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Websites and comments

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A few months ago the website of the <a href="">Leeuwarder Courant</a> (and its sister newspaper) had a complete redesign. For a newspaper that's not terribly exciting, but this one was slightly different. The newspaper started to resemble a blog, by allowing readers to comment to each article (well, registered users only, but readable to all).

At first this seemed to work reasonably well, with comments sometimes giving some more detail when a users was more directly involved. After a couple of months things started to change, at first people started to function as a community, but later a group of people started to dominate the comments.

Where comment threads on <a href="">slashdot</a> tend to gravitate to a distrowar, the comments on the LC website started to be dominated by one single political movement. This political movement used to be fronted by the LPF, but since that political party has made itself irrelevant, the "Leefbaar" partijen have quarreled themselves into oblivion it seems that the VVD party and the "Groep Wilders" may have taken over as figureheads for it. In general this movement can be generalised as:

  • Immigration is evil and if possible it should be banned.</li>

  • All problems in this world are the fault of the left wing parties and the PVDA in particular</li>

Of course, the VVD tries very ahrd to mask that it has been a member of most of the cabinets of the last 25 years. So if there's a political problem in this country the VVD has as much a hand in it than, let's say the CDA party, or, perhaps PVDA. In fact, since around 1980 there's only been two or three cabinets with a left wing party in it. And those were economically the best years ever....

Anyway, where was I.

The comments on the LC site were always tainted with right wing propaganda and off-topic (If one can call it that) chatting. Instead of what old school newspapers tend to do in situations like these, shutting comments down completely, LC has applied a time based moderation, where new comments are added with a 15 minutes delay. This seems to work. No endless diatribes against apparently left wing influenced decisions and less chatting. The newspaper should be congratulated IMHO.