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There's been a bit of a backlash recently against the angry commenter on newspaper websites. Some are calling for newspapers to stop allowing comments sections all together. But what about democracy on the web? Bob, with the help of "This American Life"'s Ira Glass, ruminates on the dark side of the comments section.

I just wrote a long, considered, friendly, and I hope helpful comment here but — sorry, I have to see the irony in this once again — your system wouldn’t let me say anything longer tahn 1,500 characters. If you want more intelligent conversations, you might want to expand past soundbite. 

In 2008, even before Twitter had become a thing at 180 characters, here’s a great reason that people should be posting their commentary on their own blogs.

This example from 2008 is particularly rich as you’ll find examples on this page of Derek Powazek and Jeff Jarvis posting comments with links to much richer content and commentary on their own websites.

We’re a decade+ on and we still haven’t managed to improve on this problem. In fact, we may have actually made it worse.

I’d love to see On the Media revisit this idea. (Of course their site doesn’t have comments at all anymore either.)
Annotated on February 25, 2020 at 10:47AM

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Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

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