Comments of the moment: use the carrot to encourage good comments

by Jason Preston on July 29, 2008

Given how much discussion there is in the blogosphere right now about comments in newspapers, I think I’m noticing them more than I usually do.

I really like the way that the New York Times has a “comments of the moment” section high up in the sidebar on their blogs. It looks like this:

Lending high-profile exposure to good comments is one great “carrot” method of hosting a good comment section. Leading by example and rewarding good behavior are powerful, Pavlovian methods, and it proves that you’re taking community input seriously.

I know, I know, you “don’t have the resources.” Remember, you’re in startup mode. Time to invest.

{ 1 trackback }

The ultimate guide to newspaper curmudgeon talking points — Eat Sleep Publish
07.31.08 at 8:57 am

{ 4 comments }

1 Ryan 07.29.08 at 8:49 pm

This is a great idea and an incredible way to encourage people to think about what they are writing. Most individuals would be jazzed to see their comment highlighted on the site.

2 Jason Preston 07.30.08 at 8:20 am

@Ryan I think so, too. I know I would – I write my NYT comments carefully (OK, so I write my comments everywhere carefully) just in case they decide to highlight them.

Another thing that a newspaper might do is make sure that those names are links to the commenter’s web site, and remove the “nofollow” that is traditionally attached to comments.

Links from high page-rank sites are worth hundreds of dollars, so it’s like holding a raffle for best comment with a really good prize.

I think it’d be good to let reporters pick the best two comments on each article and post them in the sidebar like that. No extra staff needed, just a little programming time to build the system.

3 Inchirieri masini 02.09.09 at 11:45 am

This is a great idea and an incredible way to encourage people to think about what they are writing.

4 Inchirieri masini 03.18.09 at 6:21 am

ROFL – “carrot” method is great !!!

Comments on this entry are closed.