Are social network negating the need for comments sections on news sites?
Christopher Altchek first realised how difficult it is to manage a community of commenters in early 2012 when his news publication Mic (then operating under the name PolicyMic) was linked to by The Drudge Report, the conservative news powerhouse.
“We had a really robust and really high-quality commenting section and commenting community. And that Drudge link really blew that community apart pretty quickly,” Altchek recalled in an interview with Mashable. Hundreds of thousands of new readers “who didn’t care about Mic” flooded the comments section. “That was the first moment we realised that if we are going to scale the community, we are going to need to spend a lot of time on it.”
Nearly three years later, Altchek and his team at Mic finally decided it was no longer worth the time for writers and editors to focus on the traditional comments section. Much of the discussion had shifted to social networks in the intervening years, Altchek said, making the comments section seem more and more like a relic. On Wednesday, Mic informed readers that it had “removed the ability to comment on stories within the article page.”
“Like any good product,” he said, “when a feature is no longer needed, you get rid of it.”
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