If you spent more time applying yourself and less time reading comments, you could afford HBO and wouldn't have to pirate Game of Thrones.
— Don't Read Comments (@AvoidComments) November 3, 2014
We are living in a new age of discourse in the United States. Disruption is in; dialogue is out.
This is presenting an increasing challenge to blogs and websites that still allow comments in the belief that individual perspectives add value. Many sites, as has been documented here many times, have simply given up in the recognition that in the age of disruption, it is a lost cause.
NewsCut is a one-person job on a site that requires 24/7 attention. In the age of disruption, this will require changes, some of which were employed this week.
Posting and moderating at the same time requires a commitment that is strained in this new age. I choose — when given the choice — to focus on finding and posting interesting material. At the same time, however, I am not willing to let the comments section degenerate to the point of being a lost cause. So when I am unable to give moderation attention, I will simply close the post to further comments, although it may later be reopened.
At the same time, I am re-employing a higher standard for the comments that are posted and meeting it is your responsibility.
If a comment doesn’t add value and individual perspective and knowledge, it will be deleted. If you don’t understand what constitutes value and individual perspective, might I suggest reading the comments on this post.
If the goal of a commenter is merely and obviously to inflame, it will be deleted. If the comment merely says how much you don’t care about the topic of the post, it will be deleted. If it calls names, it will be deleted. And of course, the ignorant, racist, sexist, threatening, or otherwise worthless comments get the delete-key treatment.
A study here and there has shown that a poor comment section diminishes the perceived value of the post itself, which is the goal of the disruption.
Twitter is a great spot for one-line “shots” and “zings” and I would encourage you to open an account and take your heat there, and try to provide light here.
Let me re-embrace the social desk standard of the New York Times as a yardstick going forward. Simply, I need to be convinced that your comment is meant to inform and convince, rather than insult and inflame.
You may review this post from September for additional guidance and standards, and bring your “‘A’ game” to the dialogue.