Have you ever read an article that ignited a sense of opinion? A view point on a topic you never thought to venture down? How about reading comments at the end of the article and all you want to do is bash the author or bash the people who are bashing the author?
“Comment sections on high volume websites have become increasingly problematic. The mixture of public anonymity and tech prowess has put such sites on the defensive as they attempt to combat spam and uncouth behaviour. Their goal is to find and preserve a sweet spot between civility and freedom of expression. The uphill battle against internet trolls requires vigilance, creative design and for most websites, continuous adjustments.”
Everyone has an opinion on everything. Whether positive or negative, people have an opinion. As Oversite online mentioned above from their article, Comment Section Conundrums, there’s a fine line. When it comes to commenting on a news article, some people feel the need to bash the author and the context that’s included. Whether it’s positive or negative, what matters is how the comment is proposed.
I believe comments are important. It allows the author to see how their words are impacting his/her readers. Having said that, there is a right and wrong way of expressing your feelings. If comments remain thought provoking and are critically processed, it can be useful.
Thanks to internet trolls, websites like Popular Science and The Chicago Sun-Times, have shut down their comment sections completely. Is this a good or bad idea? Well, in my opinion, there’s really no right answer. Commenting can lead to greater ideas, explore the idea to it’s maximum capacity! But, some people have made it a lifestyle to tear down all writers and commenters no matter what the opinion holds. Internet trolls are roaming around the web. There’s no way to stop them. What I’ve realized is, even if you cut the comment section off a website, the trolls and spambots will find other ways to bash a website or author. According to an article by Slate, they took a deeper look into the psychological traits associated with trolls:
“The research, conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and two colleagues, sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others).”
There are people out there who take joy in harassing others. Whether it’s a previous comment or from the article directly. Yes, it takes away from the thought-provoking, critical comments. Because websites are still getting those types of comments, is it worth taking down the forums completely? I guess that’s just up to the companies websites decision as a whole.
Personally, I like hearing (and seeing) other people’s ideas. It’s almost like a classroom, where people are expanding the topic like a web. Bringing in new ideas, solutions, opinions, etc. It’s a way to sit and converse with people and possibly come up with a new solution to an idea. Or shed light to an opposing view.
There are other alternative ideas to commenting on posts like Gawkers platform they’ve created, Kinja. The creators of Kinja understand the benefits of collaborating ideas to different blog posts and media sites. There are people who understand that bouncing constructive ideas around is beneficial for the creative mind!
Thanks to Gawker Media, they’ve encouraged other publishing companies to be apart of their platform! It’s hard to say whether or not commenting should be completely removed or not. Just like everything on the web (even in life) everything has a positive and negative. Unfortunately, because we give so much attention to the negative remarks, some companies have found it in their best interest to remove the platform all together. It is distracting to have the internet trolls patrolling the web, but is it right to completely cave in and cut all opinions?
With alternative platforms like Kingja, I believe we will be able to find a common ground. But maybe I’m a little too optimistic!