of the creepy old uncle who has overstayed his welcome by four gin & tonics and just won't take the hint that it's time to go home.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. identicon
    Thad, 1 Sep 2017 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    What, you expect him to drive in that condition?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 4:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    Now, I'm DONE with ad hom and this topic. We're just not going to agree. I hope you'll actually Moderate, though: that'd be enough to fix the fanboys.

    I can't help but find it funny that you think any theorettical moderation would go in your favor(you know, a hypocrite and admitted spammer).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 5:04pm

    Wrong industry for that excuse

    "We're gagging you because that's how we show we care" really only works as an excuse in a BDSM relationship, and I would certainly hope the various sites implementing such a change don't see their relationship with those that visit their sites that way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. identicon
    Thad, 1 Sep 2017 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    Of all the stupid things he always says all the time, I think that one may be the stupidest.

    Like, does he really think you guys intentionally block his posts just so you can let them through later? The hell kind of sense does that make? If someone was blocking his posts, why wouldn't they just delete them all?

    I often wonder, "Is this guy seriously that stupid, or is he just fucking with us?"

    On the one hand, Hanlon's Razor favors the "seriously that stupid" explanation. On the other, I feel like if he really were as stupid as he appears, he would have long since met his end, by ingesting things he finds on the ground, or trying to pet oncoming traffic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    trying to pet oncoming traffic

    That Jaguar was purring so nicely!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 5:49pm

    How To Clean Up Your Comments Section In Twelve Easy Steps

    1) deny assertions -- a complainer never has facts
    2) go on to claim the complainer is lying
    3) never answer any questions
    4) "it's been explained to you"
    5) belittle and marginalize the complainer
    6) while in process, use administrator control to hide responses
    7) identify the complainer as a "troll" so your supporters will target
    8) the old reliable "it's a joke, can't you take a joke?"
    9) "don't know why you waste your time..."
    10) "any human would ... why don't you?"
    11) get in the triumphant last word -- which is easy when control the web-site
    12) And most important is the overall: NEVER in least concede that a reasonable person might be offended, it's ALL the complainer's fault!

    Masnick went right through checking off the list.

    And icing on icing: in a topic about sites closing down comments!

    ---
    Then there's this admission:
    "He [Geigner] was not making that statement on his own behalf." -- Really? You know Geigner isn't a cat's-paw and STILL defend him? SO I'm right that was done at behest of you and Techdirt. You stated it. Don't try to walk it back now.

    Man, would I LOVE to get you on the witness stand! You're going to slip like that, if go to trial, just like in the Gawker case: "well, how young before you would protect their privacy? ... Uh... Four." and BAM, the jury will DECIDE you have LOST.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Wrong industry for that excuse

    >>> "We're gagging you because that's how we show we care" really only works as an excuse in a BDSM relationship,"

    And yet that's exactly what Masnick tries on me above.

    I'm grateful for the TOR Browser, else you pirates wouldn't even know anyone differed! What a walled garden this is! -- I didn't believe that way back, but now know it too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 5:52pm

    Hey wait a minute.

    What happened to “I'm DONE with ad hom and this topic”?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    >>> That about sums it up for me, but really more along the lines of the creepy old uncle who has overstayed his welcome by four gin & tonics and just won't take the hint that it's time to go home.

    Yepper, sonny, I didn't fight the Nazis so you could kick people web-sites! You're nothin' but a Nazi!

    (Just joking: surely you're not offended by a joke!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    And ALSO, you do not answer the question of when Geigner was ever "moderated" for that.

    Again, that's up to the community. It appears that pretty much everyone but you understood the context and chose not to do anything. Actually, FWIW, there is not a single "report" vote on that comment, suggesting that EVEN YOU did not click. So, uh...

    You simply state shouldn't be, then go on dodging with an attack.

    No, I simply explained why it is I believe that the community chose not to moderate that comment -- because they understand that it's not abusive in context. And there was no "attack" just me giving my opinions.

    You NOW seem trying to get me to drop repeating that, but no, so long as useful and on topic as here, I'll use it.

    So you're admitting that you'll keep trolling about this even though it's been explained to you that you're trolling by taking it out of context? Fascinating. And you wonder why the community chooses to report your comments as trollish.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 5:57pm

    Re: Re: Wrong industry for that excuse

    “Tries” being the operative word, since you typically do have your comments let through the spam filter—even after you spam them over and over and over. If they really did want to gag you, they would just, y’know, refuse to let any of your comments go through.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 5:59pm

    Re: How To Clean Up Your Comments Section In Twelve Easy Steps

    • SO I'm right that was done at behest of you and Techdirt. You stated it. Don't try to walk it back now.*

    That's not what I said and you know it. I said that he was quoting President Obama, not saying it himself. I didn't state, nor imply, that he said it on behalf of me or Techdirt.

    I mean, come on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Hey wait a minute.

    >>> "What happened to “I'm DONE with ad hom and this topic”?"

    I'm done with both! This is just fun facts in summary, and certainly you clowns aren't done. -- Some only moved in when thought I was done, I guess. Bawk, bawk! -- OMG! Now I'm typing chicken noises! -- See what you clowns cause! If I had any brains, I would... okay, I'm stuck. This site is an addictive vice, I've always said. It's free-form foolishness.

    (A bit later: two comments in and then there's that darn "Held For Moderation" again! And yet it doesn't happen!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Re: How To Clean Up Your Comments Section In Twelve Easy Steps

    THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAID!

    You can wiggle it's not what you meant, but THERE IT IS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 6:04pm

    Re: Re: Hey wait a minute.

    You know, for all your whining about how badly Techdirt treats you, you are the one person capable of ending that treatment. All you have to do is stop the battered wife routine and leave.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 6:05pm

    Re: Re: How To Clean Up Your Comments Section In Twelve Easy Steps

    Since I got the "Held For Moderation" after two comments in and then YOU show up, I conclude there's cause-and-effect there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 6:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: How To Clean Up Your Comments Section In Twelve Easy Steps

    Yup. Everyone is free to read what I said, in context -- just as they did with Tim's comment. And we'll see how everyone reads it. Will they see the clearly stated point I made -- or will they assume that your trollish, out-of-context bullshit is accurate? Gee... I wonder...

    I mean, this is fun for a late afternoon, pre-long weekend to kill some time, debunking trolls, but really, why do you bother? I'm curious. You've been on the site for so long. Most trolls grow out of it at some point. Yet you remain, and you go through various personas, pretending to be different people, but each more stupid and clueless than the next. Is it just the fun of trolling? Or is there something else there?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 6:11pm

    You must have fought some weaksauce Nazis if’n the best you can do with your life after that is voluntarily visit a blog you hate and spam it with comments about how much you hate it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61. identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 1 Sep 2017 @ 6:14pm

    Re: Except the ones we wish to make voiceless...

    When Israel wants to boot them out of the country, you know they must be doing something right...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Re: Except the ones we wish to make voiceless...

    I don't judge the character of anyone or anything based on what another party is trying to do to them.

    It is not good to assume that anyone is doing the right or wrong thing just because another you do or do not like is for or against them.

    I have seen enemies become friends and friends enemies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63. icon
    Podyelka (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 8:35pm

    I didn't read the article and I'm offended that you even posted the headline.

    Anyone who assists in publicizing the 'statements' of these ethnocidal psychopaths is, well, not thinking too clearly. The only action I can take is to tell you that, and that I won't be back to TD for a long, long time. Bookmark deleted; making space at the top of my list.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 8:49pm

    Re:

    In my experience, people who announce their “leaving” a site will inevitably return—and with greater obnoxiousness.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Because the system is gracious enough to permit your lunacy.

    Persist in your relentless spamming, and attempts to call attention to it, and that decision might change.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    If you don't like the terms, do without. Nobody is forcing you to hang around.

    But since you choose not to do without, it appears that you're fine with the status quo.

    Be careful for what you wish for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 9:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: How To Clean Up Your Comments Section In Twelve Easy Steps

    We already know you make a game, a sport, a method of stroking your virtual erection to whine about big numbers like they mean something.

    Must be a RIAA thing for idiots to complain about numbers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 9:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    Good ghandi that comment section... I'm not sure if I should be feeling sympathy for a mind clearly in meltdown or laughing at someone so desperate to 'get in the last word'(and who apparently thought that people getting tired of them meant they 'won') that they were writing gorram novels talking to themself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 1 Sep 2017 @ 10:19pm

    Re:

    I didn't read the article and I'm offended that you even posted the headline.

    You didn't read the article? And yet you're so offended by it.

    Anyone who assists in publicizing the 'statements' of these ethnocidal psychopaths is, well, not thinking too clearly. The only action I can take is to tell you that, and that I won't be back to TD for a long, long time. Bookmark deleted; making space at the top of my list.

    You created a brand new account (and, yes, I see you just created this account) just to post that you'll never be back? Fascinating.

    Anyway, if you're so offended by Al Jazeera that you'd be so upset with us as to never read us again for criticizing Al Jazeera -- well, good riddance.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2017 @ 10:57pm

    Re: Hoo boy.

    Have you seen the adoration he shares for Hamilton? He thinks being blocked for spamming is a sign of martyrdom. The two were made for each other, honestly.

    The problem is that unless they can agree to a menage a trois with MyNameHere, there's going to be drama...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71. icon
    Tanner Andrews (profile), 2 Sep 2017 @ 3:14am

    Re: theme birthday party planners

    The amazing thing is that this birthday party spammer just contributed about as much to the discussion as did Podyelka. Maybe more, since Mr Birthday Party Spammer probably will go away, and we cannot count on Podyelka to do the same.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72. icon
    Gwiz (profile), 2 Sep 2017 @ 6:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    Just joking: surely you're not offended by a joke

     

    Not at all. It takes a bit more than some random anonymous fool insulting me online to offend me. But please keep trying, it is mildly amusing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 2 Sep 2017 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Hey wait a minute.

    There are reasons he cannot stop. Here are leads to some possibilities.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/obesely-speaking/201411/excessive-attention-seeki ng-and-drama-addiction

    http://www.psychforums.com/histrionic-personality/topic32539.html

    His reaction to this comment will be interesting, but also expected and unavoidable.

    I would think the best treatment (from us) would be to flag and ignore. He need in person professional help.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74. icon
    The Wanderer (profile), 2 Sep 2017 @ 8:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Well, when has Techdirt ever moderated, oh, say, Geigner?

    If this is the same person who, in another article recently, indicated that he doesn't see the Insider Chat box because that requires allowing scripts from the site, it wouldn't be surprising that he didn't click to report the comment; IIRC, last time I checked, the per-comment clickable buttons don't even show up if you don't have scripts enabled.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75. icon
    The Wanderer (profile), 2 Sep 2017 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    His logic appears to be something like "If they blocked my posts entirely, they would have to admit to themselves that they're censoring me - but by letting the posts through later, when discussion has moved on and the posts are no longer relevant, they can pretend that they're adhering to the principles they claim to support".

    I don't think that conclusion is correct, but the logic at least appers internally self-consistent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2017 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: theme birthday party planners

    And both contributed more than out_of_the_blue.

    Only out_of_the_blue can deliver such a poignantly dismal level of failure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2017 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re:

    No worries, they are as obnoxious as those asking others to leave for much the same reason.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2017 @ 10:11am

    Re:

    Bye Felicia.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79. icon
    takitus (profile), 2 Sep 2017 @ 10:26am

    Downgrading commentary

    That these sites are rushing to push their comment sections to social media makes another argument: they’d rather have fans than commentators.

    As Karl correctly notes, “join the conversation on Twitter” is basically an invitation to have your thoughts lost in a sheer mass of noise. While this may be a poor way to give a voice to anyone, it does allow Al Jazeera to brag about their growing number of followers and to cherry-pick some inane praise out of the heap.

    Placing a comment section on the same page with your content is a commitment to take your reader’s commentary seriously. Relegating it to social media, at this point, demonstrates nothing but contempt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2017 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Hoo boy.

    I'm still waiting for the footage from their TOR node merger. I hear it was hot!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 2 Sep 2017 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re:

    You don't have to look far to see the benefits to readers. Few people (except maybe Techdirt readers) wants to come to a page full of name calling, swearing, complaining, and racists attacks. The comment sections of many sites degrade in this fashion, even after the obvious spam is filtered out.

    Some resolve the issue by requiring that you are logged in via Facebook to comment. That seems to resolve part of the issue, as people are perhaps less likely to be obnoxious when their real name, profile, and list of friends isn't far away. Even then I can tell you that Facebook ain't paradise at times.

    Removing comments or moving comments to third party systems (like using twitter or Facebook pages to "host" discussions is another option that some take. Mostly, it's to get the junk off the main pages and out of site of the public.

    For the vast majority of people who do not comment on stories, there is no real loss. For them it's a benefit.

    So I don't think the sites are being dishonest in saying they are doing this to benefit their readers. They cannot (or cannot afford to) properly moderate the comments on the thousands of stories they publish each week. If they cannot do it right,doing it at all may not be in the best interest of their readers.

    Now, I accept and understand that it's not the way you see journalism in the digital age. That they don't agree with you doesn't make them wrong or worthy of mocking. Perhaps in some ways your own views need a reality check. It seems they have valid reasons to do what they do, and they explain it correctly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 2 Sep 2017 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    That's roughly the answer I got when I brought it up one time, that those running the site have such massive... vendettas... Grudges... whatever, against them that they are constantly delaying certain comments to make it so people don't interact with them.

    Three big problems with something like this is that it would require the TD staff to be constantly monitoring comments in order to catch them, care about the poor 'martyred' people, and it ignores the vastly easier and more sensible explanation like getting caught by a spam filter, and I don't see either of those first two nearly as likely as the third.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83. identicon
    Anon, 2 Sep 2017 @ 3:00pm

    Al-Jazeera's extremist history

    Not enough people know what al-Jazeera has been up to. They housed the Egyptian leaders who gave al-Qaeda permission to attack Chrisians. Their director from 2003-2011, Wadah Khanfar, was a recruiter for the Muslim Brotherhood. This affected their coverage of everything.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-finds-havens-abroad/2013/1 1/05/438f2dfe-463a-11e3-95a9-3f15b5618ba8_story.html
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/208592/morsi-zaw ahiri-connection-raymond-ibrahim
    http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Egyptian-reports-highlight-alleged- Morsi-al-Qaida-cooperation-340556
    https://www.globalmbwatch.com/wadah-khanfar/

    Khanfar is now part of the International Crisis Group with George Soros. Have you noticed the recent proliferation of self-proclaimed communists, feminists, and gays who refuse to denounce Islam as these groups historically have? There might be a reason for that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84. identicon
    Sirwired, 2 Sep 2017 @ 3:01pm

    Moderation ain't free

    Moderation for a high volume site is expensive, difficult, and even if done well, still bring on large amounts of grief about being too lenient or being censorious, depend on which side of the moderation you are on. All to service a part of a general-news website a small proportion of readers ever use.

    I don't blame them for deciding their efforts and money are better spent elsewhere.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85. identicon
    Thad, 2 Sep 2017 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: How To Clean Up Your Comments Section In Twelve Easy Steps

    each more stupid and clueless than the next.

    Pretty sure you mean "each more stupid and clueless than the last." If each were more stupid and clueless than the next, that would mean he was getting less stupid and clueless.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86. identicon
    Thad, 2 Sep 2017 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Downgrading commentary

    Placing a comment section on the same page with your content is a commitment to take your reader’s commentary seriously.

    Well, unless it's Kinja.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87. identicon
    Thad, 2 Sep 2017 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Al-Jazeera's extremist history

    Have you noticed the recent proliferation of self-proclaimed communists, feminists, and gays who refuse to denounce Islam

    I sure haven't, but I'm sure Glenn Beck has a very complicated diagram on a blackboard to explain it all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88. identicon
    Thad, 2 Sep 2017 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Moderation ain't free

    Moderation for a high volume site is expensive, difficult, and even if done well, still bring on large amounts of grief about being too lenient or being censorious, depend on which side of the moderation you are on. All to service a part of a general-news website a small proportion of readers ever use.

    If they had just said that instead of "we are giving a voice to the voiceless", then there would not be an article about it on Techdirt.

    As has been noted several times already (hey, I guess people really don't read comments sections!), the issue isn't shutting down comments, it's the absurd double-talk that sites have taken to where they claim that they are shutting down comments to facilitate more conversation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 2 Sep 2017 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    Still, using the spam filter to stop him from seeing certain stories seems to have been worth the effort.

    Today's "This Week In Techdirt History" discussion is off to a good start. Your first post there was excellent. The discussion in last week's Prenda/hillary connection story remained downright civil.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90. identicon
    Thad, 2 Sep 2017 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So where was the moderation with Geigner:

    His logic appears to be something like "If they blocked my posts entirely, they would have to admit to themselves that they're censoring me - but by letting the posts through later, when discussion has moved on and the posts are no longer relevant, they can pretend that they're adhering to the principles they claim to support".

    In other words, he doesn't actually know what censorship is and doesn't understand that there's no contradiction between moderating posts in a private forum and simultaneously opposing government intervention in public ones? You don't say.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91. identicon
    Docrailgun, 2 Sep 2017 @ 7:56pm

    Of course, 90% of the "comments" Al Jazeera gets are from stupid Nazis who think that the news outfit is an arm of 'the terrorists' because the name has 'al' in it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  92. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Sep 2017 @ 11:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    For the vast majority of people who do not comment on stories, there is no real loss. For them it's a benefit.

    How does it benefit society to force those who engage in comments to have that ability removed, while neither benefiting or harming those who ignore the comments. Looked at from the benefit and harm perspective, this move is all harm.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  93. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2017 @ 1:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And yet, here you are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  94. icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 3 Sep 2017 @ 3:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Looked at from the benefit and harm perspective, this move is all harm."

    Not really. Faced with hundreds (of thousands) of abusive comments, insults, racist attitudes, and the like, it's normal for people to be less interested in the comment sections. If the participation rate is low and the "hatred" rate is high, then removing the comments is perhaps a better thing. Moving those discussions to a level playing field (say like Facebook or using Facebook login for comments on the site) would be preferable to what most news sites turn into.

    The ability to comment is not removed. You can still head to facebook, twitter, or what have you and express your opinion. You are not silenced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  95. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2017 @ 3:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You can still head to facebook, twitter, or what have you and express your opinion. You are not silenced.

    I have seen no evidence that the trolls are put off by having to create an account, so this does little or nothing to deal with that problem, but rather moves it over to social media, for those who have social media accounts. For those people ho do not have such accounts, there is one less place that they can express their opinion, especially when the want to remain anonymous.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  96. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2017 @ 8:40am

    Re: Al-Jazeera's extremist history

    Damn I already filled in my Soros spot on conspiracy nutjob bingo. Try chemtrails or globalists next time chum.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  97. identicon
    Bill, 3 Sep 2017 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Not really. Faced with hundreds (of thousands) of abusive comments, insults, racist attitudes, and the like, it's normal for people to be less interested in the comment sections."

    Circular argument. No reason for a comment section to look like that, with even a modicum of effort. Too many sites have chosen not to make that effort, to their detriment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  98. icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 3 Sep 2017 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Few want name calling, swearing, complaining, and racists attacks

    It's true that few want that. But I don't think much moderation effort is needed to minimize it.

    What's needed is a system that filters or ranks comments and commentators by quality - so that trash talkers and those with nothing productive to add get voted into oblivion. And so commenters have an incentive to think before they type.

    Stack Exchange and Slashdot are good examples - both have systems where readers votes make the best comments more visible, and the worst ones less visible.

    I don't think either has got it 100% right, but further experimentation is needed.

    What doesn't work is lazy "post anything you like" with neither moderation nor a reputation based ranking system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  99. icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 3 Sep 2017 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The cost and size of the effort is overwhelming. Al Jezeera publishes hundreds of stories each day, which in turn generate hundreds if not thousands of comments each. The costs to actually police and maintain a comment section at that level is immense. In an industry that has razor thin margins (if they are positive at all) it's almost impossible to justify the type of manpower required to do it.

    The benefits (small) versus costs (large) make this sort of a no brainer. Getting into social media instead (say on Facebook) is a way more interesting place to be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  100. identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 3 Sep 2017 @ 4:13pm

    Re: The costs to actually police and maintain a comment section at that level is immense.

    Compared to the cost of writing and publishing “hundreds of stories each day”? Would it be more or less?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  101. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2017 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: The costs to actually police and maintain a comment section at that level is immense.

    Funny how MyNameHere thinks that moderating comments is far too much for a website to manage, but not filtering for copyright infringement before it happens.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  102. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2017 @ 6:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    For the vast majority of people who do not comment on stories, there is no real loss. For them it's a benefit.


    Got to disagree with you in this.

    I don't usually comment on sites (barely, I'd say), but I do read them when a piece of news interests me. I like to read other people's opinions in a matter.

    Comments do have value even for those who don't comment, even if they are full of insults and racism.

    At the very least, you get to see people expressing their real thoughts, instead of some hypocritical comments because they are posting with their real names and they don't want to be labelled as racists.


    You know... racism won't disappear just because you're making it socially unacceptable. It will just go underground.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  103. icon
    BJC (profile), 3 Sep 2017 @ 7:52pm

    Re: Re: Moderation ain't free

    I get that "the issue isn't shutting down comments, it's the absurd double-talk that sites have taken to where they claim that they are shutting down comments to facilitate more conversation."

    But can I ask a question? Is there any set of facts that Al-Jazeera or other news organization could put forth where you would say, "yes, that makes sense, with those facts being true, there is more useful engagement on Facebook or Twitter than on your native commenting platform"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104. identicon
    Sortinghat, 4 Sep 2017 @ 12:55am

    Most sites I see (unless it' a Right vs Left) article the commenting is pretty much dead. I will often see articles with only a few comments each that are niche.

    Reason why is (due to following trends with computers since Commodore 64 as a kid doing educational stuff) it's now harder and harder to find/build a computer. The people that knew how were old when computers were at their peak in the late 90s/00s (Bush era). These same people are retired thinking about kicking the bucket or dead.

    This generation is sadly the ones that grew up playing video games on the original Xbox that only know FPS games or casual Candy Crush style.

    There has been (at least) two generations born since the 80s computer and video game era who don't even know you could do things offline.

    I have a caretaker who's little 10 year old brother was shocked you could play an older Starcraft RTS game offline on his 32 bit Windows XP. He (The brother) was totally amazed at the gameplay despite older graphics the game was actually better then modern FPS games with brainless AI since the focus is more in online chat where people ask "R U REDDY?" type chat speak.


    *Actually I admit I don't know how to do chat speak very well*

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Sortinghat, 4 Sep 2017 @ 1:00am

    Me and my caretaker were looking for a mid ranged laptop for him to take when he see's his clients and also do medium range gaming. It was very hard finding one that wasn't either super expensive in the 1,000$ range or a dog that could barely run the OS.

    A lot of them will make a big deal but if you look at the power supply it will often say something like (350 watts) which is barely enough to power the machine on) You want AT LEAST 500 watts or more to run some basic 3D software and not have any components burn out a month later.
    It's a way to scam you.

    Most reviews you will see people buy computers generally for business only and don't even mention gaming or they ask "Can this Dell play Battlefield 4 if I swap in a graphics board"?" on the old dog that can barely turn on.

    You will see A LOT of optiplex machines now which used to be buried in the results in 2009. These optiplexes are the dumb business machines that aren't geared towards gaming/graphics.etc. They have parts non configurable.

    Been burned twice on them. Fool me once. Shame on you. Fool me twice.............

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  106. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 4 Sep 2017 @ 2:29am

    Re: Re: Re: The costs to actually police and maintain a comment section at that level is immense.

    Womp womp womp sad trombone, you fail.

    Comments are an optional (and not required) part of delivering the news. It's an added featuring in the same manner as the free breakfast at the hotel you stayed at last night. It's not a requirement, it's an extra feature, and if it's too expensive to provide, they won't do it.

    Sites that benefit from and profit from copyright infringement have a huge financial benefit from turning a blind eye.

    if there was as much money to be made with comments as there was with piracy, news sites would line up to do it. Hey, even Techdirt might be profitable at that point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  107. identicon
    Thad, 4 Sep 2017 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Moderation ain't free

    I don't have comments on my blog, because it's my blog and moderating comments is a pain in the ass. If anyone wants to talk to me, there's an e-mail form and a link to a messageboard where I'm a regular.

    Same goes for any other individual or organization, no matter how big or how small; if you aren't interested in dealing with comments yourself and want to shunt them off to a third party, that's entirely up to you. Nobody's entitled to a comments section.

    If they'd said "A site of our scale would require multiple full-time moderators to keep the comments section constructive, and we feel that our budget should be used for reporting instead," that would be a completely justifiable explanation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  108. identicon
    Thad, 4 Sep 2017 @ 1:40pm

    Re:

    I'm not gonna lie: I don't follow your connection from "I don't see comments sections with many people in them" to "people don't know how to build computers and play different video games than I used to."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  109. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2017 @ 7:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The costs to actually police and maintain a comment section at that level is immense.

    Looks like someone's jelly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  110. icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 5 Sep 2017 @ 12:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The costs to actually police and maintain a comment section at that level is immense.

    Happy to see that the free speech censors have been hard at work again flagging posts because they don't like the ideas.

    Techdirt, your flagging system sucks, without a doubt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  111. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2017 @ 1:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The costs to actually police and maintain a comment section at that level is immense.

    You could always use your 50 IP addresses to flag everyone who disagrees with you. Or make those T-shirts you threatened to undercut Techdirt's profits with.

    Seriously, you have a lot of agenda to rail against a website you consider so insignificant. Enjoy your DMCA vote.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  112. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2017 @ 5:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The costs to actually police and maintain a comment section at that level is immense.

    So apparently, it's possible a website like YouTube to sift through millions of gigabytes and hours of video and audio files and instantly be able to tell which files are infringing - never mind the fact that copyright owners have on multiple occasions, failed to correctly identify their own material and whether it's infringing or not - but if a website has comments, which are fewer in number, it's suddenly too much work to read through them.

    Yeah, see, this is why you get flagged. It's because you don't think things through, like Hamilton! But then, you seem attracted to his fantasies about Shiva Ayyadurai and Donald Trump, so it's no surprise you think the system is broken.

    Seriously, what are you doing on a site you hate so much?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  113. icon
    keithzg (profile), 5 Sep 2017 @ 8:20am

    Re: vote with mouse button

    Yeah, my own website readership is strongly gated by whether a site has comments or not. Actually, the only one I read these days that doesn't is The Outline.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  114. icon
    keithzg (profile), 5 Sep 2017 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Downgrading commentary

    Ah, a fellow member of The A.V. Club I presume?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  115. identicon
    Thad, 5 Sep 2017 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Downgrading commentary

    Well, not anymore.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  116. identicon
    Thad, 5 Sep 2017 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Downgrading commentary

    (You know something? I do say "well" a lot.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  117. icon
    MyNameHere (profile), 6 Sep 2017 @ 1:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The costs to actually police and maintain a comment section at that level is immense.

    I love people like you. Poor readers, and even poorer at snark. You make Leigh look like a pro!

    In each of your examples, I used the term "could". I could do X, I could do Y. I choose not to do so personally (but others clearly do use proxies to multi-vote). I could do so, but it's a gesture that would be lost, especially on people like you.

    I have no agenda. I learned a long time ago that hanging around with a bunch of people who always agree with you teaches you nothing except how to get your ass kissed. Standing with people you disagree with teaches you way more.

    You should try it some times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  118. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2017 @ 1:31pm

    Al Jazeera? The news outlet of the Qatari government? Qatar one of the main associates of USA? No thank you, we don't need more american propaganda.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  119. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Sep 2017 @ 11:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The costs to actually police and maintain a comment section at that level is immense.

    Except for the time on your Whatever account where you stated that your entire purpose here was to be a contradictory troll, of course.

    That might also explain why you're here, since you claimed John Steele would win his appeal. Do you hang out with Flat Earthers and people who believe vaccines cause autism, too?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.