The Dayton Daily News website is one of the places prospective new residents or businesses might go to “feel the pulse” of the city. After a quick tour around their miserable excuse of a website, many may decide we’re a bunch of morons and look elsewhere.
That’s right- all the work of so many to build this city up, gets washed away by the “institution” that pretends to be a good corporate citizen looking out for “our best interests.” That’s why they screen and endorse political candidates for us, and provide the investigative powers of the fourth estate for us- right? Wrong.
The site allows people to post at will- without verification or any taking of responsibility- anything about anybody. Pretend to be me, or a good friend of mine- and say horrible things- and be seen by the entire world. It’s gotten so bad, that a bunch of citizens have started a facebook group to end anonymous postings on the DDN site. I have my share of trolls here- but, at least I try to keep them to stay under the same name- and prevent them from calling anyone but me an idiot- unless it’s done with intelligence, style and substance.
The Dayton Daily also makes their site almost useless for intelligent discussion- with the standard posts requiring less than 500 characters (apparently they lost the message that disk space is cheap) and without easy hyperlinking to support and substantiate claims. They also don’t build in simple subscribe tools like what this site has- to continue to deliver you e-mail messages to a post you’ve commented on. Why? I don’t know- it helps build site traffic- which is what they want.
They do have two different comment forums- one on stories- which is all but useless as described above- and the second which is their “blog” posts- which doesn’t have a limit on characters- but instantly breaks when you post a link (which is a good way to stop the discussion when you don’t like where the trolls are taking it). However- neither requires any kind of login and commenter rating system- like disqus or other standard forum practices. If you need to see how a model of comment rating works- look over to Bill Pote’s forums on DaytonMostMetro.com/forum
There also is quite a bit of frustration with the papers seemingly arbitrary ways in deciding if a news article is open to comments or not. You can’t have a open, transparent style forum- if some stories can be commented on- and others not.
On the bright side of things- the DDN did just overhaul their mobile interface to a much better- although still limited functionality (comments still can’t be viewed) and they did add a report comment function a while back that seems to be moderated by the author (Mark Fisher responds quickly to crap on his food blog postings- others don’t).
This Facebook group is a step in the right direction- the next step would be to organize a boycott by advertisers until the DDN takes action. Their allowance of crap on their site is hurting all of us. It’s time they felt some pain back.