26 August 2016

NPR is eliminating the "comment" feature from its websites

Good riddance to NPR’s comment section, which is shutting down Tuesday after eight years. There has to be a better way for news organizations to engage with the public.

NPR is joining a growing list of media organizations that have said “finito” to comments including, ‘This American Life,’ Reuters, Recode, Mic, The Chicago Sun-Times, Popular Science, CNN, The Toronto Star and The Week...

The trolls who rule the comment seas may actually have won because they often scare away people with their vicious attacks. An infinitesimal number of NPR’s 25 to 35 million unique monthly users bothered to join story-page conversations...

There are some sites that handle comments well, noted Alex Howard, a senior analyst at the Sunlight Foundation. “Building a healthy online community is hard, but outlets like TechDirt and forums like MetaFilter show that it’s not only possible but sustainable,” said Howard. “At their best, good comments are improvements upon the journalism they’re focused upon, but they require convening a community and investing in editorial moderation and tools.”
TYWKIWDBI will continue to allow comments.   The need to delete spam every morning is a nuisance, but the readership here is reasonably sane and immensely well-informed on a huge range of topics, and I have had readers tell me that they routinely read most of the comments on the posts.  I will continue to "curate" comments, however, by weeding out the egregiously offensive ones.

More details at Moyers&Co (and 300+ comments).


  1. Stan, thanks for taking the time to monitor the comments and keep this part of your site available. There are very few sites anymore that don't attract and display the nastiness of the lowest level of comments. I really enjoy the wide range of topics you gather together and the level of civil discourse displayed by the commenters here.

  2. Ditto. I could not have said it better.

  3. Thank you for considering us sane. I will pass that on to family and friends.

  4. """ reasonably sane """ that made me spit out my coffee!! Thanks for hitting us with that broad brush!

  5. For those who may be interested there is an Extension available for Safari on the Mac called Shut Up that blocks comments section of webpages from being displayed. If you do for some reason want to ready the comments you simply click the Shut Up button in the toolbar and the page re-loadeds with the comments visible. With Shut Up it's as if Internet Trolls never existed.

  6. I would read the comments more if you could enable the comments to pop up in another window. Most blogs on blogger seem to have this option.

    1. Tom, can't you just right-click "Open link in new window" (or new tab) instead of left-clicking?

    2. Also clicking on a link with the mouse's scroll wheel opens it in a new tab (if you have that kind of mouse).


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