International news organisation Aljazeera has decided to disable the ability to comment on any of their online stories. This comes after the network found that too many people were using the comments section to “Hide behind pseudonyms spewing vitriol, bigotry, racism and sectarianism.”
Play nice or don’t play at all
Unfortunately with today’s social media driven news, online debate is often reduced to individuals verbally attacking each other or leaving inappropriate and often hateful comments. While Aljazeera will still allow comments through its social media channnel’s such as Facebook and Twitter, it’s sad when a global broadcaster has to disable comments on their online stories.
Below you can read the full statement from Aljazeera that was published on MEDIUM/ Aljazeera English
Today, we disabled the ability to comment on stories on aljazeera.com. It’s a decision that we’ve given much thought to, and one that we feel ultimately best serves our audience.
The mission of Al Jazeera is to give a voice to the voiceless, and healthy discussion is an active part of this. When we first opened up comments on our website, we hoped that it would serve as a forum for thoughtful and intelligent debate that would allow our global audience to engage with each other.
However, the comments section was hijacked by users hiding behind pseudonyms spewing vitriol, bigotry, racism and sectarianism. The possibility of having any form of debate was virtually non-existent.
Also, over time, we found social media to be the preferred platform for our audience to debate the issues that matter the most to them. We encourage our audience to continue to interact with us this way.
This decision also comes at a time when we as a publisher need to evaluate what our priorities are. We feel that rather than approaching the problem with a collection of algorithms and an army of moderators, our engineering and editorial resources are better utilised building new storytelling formats that resonate with our audience.
We realise that this move will come as a disappointment to the members of our audience who did try and engage in thoughtful debate on our site. However, we will be working hard over the coming months to figure out how best to bring back debate to aljazeera.com
To continue the debate on social media, please share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page and get in touch via Twitter.
Help us to shape the future of debate on aljazeera.com by leaving your suggestions below.
Back in 2011 Aljazeera published their Community Rules & Guidelines
We value thoughtful, constructive discussion, but comments that attack an author or smear an organisation are not acceptable.
Contributions that offer information or clarifications on breaking news stories are also valued.
Complaints about our content or coverage should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following are general guidelines that influence whether or not a comment will be accepted:
1. Personal attacks on authors, other users or any individual are not tolerated, and users who repeatedly post such comments may be banned.
2. Comments featuring swearing, name-calling or otherwise abusive language are unacceptable.
3. We value robust debate and understand that people often feel strongly about the topics debated on the site, but please show respect for the views and beliefs of other users. By being polite and civil, you ensure that the topic remains the focus of the debate and that our pages remain conducive to intelligent discussion.
4. Keep your posts relevant. If you post a comment that is not related to the topic being discussed, it may be deleted. Comments about moderation decisions or general comments about Al Jazeera will likely also be deleted.
5. Comments that are racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise offensive will not be tolerated. There is a difference between criticizing a government, organisation or belief and attacking people because of their race, gender, sexual orientation or religion.
6. Comments that incite people to commit a crime will not be tolerated.
7. Comments must be in English. No other languages are accepted on the site.
8. Keep your comments coherent. If the moderator cannot understand your comment because of poor spelling, grammar or logic, it will be deleted.
9. Do not post content which you have copied from someone else and for which you do not have the copyright.
10. DO NOT SHOUT. Writing in caps is considered shouting in web etiquette.
11. No spamming or flooding. Do not repost the same message, or very similar messages, more than once.
12. No advertising, promotion of products or services, or posting of web links (URLs).
13. No impersonating. Impersonating anyone (including other members) is unacceptable.
14. No inappropriate usernames.
15. No personal information. It is not acceptable to publicise yours or anyone else’s contact details, including address, place of employment, telephone number, email address, etc.
16. We will not accept defamatory comments capable of damaging the reputation of an organisation or individual in the eyes of right thinking members of the public.
17. We will not tolerate comments that are in contempt of court. This means anything that could prejudice on-going or forthcoming court proceedings.
18. We will delete comments that break a court injunction. This is when court orders prohibit the release of specific information, such as the names or whereabouts of people involved in a court case.
19. Spelling and grammar will not be corrected when comments are posted on blogs. However, we reserve the right to correct spelling and grammar when publishing comments elsewhere on our site.
20. Because of the volume of comments received, we cannot review individual moderation decisions or alter comments once they have been published.
Content on this website is for general information purposes only. Your comments are provided by your own free will and you take sole responsibility for any direct or indirect liability. You assign us with a license to use, reuse, delete or publish any comments without notice.
Comment on the lack of comments
What do you think of this step to disable comments on Aljazeera stories? Do you think comments sections on news sites are getting overrun by people who aren’t interested in healthy debate? Let us know in the comments section below.