Article written by Adam

11 responses to “Comments Fail at The Boston Globe”

  1. Kelley Kassa

    I didn’t buy Bailey’s premise — are newspapers supposed to hide from the online community? But, if I were to say, OK, that make sense, couldn’t the same argument go for letters to the editor? We only see a portion (in this case an editor, like a moderator, selects what we see) and some letters are well thought-out and well written. Others can sound related to the “uniformed” posting Internet comments.

    Allowing the “unwashed” to comment on “pristine” journalism might corrupt the mission of journalism (btw, I don’t believe that), but at this point, the Globe needs to try a lot of things if they want to survive.

  2. Adam Pieniazek

    Hiding from the online community is exactly what the newspapers shouldn’t do. I’m sure you’re aware of the brouhaha over whether Google News is violating newspapers copyright (they aren’t, it’s fair use) by quoting 2-3 lines from articles and linking back to the articles. Newspapers have been making a big fuss over it, but they can easily remove themselves from the Google search engine by placing two lines in their robots.txt file telling Google not to crawl through their site.

    What newspapers need to do is figure out what they want from the online community. Is it pageviews? Links? Comments? Or subscription revenues? Right now, they don’t really have a gameplan, they’re just throwing anything and everything against the wall and seeing what sticks. But because it’s not targeted, it’s not sticky and ends up falling off the wall.

    Once they figure out what they want to gain from the internet, they can actually go about taking steps to achieve that goal(s).

    Great point about the letters to the editor. It’s my belief that the goal of newspapers should be to report on and improve a community. By allowing readers to comment, it helps build that community and pulls in ideas that otherwise might never have seen the light of day. But, the Globe and Herald need to help build that community up. It won’t happen on its own. Allowing the “unwashed” to comment on articles keeps the newspapers on their toes and helps people use that information to improve the surrounding community. The Globe needs to either become just a soapbox for its ideas (bad, IMO) or dive in fully into developing a community around their site. They can’t go half-way, it doesn’t work.

  3. Jim Gaudet

    Ha, that’s good one. I noticed that your Tweetmeme button isn’t sending your Twitter ID, itssending the Tweetmeme one.

    Damn you have Google Voice already! I am waiting for my invite…

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      Hmm, yeah I dropped the Tweetmeme plugin in favor of adding the code into my theme, need to take a look and see if I can add in my Twitter ID. Also noticed it’s not using, which is my preferred URL shortener.

      Yup, have had Google Voice for a while now. I was a GrandCentral user so I got switched over when Google bought them. 🙂

      It rocks and is well worth the invite wait.

  4. Denver Engagement Photographer

    BAHAHHA don’t you just love it when people try and cover up their mistakes online. Don’t these people know better? I never understand how people are so stupid when it comes to this kind of stuff. Of course at this point I don’t have near the online community that you do, nor do I know if that’s really what I want for my blog, but I do know that pretty much unless the comment is spam it’s going to go up on my blog. Moderation is just that moderation. It doesn’t mean selective hearing in the discussion about a topic. Nice catch.

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      Yeah, everyone needs to realize that once something hits the internet, it’s there perhaps forever. With the amount of services caching sites and people taking screen shots, printing articles, it’s best to admit a mistake and publish the fix.

      Having said that, I’m sure I’ve done similar edits before, but there’s a difference between me editing some non-important (in the grand scheme) post and a newspaper editing a news article. In the second case, your main goal is to inform, so if you misinform you need to let people know that there was mis-information, not just make it disappear.

      Very true about moderation Dave. If someone disagrees with me, that is not grounds for not publishing the comment. In fact, I welcome disagreement and other points of view as it strengthens the conversation.

      To back that up, my posts about socialized healthcare and the war on terror drew plenty of disagreements but all those comments got published. I love it when someone brings a different viewpoint onto my blog.

  5. Aaron

    I think one of my favorite things about the internet is the comments on local newspaper websites. They are one small step above the comments on Youtube. It seems that EVERY article on has a comment from a Herald reader along the lines of “Of course the Globe WOULD cover this story this way.”
    The elitist in me thinks that a newspaper website is one of the few websites beside and myspace that a good number of people use, thus making newspaper comments a better barometer for the discourse of the general public as opposed to a barometer for the discourse found on “the internet”.
    New site design looks great, by the way!

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      So, what does this say about our society in general Aaron? Is the majority of bunch of blabbering idiots or does the medium and the moderator play some role in the quality of comments? From my personal experiences, I’d favor the latter. I haven’t met too many people in real life who talk in the same manner as the YouTube comments. Does the perceived anonymity (no one is really anonymous) allow people to let loose, revealing a lack of substance?

      Or do the big sites draw troublemakers who write stupid comments because they know it’s one of the few places they’ll have an audience and will likely get a response too?

      Thanks for the compliment on the new design. 🙂

  6. Jim Gaudet

    @Aaron : agreed man. I try to focus on comments, but not for back links. I do it because the real conversation is there. Reading an informational article and having no way to converse about it, it ancient IMO.

    Want to know about Boston? Find a blogger who lives there and get real information..

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      Not allowing comments is IMO, detrimental. Without comments, the author is just on a soap box proclaiming his/her viewpoint. With comments, it changes into a dynamic place where discussion can be fueled and additional information brought in.

      As long as moderation is practiced, I really see no downside to comments.

      1. Jim Gaudet

        I agree, I do try to make sure that I let all commenter’s say what they want, as long as they are not spam.

        Your opinion is yours and you are allowed it.