NPR closes comments section: Where are conversations happening now?


Christian Science Monitor:

**NPR closes comments section: Where are conversations happening now? **

NPR announced in a blog post on Wednesday that it would remove public comments sections from articles posted on its website.“After much experimentation and discussion, we’ve concluded that the comment sections on stories are not providing a useful experience for the vast majority of our users,” wrote NPR’s managing editor for digital news Scott Montgomery.
The decision is an increasingly common one. The tail end of 2014, for example, saw four prominent sites shutter their comments sections in a matter of weeks, noted the Nieman Lab in 2015. Vice Motherboard, the Daily Dot, the Daily Beast, the Verge and Bloomberg followed suit last year, according to Wired.

In many cases, editors are finding that users on comments sections are irregular readers. “Is it really a community, if it’s people bouncing in and out? Is it someone who really loves NPR?” says Claire Wardle, research director at Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism.
“People now are more likely to bump into a news story from a site they didn’t interact with,” meaning editors who want to cultivate a community around their brand may not see that born out in comments. “It has lent itself to the idea that comments are angry, and not that useful,” Ms. Wardle tells The Christian Science Monitor.

In the case of NPR, only a tiny fraction of the audience had actively used the sections. “The audience has grown dramatically in recent years, to between 25 and 35 million unique visitors each month," wrote Mr. Montgomery. "But far less than 1% of that audience is commenting, and the number of regular comment participants is even smaller.”

I don’t blame them, or anybody else for closing the comboxes. Things usually go to Hell withing the first dozen posts and get worse from there.


Many news sites and papers are taking this track. And for good reason, the comments sections of most of those sites have become vile.


:thumbsup: I’m sure glad that CAF isn’t a news site, but a forums site!


The forums for a major publisher of games were taken down.

The company suggested users to go to other, more general interest, social media sites.



I think forums are quite different from the comment section of newspapers. On a forums site, it is relatively easy to keep track of discussion even when several days have passed. This allows for an ongoing dialogue, and even the addition of new facts (including links) as they are uncovered.

This isn’t true of news sites, since the daily arrival of new stories buries the discussions held the previous 24 hours. To find the earlier discussion often requires a web search, and if you aren’t already a participant in an older discussion, you aren’t likely to ever find it. Plus, many prior participants are not willing to undertake that search.


That’s too bad. I usually like the comments more than the articles.

But maybe NPR’s different? I don’t know. I’ve never been there.


I think one strength of forums is the ability to promote and sustain dialogue about a specific topic from variety of people. Other forms of social media fail in this. For example, Twitter and Facebook allow users to add comments, and there is some degree of reply ability, however such replies are often not seen by the majority of the people participating in the discussion.


I agree with the forum advocates. If I ran a paper, I’d set up a forum instead of having comments below. It’s much easier to moderate a forum and you can deal with posters more easily, making standards of decorum easier to maintain.

Altho I once found it fairly easy to maintain a really long conversation on, of all places, Nat’l Catholic [sic] Reporter!


NPR has taken a radical left turn. I imagine that they don’t like opposing opinions. Most of my friends who were staunch supporters have stopped contributing because of their obvious bias. I rarely listen anymore.


me either.


My experience was they were not fans of people deconstructing their bias in specific articles.


I agree.

Sadly, they just seem to be an outlet for trolls and trolling.


Like most on the left, they love diversity… until someone disagrees with them.



It used to be my go-to channel in the car. But I find myself turning it off, and now seldom even bother. The 2 moderator style of banter, “I’m so-and-so…and I’m so-and-so” WHO CARES? NO one has heard of you and you interrupt each other to make a ridiculous point! JUST REPORT people. That, with the obvious the obvious bias on EVERYTHING, the pushing of agendas that are not in line with my beliefs…it’s just not illuminating anymore. Not even as a “wanted to hear another viewpoint” viewpoint. :rolleyes:
Who wants to listen to a station that doesn’t even debate? Just one viewpoint, drilled daily.
No, and the classical music is all but gone. I still listen to syndicated shows, like Car Talk and the Puzzlers show, but that’s a half hour or hour twice a week.
They’ve really lost a lot of listeners of a certain contributing age.


I’ll get it out of the way… but Fox News! :rolleyes::smiley:


Bush’s fault


“editors who want to cultivate a community around their brand.”

In other words NPR only wants comments from sychophants.


All the time! :wink:


Also that it’s heavily moderated. It stinks to get a warning for breaking a rule but it’s better than the alternative.


News sites should get rid of comments sections unless the commentators are willing to provide their real name and location. There are too many people writing too many nasty things. Letters to the Editor in newspapers were rarely allowed to be anonymous. Just because you CAN say it, doesn’t mean you SHOULD say it. Especially when you’re mad, or just plain crazy.

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