There has been some controversy lately over comments on web sites. Far too often comments are toxic, bitter, uninformed, and irrelevant. Some popular bloggers such as Seth Godin simply turn the comment function off. Popular Science has just announced they are shutting off comments because they felt that “trolls and spambots” in their comments have overwhelmed intellectual debate. Some people have been critical of Popular Science’s decision.
At the same time, YouTube is about to make some changes to try to float the most relevant comments to the top, and push the nasty stuff to the bottom. This Washington Post article discusses both the YouTube and Popular Science developments.
Slaw seems to attract high quality comments. Simon tells me he simply trashes the very few toxic comments that Slaw receives.
What do readers think? It is easy for sites that don’t get large numbers of comments to moderate and simply trash the nasty stuff. For sites that by their nature attract large amounts of comments, do those comments add anything? Are comments something worth keeping and trying to manage, or is it better just to not bother and shut the feature off?