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Writer: Internet Comments Belong On Personal Blogs, Not News Sites 299

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-godwin dept.
sixoh1 writes: Nicholas Jackson at Pacific Standard suggests that internet comments are permanently broken (in response to an issue Jezebel is having with violent misogynist GIFs and other inappropriate commentary). He argues that blogs are a good-enough solution to commentary and dialog across the internet. "They belong on personal blogs, or on Twitter or Tumblr or Reddit, where individuals build a full, searchable body of work and can be judged accordingly."

This seems to hold true for most broad-interest sites like newspapers and magazines where comments can be downright awful, as opposed to sites like Slashdot with a self-selected and somewhat homogeneous audience. It seems unlikely that using only blogs for responsive dialog with authors and peers could come close to matching the feedback and community feel of comments such as we see here. Is there a technical solution, or is this a biological problem imposed on the internet?
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Writer: Internet Comments Belong On Personal Blogs, Not News Sites

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  • Jezebel? (Score:3, Informative)

    by dontbemad (2683011) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:36PM (#47665293)
    I think the example given in TFA is an absolutely terrible one. Jezebel, as a site, has been known to pander to fairly extreme, militantly feminist views, while trashtalking and flaming any counterpoints or opposition. While commenting on legitimate news outlets may be a problem, Jezebel is certainly no more credible than a blog, and honestly should be treated as nothing more serious than such.
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:43PM (#47665371)

      Whether you agree with the politics of a particular site or not, the easiest solution is just to not enable posting graphics.

      If someone wants to make an offensive graphic and host it somewhere, fine. But why would anyone running a controversial site allow posting such?

      Imagine /. with goatse images.

      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:59PM (#47665521)

        the easiest solution is just to not enable posting graphics.

        Except in the case of Jezebel, they WANT the misogynist graphics. Very few news sites allow graphics in the comments. Jezebel allows it specifically to keep their readers riled up, and to justify their existence.

        The way to have a good comment section is right in front of you: A moderation system, like Slashdot has. It isn't perfect, but good comments (like this one) tend to bubble to the top more often than not, and the filth goes to -1.

        • by toonces33 (841696)

          Even here, many of the highly rated comments are really just wisecracks which might be funny, but don't add anything to the discussion. Things that are truly offensive tend to get downrated fairly quickly, which I guess is an improvement over most news sites.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Solution, adjust the moderation system so users can filter out +5 Funny, and only see +5 Insighful/Informative/Interesting.

            I'd say completely remove the Funny option, but human nature is that moderators will just moderate humorous comments as something else instead.

          • by DarkOx (621550) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @05:30PM (#47666375) Journal

            many of the highly rated comments are really just wisecracks which might be funny, but don't add anything to the discussion.

            Two comments on that.

            The wise cracks tend to actually be moderated as "funny" by simply not including a funny moderation options a site would probably do a lot to discourage modding comments of that type up. A site could also easily offer user preferences for not including funny up mods when determining how to sort comments for display time.

            A bit of levity might not directly contribute to the conversation by may encourage others to participate who otherwise would not have. IT may also inspire creative thinking in others leading to additional insight. Humor is something many people use to tackle issues they find challenging.

          • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

            Even here, many of the highly rated comments are really just wisecracks which might be funny, but don't add anything to the discussion. Things that are truly offensive tend to get downrated fairly quickly, which I guess is an improvement over most news sites.

            Actually, much of the better humor does add something to the conversation. Perhaps you just aren't understanding it.

            The threads that only get smartass comments tend not to get modded up, as they get largely ignored after sifting through a few posts.

          • by bingoUV (1066850)

            Things that are truly offensive tend to get downrated fairly quickly, which I guess is an improvement over most news sites.

            Most commenters have replied to the other sentence of your post, but I disagree with this one. Offensive things do get downrated, but that is not an improvement necessarily. Many insightful statements are offensive, to someone or another. Some are offensive to large groups, even mankind. Downrating all of them, like what happens here, may not be such a great idea.

            But maybe mankind is too stupid to see insight in offensive statements ;)

      • by TWX (665546)

        If someone wants to make an offensive graphic and host it somewhere, fine. But why would anyone running a controversial site allow posting such?

        Because like it or not, traffic is traffic, and even controversial or offensive content will drive traffic. Now everyone will go over to Jezebel (still part of Gawker, right?) to see what's going on.

        Some will argue that we're seeing outliers, but I don't think that's so. The Internet in is quasi-anonymity is the ultimate Ring of Gyges, allowing one to express

      • Whether you agree with the politics of a particular site or not, the easiest solution is just to not enable posting graphics.

        Ding ding! That's the first thing I thought of when I read about this "crisis" yesterday. If the problem is that you have offensive graphics appearing in your comments, then the solution is to disable graphics in the comments. It's another case of "this is why we can't have nice things", because people ruined it for everyone else. They already have a comment rating system, so an alternate fix would be to allow people above a certain rating threshold to post graphics. They are talking about all sorts of

      • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @05:29PM (#47666365)

        Banning images isn't the problem. Why do you think /. has a lame-ass "lameness" filter? Because people were posting ASCII porn.

        i.e.
        8====> or whatever the penis bird crap was back then.

        As another user pointed out, the ability to FILTER and MODERATE allows the community to self-police itself. You can post offensive stuff _solely_ with text using words. The "classics" are the N, C, or F words. i.e. http://southpark.cc.com/clips/... [cc.com]

        Sites that only allow upvotes are retarded as they don't give people the option to filter out the "noise".

        A _good_ site allows people to upvote the signal and downvote the noise

      • by AdamHaun (43173) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @10:59PM (#47668271) Journal

        Whether you agree with the politics of a particular site or not, the easiest solution is just to not enable posting graphics. If someone wants to make an offensive graphic and host it somewhere, fine. But why would anyone running a controversial site allow posting such?

        People like posting funny animated GIFs in the comments. Losing that capability hurts the users. But image-posting isn't the problem.

        The real problem on Jezebel (as described in its article but strangely ignored in the NY Mag article and the Slashdot summary) is that Gawker/Kinja allows anyone to create a burner account and post comments, but there's no IP logging or blocking. There is literally no way to block an abusive user from commenting short of manually banning each new burner account after it posts. This is supposedly to allow anonymous "tipsters" to provide information. As a practical matter, it means the Jezebel editors are having to wade through 4chan-style images on a daily basis to keep a clean comment section. Would you like it if your job forced you to look at 4chan? No, you would not. Hence their complaint.

    • Re:Jezebel? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by xevioso (598654) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:48PM (#47665405)

      Actually, the latest events on Jezebel proves the point of many of Jezebel's authors, which is that much of the internet is openly hostile to women. Jezebel is an awesome blog and has fantastic stories about the crap that women have to put up with in this country and around the world every single day. They call out misogyny on the internet, and are promptly spammed with rape gifs. They aren't the problem at all; it's the jerks who posted the gifs who are the problem, so yes, their example is a perfect example.

      As for "militant", I don't think that word means what you think it means.

      • Re:Jezebel? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by kruach aum (1934852) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:54PM (#47665475)

        What it proves is that there are people that find enjoyment in pushing other people's buttons. It has very little to do with hating women and much more to do with entertainment.

        There are of course some people out there who do actually hate women, and they may be involved in this as well, but I very much doubt it is anything but a minority.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          What it proves is that there are people that find enjoyment in pushing other people's buttons. It has very little to do with hating women and much more to do with entertainment.

          There are of course some people out there who do actually hate women, and they may be involved in this as well, but I very much doubt it is anything but a minority.

          In real life they are most certainly a small minority, but on the Internet the failed and frustrated people get an outlet that let's them become a so vocal minority that they dominate many forums. One online newspaper I read about had done research on their comment section and "hate" posts and found that thousands of posts came from something like 30 nicks, that came from 5 consumer ISP IP adresses. So in this case just a handful of very angry, very frustrated people with a ton of time on their hands, gener

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Bullies may not hate their victims per-se, but that doesn't really matter. They hurt other people for whatever reason, hate or amusement it doesn't really matter.

          • Yes, you are correct, no one likes being made fun of. But that doesn't mean both groups (misogynists/racists/homophobes vs button-pushers) should be tarred with the same brush, even though that does make maintaining a persecution complex much easier.

        • Much of the internet is also openly hostile to men. In fact much of the internet is openly hostile to everybody. Have you ever even seen 4chan?

          4chan has trolled, among others, religious sites, atheist sites, men's sites, women's sites, and pretty much any site of decent user-base size (and a lot of sites without even that). I don't understand how you can take this story and spin it into 'omg women are treated much worse than men on the internet!' story. Does not compute.

      • Please no! Not the GIFS!
        It's more like people know what buttons to push because it's so obvious.

        • Please no! Not the GIFS!
          It's more like people know what buttons to push because it's so obvious.

          Better GIFs than auto-playing audio/video clips.

          I'm about to the point where I'm going to give up on getting news from the Internet and re-subscribing to dead-tree newspapers. At least THEY don't start making a racket the minute you open them.

          And the lunatic rants are mostly confined to the editorial pages where the professional lunatics and amateur lunatics can both be ignored by simply skipping that section.

      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @05:06PM (#47666141)

        much of the internet is openly hostile to women.

        You (and they) are making this out to be something related to women when in fact it's far more simple.

        ANY subject brings in trolls, and the more easily trolled the subject is the worse the trolls will be. Jezebel is not seeing anything different than any other place on the internet does that has people who issue strong opinions. They just have much suckier automated blocking techniques, algorithms for first time users and moderation tools period.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        Jezebel intentionally took the name of a religious figure who was know for fabricating false accusations against a man, leading to that mans execution. The name is also know for being a whore.

        The name is specifically chosen to shock and invite scorn on women who choose to associate themselves with the site. That was the intent of the sites creators. Saying that Jezebel is awesome and has fantastic stories about the crap that women have to put up with is like saying that the site www.marquidesade.com i
      • Re:Jezebel? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by pla (258480) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @07:32PM (#47667305) Journal
        Actually, the latest events on Jezebel proves the point of many of Jezebel's authors, which is that much of the internet is openly hostile to women.

        No. Much of the internet is openly hostile, period. That has nothing to do with women, beyond the fact that Jezebel panders to a certain type of mock-indignation-queen so the trolls serve up relevantly offensive volleys of crap.


        Jezebel is an awesome blog and has fantastic stories about the crap that women have to put up with in this country and around the world every single day.

        Jezebel is a misandristic rag that pays the bills by targeting a niche demographic, no different than any other specialized news aggregation site out there. They get a pass on shit that would get modded into oblivion, or outright get the poster banned, on most other websites because patriarchy, grar!

        Note that I don't specifically hold that against them (though not my cup of tea, personally). Slashdot does the same pandering to geeks, with attitudes toward certain areas of established law that sound borderline insurrectionist. Metafilter does the same with taking the progressive liberal stance to such an absurdity it almost bends around and becomes a parody of itself. 4chan... Well, let's just not go there. And Reddit has pretty much cornered the market on having subreddits that allow them to both pander to and offend every group all at the same time.

        All that just pays the bills, nothing more, nothing less.

        Welcome to the internet, ladies. People here don't play nice, your university's PC police have no power here, and you can't do a goddamned thing about it. Adapt or leave, simple as that.
      • Re:Jezebel? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Tom (822) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @03:16AM (#47668993) Homepage Journal

        Actually, the latest events on Jezebel proves the point of many of Jezebel's authors, which is that much of the internet is openly hostile to women.

        A very, very loud minority of people is openly hostile to women/gays/atheists/muslims/mexicans/elderly/children/redheads/any-minority-of-your-choice.

        The Internet as a whole - much like the real world - is openly hostile to extremists who act like dicks and think everyone who is less extreme than they are is pure evil, even if you're agreeing with them in principle. That's why feminazis get rape gifs (I'm not surprised) while thousands of other women don't - because trolls do to you what they know sets you off.

        I'm not saying women don't get offensive comments. They do. But firstly so do men (of a different kind, physical violence takes the place of sexual innuendo) and secondly the problem isn't hostility to women, the problem is trolling. It just happens that for women the low hanging fruit for the trolls is their sex, just like race is if the victim is black.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sexconker (1179573)

      Yup. As soon as I saw "Jezebel" I knew what was up, and I knew that they brought it upon themselves. I also knew that they love it, because they get to play the victim card while spewing their hateful misandrist shit.

    • Re:Jezebel? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @04:06PM (#47665603)

      Slashdot, as a site, has been known to pander to fairly extreme, militantly fanboyist views, while trashtalking and flaming any counterpoints or opposition.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Damn right. If they didn't want rape porn posted, they shouldn't have written those provocative articles. They were just asking for it.

    • by Chalnoth (1334923)
      So, you think it's extreme to suggest that women are people who deserve fair treatment? Who shouldn't have to deal disproportionately with violence and rape, and threats of the same?
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Doesn't really matter. Frankly CNN's comment section makes me want to throw up.
      The solution is simple. Make people have an ID that is sticky. I would like to see Slashdot not allow real ACs but instead allow people that want to post as ACs hide their ID but still take the Karma hit.

      For most forums I really do not want to read what people will not stand by.
      Of course not every forum needs to follow this rule. It would be up to the owners. Is the value of ACs worth the cost of ACs.

    • Jezebel, as a site, has been known to pander to fairly extreme, militantly feminist views

      Ok, think that through and try again maybe? I've ready plenty on Jezebel that is absolutely not that, and feminism as a whole is a Good Thing even for us men. Radical or, more correctly, "neo-feminism?" Not so much, but then again that's not what Jezebel spews. Gawker media on the whole is pretty much HuffPo-Lite - sensationalist headlines and grabs for eyes, but isn't that every news site? Hell, /. has it's own slew of

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Well, according to Jezebel, Jezebel IS a blog. So, it seems down right impossible for it to be more credible than a blog.
  • When I have interest in an article of news, it's certainly not for the gratuitously added comments section below it. I never had the desire to.

    It's just webmaster feature creep at that point.
  • by disposable60 (735022) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:37PM (#47665303) Journal

    A lot of noise here gets buried by the moderation/karma system.
    Does Dice offer the Slashcode for sale?

    • by Sowelu (713889)

      I'm amazed at the noise that doesn't get buried. If you don't browse at 2+ or even 3+, there's an awful lot of juvenile trolling. Yes, yes, I know the normal Slashdot response, if you don't like trolling then you're too thin-skinned to live. But if I go to a nice restaurant, or hell even McDonalds, at the very least I don't want some nutjob banging on the windows flashing his junk at everyone. That's like...at least half the articles here, and it takes hours for those comments to get moderated down to -

      • Re:Moderation? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @04:15PM (#47665675)

        I'm amazed at the noise that doesn't get buried. If you don't browse at 2+ or even 3+, there's an awful lot of juvenile trolling.

        Really? Because while there's certainly a lot of views I don't agree with, I see little if any trolling at +2.

        But if I go to a nice restaurant, or hell even McDonalds, at the very least I don't want some nutjob banging on the windows flashing his junk at everyone.

        Nor do you, nor the restaurant, want PETA to hold a "meat is murder" demonstration outside. And it's all too easy to use anti-flasher policies to squash a protest that, whether you agree or disagree with it, is legitimate. And while a privately run website certainly has the right to disable comments, we should not forget that this results in it turning into an echo chamber where no dissenting voices are heard. People love to spend their time in such echo chambers, getting endless reinforcement for their identities and no challenges. The problem is that they get to vote in the real world, and will likely do so according to the fantasy world.

        A website without comment section is basically a propaganda machine, telling people what to see and think. A website that's all comments - like Slashdot and yes, even 4chan - is a community discussing matters. Newssites with comment section are somewhere in the middle, and no, blogs are not sufficient replacement, because people only read blogs they agree with. On the other hand, a comment challenging your most dearly held beliefs can pop up anywhere.

        • Re:Moderation? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Tom (822) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @03:27AM (#47669021) Homepage Journal

          A website without comment section is basically a propaganda machine, telling people what to see and think. A website that's all comments - like Slashdot and yes, even 4chan - is a community discussing matters. Newssites with comment section are somewhere in the middle,

          Not everything that mixes two extremes ends up in the middle.

          People were capable of having informed opinions before the Internet, when newspapers was all we had. You simply had to read more than one and make up your own mind. It also heavily depends on the topic. Don't forget that /. is not a general news site - many of us here are actually experts in the topics being discussed, and when you post an article about, say, a new encryption scheme and you get comments from people who are in security, hacking or even cryptography itself, that's worthwhile.

          What do you expect from an article about the Ukraine crisis on a general news site? How many of the readers could even find Ukraine on an un-labeled map? How many have been there? How many know anything at all about the political and economic situation, if you substract what they read in other news articles?

          No, sir, the comments section on /. and on some news site are not comparable, and mixing them does not result in a "best of both worlds" scenario.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        That is just a general limitation of crowdsourcing (or democracy for that matter). There is a not-super-high ceiling of quality you will hit. But anything much better will, inevitably, come to resemble a scientific journal, and that's not what most of us want most of the time.
  • How is this any different from regular vandalism? We see this stuff throughout history. Everything from gang signs, to burning crosses, to vulgar language spray painted on a street sign.
  • by xevioso (598654) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:38PM (#47665323)

    to monetize the comments. There have long been multiple types of comment systems that handled comments from spammers very well. Ones that require authentication, ones that allow people to downvote a comment into oblivion, ones that get hidden because no one reads them. The Kinja system they used was horrible, and their moderators were too slow to deal with complaints of the types of comments they were having.

    If your web business relies upon comments for page views and for actual income, then you should actually have multiple full-time people whose job it is to delete unwanted comments. It's that simple. If you can't afford to do it, then don't have the comments.

    • by mlts (1038732)

      It can be a tough job:

      1: Without an active moderator, it can get pointless.
      2: Forcing people to register or means people will create fake accounts and then troll the living heck out of the board.
      3: Forcing people to log in with FB seems to help, as one can't create those accounts willy-nilly. However, I don't want FB to be my authentication provider. I don't trust them with private stuff, why should I with the key to the gates?
      4: Having registering then having people pay for their account to be activa

  • It appears that Nicholas Jackson does not understand how modern media works. The trolls are necessary in order to develop that inclusiveness...that "us vs. them" mentality. Otherwise, it's just a bunch of random people saying "I agree." on every article. That doesn't drive revenue. No, my friends, those trolls are necessary, in fact, I'd go so far as to say they are vital.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by xevioso (598654)

      It is possible to disagree with someone without being a troll.

      You are wrong. And I am not a troll.

      • by B33rNinj4 (666756)
        I know that. However, our media is slowly turning more and more sensationalist, and thoughtful discourse is no longer encouraged. They don't want discussions. All they want are talking points and arguments.
      • by TWX (665546)

        It is possible to disagree with someone without being a troll.

        Are you sure about that? It seems like a terribly foolish assertion to make, and that anyone saying that obviously isn't very smart...

  • agree with "Jezebel?" above. please mod up.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:41PM (#47665355)

    I also find that the slashdot comments are often more useful than the actual article.

  • by Lonboder (3630313) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:42PM (#47665365)

    I enjoy comments on mainstream news sites. To me, at least, random public sentiment is at least as important as the sanitized news version, if not more so. Public opinion is a lot more likely to affect me, and provides a better indication of what I'm more likely to face in "reality" than what the news writers provide. Does people's anonymous behavior suck sometimes? Yes. But is it more honest? Absolutely. On any given topic, maybe one in four people secretly agrees with the worst of the worst trolls, and it pays to be away that other people around you actually do think/feel that way, even if it seems foreign and alien.

    I read the news to prepare for life. Other people (even terrible trolls) exist in real life. I value learning their opinions, even if only to prepare myself for dealing with them.

    It sucks that people can be offensive, but... hiding it doesn't help anyone.

    • Hiding is one thing, regulating extremes is another.
      There are many ways of expressing a point of view, and I personally value civil methods of doing so.
      One could express disagreement by saying "No" or by shooting someone else in the face with a shotgun.

      • One could express disagreement by saying "No" or by shooting someone else in the face with a shotgun.

        Which one is appropriate depends on the point of view they're expressing.

        • The latter is never appropriate.

          • Well, you're welcome to embrace pacifism, but that's not a philosophy I can agree with. If someone's point of view is "I own you now, you're my slave" or "You're an infidel and must convert or die" then you can expect me to respond with violence. Obviously it's not appropriate in discussions of bedroom paint color or whether we should issue a bond to build a swimming pool at the High School.
    • But you don't get to see random public sentiment. You get to see the public sentiment of one site's readership, as filtered through their moderation policy.

  • Yes, by all means, lets hide away all the comments because some people are mysoginistic or bigotted assholes. Heaven forbid those who stay on topic should be heard near the topic of discussion.

    Censorship, much?

  • ""They belong on personal blogs, or on Twitter or Tumblr or Reddit, where individuals build a full, searchable body of work and can be judged accordingly.""

    he misunderstands what comments are for. They are for a discussion. People like to have a discussion after they read a news article on some relevant topic. And just like in real life, some people try to hijack that discussion.

    And as in real life, the only way to deal with those people is to physically remove them from the conversation. That is, have

  • This seems to hold true for most broad-interest sites like newspapers and magazines where comments can be downright awful, as opposed to sites like Slashdot with a self-selected and somewhat homogeneous audience. It seems unlikely that using only blogs for responsive dialog with authors and peers could come close to matching the feedback and community feel of comments such as we see here. Is there a technical solution, or is this a biological problem imposed on the internet?

    Ummmm, I would not classify Slash

    • by sixoh1 (996418)

      No moderation system is perfect, but audience curation (whether intentional or not) does seem to channel the activity into a relatively benign community. While there are plenty of Trolls here, most often these are either bad nerd jokes, or Apple/Microsoft/Linux haters - notice the common theme? Even more importantly however, even our /. trolls are likeminded, and (mostly) tolerated.

      The problem I see with Jackson's "solution" is that the Jezabel audience (not the trolls) will lose any voice they had, which i

  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @03:54PM (#47665465)

    I don't know if the author realizes this, but Jezebel (along with pretty much every other Gawker-owned site) is essentially a blog and not at all a news site. In fact, this ENTIRE THING sounds like a typical Gawker tactic known as "clickbaiting" or "nerd-baiting" - essentially, blog authors on Gawker get paid by how many times people read their stories, so they have been known to make headlines that are overly controversial and inflammatory in order to get people to click on them.
    '
    As an example, there is one author on Gawker's "Kotaku" gaming blog named Jason Schrier. About a year ago, Jason Schrier wrote a series of articles decrying the game Dragon's Crown (which features stylized characters with exaggerated body proportions) as sexist and an insult to females and the LGBT crowd. 90% of what he posted were pure opinion pieces that were geared toward baiting as many people into clicking and commenting as possible, because this is how Gawker Media makes money. One of his most-clicked "articles" was a photo of his E3 badge (which featured art from Dragon's Crown) and a blurb about him potentially "boycotting" E3 because they used Dragon's Crown in their promotional material. The whole affair was ridiculous, childish, and geared toward baiting as many people into reading as possible.

    There's also Patricia Hernandez, who writes long-winded articles about how various video games are sexist. Her articles are pure tripe, and even she knows it - but she wants to bait as many people into reading as possible so that she makes money.

    Jezebel is exactly the same thing, but with feminism instead of videogames. They advocate a position that is so extremist as to be unrealistic, and attract a crowd of feminists who have.. less-than-mainstream views. In fact, I would not be at all surprised if these "rape .gifs" are a false-flag to drum up more attention (and thus more money) for Jezebel - it would certainly explain why Gawker Media would refuse to do anything about it.

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      Oh, good. Someone already explained this for me. Their site is set up (like every other Gawker site) in more or less a Slashdot fashion. A (more long-winded) summary, a buried link to the original article it's regurgitated from, and then the comments.

    • by RyoShin (610051)

      Heh. In the gaming circles I run in, if anyone links to Kotaku the link is ignored and the user posting it belittled. They are very much pandering for clickbaits; I can recall seeing links for a few "outraged" pieces that the entire rest of the internet (except the SJW side of Tumblr) had no problem with (sadly I can't think of a specific example at the moment aside from the Dragon's Crown thing.)

      And, while we're bringing up nasty habits of Gawker, I'd like to remind Slashdot about Gizmodo's CES 2008 TV-B-G [wikipedia.org]

  • Global warming is faaaaake!

    dickbutt.jpg

  • Never gonna happen. Most people just read the headline then jump right to the comments section to roll around like pigs in slop flaming each other. News sites rely on traffic for revenue/value. I don't know about you but I certainly perceive a story as being of less value when there is no comments section.
  • "Nicholas Jackson at Pacific Standard say's that far too many news subjects are getting their feelings hurt"

  • Yes, who needs a middle-man? Or, who needs "a portal to the web?"

    AOL tried for years to situate themselves between individuals and ... other individuals (early web). Didn't work.

    I forget who tried it next. Didn't work.

    OK, just a list is enough: MySpace, Time-Warner via a reboot of the AOL idea, .... currently it's Google+ and FaceBook.

    I can use email (etc.) myself, thanks. No need to run every message and page-view through a third party. More hassle, they read them, and could disappear at a mo
  • User moderation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by T.E.D. (34228) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @04:22PM (#47665747)

    They belong on personal blogs, or on Twitter or Tumblr or Reddit, where individuals build a full, searchable body of work and can be judged accordingly

    This bit right here tells me the author doesn't know much about Twitter. Twitter has an almost identical problem [polygon.com]. One person I follow (who happens to at least front as an African-American female), has a dedicated Twitter stalker who makes new accounts every day just so he can make sure she gets to greet each new day with a tweet calling her the N-word. Rape threats are endemic there for identified females too. A "searchable body of work" is only a concern for those of us who care about our reputation. Trolls don't care in the slightest.

    The only even partial cure I know of for crap like this is reputation-based user moderation, like you find in sites like Slashdot or Stackexchange. This at least allows the manifold eyes of your readers to do some of their own policing, and provides for much more prompt cleanup. A dedicated troll can create a hopeless amount of soul-killing destruction for one or two poor beleaguered individuals. But against a community of hundreds (or more) moderators, the amortized work is manageable. More importantly, the troll isn't going to get much satisfaction, as almost nobody sees their handiwork before someone mods it away.

    If you have an online commenting system, you really need a user moderation system to back it up. I'd suggest Discourse [discourse.org], but there are probably other drop-in solutions available.

    • by Tom (822)

      like you find in sites like Slashdot or Stackexchange. [...] the troll isn't going to get much satisfaction, as almost nobody sees their handiwork before someone mods it away.

      As someone who was trolled aggressively on /. - you are mistaken. The /. system hides the trolling from the public, but the victim still gets the full dose. It makes it very hard to participate in the site.

  • The internet is the ultimate gladiator arena for thoughts. If an idea cannot stand up to the harsh scrutiny of a bunch of anonymous trolls, it probably does not deserve to thrive permanently in the public realm. The reality of internet trolling is that people are free to say what they actually think, without the tethers of society keeping their ego in check. It does get ugly and unproductive at times, but let's face it, ideas are stronger for running the gauntlet.

    I especially think that news sites need t

  • Jez is part of gawker. gawker loves to gin up controversy. This is how the outfit sells ad space, in which case some ads pose as stories, etc. The more feathers get ruffled, the more eyeballs gather to watch. It's about a busine$$ model, not about bad actors in public or self-restraint or hiding anything. gawker painted themselves into this corner and now they have to live with the monsters they've created.

    They're loving how these conversations are helping their bottom line, so be sure you get your cut f
    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Bingo. Given that Jezabel's female editors have posted stories about how they criminally commit domestic abuse, and invite their female audience to join in on the fun of laughing at each other's stories about the readers criminal domestic abuse, clearly the subject of abuse is not beneath them.

      http://jezebel.com/294383/have... [jezebel.com]
  • With the sole exception of Slashdot, and The Register, I hate reading comments on articles. They're, at best, a minute fraction better than the comments you see on youtube videos....

    And I think this article explains very well why comments, or modern day public discussions in general, are crap:
    http://theconversation.com/no-... [theconversation.com]

  • by dcollins (135727)

    Users vote and the higher votes get visibility. Slashdot. Reddit. StackExchange. Usable sites, it's a solved problem.

  • Granted most comments are useless but usually there are few gems mixed in. Comments next to an article are a a convenient method to pick apart journalistic claims. Its no big secret the editorial boards of large news organizations massage stories to push larger political agendas rather than stick to objective reporting of relevant facts . Comments will give the side of the story that the editors didn't want to push. It's not that the journalists are always wrong but its important to understand... a. News s
  • irony ahoy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Triv (181010) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @05:13PM (#47666221) Journal
    You guys realize that slashdot is just as clickbait-y and unreasonable and targeted as Jezebel, right? The headlines here are designed to drive comments and pageviews equally as hard by leaning on the same sorts of buttons, you just don't realize it as often because the buttons they push reenforce your own viewpoints and biases.
  • Don't kill commenting just because Jezebel has a terrible commenting system. I've long known that Jezebel's system was bad from the perspective of a commenter, now I know that it's awful from the other side of the fence as well.

  • This seems to hold true for most broad-interest sites like newspapers and magazines where comments can be downright awful, as opposed to sites like Slashdot with a self-selected and somewhat homogeneous audience ...

    ... where, as this thread amply demonstrates, comments can also be downright awful.

    (p.s. and no, the /. mod system doesn't improve it - unless by 'improve' you mean 'hide away by the lowest common denominator of consensus groupthink, nope, nothing to see here at all, move along, move along ..."

  • by oneiros27 (46144) on Wednesday August 13, 2014 @08:05PM (#47667489) Homepage

    disclaimer : I was an admin for fark.com.

    The problem as I see it is that news sites started adding the ability for user comments to try to make their websites more 'sticky'. They wanted people to keep coming back ... but the ones that do are the trolls.

    Unless you've modeled your whole site around people commenting, and build up a community, you don't tend to get useful comments -- you either get trolls, people advertising 'work at home', or someone with a follow question about the article that no one every responds to. Once in a while you might get some actually useful information from the general public, the 'I was there' accounts and such ... but it's few and far between.

    (note, I'm not commenting on how Fark handles things ... most of their measures were implemented after I left, and I only know some of it; my experience comes with managing other websites)

    Allowing anonymous posting that immediately gets shown to the public is just plain stupid. It's begging for trolls. At least with accounts you can monitor the new users, as in most cases you either have the throw-away account (which might have been registered months ago, specifically for use later), or the person who's just constantly obnoxious.

    If I ever set up another website, I'm going to the model of 'invitations' where you have to know someone already in the community to get an invite -- because then if we get someone being an ass, we can suspend their friends' accounts, too (giving them some external pressure to not be a dick), or prune the whole tree of accounts if that doesn't help.

    So, anyway, my basic categories:

    • News websites : people go there for the new, original news.
    • Aggregators : people go there to participate in commentary about other things found on the internet, but the focus isn't on original content (slashdot, digg, etc.)
    • Blogs : personal journals, run by a person or small group, with commentary on whatever they feel like (includes people's facebooks pages, and sites like Jezebel)

    There are some successful hybrids out there ... but if you're going to allow comments, you have to know how to handle them ... and I don't want to say too much, because I don't want to give the trolls info on how to bypass some of the more interesting systems I've seen.

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