Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Free Press: Comments not allowed!

Now I know that commenters can be idiots some times, but four of the top 5 breaking stories on the Free Press web site at the moment of this writing are not accepting comments:


The Free Press recently changed its comment system. I really like the new comment features, but the moderation of the comments (if I recall John White's tweet correctly) has been farmed out to a third party. Since that happening, the web site seems to be pulling the trigger quicker on closing down the comments. I have to wonder if the comments are really that bad, or if the hired mods are just being "proactive" (ie. lazy).

I have noticed as well that some times a disproportionate number of comments (in stories that do allow comments) have been censored. Perhaps, instead of all that exhausting work of banning users and censoring comments, they decided it would be easier if they just disallowed comments on anything remotely contentious.

The Free Press has the right to accept comments or not, but one has to question the purpose of accepting comments if anything contentious or crime related is automatically off limits. Are we interested in people's views of law enforcement? Do we care what people think of the 2-for-1 credit for time served, or the fact that it's being taken away? Are people concerned about arson, bus safety and sentencing? Or is the only thing we want people's opinions on is whether Ashton Kutcher is a suitable replacement for Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men?

7 comments:

John White said...

We always turn comments off when someone is charged.

cherenkov said...

That makes sense .. there were an unusually high no of those on the list at one time, although in some cases the person being charged is not central to the story. For example: in Man Freed after 2 1/2 Years, the man is charged with nothing anymore but as an aside the article mentions a co-accused who is charged with murder. Also with the rooming house fire story: it only mentions somebody who is charged for a completely different incident.

Old Chum said...

Shame is that a lot of the comments are not well thought out just rants . Shame about the disabled guy had not heard it .

cherenkov said...

True. This blog post was not all that well thought out either for that matter.

jonathan said...

There are certain types of stories where you just know that the bulk of the comments will be racist drivel directed at a certain visible minority in our city. I think the FP is right to preemptively disable comments in those situations.

Personally, I would feel much better about the future of humanity, our education system, and the English language if there were no comments at all, but I don't think that's likely.

Shaun M. Wheeler said...

^ I couldn't agree more, Jonathan.

I have largely gone back to getting my news from the TV or print media (no comments section). Some of the comments people leave are WELL beyond disgusting! These are same people will cry censorship and cite attacks on freedom of speech if moderators remove an inflammatory comment or two...

RM said...

I don't know if the post wasn't well thought out... I might have thought about that topic at one point too. http://winnipegonegreatcity.blogspot.com/2011/05/we-will-no-longer-accept-comments-on.html

 
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