New Haven Independent reboots its comments engine

Following a hiatus of nearly two weeks, the New Haven Independent has brought back reader comments — with new rules that founder and editor Paul Bass hopes will restore civility. Here’s my latest for the Nieman Journalism Lab.

6 thoughts on “New Haven Independent reboots its comments engine

  1. Mike Benedict

    Speaking of the wish for civility, no mention of Pat Buchanan getting the axe from MSNBC? I see some parallels to the Globe/Charles Pierce divorce in that MSNBC seems to have been dumped for voicing the same opinions he’s widely known to have had for years.

  2. Stephen Stein

    Maybe I understand what The Independent was going for in its commenting guidelines (civility), but I don’t think their definition is very good. Consider the first comment they approved – it was a generic “me too” comment. Did it help “illuminate the story”? Did it provide “history and context and perspective”? No, not really.

    They further assert that they want to curtail “sparring” amongst commenters.

    Sounds pretty boring to me. WIll they allow any argument at all in their community?

    Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t think they’re *really* going to implement the policy they set out. I think they’re going to edit for civility, allowing benign but otherwise uninformative comments through. I would hope that they will also allow argument, as long as it’s done fairly respectfully and it stays germane to the topic.

    1. Dan Kennedy

      @Stephen: Agree on all fronts. When this shakes down, I don’t think the Independent’s comments are going to look that much different compared to what they were before temperatures started rising last fall.

  3. L.K. Collins

    Goodness, they might even look like The Globe‘s comments after they went behind the pay wall…

    …not worth reading.

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