I came to this realization today. Sort of an epiphany. It happened when I was reading an article about a football player on my favorite team, but was something that had been growing in the back of my mind for a while now.
Web sites that post news: get rid of comments.
Truly comments are useful on some sites. Blogs for instance, like this one. I'm posting personal opinions and thoughts, sometimes reposting articles from elsewhere, but this is a personal reflection of myself and my beliefs. There will always be those who agree or disagree with me, and a dialogue in the form of comments is a great way to reach understanding between many different people.
Of course, too often those comments are in the form of personal attacks, jokes that have no useful content, or other meaningless drivel. I can dig that, everyone wants their moment in the sun, their words to be laughed at and raised up in the eyes of other. Their karma increased.
Doesn't work for the news.
The news is not about karma or self inflation. The news is supposed to be about information and facts, not about personal opinions and flame wars. Too often the comment section of a news site becomes a means to an end for one group to dominate the "reaction" to a story. The truth is, many bloggers and pundits on both sides of the news pay good money for people to post comments on news stories so it seems as though the public has come down squarely on one side or the other of an issue. Whether or not this has any influence on law makers, it might certainly have an influence on the remaining members of the public at large, who tend to follow a trend rather then going against the grain (something all human beings are good at).
We used to have news that was news. It was delivered to us without gratuitous punditry and dissection from every opinion. Now news is sensationalized before its even published, and then we must have a million and one opinions posted about that news. I think its high time we let the news be what it should be: just the facts, only the facts, all the facts.
After all, we all have one. We don't need to be using it 24/7, do we?