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To Comment or Not to Comment

We dive into the pro's and con's of having comments on news sites

Daniel Hinton's picture
Apr 03, 2019

Here at UCOMM, we take freedom of expression very seriously. We couldn’t have our blog and podcast without it.

It has come to our attention, however, that the lack of a comments section on UCOMMBlog.com is stifling our readers’ Bill of Rights.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states,

“Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech.”

Obviously, UCOMM isn’t Congress, and we’ll take that as a compliment.

But still, nothing is more American than the freedom to say whatever the hell you want. “Live free or die!” as they say up there in New Hampshire.

Then again, have you seen what that’s done to the rest of the Internet? Racism, sexism, and bigotry thrive on niche websites like 4chan and 8chan which have established themselves as deregulated, free speech zones. The big ones — Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit — are not hate-free either. Whether they are bots, trolls or crazy relatives, every commenter sounds like they are losing their damn minds.

Plenty of popular sites have grown up without comment sections: Reuters, Vox, and Mic to name a few. The New York Times, which allows comments under heavy-handed moderation, had to take them off weekend articles due to understaffing. The Washington Post, for their part, side-steps that problem by using artificial intelligence moderators.

Studies show readers can be swayed by negative comments more than the article itself, so you can’t blame web developers for avoiding or abolishing comment sections. We’re all within our rights to do so, as the First Amendment also gives us the freedom of the press.

In the end, what the Constitution says and what other websites do doesn’t matter to us as much as what our readers and listeners think. That’s why we’re asking you if UCOMM should add a comments section.

This is what democracy looks like in 2019!

(Note: You can always comment on UCOMM’s Facebook and Twitter.)

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