**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 NPR.org 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 NPR.org 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.