Thursday, October 31, 2013

Commenting On Social Media and Websites

Source: Wikimedia Commons
With all the controversy going on about whether comments should be allowed on public websites, I think that comments should be allowed, but only if they are used correctly. In my opinion, comments are supposed to be used for helpful feedback. Obviously I do not share this opinion with a lot of people because there are some comments that are definitely not helpful .feedback. Comment content has gotten so bad that websites have even started taking down their comment streams. Popular Science, a site that publishes articles about the latest news in science, took down their comment stream at the end of September. They did this because people were commenting about false science, and according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, people believe in the content that people write in comments, so they didn’t want anyone to believe false conspiracy theories. Popular Science also took them down because of internet trolls, which is another huge problem in comments.

I think that instead of taking comments down, websites should just moderate their comments for profanity. Some big news sites, like the New York Times, have even hired people to delete comments if they are uncivil. They will delete the comment if they do any of these things:

“You called someone an idiot, a moron, a dope, a dummy, or something else uncivil. No name-calling and personal abuse.”
“You used profanity. Our rules forbid even mild oaths and vulgarities that are now common on TV and the web. We know people talk this way every day, even in our newsroom, but certain words do still offend and anger people, or at the very least make them less likely to come back here. If you wouldn't say it in front of your mother, a minister or a 5-year-old, think twice about saying it here.”
A new way that website owners are trying to make comments more civil is that they are making people who comment login from Facebook, or make an account with them just so they can leave comments. They do this so people can not be anonymous if they comment inappropriate content. I don’t like this idea because if I want to comment, I don’t want people to see my name out there, I would rather stay anonymous as I think a lot of people would as well. Plus I don’t want people to have a link to my facebook so they can creep on me. Instead of doing this, I think website owners should pick the comments that get shown on the site as some already have like the New York Times. Another commenting issue that is being resolved right now is the commenting on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Whenever I scroll through Youtube comments, I see terrible comments everywhere, and I wonder why the person that posted the video doesn’t delete the comments. Sometimes comments even get disabled on certain videos that usually involve kids or something because they know that people will probably go and say terrible things about the video.

In order for all of these problems to be fixed, I think that people should just moderate their comments for trolls and comments that may cause a stream of negativity to start, because comments can be helpful to the producer, and also they can create helpful conversations among people on the topic. I don’t think that people should just delete their comment streams because that is not really fixing the problem.

Update: November 14, 2013

I believe that comments still should be moderated for uncivilness. One comment I have gotten asks whether I think people should moderate the comments or should the creator of the website or whatever it is moderate the comments. This made me think because I had never actually thought really hard about who should moderate the comments nor talked about it much. I concluded that the creator should moderate them because they should be the ones to decide what the people are going to read, whether it is helpful feedback or not or if it makes the source look good. If people moderated them, they could just delete whatever they wanted, so a lot of people would delete the good comments and leave the bad comments unmoderated, which would ruin the point of even moderating comments. I also got an interesting perspective from someone saying that if comment streams were gone, they would just read a book because if it's and article or an online source without comment streams, then it basically is a book, it is just electronic. If I had a choice of reading a book/article or reading something online, I would choose the book.


  1. Hi my name is Ariesh
    I totally agree with you on the fact that commenting online should stay because it is an essential to the fact that we see how people are reacting to what we say or write. If we were to take it away, it would be like reading an online textbook. All you can do is read not have a conversation. Why waste time and money going on the internet while I can just look it in a textbook or library for free. I also agree with the fact that commenting has degraded over the years and now basically is the few thoughtful people and some random jerks. That is where everything starts to go wrong. I understand why Popular Science did what they did and I agree, when you are talking about science you want real fact displayed not opinions. Also NYT did what they needed to do to combat the foolishness of people today. Overall I feel that websites should just stick to moderating comments and keeping the goodness of comments alive.

  2. Hello Wonderfulperson,

    I enjoyed the way you talked about Youtube comments as I also wonder why the terrible comments on videos aren't disabled. Do you think that comments on public websites should be monitored by the person or site that created the article or video or should it be up to the people to decide if what their writing is useful and/or kind.
    Great blog!

  3. Dear Ariesh,
    I agree with you on the part when you said if comments were taken away, it would be like reading an online textbook. I never thought of it that way. Also thank you for making feedback on what you feel websites should do about commenting.

  4. Dear rudybasketball22,
    I do think comments should be monitored by the author as helpful. Thanks so much for the comment.


Our comments will be moderated, meaning someone will approve them before they appear. Please remember the authors are 9th graders, and have chosen a topic of interest to them to explore in more depth as it pertains to digital citizenship and media literacy.

Good comments
--are always related to the content of the post;
--consider the author and the purpose of the post;
--ask or answer a question;
--add meaningful information to the content topic;
--are constructively critical, and never hurtful;
--include personal connections to what the author wrote;
--follow the writing process.

We welcome your thoughtful contributions, especially those that might help us improve our work or expand our thinking on these topics.

If you choose the Anonymous option, please sign your name if comfortable. It is easier to respond to someone with a name. Thanks!