Local news website comments

Not a thread for posting local newspaper website comments.

The local press in this area keeps comments open for a lot of articles, and despite a supposed house rules policy the comments are frequently racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic etc, and there are regularly extremely callous comments about people who have died (seeing an example of that last one today has been the final straw).

The site requires you to have an account to flag comments and I don’t fancy spending all my free time doing that anyhow.

I want to write to them to ask them to close comments on articles if they are unable to moderate them in line with their house rules, and that as a company the burden should not be on readers to identify and flag offensive content. I know they’re unlikely to do so as engagement and all that, but I guess it’s worth a try.

So two questions really

a) Do any of you know any local news websites that either fully disable or appropriately moderate comments (ideally in advance)
b) Do you have any suggestions of how to go about doing this most effectively? Should I include a list of contents on recent articles which breach either the house rules or basic human decency? Any advice appreciated :slightly_smiling_face:

@hip_young_gunslinger ?

Hey, I try to avoid local news websites as much as possible because they’re all awful both in terms of content and user experience. Most local paper sites are part of a few big groups now, and I had assumed most had turned off comments since they add so little value - I’m pretty sure Reach don’t have any, though tbh I can’t wait all day for their pages to load to find out. I thought most places had outsourced comments to Facebook basically.

It’s definitely worth contacting the editor with a list of the most outrageous examples, and point out that if they’re publishing this stuff on their site, they’re responsible for it with all the legal implications hate speech / defamation that entails:

Can’t imagine any local media outlet has capacity to moderate comments properly, which I why I assumed they’d mostly disappeared, so hopefully you’ll encourage your local lot to bin them off.

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Actually, regarding the legal stuff, point six here is more recent and relevant:

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Thanks, will do that. Unfortunately have to keep an eye on it for my job, and the articles I need to look at tend to be the ones with the extremely offensive comments.

Sorry you have to deal with that. It baffles me that papers feel they benefit from it. Can’t imagine there’s any good business sense in it, but I gave up trying to understand the people who run newspapers a long time ago.

That ECHR ruling actually did happen more recently that the one I posted after, so maybe it is worth throwing that in to shit them up a bit. If it’s just people being nasty rather than outright defamatory though, they’ll probably shrug it off as “free speech” unfortunately.