It seems that in the absence of moderation the more public, mainstream and open, the more varied & distasteful the comments can be. Many sources & examples are given in the article but for me YouTube seems to be a prime example. The reaction generally seems to be accept trolling, moderate it or just don't allow comments.
I've seen it on gaming platforms as well as online articles where apparent behaviour & interaction is not what you expect of most strangers should you come across them in person. There's something about a sense of place, visibility and responsibility that is missing from parts of the online world. I don't think we recognise this enough...
I've never been trolled but on my other blog People Performance Potential I've noticed that over time the comments have dwindled and the spam (despite Akismet) has increased massively. The posts often seem to resonate with the readership but the comments have moved into both comments & discussion over on Twitter or when I talk to people on the phone or in person. In truth, these are the most important interactions that I experience from my blogging efforts. It's never been about the number of views!
Recognising this and the dynamics with comments/spam I've pondered for some time whether to close the comment facility. This article has now helped me make that decision.
I'll still be interested to hear your comments/thoughts here on Passle as well as elsewhere!
The National Journal changed its comments policy, opting to eliminate comments on most stories as a way to stem the flood of abuse that appeared on the site. For all the boycott threats and comparisons to Hitler, though … the site seems to be doing better now. If anything, user engagement has increased since the comment policy changed. Page views per visit increased by more than 10%. Page views per unique visitor increased 14%. Return visits climbed by more than 20%. Visits of only a single page decreased, while visits of two pages or more increased by almost 20%.