The Case for Banning Internet Commenters
I’ve heard comment sections compared to “sewers”, and that sounds rather literally correct. Most of them are logistically required, but consistently disgusting, subterranean conduits for what is, technically speaking, waste. Not The Atlantic, of course. We have the Internet’s best commenters. But, you know, other people’s websites.
If you have ever visited YouTube, you cannot pretend to not know what I’m talking about.
So this got me thinking: Popular Science has officially shut off its comment section, pointing to research showing that disagreeable comments hurt the reading experience. Or, at least, the reading comprehension. One study out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that mean comments under an article about nanotechnology “polarized readers,” taking attention away from the story and warping the audience’s grasp of the article. Another study found that even simple disagreements between commenters “impacted readers’ perception of science,” wrote Suzanne LaBarre, PopSci's online content director.