Sunday, September 25th, 2016

Fixing the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s comments section

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If this idea works there, I might try it here. A commenter named Jeff Jordan at the Urban Milwaukee website actually has a worthwhile idea that could clean up the raw sewage in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s comments and raise revenue for the newspaper.

If MJS wanted to increase revenue they should charge people who want to comment on their online articles. The screaming, flaming, Sykes wannabe’s,who pollute the comments sections of their online articles, are obviously angry people who need to bash each other with insults and characterizations. My question is, would they put any of this stuff in the print version of the paper?

Even though they say they have a policy, they don’t appear to care what people put into their comments. The reason they don’t monitor or try to edit any of the garbage that goes into these sections is that for every rude and insulting verbal pillow that’s flung there is that all important “click” that generates traffic and money. If they charged for comments they might find the magic revenue stream that the newspaper industry desperately needs.

I obviously disagree with the “Sykes wannabe’s” remark. The flying monkey poo is in all directions, regardless of the issue. However, maybe pumping the commenters for a few coins might cause some of them to think twice before posting something.

It’s not a completely original idea. Ricochet.com (a conservative website) only allows comments from those who actually subscribe to the website. The financial “skin in the game,” as James Lileks puts it, seems to have a calming effect on the discussion.

What would be really cool is if the newspaper could charge based on the content of the comment. The more vile, the more someone would have to pay.

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