One of the things that’s difficult in a Web 2.0 world is dealing with radicals (same as in the real world). Back to the old adage: “opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.”
Give people equal access to a soapbox, and suddenly, everybody is a brilliant thought leader.
Trust me, I suffer the same delusions according to many of you.
But handling them online is another matter. I try to keep things civil here. But, when you have the scale of a New York Times, or even, help me for mentioning them in the same sentence, the Dayton Daily News, moderation from the site owners part gets tough.
The New York Times has an article about it:
newspaper journalism benefits from reader comments. Creating registration standards, inventive means of moderating and displaying comments, membership benefits for regular posters and ratings systems for useful comments are just some of the ways that other news outlets like Slate have improved the quality of reader responses.
The only real solution is to require real names, with a public ranking system. Let the crowd handle the comments with a thumbs up/down system.
Overtime, the radicals have to learn to work within the conversation, instead of throwing hate bombs from the cover of anonymity.
Respect is a two-way street online. Giving the masses the same ability to link, to espouse, to build their case; while getting some link juice back, is critical to a successful online forum and building a community.
Without follow up notification of responses, through e-mail or RSS, a site fails their readers in keeping the discussion going. We try to make it easy for you to engage in enlightened discussion here, but the Dayton Daily News just can’t figure out how to do it right.
Maybe one day our online traffic will give us more credibility than those who got it just by being a monopoly. Where buying ink by the barrel, only means you aren’t smart enough to read the writing on someones Facebook wall.