Monday, April 27, 2009

How to improve quality of online comments

At best, comments are distractions or ego-boosts , depending on the bloggers personality. Once you read the first 5-10 comments below a highly commented-upon post, you know you have read all the comments - it is rambling echo chamber, if not a free-for-all self-promotion pulpit.

Writing about the disappointing quality of online comments, Virginia Heffernan writes in The New York Times,
Commenters, in short, rarely really sock it to a columnist. They also too often go automatic, churning out 100-word synopses of one stock ideological position after another.

But most disappointing of all, for readers, is that commenters don’t, as literary critics say, read an article against itself to show how, for example, an argument framed as incendiary is in fact banal, or one that’s meant to be feminist is retrogressive, or one that touts its originality is a knockoff.
How do we fix online commenting? Virginia offers her solution, citing the example of
Creating registration standards, inventive means of moderating and displaying comments, membership benefits for regular posters and ratings systems for useful comments are just some of the ways that other news outlets like Slate have improved the quality of reader responses.

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