How to get women to join the debate in comment sections

Women made only a quarter of comments in a collection of articles on New York Times website in one study; though their comments got more recommendations from other readers on average. This is an example of how “women and men differ substantially in how they engage with online media,” writes researcher Emma Pierson. “And these […]

Comments aren’t dead — they’re just broken

We missed this from a couple weeks ago, but Mat Yurow argues that publishers deserve much of the blame for the sad state of online comments. “In my mind, there are three major factors that have led to the decline of comments: revenue, reward and relevance,” write Yurow and shares a few solutions to address […] announces that it is closing its comments section before the end of the year

You might have heard: Reuters will no longer allow comments on news stories But did you know: announces that it is closing its comments section before the end of the year (The Week) “There was a time — not so long ago! — when the comments sections of news and opinion sites were not […]

The types of stories and comments that promote comment-section engagement

Want more comments? Look at how you write articles on your site. Articles that describe why they matter to specific groups of people generate more comments than articles that don’t describe how they affect people or that focus on just one person. Want to boost interaction among commenters? Try encouraging commenters to respond to each […]

Where to begin when choosing a commenting platform

The first question should be this: What is the goal your organization hopes to achieve with its commenting section? Do you want to engage your readers? Build a community? Consider the following. First, determine your organization’s goal with its commenting section. Gary Graham, editor of the Spokesman-Review in Washington state, admits that “community engagement is […]

Understanding your options for commenting platforms

I’ve identified four main types of commenting systems: Traditional – threads at the bottom of a story Structured comments – requires an extra structural step to comment Annotated comments – inline threads Stand-alone discussion platforms with user-generated threads Many of these systems incorporate elements of the others. A news organization might have what appears to […]

How to shape the nature of the comments posted on your website

Deciding how a commenting system looks and operates are choices publishers should make with intent. These decisions affect the nature of readers’ and moderators’ experiences and the content of their contributions. Talia Stroud, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Texas – Austin, studies how the media affects our political behaviors and attitudes […]

How to handle anonymity and authenticity in your commenting platform

Have you ever wondered if there is value in commenters identifying themselves? Or do you struggle with verifying the facts and stories your commenters post? How can we authenticate what they say if we don’t know who they are? In the previous section, I highlighted research showing commenters are more civil when commenting on Facebook and […]

How to manage the resources you devote to managing reader comments

Before spending too much money, take some time. Spend the time strategizing, researching, understanding what your audience wants, what you want and how comments will help you deliver this. Can you accomplish this through comments? If you believe so, do you have the time to maintain the system? The time news organizations are spending monitoring […]

How to choose a commenting platform for news sites

Comments can provide readers a voice. Comments can provide a space where readers can contribute new information, like sources sparking new stories, investigations and reports. Comments can also, among other benefits, increase website traffic for news organizations. Approximately 70 percent 101 newspaper and online editors/publishers surveyed across the country said they valued comments, according to […]