Read We're closing Crosscut's comment section. Here's why — and what's next by Ana Sofia Knauf, Anne Christnovich, Mohammed Kloub (crosscut.com)
With the rise of social platforms and an uptick in threatening comments, the newsroom is taking reader engagement in a different direction.

We analyzed our Disqus data and we found that roughly 17,400 comments were made on our site in 2019, but 45% came from just 13 people. That data tells us that social media, email, phone calls, letters to the editor, our Crosscut events and an occasional visit to the newsroom are far better tools for us to hear about your concerns, story ideas, feedback and support.

The Disqus data statistics here are fascinating. It also roughly means that those 13 people were responsible for 600+ comments on average or roughly 2 a day every day for the year. More likely it was a just a handful responsible for the largest portion and the others tailing off.

Sadly missing are their data about social media, email, phone, and letters to the editor which would tell us more about how balanced their decision was. What were the totals for these and who were they? Were they as lopsided as the Disqus numbers?
Annotated on January 08, 2020 at 04:33PM

In the meantime, stay in touch with Crosscut by:
Liking us on Facebook
Following us on Twitter
Following us on Instagram
Chatting with us on Reddit
Signing up for one (or all) of our newsletters 

It seems like they’ve chose a solution for their community that boils down to pushing the problem(s) off onto large corporations that have shown no serious efforts at moderation either?

Sweeping the problem under the rug doesn’t seem like a good long term answer. Without aggregating their community’s responses, are they really serving their readers? How is the community to know what it looks like? Where is it reflected? How can the paper better help to shape the community without it?

I wonder what a moderated IndieWeb solution for them might look like?
Annotated on January 08, 2020 at 04:42PM

It would be cool if they considered adding syndication links to their original articles so that when they crosspost them to social media, at least their readers could choose to follow those links and comment there in a relatively continuous thread. This would at least help to aggregate the conversation for them and their community while still off-loading the moderation burden from their staff, which surely is part of their calculus. It looks like their site is built on Drupal. I would suspect that–but I’m not sure if–swentel’s IndieWeb Drupal module has syndication links functionality built into it.

Rather than engaging their community, it almost feels to me like they’re giving up and are allowing a tragedy of their commons when there may be some better experimental answers that just aren’t being tried out.

The worst part of this for me though is that they’ve given up on the power of owning and controlling their own platform. In the recent history of journalism, this seems to be the quickest way of becoming irrelevant and dying out.

Replied to a tweet by Hungry Bread ElevatorHungry Bread Elevator (Twitter)
Some of the off-label uses of Hypothes.is have been enumerated lately, including some I’ve mentioned.

I’ve tinkered a bit with CROWDLAAERS, but it’s always seemed to me geared toward a very niche audience including teachers potentially using it for grading? Perhaps I’m missing some more of its flexibility? Remi Kalir might be able to help elucidate it or indicate if he’s noticed anyone using it for off-label usage.

I might see it being more useful if one could analyze site-wide annotations on a domain with a wild-card search of this sort: https://tomcritchlow.com/*.

I have to imagine that it would be cool to see all the annotations and conversations across something like the New York Times with a data visualization tool like this.

Jon Udell and gang are aware of Webmention, but haven’t pulled the trigger (yet) on making the decision to build them in. I’ve outlined some methods for making their platform a bit more IndieWeb friendly by adding markup and some additional HTML to allow people to force the system to be able to send webmentions. I do frequently use Jon’s facet tool to check highlighting and annotation activity on my website.

I have found Crowdlaaers useful several times in that I’m aware that some pages are annotated, but they’re either not public or are part of other groups for which I’m not a member. An example of this is this page on my website which has one annotation which I can’t see, but by using Crowdlaaers, I can. Another example is viewing annotations on sites that have subsequently blocked Hypothes.is like this example. Of course, sometimes you’ll do this and find odd bugs floating around in the system.

 

Replied to Not enough people want Webmentions by Jeremy CherfasJeremy Cherfas (Jeremy Cherfas)
A little while ago (on 19 October, to be precise) someone mentioned commento.io, an open source commenting system for websites. It looked interesting, so I tried to leave a comment on the post that mentioned it. Despite a few problems with login, I managed it, and asked whether Commento could play nicely with webmentions. No reply there, but I also took the matter up with support at Commento.
Given that it’s a paid service, I do see the potential that it could be viewed as an odd bit of competition. But at the same time, if it were my business, I’d take some leadership over the topic and work at building what might bring the product more value. Customers aren’t always communicative and building the things based on stated customer desires isn’t always the best way to go because the customer doesn’t always know what they want. A service provider needs to know the space, potential values, and provide the vision to get their company where it needs to be. Given this, their response seems to be a bit of a cop out. I remember thinking much the same thing about Disqus a few years back. I suspect if they knew their businesses well they’d see the imminent value and know that “if you build it [t]he[y] will come.
Read Render Snarky Comments in Comic Sans by Zach LeathermanZach Leatherman (Zach Leatherman)

Hosting my own content and comments allows me to be a bit more creative with it. So I decided to take this a step further and have a little fun with negative comments.

This isn’t intended to be a hot-take on Comic Sans. Instead it’s meant to change the tone of the negativity to make it sound like a clown is yelling at a kid’s birthday party.

This is an awesome way to handle some comments online.

👓 The Impossibility of ‘Heathers’ | National Review

Read The Impossibility of 'Heathers' by Kevin D. WilliamsonKevin D. Williamson (National Review)
Which movies from your youth would be impossible to make today due to political correctness?
Interesting that he asks for reader responses here, but the website provides no way to actively respond.

👓 Keep Track of Your Conversations in One Place | WordPress

Read Keep Track of Your Conversations in One Place by Jan Cavan BoulasJan Cavan Boulas (The WordPress.com Blog)
You can now stay on top of the discussions you care about, right from your Reader.