WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Shutting Down Comments in the Age of Social Media

Oct 15, 2013

The Shop Talk panelists discuss PopularScience.com’s decision to no longer accept comments on news articles.

The magazine said while it hears from many “delightful, thought-provoking commenters,” its articles are also generating too many uncivil comments that are polarizing or deceptive.

Shop Talk panelist Lisa Kernek said she sympathizes with the magazine. Kernek said she’s troubled by on-line comment sections because contributors often don’t have to give their name.  She pointed out newspapers always required names from those who wrote letters to the editor.

Kernek said some anonymous comments undermined good science.

Panelist Jasmine Garcia agreed with the magazine’s assertion that “even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story.” She likes feedback through social media but added it sometimes reaches a point at which it’s not helpful.

Panelist Rich Egger said he looks forward to reading what others have to say about an interesting on-line article, but is often disappointed to find idiotic comments posted by those hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.