A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE END OF COMMENTS
Plenty of major sites still have comments, including WIRED, but it’s safe to say there’s a trend towards replacing them with something else. As online audiences have grown, the pain of moderating conversations has grown, too. And in many cases, the most vibrant conversations about a particular article or topic are happening on social networks.
- •9/24/12: QuartzThe Atlantic launches the business news site Quartz without a comments section, but adds comments in the form of “annotations” nearly a year later.
- •9/24/13: Popular SciencePopular Science becomes one of the first major publications to ditch its comments feature, citing studies that found that blog comments can have a profound effect on readers’ perceptions of science. “If you carry out those results to their logical end—commenters shape public opinion; public opinion shapes public policy; public policy shapes how and whether and what research gets funded—you start to see why we feel compelled to hit the “off” switch,” former digital editor Suzanne LaBarre wrote.
- •4/12/14: The Chicago Sun-TimesThe Chicago Sun-Times suspends its comment feature, citing concerns over the “tone and quality” of the comments while its team developed a new discussion system. Most articles on the site still don’t allow comments.
- •8/14: CNNCNN quietly disables comments on most stories sometime during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
- •11/7/14: ReutersReuters drops comments for all of its stories except its opinion pieces, saying that social media is a better place for discussion. “Those communities offer vibrant conversation and, importantly, are self-policed by participants to keep on the fringes those who would abuse the privilege of commenting,” executive editor Dan Colarusso wrote in the company’s announcement.
- •11/20/14: Re/codePopular tech news site Re/code follows suit, also citing social media as the best way for readers to provide feedback.
- •12/15/14: The WeekThe winter of comment discontent kicks into high gear as The Week pulls the plug on comments.
- •12/16/14: Mic.comThe very next day, so does the millennial-focused Mic.com, proving that comment-phobia isn’t just for old media.
- •1/27/15: BloombergBloomberg’s website relaunches with no comments.
- •7/6/15: The VergeTech news site The Verge announces that it’s shutting off comments for most articles for the duration fo the summer. Most articles still don’t have comments enabled today.
- •7/7/15: WIRED short postsWIRED launches our new “short post” format, which doesn’t include a comments section.
- •7/27/15: The Daily DotInternet community news site The Daily Dot switches off comments.
- •8/19/15: The Daily BeastSo does The Daily Beast, but the site claims that it’s working on “multiple ways to bring you an upgraded commenting experience.”
- •10/5/15: Vice MotherboardVice Motherboard announces that it’s replacing its comments feature with a weekly “letters to the editor” feature.
- •10/6/15: Reddit UpvotedReddit launches its news site Upvoted, which has no way to comment on or “upvote” things directly on the site. You can guess where the site’s owners hope discussions will take place.