Dan Gookin posted this interesting article in the Weekend Wild card. Here's an excerpt:
"A couple days ago, Popular Science announced that they are shutting off comments on their online articles. They’re doing it to try to retain the integrity of these pieces, because their studies show that argumentative or negative comments impact the credibility of the original post.
But this points to an underlying factor that’s true for virtually all major news sites: 90% of the comments are negative and/or argumentative. I’ll let Alexandra Petri explain it, as she’s done the best job I’ve seen so far:
“…the less commenters are guaranteed to have in common, the worse the climate tends to be.
The few places where the comments sections are the home of a vibrant, riveting, polite discussion are the ones where the host site has made a vigorous effort to create community." More here.
Keep in mind we're not talking about blogs like HBO, but comments left on articles on news sites like the Spokesman and the CdA Press.
How often do you read comments left on an online article? Do you ever comment yourself?