The Daily Maverick’s response to trolls

SkinHead by JonasMF, licensed CC BY-ND 2.0

The Daily Maverick informed its readers that it is shutting down comments on its site in response to an unfortunately common phenomenon: trolls. It isn’t the first publication to do it and won’t be the last.

Over the past six years, we have worked painstakingly hard to build a legacy brand of which we could be proud. Unfortunately, our comments section is tarnishing that brand. As of today, we are suspending our comment section until such time as we can either moderate away those who feel entitled to spew hate speech on our property, or come up with some other solution that fosters genuine engagement rather than reductive trolling.

Shutting down comments won’t stop trolls from being trolls but it will force them out into other fora and deprive them of the opportunity to spoil an otherwise valiant enterprise.

As disappointing as it is, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t take better advantage of the comments section in the past to share my non-trollish thoughts about the great stories TDM publishes. That said, there are other ways to share your thoughts with the editorial team and The Daily Maverick’s readers. You just won’t be using the comments section.

Knee-jerk asshole responses online

How often do we see this approach to stuff that comes up in our online streams? Far too often, I think:

The web runs on newness, but the massive quantity and disagreeable structure we place on that newness (cough streams) means it’s very easy to have your stance online become, as my friend Jason likes to say, “Fuck you, impress me.” Your coping mechanism for the glut becomes passing judgment, a weird and public version of sour grapes to deal with missing out, thanks to limited time and attention. You form an opinion about something in five seconds, because maybe if you kick it like a puppy, it’ll go away. We’ve all done this, but good god: asshole move. Good people don’t want to be like that. Especially if that grumpiness and ill-will seeps into the stuff you truly love, because you can’t pull it out from the bullshit.

Source: Frank Chimero writing in his post titled “Homestead 2014