Here’s a follow-up to my Thursday post, Comment Quality?:
Lately I’ve noticed that my blog posts, which get posted to my Facebook account as Notes, are more likely to garner comments (or “likes”) over there (on Facebook) than here (on my blog’s comments board), and that it’s my local friends who are doing the Facebook commenting and “liking.” This got me thinking.
I love getting comments, so it doesn’t really matter whether they appear here or on Facebook. But whatever comments appear on Facebook are only visible to my Facebook friends, and no one else. I have some pretty draconian privacy settings on Facebook, while my blog is completely public and visible to anyone.
If there’s a particularly good comment on Facebook, should I port it over to my blog’s comments board, or leave it to its obscurity on Facebook?
For example, on the Comment quality? post, Rob Randall – who has commented here frequently – wrote a Facebook comment that I felt should go on the blog instead of remaining stuck behind Facebook’s garden wall.
Good point. Newspapers lost classified advertising to other entities that could do it better. They will lose commenting (and possibly the hallowed letter to the editor) if they don’t clean up the wild west aspect to their online presence.
Here’s relevant comment that I’m sure you’ll find agreeable from this week’s WaPo humour chat:
Santa Clara, Calif.: Since you have a poll regarding the comments following news stories, I feel obligated to share my beliefs about what works and what doesn’t. First and foremost, if you want good dialogue between people with differing opinions, unregulated and unmoderated commenting simply won’t work. As an online forum browser, participant, and moderator, I’ve learned a good commenting system takes a lot of effort from both the forum host and the participants, and has to have solid foundation of policies and standards.
I love WaPo and I’d really like to see good dialogue, but I’m almost always disappointed when I see most of the comments are crap. If you want to do this right, you need three essential elements:
- Active moderation. The best systems rely not only on the forum hosts, but on the participants themselves to filter or ban users when needed (qualified participants, see below).
- Qualification. New users should be identified as such, and they should not be allowed to freely comment without qualifying themselves first. Moderators and other “starred” participants can judge.
- Recognition. Use well qualified commenters as an extra resource. Identify and recognize them, and that will motivate participants to be that much more responsible.
The A-Q-R elements list really nails it. Q and R especially require a lot of human curation: someone from the organization (the newspaper, in this case) would have to be there to monitor the community, but it’s not impossible to do. It’s a comment that should be accessible.
Other recent blog posts that have generated comments (or “likes”) on Facebook (but not here) were Getting it up with coffee; City Hall sure likes to feather its staffing bed; Trust Agents, one; The future of publishing video; 28 seconds of reasons why I live here; and Theater of the absurd for 2010.
Most of those posts were about something local, and all of them were “liked” or commented on by local people near me, people I know. None were commented on or liked by far-flung friends. I guess that says something about the strength of Facebook in the local community – that people find it easy to use, easy to slip into, and that they’re comfortable with the level of privacy they feel it affords. I’m still trying to figure out how to transpose this into what I think should be a more truly public space.
For me, Facebook is not public – not like my blog is public, not like Twitter is public. Whenever I “like” or comment on anything on Facebook, I feel like I’m in a room (or walled garden). And there are several different rooms – I’m aware of the different levels of privacy / visibility I’m engaging in, and I’ve got some sense (right or wrong) of control – my networks or my friends-of-friends have some rights, whereas people completely unconnected to me have none. (I think.)
Whenever I comment on anything on a blog (my own or that of someone else), I know it’s public. No “rooms,” just an open platform. (The same holds true for Twitter, of course: completely public.)
As I said, I love the comments – whether they’re here, in public, or in that Facebook room.
But when push comes to shove, I’ll go for the open, public comments – breadcrumb trails that others can track.