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Dec 03, 2012

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Account Deleted

Crickets speak volumes. Seems like Joe or Doug would at least say something here if there wasn't a gag order.

Hugh

They don't care. The web has never been an income producer, it's just an annoyance to them.

Hugh

Pretty soon we'll get one of the new editor's golly-gosh pieces about how he'd never have thought us hayseeds would get so riled up about technology.

Account Deleted

I'm not sure the south is known for its "soup joints."

We have soup kitchens for those in need. And folks in these parts have "brunswick stews" right regular in the fall. I grew up holding granddaddy's hand going to the chicken stew at Mineral Springs VFD each year.

I think soup is in style along the coast, but'n they might call it a "low country boil." Some folk have a "gumbo" bubba.

Hugh

Besides the seasonal brunswick stew, the only soup standard on the menu in most meat/3 veggie places is some version of vegetable.

George Hartzman

seems like they are waiting for Greensboro Partnership Board Member Robin Saul to say something.

Hugh

My recommendation for the exiled-to-the-South-soup-deprived-editor is to head over to one of the Viet restaurants for a bowl of Pho Ga.

Hartzman

"George, my understanding is that this project belongs to Saul's team, and that even under that structure editorial was disappointed in the amount of input it had in the process."

Posted by: Ed Cone | Dec 03, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Hartzman

If there were thousands
of relatively independent media companies in the mid 1900’s
~50 by the 1980’s
and less than 10 after 2000
mostly owned by conglomerates with conflicting interests
dependent on legislative initiatives for regulatory concerns
and advertisers and political campaigns for profit
is most mainstream information relatively more objective or less?

Is an independent press
essential to capitalistic democracy?

Do the few who control the dissemination
of most financial and political information
enjoy relatively disproportionate levels of influence
than the many who don’t?

Can financial and/or political interests
negatively affect investigative journalism
by sheltering some from inhospitable exposure
while simultaneously disparaging opponents?

Why would opinion columnists criticize policy positions of some
while receiving undisclosed compensation from others
interested in non-attributed dissention?

Does thinking you understand what another says
mean you hear what they mean?

Is an untruth disseminated as true a lie
if the truth remains unfound through incuriosity?

Is there a correlation between behavior
and information consumption?

Is it hard to get entrenched economic and political leadership to understand
if relative legitimacy depends on not understanding?

Hartzman

Fox News disabled their online comments section in May.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/18/1121685/-Fox-News-disabled-their-online-comments-section-in-May-Why
.
.
.
Have online comment sections become 'a joke'?

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/11/tech/web/online-comments-sxsw/index.html?hpt=hp_t2
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Gawker Media founder Nick Denton...said that commenting on his own sites (which he's seen make reporters cry) has gotten so bad that he doesn't engage. "I don't like going into the comments. ... For every two comments that are interesting -- even if they're critical, you want to engage with them -- there will be eight that are off-topic or just toxic," he said...

So, what's the solution?

Having editors and reporters engage their readers in the comments?

"The writer of the piece has to move on to the next piece.

They don't have time to moderate all those comments."

Require readers to post using their real names?

"My own view is that anonymity is at the heart of the Internet."

Give other commenters more power to "up-vote" or "down-vote" posts?

"We don't really believe in the democratic process of decision-making when it comes to discussion," Denton said.

...Denton said his sites are planning to post some stories that allow only a hand-picked, pre-approved group of people to comment on them. That, he said, would make the comment section an extension of the story and allow people, like Charney in the above example, to have their say without fear of being piled onto by others.

...Many of Gawker's sites aren't known for being particularly delicate (One of today's top Gawker headlines: "Arnold Schwarzenegger's Son Injures Ass Skiing, Tweets Photo").

"It's certainly true that nice sites run by nice people ... that encourages good behavior," Denton said. "But it's not as if it's entirely the writer setting the tone for the comments. Sometimes, it's the comments setting the tone for the writer."

Roch

"head over to one of the Viet restaurants" -- Hugh

Excellent suggestion, of course. The hot pots at Vietnamese Garden are divine.

Ed Cone

My impression of Gauger, based on the paper he puts out and a lunch with him at UHOP, is more favorable than the one gleanable from his columns and blog posts.

I think his publisher screwed the pooch and the editors are constrained about what they can say in a public.

Roch

That may well be, Ed, but that greatly diminishes the sympathy I have for the screwees who are getting screwed by the screwers. At some point, it becomes impossible to care for people who will not stand up for themselves. Is Gauger such a puppet of the publisher that he can't say anything at all? Silence is complicity. They either approve of Saul's leadership or they don't and secret disapproval is no disapproval at all. If they truly disapprove, I'd expect something like this from Gauger:

The News & Record staff has begun circulating a petition for the removal of of our boss, publisher Robin Saul. We have lost confidence in his ability to lead this organization in a manner commensurate with our skills and dedication and call on the owners of the N&R to replace him. We are aware of discontent within the community too and therefore invite citizens to join us in signing the petition.

We are asking that a new publisher be appointed with the skills and knowledge to meet the following goals:

1. Support and inspire the pursuit and attainment of the highest standards of journalism excellence.
2. Innovation in establishing a state-of-the-art presence in the online world.
3. A reorientation of the enterprise so that it is positioned to flourish in the future unencumbered by legacies that no longer serve a legitimate purpose.

What's Saul going to do? Give a finger to the community and his staff and hunker down with an AK47? On the other hand, like I said, if something like this doesn't happen, it's to the point where one starts to think of the N&R employees, "Eh, they are getting what they deserve."

Hartzman

"...the change is being made in an attempt "to eliminate past excesses that included blatant disregard for our appropriateness guidelines, blind accusations and unsubstantiated allegations."

"The...publisher stated that his site's hard-line stance was in response to inappropriate comments. However, many prominent publications such as The Globe and Mail and NYT are able to maintain flourishing online communities by instituting a combination of user-rankings (inappropriate comments are quickly down-voted while insightful ones get promoted to the top of the page) and paid moderators. The use of automated moderation algorithms is also becoming an increasingly successful means of reducing inappropriate posts."

http://www.editorsweblog.org/2010/07/12/massachusetts-newspapers-to-charge-for-ability-to-comment-eliminate-anonymity
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"The problem is that once an online discussion space gets off to a bad start it’s very hard to change the tone. The early days of any online community are formative. The tone set by early participants provides cues for each new arrival."

"...it’s often smarter to just shut down a comments space that’s gone bad, wait a while, and then reopen it when you’ve got a moderation plan ready and have hand-picked some early contributors to set the tone you want. If I were running a newspaper with a comments problem, that’s how I’d proceed."

"...This is exactly what’s happened with our local daily, the Cape Cod Times (www.capecodonline.com), where constant fisticuffs in the forums led the admins to shutting it down with the promise that within a few months, a new system would replace the old. Of course, that hasn’t happened, and nary a word has been spoken by the management, either."

"...Establishing a happy medium can seem to be more trouble than it’s worth for publishers still stuck in dead tree space with the expectation that feedback should be limited specifically to the people who want to write or e-mail letters to the editor, who don’t understand the benefit of having an active and vibrant reader community."

"...The cure for the comments problem in newspapers is to permanently eliminate most comments"

"Unlike other online communities where people ENJOY the Web site they’re a member of, many people don’t like their local newspaper. Perhaps they’ve been ingrained to distrust the mainstream (or is it “lamestream”?) media or they don’t feel there’s enough accountability. We know that people have stopped trusting the news more and more, so it’s natural that the Web sites get inundated with haters."

"...newspapers and other sites are swimming in a cesspool of their own making. Comment sections for general news pieces, most with anonymous, unmoderated laxity, are magnets for every loud mouth with an ax to grind — and with an irresistible urge to take their disdain for the publication out on people and processes that should have nothing to do with it."

"...If it cost a user $5 every time their identity was deleted for being an asshole, there would be a lot fewer assholes online."

"...so long as comments are seen as something free — free “content” for the paper, and an untramelled opportunity to vent for the readers — they will be worthless or worse."

"The problem is that moderation takes a lot of time, energy and is costly in that time spent there is time not spent reporting and editing."

"it’s hard to imagine newspapers paying moderators. But if they believe their future is on the web then it’s a good investment. (If they don’t believe their future is on the web, then what are they doing here?)"

http://www.wordyard.com/2010/04/13/newspaper-comments-forget-anonymity-the-problem-is-management/

Hartzman

http://www.news-record.com/home/397192-63/blog-vote-of-confidence-for

Allen Johnson's blog post on Linda Shaw.

No comments allowed.

Ed Cone

I just left a comment at that post -- they seem to have fixed that particular bug.

Hartzman

Like magic.

Someone appears to be reading this blog.

I asked;

"Allen, where are the historical comments?"

Doug Clark

Thanks for reading and for feedback, Ed.

Comments have been working on my blog all the while. However, we have to specifically turn them on when we post an article. Because that's a new process, it's easy to forget.

Hartzman

What will happen to the historical comments Doug?

Ed Cone

Thanks, Doug. That explains why they're live at some N&R blogs and not others.

Thanks also for understanding that, however convoluted these threads can get, the main concern is the evolution of the best possible N&R site.

Doug Clark

I can't answer George's question or, really, any other question dealing with technical issues. Sorry.

Roch

"the main concern is the evolution of the best possible N&R site." -- Ed

Like running in circles, do you? Shouldn't our main concern be greater competence for which lack thereof a poor site is only a symptom? Or we can have this same conversation every four years until we are all dead.

scharrison

"Comments have been working on my blog all the while."

That's because you actually like talking to people, Doug. Skynet is aware of this, and will eventually use you to enslave us.

George Hartzman

no comment is the default mode?

what was it before?

if the comments are going to be deleted now and then, i feel i have wasted my time and effort,
for it has been arbitrarily eliminated.

are the comments gone for good?

please find out Doug, or somebody.

Doug Clark

Steve, I release you in advance.

Steve Harrison

Thanks! I promise I won't cause too much trouble...

Brian

The crickets are getting louder. Comments have all but disappeared from the N&R - i.e., no one posts any more, unless you count the spam that seems to have no problem getting through. Maybe it is having the desired effect. I'm considering a print subscription only because the online version is so god awful.

Hugh

" I'm considering a print subscription only because the online version is so god awful."

Their diabolical plan is working!

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