Improving Online Commenting

I’m just reading through a blog post on time.com, entitled “Commenters: Are you the Problem with Journalism?” and ironically I’m finding the comments on the post to have a lot of value. Not to say that the post is bad, the writer gets the ball rolling and sets the tone for the perspectives that arise in the comments. That said, some of the observations that commenters made, which I think ring true:

  • People are more likely to comment when they have something negative to say
  • There’s way too much junk to wade through to get much useful out of comments
  • Comments get repetitive after some cutoff (~20?)
  • User comments don’t often augment a reporter’s story on a factual basis
  • YouTube Comments are mostly worthless [Does this have to do with the community there?]
  • It’s up to the journalist to frame so that quality comments are contributed
  • Mechanisms for peer-rating should be used more widely (e.g. “report this” button)
  • Commenters have no institutional authority, nor do they attach their names to information as journalists do