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"Popular Science Shuts Down Web Comments" on NPR


DonRocks
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Makes perfect sense to me.

A Science magazine's job is to present scientific findings.  As the article said, there's some evidence that shadows will be cast on the stated facts based on the intensity of the backlash, and that these shadows then cloud the original message.   I believe the simple root of this is this notion:

- I read an article and I know very little about the subject.  The article was enlightening and I learned a few things.  Along comes a reader who's SCREAMING about the wrongness of the article.  They are clearly passionate about the subject and have spent some time on it....and thus I immediately add some credence to their position, as it has more time invested than my own.   Fill in controversial topics like "evolution", "healthcare" or such into the article topic and you can see the issue.

I think the magazine did the right thing to move comments onto the social media websites - where there's simply people ranting, and where there's some separation from the magazine.  Plus, there's no real expectation of the magazine moderating such posts.

In a way, you do that here and could do more of it.  You have the DC dining platform plus a subcriber database.  My thoughts (worth less than 2 cents, as it isn't my website):

- consider a thursday "this weekend's highlights" summary email / facebook post / front page article.  This could be culled from the best recent posts or your own experience and might highlight a few restaurants (3? 5?) for this weekend.  It would always be a "one way" communication that you'd endorse - where the note would stand alone, and if people wanted to chat about the place, they'd get links to go dig back into the DR website.   There would never be a weekly note, then comments right below it.  There needs to be some distance, even considering this is the best-moderated site I know.

- your purpose is different than the magazine's, but not 100%.  One of your selling points is the excellent posts from very knowledgable people.  Have you ever considered having a "rise to top" system if the software supports it?  Here's what I mean - for each restaurant that has a thread, find a way to flag important posts from that thread and bring them to fore.  Those might be from the owner, from an insider or just from a very good writer.   It might be 5% of posts.  The idea is 'best foot forward'.  (I know this would be difficult.  And I know it creeps into yelpdom.)

-

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Makes perfect sense to me.

A Science magazine's job is to present scientific findings.  As the article said, there's some evidence that shadows will be cast on the stated facts based on the intensity of the backlash, and that these shadows then cloud the original message.   I believe the simple root of this is this notion:

- I read an article and I know very little about the subject.  The article was enlightening and I learned a few things.  Along comes a reader who's SCREAMING about the wrongness of the article.  They are clearly passionate about the subject and have spent some time on it....and thus I immediately add some credence to their position, as it has more time invested than my own.   Fill in controversial topics like "evolution", "healthcare" or such into the article topic and you can see the issue.

I think the magazine did the right thing to move comments onto the social media websites - where there's simply people ranting, and where there's some separation from the magazine.  Plus, there's no real expectation of the magazine moderating such posts.

In a way, you do that here and could do more of it.  You have the DC dining platform plus a subcriber database.  My thoughts (worth less than 2 cents, as it isn't my website):

- consider a thursday "this weekend's highlights" summary email / facebook post / front page article.  This could be culled from the best recent posts or your own experience and might highlight a few restaurants (3? 5?) for this weekend.  It would always be a "one way" communication that you'd endorse - where the note would stand alone, and if people wanted to chat about the place, they'd get links to go dig back into the DR website.   There would never be a weekly note, then comments right below it.  There needs to be some distance, even considering this is the best-moderated site I know.

- your purpose is different than the magazine's, but not 100%.  One of your selling points is the excellent posts from very knowledgable people.  Have you ever considered having a "rise to top" system if the software supports it?  Here's what I mean - for each restaurant that has a thread, find a way to flag important posts from that thread and bring them to fore.  Those might be from the owner, from an insider or just from a very good writer.   It might be 5% of posts.  The idea is 'best foot forward'.  (I know this would be difficult.  And I know it creeps into yelpdom.)

-

Thanks for your thoughts about this. I have no problem with Popular Science's decision; I just thought it was interesting.

We actually *do* have the capability to rate both posts and members; I've chosen only to implement the "Like" function for posts (as a quick way of saying "thank you") rather than rating members because I'm naive enough to think that (just about) everyone can be nurtured and guided into becoming an expert. While that may not be true, it's still the fuel that runs my mental engine, and it avoids the cliquishness that could so easily hurt the feelings of a "one-star" member.

Nearly everyone sleeps on a mattress every night, but almost no one knows anything about mattresses. It's the same way with restaurants, except that members here have, almost by definition, expressed an interest in acquiring knowledge. And I want to help every single person here who wants to either work to expand their horizons, or simply relax and have a good time - both are equally valid goals, and not mutually exclusive.

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Thanks for your thoughts about this. I have no problem with Popular Science's decision; I just thought it was interesting.

We actually *do* have the capability to rate both posts and members; I've chosen only to implement the "Like" function for posts (as a quick way of saying "thank you") rather than rating members because I'm naive enough to think that (just about) everyone can be nurtured and guided into becoming an expert. While that may not be true, it's still the fuel that runs my mental engine, and it avoids the cliquishness that could so easily hurt the feelings of a "one-star" member.

Nearly everyone sleeps on a mattress every night, but almost no one knows anything about mattresses. It's the same way with restaurants, except that members here have, almost by definition, expressed an interest in acquiring knowledge. And I want to help every single person here who wants to either work to expand their horizons, or simply relax and have a good time - both are equally valid goals, and not mutually exclusive.

Agreed.  I'd expect to be in the zero star camp and could probably name your 5 star folks.  It wouldn't make me feel warm and fuzzy but I'd understand the business aspect. 

Though I think the bigger risk vs. insulting me is making folks like Dean seem like they are endorsing a corporate engine of some kind.  An un-enviable position yours - wanting and deserving of expansion while having to stay personal.

You're doing well.  Please don't take my suggestions as anything but a want to support what looks to be a successful venture.

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