Silencing Conversation Good or Bad?

September 24th, 2016 Posted in Web Related

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Today I found an interesting article on Net News Check that discussed the issue of online publishers getting rid of the comments section.

In the age of the web based journalism revolution, this is an interesting topic. Ron Stitt states that without the comments section the ROI of the site decreases because the engagement with the audience disappears.

Similarly, without a comments section the length of time a person stays on a story or page then decrease. He also addresses the main complaint that comment sections can be a burden as they are hard to maintain quality conversations on.

In the old days of media news was a one way communication. The news would go out through television, radio, or newspapers and then the story would die at the end of the day as new information would be published the next day. Many publishers from this era who are still in the business do not like the comments because they are still trying to micromanage the flow of information. However, they have to learn to give this up in order to stay afloat in this tough time for journalism.

I do agree that comments sections are a hassle because they often turn into something similar to a drunken guest at a wedding, with a microphone, giving a toast. However they are a necessary evil in order to engage the audience. The only way to keep the conversation relevant is to have someone monitor the comments feeds and pose questions and their opinion in a professional manner. By mediating the posts, this will help people disregard irrelevant information.

Let me know what you think about comments sections in the space below.

  1. 4 Responses to “Silencing Conversation Good or Bad?”

  2. By Calvin on Sep 25, 2016

    I like the comparison to some people that comment as total drunks. I’ve certainly seen it before, obviously Facebook is the big one, but some people just blabber on and on and on and never really some to be making a contribution to the actual story at hand, which is obviously one of the big reasons why the comments section is bad, as you point that out. However, I completely side with you in the fact that it is necessary in order to keep people coming back. People love voicing their opinion, and if you were to take that luxury away from them, I believe they’d go elsewhere.

  3. By Kyle Geissler on Sep 25, 2016

    Thanks for writing about this! We’ll talk more about website comments later this semester, so I’ll hold my thoughts until then, but this is a hot topic and newsrooms right now. I’m interested to know what your classmates think.

  4. By Kolton Hegstrom on Sep 25, 2016

    I agree with you Joe. Comment sections are a part of the future of journalism. A lot of times readers come into articles just to argue even before reading the content itself, but if they come to argue that means they’re clicking on your link to start an argument and likely coming back a couple times to continue the argument. Every one of these clicks is growing your audience and likely getting the blogger more ad revenue. Regardless of how the editors feel I think you need a comment section.

  5. By Ashley Devita on Sep 28, 2016

    Hey Joe,
    I find your post really interesting, because I’ve seen this topic come up a lot. I agree with you completely (I especially enjoyed your analogy to the drunk guest at a wedding-I LOLed). I’m sure many people agree that we’ve all wished some posts would have comments disabled at one point or another. But like you said, it’s a necessary evil. Especially with news outlets, viewers/listeners really want to feel like they’re a part of the conversation. They want to feel like their voices are being heard. Getting rid of the ability to comment would anger some people, and I would agree with them on that. Especially with local news outlets, they want their audience to be actively engaged with the content they’re putting out; we wouldn’t put it on social media if we weren’t expecting some sort of feedback, whether it be negative or positive.
    It’s definitely an interesting topic to think about. I like the idea of a mediator, but I think actually implementing this would be quite a challenge.

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