Encouraging intelligent conversation in the comments

A comment about comments, from the Washington Post:

I think the problem with commenters isn’t so much a technology issue as a social one. Somehow we’ve rewarded, or at least learned to tolerate, a world where the drive-by insult is the norm. As we crank up the ease and pace of our “social” interaction while cranking down our standards for what actual discussion should look like, we seem to be increasingly comfortable with people simply behaving badly.

Among TV talking heads yelling over one another, our demand for out-of-context, bite-size pieces of information and pop culture’s terrible Coke or Pepsi mindset that demands we pick one side or the other, bad commenters don’t seem on the fringe. They seem mainstream. And that bad discourse isn’t just an accident; we’re desensitizing ourselves to rotten behavior. We’re letting it slide.

So perhaps the solution isn’t just about making the best, newest tool possible. It’s not about a better algorithm, filter or team of moderators.

Maybe the way to encourage intelligent, engaging and important conversation is as simple as creating a world where we actually value the things that make intelligent, engaging and important conversation. You know, such as education, manners and an appreciation for empathy. Things we used to value that seem to be in increasingly short supply.

Oh, boy, I can’t wait to see the comments on this one.

Me, too.  Read the rest.

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