Why The New York Times and The Washington Post (and Mozilla) are building an audience engagement platform together

You might have heard: Washington Post, New York Times and Mozilla team up for new Web site comment system (Washington Post)

But did you know: “Both excitement and skepticism surrounded Thursday’s announcement that Knight has invested $3.89 million to help The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Mozilla collaborate on an open-source community engagement platform,” writes Caroline O’Donovan. “Lots of people were simply confused — why does anyone need millions of dollars to build a commenting system?” O’Donovan looks at how the partnership came about, what the project will consist of, and challenges.

+ “Right now, the most common space for users to contribute is in comments … But we know that users can give us much more than that”(Poynter); Fixing comments? “I don’t think this is the problem to solve,” says Dave Winer (Scripting); Managing comments online: 10 recommendations (Denovati); A federal court this week decided that online publishers still aren’t usually liable for user-generated content(Columbia Journalism Review)

The New York Times is looking to machine learning to help it understand reader behavior (Gigaom)

+ Replies: Aaron Kushner fires back at LA Register criticism: ‘It’s not a gamble, it’s a simple business strategy’ (The Wrap); Outbrain’s CEO clarifies the ASA’s ruling and its position about labeling (Outbrain)

+ Noted: The 3-year-old PolicyMic is ditching the “policy” & relaunching as Mic as it courts advertisers (Wall Street Journal); American confidence in the news media keeps getting lower, according to the latest Gallup poll (Poynter)