In the five or so years KC Confidential’s been around we’ve come full circle with the comments crowd; early on they were celebrated.
“I enjoy the comments more than the articles,” said some.
For some writers – Greg Hall and The Scribe to name two – KCC’s comments section almost seemed to represent the measure of their worth. After all, more comments meant more readers, right?
Sports is a comment magnet just as Craig Glazer is a hater magnet
When Hall struck out on his own two years ago, he challenged readers in his comments section to hasten the process of getting his new site up to 10,000 unique visitors a day (to overtake KCC at the time). Given that two-plus years later the site is more than 2 million places behind KCC that’s unlikely to have gone down.
But hey, Hall’s having fun and still getting 20 or 30 comments per post or greater.
Remember that guy Tony who traffics in cheesecake photos, links to other media’s stories and unconfirmed rumors?
A glimpse at the first 10 items on his site tonight reveals comment counts of 7, 12, 8, 2, 6, 33, 8, 2, 1 and 1. Not exactly a tidal wave but given that the preponderance of his stories belong to other media and the comments are either anonymous, inane or both, it’s not exactly a huge surprise.
One nice thing about KCC commenters is that despite most being anonymous, they’ve carved out their niches by using memorable names and offering up often thoughtful observations. Not always mind you, but often.
When the spirit moves, the Star’s huge readership can deliver comments by the bushel basket. Too many to read or care about, frankly.
Hundreds and hundreds of comments is generally too much of a good thing.
I mean, who among us really wants to know who what ever single person on earth thinks about you-name-it? So the newspaper’s come up with a way to tone things down and that’s Facebook.
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By requiring Facebook, the newspaper forces commenters to use real (or Facebook anyway) identities. And while that’s arguably a plus, not everybody wants to be an Edward Snowden, thus the policy discourages whistleblowers. And that’s a bad thing.
The newspaper further discourages free speech and debate by – not just screening – but turning off its comments on prickly subjects like today’s Lisa Gutierrez story about a transgender high school student becoming homecoming queen.
Knowing full well that the story would be an affront to many midwestern conservatives the Star made a conscious decision to play the story up big on its web site – in yo face, homophobes – while at the same time instituting a gag order.
Then again, why Lisa Gutierrez byline is on a two-day old story about a teen from Huntington Beach, California is a mystery to me. I mean, the Huffington Post, New York Daily News and everybody under the sun had already reported the story nationally.
Gutierrez didn’t even bother to put in a call to the teen, her school or even dig up a local schmokel expert from here to weigh in. Instead, she merely lifted a few quotes from other media’s reporting (without naming or crediting them btw) then slapped it up on the Star’s website today at 4 p.m. as if somehow it was her story.
“No one reads the comments,” he contends. “Not on YouTube, not on the Huffington Post. Comments allow the commenter to feel good about himself, seeing his name on screen, but the end effect is essentially meaningless. As for the quantity of comments…ask yourself, have you ever commented? Only those without power and too much time on their hands comment online.”
Back to you, smartman, uh, smartman?