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Internet reader comments: on conversation and moderation

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The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates recently spoke with On the Media about his moderation-heavy approach to reader comments.

Hands Typing
Hands Typing

We consider reader participation an essential element of The Verge, but the Internet is filled with diverse viewpoints and what works for any given site may not work for another. Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor and writer for The Atlantic, recently spoke with On The Media's Bob Garfield about his strict approach when dealing with online comments, and the tradeoffs between completely open and moderated conversations. Coates writes primarily on social and political issues, and utilizes a heavily-curated comment section: he sees his corner of the web as a dinner party, and if commenters aren't on-topic or polite by his standards, they are asked to leave. While he does call the policy "totalitarian," he also says it helps focus the discussion towards his specific readership — even if it limits the diversity of participating voices. Please check out the source to hear the entire conversation — and by all means, let us know your thoughts below!