National Journal is ending its comment section, saying they have better things to do than monitor the sexist, racist, abusive crap they find posted at the bottoms of their stories.
“Some sites have responded by devoting substantial time and effort to monitoring and editing comments, but we’d rather put our resources into the journalism that brings readers to National Journal in the first place,” said Editor-in-Chief Tim Grieve in a lengthy explanation this morning about the policy shift.
He explained they have certain principles that do not extend to their comment section, which he says has devolved into the worst kind of feuding and name-calling.
Grieve wrote that NJ is joining a “growing” number of publications that are killing off their comment sections. But the story he links to — a WaPo story by Paul Farhi — reports that only Popular Science (so popular I’ve never heard of it) and Vox Media have no comment sections. Others, like HuffPost, Miami Herald and Charlotte Observer have made requirements stricter, such as signing in on Facebook.
National Journal is leaving the comment section open to its members. He says reporters will continue to remain active on Twitter and noted that people can, as usual, email reporters directly — this should get interesting.
Grieve said occasionally they will open the comment section on certain stories that will provoke “reasoned” debate. They’re also leaving the comment section open on the announcement.
So far, the comments are mixed. Some readers are pissed and say they’re leaving the site. Others understand. And still others sound unhinged. Like this: “ALL HAIL THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER.”
“BrightIdea” steered clear of flying spaghetti: “This is not censorship. National Journal is not stopping you from expressing your viewpoints in print or online on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere. National Journal owns its website and thus has certain privileges in determining its policies.”
“Veeper” is not pleased. “Sounds like a good place to insert…….You can’t handle the truth! Another form of censorship. NJ is not looking to provide a public service, they’re looking to increase they’re membership email list to sell.”
Neither is Dan Farrar: “Stifiling [sic] public discussion is not a public service. I personally never read any new web page that does not allow comments, so it looks like I won’t be reading your page any more. I’ve just deleted you from my tool bar.”
“Guest,” however, seems excited. “Hopefully this will rid them of the loon poop comments that makes everything slow and unreadable.”
We’ll keep you posted as the day progresses.