This year, I'm the facilitator for a Scio14 session on comments. The idea was originally Ivan Oransky's, so I asked him what he thought about the session. Based on his feedback and ideas of my own, I came up with the following:
Some might say “Don’t read the comments!” Lack of moderation and free reign of trolls can be enough to make sites like Popsci shut down comments entirely. Scientific articles have shown that negative tone in comments can influence what people think of the science presented. On the other hand, some sites are embracing comments, such as Pubmed. Should you allow the comments? Which should flourish, and which should go to the spam folder? This discussion will talk about legal obligations and different types of comment policy. The goal will be to set up a guide of best practices which bloggers, old and new, might find helpful as they
don’t read the comments.
So. Which is it? Shut down comments entirely? Let them free? Moderate them carefully? I'd like to have a discussion on all three of these options, all of which may be useful in some situations.
I also think it's good when a discussion at Science Online ends productively. So I'd like to facilitate this session with a goal of coming up with "best practices" or "guidelines," for running your own comments show. How to engage and moderate, or not.
What are your thoughts on this? What commenting issues would you like to see discussed?