Don’t be a pr1ckOnline comments and the challenge    of community engagement
Wisdom of the crowd?          • Or the madness of the            mob?
Wisdom of the crowd?          • Or the madness of the            mob?          • Idealistic hopes for            news-site...
Wisdom of the crowd?          • Or the madness of the            mob?          • Idealistic hopes for            news-site...
Talking back to the Globe• The David Brudnoy rule
Talking back to the Globe• The David Brudnoy rule• Globe policy: Watch for  “pr1ck” and libelous  statements like “Carl  C...
Talking back to the Globe• The David Brudnoy rule• Globe policy: Watch for  “pr1ck” and libelous  statements like “Carl  C...
The Winnipeg solution• Moderating comments is a soul-sucking  experience, dreaded by Globe staff members
The Winnipeg solution• Moderating comments is a soul-sucking  experience, dreaded by Globe staff members• In April 2011, t...
The Winnipeg solution• Moderating comments is a soul-sucking  experience, dreaded by Globe staff members• In April 2011, t...
The price of free speech• The Register puts comments up automatically and  depends on the crowd to report offensive ones
The price of free speech• The Register puts comments up automatically and  depends on the crowd to report offensive ones• ...
The price of free speech• The Register puts comments up automatically and  depends on the crowd to report offensive ones• ...
A better approach• All comments are screened before posting: “Yes we  do censor reader comments. We’ll continue to.”
A better approach• All comments are screened before posting: “Yes we  do censor reader comments. We’ll continue to.”• Anon...
A better approach• All comments are screened before posting: “Yes we  do censor reader comments. We’ll continue to.”• Anon...
Anonymity versus real names• Howard Owens requires registration and real names  at his community news site in western New ...
Anonymity versus real names• Howard Owens requires registration and real names  at his community news site in western New ...
Anonymity versus real names• Howard Owens requires registration and real names  at his community news site in western New ...
Comments are so 2005• Facebook fosters civil  dialogue in a  familiar, real-names  space
Comments are so 2005• Facebook fosters civil  dialogue in a familiar,  real-names space• Twitter allows reporters  to prom...
Comments are so 2005• Facebook fosters civil  dialogue in a familiar,  real-names space• Twitter allows reporters  to prom...
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Ethics of news site comments

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News site comments have become a cesspool of hate and ignorance. Should we blame the commenters — or find more effective ways of engaging with our communities?

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Transcript of "Ethics of news site comments"

  1. 1. Don’t be a pr1ckOnline comments and the challenge of community engagement
  2. 2. Wisdom of the crowd? • Or the madness of the mob?
  3. 3. Wisdom of the crowd? • Or the madness of the mob? • Idealistic hopes for news-site comments gave way to reality
  4. 4. Wisdom of the crowd? • Or the madness of the mob? • Idealistic hopes for news-site comments gave way to reality • How can we involve our readers in ways that are positive and useful?
  5. 5. Talking back to the Globe• The David Brudnoy rule
  6. 6. Talking back to the Globe• The David Brudnoy rule• Globe policy: Watch for “pr1ck” and libelous statements like “Carl Crawford is dealing drugs in the dugout.”
  7. 7. Talking back to the Globe• The David Brudnoy rule• Globe policy: Watch for “pr1ck” and libelous statements like “Carl Crawford is dealing drugs in the dugout.”• Comments turned off for personal tragedy, religion stories, etc.
  8. 8. The Winnipeg solution• Moderating comments is a soul-sucking experience, dreaded by Globe staff members
  9. 9. The Winnipeg solution• Moderating comments is a soul-sucking experience, dreaded by Globe staff members• In April 2011, the Globe contracted with ICUC of Winnipeg to stay on top of comments
  10. 10. The Winnipeg solution• Moderating comments is a soul-sucking experience, dreaded by Globe staff members• In April 2011, the Globe contracted with ICUC of Winnipeg to stay on top of comments• Better than nothing — but is outsourcing moderation any way to engage with your community?
  11. 11. The price of free speech• The Register puts comments up automatically and depends on the crowd to report offensive ones
  12. 12. The price of free speech• The Register puts comments up automatically and depends on the crowd to report offensive ones• “these shootings save the taxpayers millions … not only in welfare costs but in section 8, food stamps, health care. it is time to consider sterilization …”
  13. 13. The price of free speech• The Register puts comments up automatically and depends on the crowd to report offensive ones• “these shootings save the taxpayers millions … not only in welfare costs but in section 8, food stamps, health care. it is time to consider sterilization …”• In late 2011, under new leadership, the Register announced it would begin screening all comments
  14. 14. A better approach• All comments are screened before posting: “Yes we do censor reader comments. We’ll continue to.”
  15. 15. A better approach• All comments are screened before posting: “Yes we do censor reader comments. We’ll continue to.”• Anonymity is allowed, but racist, sexist and personally insulting comments are not posted
  16. 16. A better approach• All comments are screened before posting: “Yes we do censor reader comments. We’ll continue to.”• Anonymity is allowed, but racist, sexist and personally insulting comments are not posted• A civil conversation that often adds to the story and that fosters civic engagement — a virtuous circle
  17. 17. Anonymity versus real names• Howard Owens requires registration and real names at his community news site in western New York
  18. 18. Anonymity versus real names• Howard Owens requires registration and real names at his community news site in western New York• “It starts with basic news ethics: Readers have a right to know who is saying what.”
  19. 19. Anonymity versus real names• Howard Owens requires registration and real names at his community news site in western New York• “It starts with basic news ethics: Readers have a right to know who is saying what.”• What do you think is gained from a real-names policy? What is lost? Which is preferable?
  20. 20. Comments are so 2005• Facebook fosters civil dialogue in a familiar, real-names space
  21. 21. Comments are so 2005• Facebook fosters civil dialogue in a familiar, real-names space• Twitter allows reporters to promote work and engage with users
  22. 22. Comments are so 2005• Facebook fosters civil dialogue in a familiar, real-names space• Twitter allows reporters to promote work and engage with users• Have traditional news- site comments outlived their usefulness?
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