Mumbrella Bows To Industry Pressure & Switches Off Comments

Shh! Women's secrets. Cropped shot of female with finger in mouth. Closeup portrait of young woman is showing a sign of silence with shhh written on the finger.
SHARE
THIS



Mumbrella has made the bold call to turn off comments on its articles, a move that will undoubtedly have a big impact for the publishing site.

Mumbrella head of content Damian Francis made the announcement Friday afternoon, penning an opinion piece which will be the last article on Mumbrella to have comments.

Francis wrote: “From today, Mumbrella will no longer publish reader comments. This policy will be for all of the content we publish, regardless of what it is.

“The ethos behind Mumbrella’s long-held stance on publishing comments has shifted as the brand has developed and today’s announcement is a continuation of that shift.

“Making the decision to scrap comments altogether just eight months on from the new policy may seem more like one giant leap rather than one small step, but I feel it’s an important leap to make for Mumbrella, its staff and the industry. And now is as good a time as ever to do that – when we can make that decision clearly, analytically, and without emotion or pressure.”

It follows Mumbrella‘s decision to change its comment moderation policy in January this year, with the new policy of “only publishing comments that [Mumbrella believed was] worth [its] audience seeing.”

Francis stepped into the head of content role in mid August after Mumbrella announced a restructure of its team, which saw editor Vivienne Kelly depart. It is essentially the role Tim Burrows had filled since founding Mumbrella.

Francis wrote that prior to moving into the role, all he could do was “observe from the sidelines” as the debate around comments ranged on.

He wrote: “In my mind, there are solid arguments for both sides. An open channel of communications for the industry, particularly those without a big voice, versus a poisonous well of uneducated opinion and name calling. That’s an overly basic assessment, of course – the arguments on both sides run substantially deeper than that.

“I found that I didn’t side wholly with one party or the other. And I kept out of the debate. I did not participate in the now infamous meeting of the minds called by WPP AUNZ chairman, John Steedman – which followed his open letter to the industry – or join the round table that we ran at one of our industry retreats in Tasmania, despite the fact I was there. As head of event content, it simply wasn’t my race to run.”

In his new role, however, and with a “lull in commentary around comments” on trade press, Francis said it was an “ideal time to reasses the situation”.

Francis added there are many reasons Mumbrella has chosen to turn off its comments, one being that the publishign site wantes to “foster a community”.

“That means opening the communication channels with as much of the industry as possible. That doesn’t gel so well when the history of the comments has been, at times, vicious, rather than supportive. Nor does it gel when there is such significant debate around the value of comments,” wrote Francis.

It’s a huge move for Mumbrella, as the comments section was arguably one of the most popular aspects of the website. However, it was also a place where plenty of hatred and vitriol was served.

There have been plenty of calls over the years for Mumbrella to better moderate or turn off comments all together, including a callout form industry veteran John Steedman in June last year.

In a statement issued to media last year, Steedman called the increasing problem of divisive and anonymous reader comments “the coward punches of public debate” before adding that he had witnessed a “concerning decline in the quality of online comment in our media industry”.

Steedman added: “People are being attacked for their sexuality or appearance, for their perceived ability or public statements.

“Anonymous comments are a cheap laugh for the people behind these posts, and those who trawl through them, but it often causes real and lasting damage to those on the receiving end.

“People who are going about their daily business, striving to deliver results like the rest of us and share honestly held opinions on important topics of discussion.

“This is another grubby example of the lack of respect in public discourse – a cancerous trend that now pervades politics, business, the media and the workplace,” he said.

B&T has long argued against the practice too.

It will prove an interesting move in terms of advertising revenue for the publisher, with time spent on page and site visits potentially decreasing with no comments to trawl through.

B&T reached out to Mumbrella for further comment.

 

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

    Latest comments
  • Glenn Hampson 10 months ago

    Sorry to read this and sorry the decent majority have to pay for the idiot minority

mumbrella

Latest News

Twitter Lifts Revenue 74% On The Back Of Advertising Boom
  • Technology

Twitter Lifts Revenue 74% On The Back Of Advertising Boom

Twitter has just experienced its fastest growth in revenue since 2014, with the social media platform benefiting from increased interest from advertisers. Revenue was up 74 per cent YoY, according to the company’s Q2 results, reaching $US1.19 billion ($1.6 billion) from $US683.4 million ($925 million) 12 months ago. The strong results came in the same […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Wild Turkey Whisky Campaign Stars A Smouldering Matthew McConaughey
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Wild Turkey Whisky Campaign Stars A Smouldering Matthew McConaughey

Wild Turkey has announced the launch of its new global creative campaign and platform, ‘Trust Your Spirit’, featuring the brand’s creative director and spokesperson, Matthew McConaughey. The global campaign and platform ‘Trust Your Spirit’ is to encourage people to be bold, unapologetically themselves, and stay true to who they are. The global tagline and ethos […]

Optus Teams Up With TikTok To Launch Sign-Language Campaign
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Optus Teams Up With TikTok To Launch Sign-Language Campaign

Telecommunications company Optus has announced it will launch the world’s first TikTok sign-language activated filter. Featuring Optus ambassador Ian Thorpe, Optus will unveil a branded effect that shows TikTok users how to say key phrases in Auslan sign language, including ‘How are you?’ and ‘It starts with Yes’, through the hashtag challenge #SignYes. Optus will […]

Bapcor Debuts First Campaign With AJF
  • Campaigns

Bapcor Debuts First Campaign With AJF

Asia Pacific’s leading provider of vehicle parts, accessories, equipment, service and solutions, Bapcor will launch its latest campaign, ‘The unseen parts of every Australian journey’ this weekend.

Professional microphone in radio studio
  • Advertising
  • Media

Podsight’s Benchmark Report Shows Podcast Advertising More Effective Than Other Digital Channels

Podsights has revealed new insights into the effectiveness of advertising in podcasts, tracking global and Australian podcast advertising trends. This is the first Australian report to be published since ARN partnered with Podsights to set the standard for best-in-class podcast advertising measurement. The report includes additional analysis and follows a series of Measurement Masterclasses held for […]

NGEN’s Charity Cup Raises Over 175K For UnLtd Charity Gotcha4Life
  • Campaigns

NGEN’s Charity Cup Raises Over 175K For UnLtd Charity Gotcha4Life

NGEN’s 2021 charity cup has raised over $175,000 for UnLtd charity partner Gotcha4Life. Gotcha4Life is a not-for-profit foundation raising awareness and funding to provide educational workshops and innovative programs that build mental fitness in individuals and communities. While Sydney and Brisbane completed the Charity Cup in June, before Covid restrictions hit, the final leg in […]

Biennale Of Sydney & Cicada Innovations Launch Sustainable Materials Challenge
  • Campaigns

Biennale Of Sydney & Cicada Innovations Launch Sustainable Materials Challenge

Australian tech incubator Cicada Innovations and Biennale of Sydney are launching the ‘New & Sustainable Materials Challenge,’ in an effort to create a more sustainable future. The works of chosen material-makers will be showcased to millions of Biennale audiences, exhibition partners, and exhibition makers globally. The Challenge is open to any Australian and UK startups, […]