Blaugust Day 20 – About Comment Sections

Another late night and potentially short blog. I worry I’m running out of steam a little, and I think I might set up some drafts over the weekend to help me through the last week or so of Blaugust. It;s been fun doing this, and while writing never feels like a chore, sometimes I am really aware that I need to be doing something else, or that I really really should have done this earlier..

Anyway, while I’m not writing a long blog tonight, I do want to quickly talk about something.

One of the larger news and editorial sites out there, The Daily Dot, has recently announced that they are removing their comments sections on articles from now on.

While they suggest that it’s to help engage their readers better by using social media instead of a comments section, they also specify certain events over the past year, including Gamergate and the Reddit whatever-you-would-call-it (drama/scanda/entitled whining) and the toxicity that emerged from there. Another major site, The Verge, turned off comments on articles for much the same reasons last month.

This starts to show an interesting trend, of websites deciding that commentary is better done on networks suited to engagement and interaction, where things can be better moderated and referred on to a higher power if all gets out of hand. However, with the problems that Twitter has in reporting and dealing with harassment, and Facebook’s increasingly bizarre ‘authentic name’ obsession, I wonder whether those platforms are the best places to send people. Even without that, there will be larger and more fragmented community than in a comments sections, where regular users would probably recognise each other immediately. It’s a completely different and probably more impersonal style of community. However, comments sections are a lot of work, even if you have a mainly positive community who can self-moderate to an extent, so I can’t blame any site for doing this.


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