Another Take on the Online Commenting System

by Kim Taylor

My business partner and agency CEO Roger Pynn recently gave kudos to the Orlando Sentinel’s Mark Russell for how the paper is continuing to evolve their online commenting system.  Like many sites, the Sentinel requires users to register before commenting, which presumably helps prevent those who use anonymity as a shield to fill the pages with often toxic comments.

Gawker Media, the parent to hugely popular sites like Gawker, Jezebel, Lifehacker, has taken a different approach entirely … giving the power to the people … whether they reveal their identity or not.

Commenters who prefer to identify themselves can use the site’s “Burner” tool, which lets users enter a pseudonym to begin commenting.  The pseudonym is then linked to your device along with a key that’s generated randomly (in case you want to comment from different devices).  Burner doesn’t require a name, email address or password.

Additionally, Gawker’s letting users moderate users, essentially giving the power to the first person to comment on a particular story.

It certainly does “fly in the face of conventional media wisdom” as said by Nick Denton, founder of Gawker Media.  His reasoning:

“We’ll accept some disorder if that’s the price of freedom in one’s personal life, in politics and the press.”

What do you think?  Which approach do you prefer?

Category: Taking Aim Tags: , , , 4 Comments

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