Engadget tells website readers that they will shutdown comments… for at least a week
The AOL owned technology blog has decided to close down reader comments, saying that until they ‘reassess and push forward with a better system,’ they’re going to take a comment break
The great thing about comments are that they drive traffic. The bad thing about comments are comment trolls, comment spam, flame throwers, etc. etc. One by one, popular (and even unpopular) websites have tried countless solutions to reign in the chaos. Some have given up and just shut off comments.
Engadget is the latest, telling readers that for “the next seven days, none of the articles on Engadget will have an open comments section.”
What happens after that is anyone’s guess.
“If we’re spending the majority of our days moderating comments, zapping spam and slaying trolls, we’re not spending that time improving the section for you. We want to make sure that our readers are getting the very best experience in our community. A week-long breather will give us the time to refocus our efforts,” wrote Amber Bouman. Community Content Editor at the website.
This sounds like a situation where they simply don’t have the resources to continue to moderate the comments. It is the Spring Break season, after all.
Like many Internet companies, Engadget is philosophically committed to open comments. It is a generally accepted principal of a certain portion of the publishing world – sort of like paywalls versus the free web, opinions are set in stone.
But many websites are finding it increasingly hard to live up to the standards they set for themselves. It is a jungle out there, they are finding.
“A quality comments section should make it easy for users to contribute,” Bouman wrote, getting a bit philosophical. “A good comments section has users who feel a sense of duty and kinship, who act as a community. An exceptional comments section informs its readers, corrects authors and provides worthwhile insights in a polite and constructive manner.”
“This is not, by and large, what is happening in our comments section today. In order to reassess and push forward with a better system, we’re going to take a comment break.”
Damn, that real world intruded again.
But the great thing about shutting down comments is that no one can complain in the comments thread. In this case, they will have to wait at least a week.