When is it time to turn off the comments? For The Verge, it was when they started getting too negative

Starting with “GamerGate,” Nilay Patel says The Verge’s comments have started getting a little too “aggressive and negative,” leading to The Verge turning off comments for the next few weeks. During this “timeout” period, comments will be turned on on a post-by-post basis. Patel writes: “It’s hard for us to do our best work in […]

When reporters get involved in the comment section, it leads to fewer uncivil comments

According to research by the Engaging News Project at the University of Texas at Austin, uncivil comments dropped by 15 percent when reporters were participating in the conversation. Some newsrooms such as are encouraging reporters to participate in the comment sections. Julia Haslanger offers nine tips for journalists to make the transition to the […]

European court rules websites can be held liable for users’ comments

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that Estonian news site Delfi may be held responsible for anonymous and allegedly defamatory comments on its website. The court cited the “extreme” nature of the comments, which it equated to hate speech, and “insufficient measures taken by Delfi to weed out the comments in question.” […]

Changing online communities: 10 good questions with The Coral Project’s Greg Barber

The Coral Project aims to change how publishers, contributors and readers think about interacting in online communities — and it wants to do so with anyone interested. The project, funded by a grant from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is a collaborative, open-source effort led by The Washington Post, The New York Times […]

After Tablet started charging for the comment section, conversation moved to Facebook

When Tablet started charging users $180 per year for access to the comment section, the Jewish news and culture magazine wanted to heighten the quality of comments on its website. Editor Alana Newhouse says the quality of comments has increased while Tablet’s traffic hasn’t decreased, with readers and commenters heading to social networks to discuss […]

The Coral Project wants to turn comment sections into communities

You might have heard: Comment section can sometimes do more harm than good, leading some publishers to kill their comment sections But did you know: The Coral Project, a collaboration between The Washington Post, New York Times and Mozilla, is looking to transform interactive spaces on news sites through a series of open-source apps. The apps […]

Facebook announces other changes to comments and video that may draw in publishers

You might have heard: Facebook’s plan to host news content stirs strong reactions But did you know: Facebook announced several new features at its conference for developers this week that may also affect publishers’ strategies. For publishers that use Facebook for their comment sections, comments will now appear on both the publisher’s website and the […]

Involve journalists in comment sections to improve tone

Katie Steiner from the Engaging News Project writes about three studies that tested variables in comment sections to look for increases or decreases in desired activity, including civility. In one study analyzing 2,500 comments, the group tested the participation of a journalist as a factor in civility: “We know journalists don’t have free time, but […]

How Ta-Nehisi Coates built a comment section that doesn’t tolerate trolling, rudeness and bad faith

Ta-Nehisi Coates joined The Atlantic as a blogger in 2008 intentionally desiring a comment section he “wanted to read.” As his role evolved alongside the internet, Coates’ comment section came to be been recognized as a “wonder of wonders” in which “intelligent adults thoughtfully share ideas and knowledge.” Eva Holland explores how that enviable comment […]

How game-makers at Riot Games are running experiments to improve the standards of online communities

Online harassment is a problem that plagues many digital platforms intended for discussion, such as comment sections or social media. To gather insights on how to improve behavior, the designers behind the whimsical but “deeply competitive” online game of League of Legends are running experiments involving psychology as well as large amounts of data. The […]