25 March 2008

Comments Not A “Default Position”

Editors need to think about why they enable comments on their online news stories, says a digital content director.

The Guardian’s Emily Bell has spoken out against the practice of applying comment sections to all web articles, reports Journalism.co.uk.

Speaking at a recent media summit, Bell stated that user-generated comments have enhanced news coverage, but warned that they should not be a “default position” on all stories.

“You should make editors think about why they’re opening comments,” said Bell.

“If the answer is, just to get a lot of comments, then don’t do it.

“If the answer is, because you think people have got a lot to add or you want engagement from them, then open comments.”

During her talk, Bell also revealed that the Guardian plans to open a new community zone on its website for the most engaged users.

Working with social media group Pluck [Guardian Thanks Pluck For UGC], the Guardian is looking to develop ways of gathering the opinions of its most active members.

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