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Newspaper Community Halted May 20, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.

A flavor of “citizen journalism” takes it on the chin. The Ventura County Star has shut down reader comments on stories because the commentary got vicious, especially along racial lines. But the Star’s explanation reveals a potential solution:

    And it also showed the unfortunate underbelly of the Internet. The anonymity offered by the Internet on comments like this seems to encourage people to say the meanest, ugliest things about other people.

No kidding. (Earlier, the editor blames talk radio.) Sounds to me like the Star has acted too hastily. It should explore requiring registration for comments, and banning problem commentators, or institute some kind of community self-policing a la eBay. The Star shouldn’t give up such a noble experiment so easily.

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