Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Comments Dilemma

Mike Smith
How to handle comments online has been a big debate ever since the internet became the big thing. A ton of people in the world love for their voice to be heard on the internet. Many people share ideas that they can back up with facts and do not offend anyone. However, many people share ideas that can be very offensive.

Comment sections can be a great place to have a healthy debate. Unfortunately, many commentors abuse it and some websites have removed their comments section as a result. One idea to stop the inappropriate comments is to have their Facebook linked, so commentors are not anonymous.

Tim Edner talks about how USA Today is about to implement this new Facebook comment policy.  I think this is a pretty good idea.

I like this idea because it will defiantly eliminate a lot of inappropriate comments. People are not as tough and brave when they are not anonymous. Having their Facebook linked would make people think twice before they write something mean.

I do understand why some people do not want this though. For example, say you have an intense debate about a touchy subject like abortion. You would not want the people you were debating against to be able to find you on Facebook and gain personal information on you. There are a lot of crazy people out there, and some could try to personally attack you and your family.

My response would be to put your Facebook on the highest privacy setting possible. That would make it very difficult for anyone to find out much about you, other than your name. If they sent you a threatening message, you would just block them, and that would end it.

In the end, I think the comment sections online are an important aspect in journalism. They allow people to share ideas, and they should not be eliminated in my opinion.

Another thing that was interesting to me was Steve Myer's article about user generated content.   He talked about how the Chicago Tribune recently published a photo that was from Flickr that was not authentic.

Every website likes to include user generated content that catches people's eyes. However, there is a ton of fake stuff on the internet. That makes it very difficult for websites to try to only publish authentic things.

I think pulling stuff from Flickr and posting it is a terrific idea. Journalists just need to do a thorough authenticity check on it before it is published.  There is way too
much funny and cool stuff all over the internet to not publish some of it.

If something is published that isn't authentic, a simple apology to clear things up would do the job because nobody is perfect. The goods of pulling things from sites like Flickr out way the bad.

In conclusion, the comment section and user generated content is a big part of the internet and journalism. Both of those things are not going anywhere anytime soon either for the most part. Journalists everywhere need to find a way to use both of these things to their advantage.

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