Monday, August 25, 2008

Comment is F**ked

BBC blogger coach Kevin Andersen has some choice words about The Guardian's Comment Is Free initiative; his remarks appear under the headline above: Comment is F**ked. Everybody who's wrestling with issues of taste and civility in comment sections (all of you, in other words) will find his examination worthwhile.

Here's a taste:

A few suggestions. Don’t treat your audience as the enemy. If you’re going to talk down to your audience, they are going to shout back. And quite honestly, I would say to any media organisation that your best columnists and commentators don’t necessarily make the best bloggers. Most media organisations think blogging is simply snarky columns. Wrong, wrong and wrong.

It’s a distributed conversation. Ms Ashley says: “As with child bullies, I wonder if these anonymous commenters and correspondents would really be quite so “brave” if they were having a face to face conversation.” You’re right, and I am in no way defending some of the toxic comments that you’re receiving. But step back. Read your column as if it were one side of a conversation and think how you would respond.

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