If you build it, but don’t participate, you get what you deserve

The Nieman Journalism Lab: Mathew Ingram: Newspapers get the kind of communities they deserve:

many newspapers still see comments as some kind of necessary evil: a bone tossed to readers to help drive traffic, but something that produces little else of value

That attitude is behind what renders the commenting at most newspaper websites so defective.

Surfacing the community around your news has way more to do with participating with it online than just enabling comments and walking away. In fact, doing the later by itself never works.

The web is littered with sites where commenting is enabled, and the hosts do not participate, do not curate, do not even moderate in a transparent fashion. The results of which are never good – thread after thread of trolling, personal invective, and lack of communication. This leads to far too many finding commenting as worthless add-on that you must have for a website, but for no other reason.

It’s a missed opportunity and for many of these sites, part of their failed web strategies.

If you have 10 million visitors a month and only 1 person focused on ‘community’ or ‘commenting’ – you have already failed.