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#DiggDialog - Rising Above the Scum to Make Commenting Worthwhile

fastcompany.com
I have written (or ranted) about the unrelenting horror of 'the comment section' before, and I'm far from alone in my views on it. Once simply an area which gave readers a voice to register their views on a particular post, it has devolved into a pit of abuse, bullying, prejudice and other behaviour so unacceptable it would get you thrown out of even the most depraved dive bar in the darkest reaches of the 6th circle of hell (or even Newport). If you venture onto a comments section hoping to enter into a reasoned, respectful debate, you're doing it wrong.

That might not be the case for much longer, as Digg (yep, still going) have unveiled a whole new kind of comments section that hopes to eschew all the bile in favour of genuine discussion that enhances journalism, rather than detracting from it. Launched last Friday, they work something like Reddit AMAs, in that it opens up communications between a particular writer and the users, enabling them to ask questions. Rather than just seeing the thread as it develops, though, users will be able to cycle between live updates, most popular questions and most popular answers (as determined by upvotes, or 'Diggs').

The writers who take part in this are selected based on which articles curated by the site are judged to be 'exceptional', based on user response and traffic stats. The discussion will be entirely framed around the piece in question, as well, rather than about their general careers or anything they might be promoting. From the user's point of view, it's also hugely beneficial that you can join the conversation through social media rather than only directly through the site. Using either Facebook, Twitter or Google+, anyone can create a username and join the conversation immediately. There's also an iOS app in development.

A lot of journalistic websites have done away with their comments sections, but the bile didn't disappear, it was simply redirected to Twitter and Facebook, places where commented cannot be switched off. There's no way of avoiding it, it's far better to create a space dedicated to the people who want to have a real, measured discussion, rather than instructing each other on exactly how and where they should fornicate themselves with an inanimate object of some sort.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF


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#DiggDialog - Rising Above the Scum to Make Commenting Worthwhile Reviewed by Callum Davies on Sunday, October 18, 2015 Rating: 5

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