PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — We turned off our comment boards.
It wasn’t a decision KOIN.com made lightly or easily. But it’s time to be honest about what comment boards have morphed into over the years.
When the Internet was new, the opportunity for two-way interaction and “real time” conversation was exciting, vibrant, revolutionary. But the Internet really isn’t new anymore, and there are other, better ways for interaction between author and reader.
For every great, insightful comment or news tip I’ve seen over the past decade posted to the bottom of a story, I’ve dealt with 50 times more comments that add no value. Pseudonymous commenters seemingly have limitless time to post inanities, vitriol, sexually explicit, mindless, vulgar and hurtful notes about people and things of which they have only cursory knowledge.
We, like other sites, have filters in place that aim to patrol the comments posted on our stories. But that’s not enough. And in today’s world, honestly, we don’t have the staff nor the time to adequately monitor every comment on every story.
Other sites have also turned off their comment boards recently for largely the same reasons. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to hear your thoughts, opinions or comments. We do.
But as the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote when they disabled their comment boards, “Nowhere does the First Amendment require the media to provide a platform for your speech.”
We still want to interact, but we seek to do so in a more civil and informative way that seeks to further a dialogue on the story rather than a monologue in an echo chamber.