Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Popular Science closes Comments

It isn't easy for any large volume site to keep a civilized comment section. Many people use the layer of anonymity provided by the internet to vent their frustrations on public sites. Now, Popular Sciences says it has had enough and that will close down comments in the site as they're bad for science.

I can certainly relate to that, although this site doesn't have many visitors (not that I value quantity over quality! :) my "main" portuguese tech site in now approaching 1 million visitors per month. That's quite a lot for something that essentially still is a "one-man-show" - though I do rely on several friends that help me covering events, and some occasional guest posts and reviews. Fortunately the community that has grown around it has been quite healthy and "self-stabilizing", tough I've already faced my share of trolls and destabilizing items.

What I mean is that it is quite easy to let thing spiral out of control and let a few ruin the experience for the "many". In PopSci case, they also argue that improper comments may even affect the perception of the main article - which is something that is also quite logical: if I tell you about a new green low-cost fuel you can use in your car and you see comments saying that it will blow up your engine - it will scare you (even tough it might be nothing more than a complete fabrication).

Not that I'm insinuating that you should believe everything you read - even in reputable sites - and that you shouldn't be encouraged to ask question and discuss things (in a civilized way). But we all know that some people only goal is to simply "ruin it" for all.

It's sad to see that because of a few undesired elements many other have to pay (we see that in action everyday, and not only on the internet - because of concerted or isolated actions of a few deranged lunatics, millions of peoples live in a constant state of fear.) Unfortunately, some time there simply isn't any other way to deal with it and the most efficient path is to simple avoid the problem whatsoever, even if it forces the interested parties to find alternative way to share and discuss their views, ideas, questions, etc.

(That being said, I'm not thinking about closing down comments in here, so feel free to comment whenever you feel like it. :)

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