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The comments are dead, your content additions will live long!

Dear readers,

After almost 250,000 comments and numerous unsuccessful attempts to change the comment culture here on netzpolitik.org, we will open a new chapter from today. From today there is no more comments at netzpolitik.org, but only the possibilityComments, questions, corrections and additions to the content of the articles bring in. The new rules can be viewed here.

We last started a debate almost two years ago about how we would imagine comments on netzpolitik.org. It has not been fruitful and the self-regulating forces in the comment area are unfortunately no longer strong enough to compensate for the growing deficits. Only under a small number of articles and only on some topics did fruitful, considerate and valuable discussions emerge in the end. Certain topics and articles, on the other hand, regularly lead to attacks and insults against our authors, almost always to irrelevance and more or less open right-wing radical propaganda.

No more dumping ground

At netzpolitik.org, the authors read all the comments under their articles themselves. Other people in the editorial team also moderate on weekends and at night using their free time. This distinguishes us from many other media outlets that outsource these tasks to social media editorial offices. However, as the editorial team, we feel less and less inclined to use our comment area to be a dump for bad moods, conspiracy theories, flat generalizations, stupid chatter and Nazi slogans.

Overall, the culture of comments in blogs and newspapers has turned negative due to changes in media use, the relocation of exchange to social networks and the brutalisation of the debate culture while at the same time large sections of the readers have fallen silent. We have the feeling that the comment area on netzpolitik.org no longer represents our readers to a large extent. It has become more and more a place where a few users, who understand netzpolitik.org as their private forum, argue with commentators who have been brought in from somewhere and who just want to dump their bad mood.

The mood in the comment area was recently so negative that many of the actual readers neither actively nor passively used the function. In recent years, a loud minority has ousted many from the comment area with their content, who wanted to lead an open, content-related and critical discourse. We would like to thank the readers who have held up the flag of a democratic and fair culture of debate for years. Without you we would have been at the end of our Latin much sooner. Now we want to give you more space again.

A return channel is important to us

We consider an open feedback channel in online media to be extremely important! With the announced change, we want to create a place again in which interesting, insightful comments are mixed with humorous or witty additions or technical information. We would like additions to articles and references to aspects that we have overlooked or might consider in the future. And we look forward to content corrections, references to spelling errors and additional links. We are also always happy to answer serious questions about our texts.

But that also means: We will from now on Simply delete opinions that do not add to the content without any further explanation.

This is a clear change from previous practice, but of the possible measures that we have discussed together, it is still one of the less drastic steps. We call on all readers to write comments, questions, corrections and content additions to the articles on netzpolitik.org and we look forward to perhaps a new era.

About the author

network policy

Several editors from netzpolitik.org contributed significantly to this article. You can reach us at kontakt (a) netzpolitik.org.
Published 01/14/2019 at 2:56 PM