Are the “Trolls” winning the battle?
Comment forums can make interesting reading and reading other people’s views on a subject can be informative, or infuriating, depending upon your particular point of view. But whether we like it or not, these comment forums have gained a reputation as a haven for internet trolls.
The result of intervention by trolls to comment forums has led a number of prominent websites from removing, or at worst scaling back on comments sections. Influential sites such as Reuters, Popular Science and the Chicago Sun-Times have removed these from their pages. The latest one to shut the comments section down has been Re/Code the influential tech blog and instead of the comments section, readers are being steered toward social media sites.
In a statement their executive editor Kara Swisher is reported to have said; “we have thought long and hard about this, but we have concluded that because, as social media has continued its robust growth, the bulk of discussion of our stories is increasingly taking place there, making onsite comments less and less used and less and less useful.” So in this case the trolls have won! Similarly in the same way as Re/code, Reuters have said that social media has played a substantial part in their decision to close down most of its comments section this month.
Another very popular and influential publication, the 141 year old science and technology magazine have a reputation for fostering lively as well as intellectual debate. However, they have also commented that spambots and troll are stifling intellectual debate. Major news channel CNN has also joined in the rush to close down comment sites, which they disabled in August.
So we have to ask the question, are the trolls winning the battle in comment pages, if we see the trend continue, then we have to conclude that sadly they are, that is not good for healthy debate and it is a pity that more moderation could not be employed, but that of course takes time and inevitably adds cost.