Civil Beat announced their closing down their comments section. What’s interesting is that they’ve tried different software/methods, but none have really lead to civil place for thoughtful discussion. This jibes with my experience on a variety of different comment sections and discussion boards online over a twenty year period. (The Atlantic also recently shut down their comments section.) To be clear, thoughtful, civil discourse is possible on the internet–I have definitely participated in this–but it is very rare, the exception to the rule. This is really disappointing and sad to me, because I expected that the internet would provide more opportunities for this type of discourse. My sense is that this building a place where this type of discourse is the norm is too costly, and those looking for this type of discourse have to go to places where the majority of conversation turns the site into a cesspool.
(One question. Both Civil Beat and The Atlantic are keeping FB discussions alive. Are discussions more thoughtful and civil there?)