Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Fair comment

Finding intelligent, reasoned reader comments on newspapers' online sites can sometimes feel like a Snark hunt.
I've noted my thoughts on why newspapers can fail to encourage a flourishing online forum community before, and had some interesting feedback both here and via Twitter and Plurk.
Personally I don't believe newspapers forums will ever succeed unless time and real effort is set aside for looking after them; too often they degenerate into name-calling, adverts or conversations between two posters that would make more sense conducted via instant messenger.
But I also don't believe it is beyond the wit of newspaperkind to host intelligent, interesting and relevant forums for debate and comment - we just have to care enough that they succeed, rather than chalking them down as a 'must-have' on our online checklist.
So, having followed a Twitter link from Paul Bradshaw to Derek Powazek's blog post on 10 Ways Newspapers Can Improve Comments I have some new thoughts to mull over.
Some of what he says chimes with what Mark Commerford suggested to me (regarding forums and the ability for users to flag comments which they perceive to be good or bad) and I'm also intrigued by his suggestion to scrap anonymity. All in all, lots to consider...
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