Reuters ditches reader comments in articles


News agency Reuters will no longer allow comments on its stories, instead moving all discussions to social media and online forums in a bid to avoid potentially offensive material appearing on their articles.

Dan Colarusso, Executive Editor, Reuters Digital, wrote in a note that discussion has moved to “social media and online forums. Those communities offer vibrant conversation and, importantly, are self-policed by participants to keep on the fringes those who would abuse the privilege of commenting.”

Comments will still be allowed on opinion pieces and blog posts, the notice says. Colarusso links to the Reuters Facebook and Twitter handles for readers to discuss news there and explains that comments will remain open on opinion pieces so that columnists and readers can “exchange ideas on interesting and controversial topics.”

The move follows last year’s decision by The Huffington Post to end anonymous comments.

Some sites have eliminated comments altogether: Popular Science ditched the concept in September 2013 and the Chicago Sun-Times eliminated them this summer, saying they contributed to a “morass of negativity, racism, hate speech and general trollish behaviors that detract from the content.”

Comment sections are often difficult to manage and the distinction between making people discuss general news on social media and engage with writers about opinion pieces is an interesting choice.

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