Informed by this research, The Intercept’s changes include the ability to mute annoying users, the ability to track comment edits, a new offensive comment reporting feature, the “featuring” of exceptional comments by website staff, and the expanded ability of staff to interact with users that pose particularly important questions. Again, none of this is particularly revolutionary. Most of it involves treating readers like human beings. But in this day and age — doing so is apparently now a revolutionary act.
His preamble was also a mix of right and wrong:
Traditionally, readers of these websites are told that news comments simply had to die because it’s impossible to cultivate healthy discourse in the post-truth, mega-troll era. But as Techdirt and countless other websites have made clear for more than a decade, that’s simply not true. And while being lazy, cheap and actively hostile to on-site community is any website’s prerogative, this ignores the fact that online news comments are an excellent avenue for transparency and a tool to hold websites, and authors, accountable.
There are so many false things in there. First of all, editing, blocking and modifying people’s comments is NOT “treating readers like human beings”, it is censoring.
And who is this person who is supposed to have told sites “news comments simply had to die”? Wotsisname?
The second bit is right though: “because it’s impossible to cultivate healthy discourse in the post-truth, mega-troll era”.
Yes, that bit’s right because there are paid trolls sent out to blight news comments, plus just trolls who go to a site just to wreck it. And thus, any blogger who wants unfettered comments, plus he has some traffic and therefore reach, will be trolled.
So, what does he do? There’s a good case for him recognizing the serial troll and blocking him but you can’t then go and claim you’re also a champion of free speech. There’s a certain hypocrisy in that.