Most comments on news websites suck, that’s a given. But will switching to Facebook commenting help? Gannett is hoping that’s the case.
Facebook commenting will cut down on the worst of the vitriol and trolling, but it won’t eliminate it. The real issue isn’t vitriol or trolls, it’s about building a real vibrant community. That has nothing to do with technology.
To build a vibrant community on a news site or any website requires people who want to build a strong community. This means actively engaging users in the comments and promoting good comments. I’ve written before about how active community management can lead to high quality comments and help make comments a reason to come to your site, and that’s what Gannett really should focus on.
Comments are down on the Gannett sites that have piloted Facebook commenting. This isn’t surprising, given that anonymous commenting is no longer allowed. But is the quality of the remaining comments up? That should be the real goal.