The ‘tragedy of comments’

Gawker Media mastermind Nick Denton said Sunday at South by Southwest Interactive that he plans to institute a new commenting system on his family of sites within the next six weeks; one that still allows anonymous comments, but which makes commenters into moderators. On certain stories, the new system will only allow certain users to comment at all.

While he didn’t delve too deeply into the details, Denton did say the first commenter will have responsibility for maintaining the quality of the conversation.

He rejected editors and writers engaging in comment conversations and moderating as requiring too much time. He rejected real names saying anonymity is “heart of the Internet.” He rejected gamification like up-voting and down-voting, saying the decisions were not meant to be democratic.And, he said, third-party management, such as using Facebook, is inadequate.

That leaves coming up with something else. It’s not like news organizations and others aren’t trying. Here’s the most recent of my comment links:

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