I read a lot of comments sections from a lot of news articles and no representatives from the company seem to respond. Is this a problem? Should news companies moderate their stories to reduce abuse of other commenters and spam? Should news stories contribute to the conversation and respond to commenters' claims of biased research?
News outlets seem to publish the stories and then leave them alone and, perhaps this is a good thing. If they moderate (respond to, delete or edit) comments, commenters affected could interpret this as censorship. An attempt to keep allegations of unethical journalism quiet. Changing comments essentially means tailoring the discourse. Not only will that hurt the outlet's relationship with the affected commenters, but it will diminish the wonderful qualities of social medias: a loud voice for citizens and interaction between the people and "the man." -- Do people use that phrase anymore?
I don't know if broad social or journalistic change has ever come about because of a comment or comments on a news story, but the conversation about the news story has certainly influenced how I read the news. So many commenters pose questions about the reporter's research methodology, about the unanswered questions. Questions I hadn't asked when I first read the article, but looked back and realized what was missing. Comments have power. But only if people read them.
Do you read comments on news stories or blogs? Do you see the value of reading these comments? Have you commented and what was your experience afterward? Do you think news outlets or bloggers have any responsibilities regarding comments submitted to their stories? To bloggers: do you moderate your comments?
Stop by my Twitter chat on Monday night from 9 pm to 10 pm EST to discuss these questions and how they should impact our moderating decisions as bloggers. The hashtag will be #beyond comments Everyone is welcome! Again, my Twitter name is @cartooninperson If you can't make the chat, but have something to say, please feel free to drop a comment here on my blog or on the Beyond Passing Time Facebook Page.
For those new on Twitter or new to Twitter chats, simply type #beyondcomments in your Tweets and anyone who types #beyondcomments in the search field will see them. If you search #beyond comments, you will see the discussion. All Tweets will show up live, so you don't need to refresh your page. Please feel free to comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you don't understand or would like more information.
I will see you there! Please spread the word!