Trolls, in general do not provoke positive emotion – unless you are perhaps an ogre. Or a dragon.
Please note that in this post we are not referring to trolls in the ugly, malicious, cave dwelling bearded monster sense (well, maybe in some cases), but to trolls of the internet kind.
By Wikipedia definition, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. You know the sort.
TechCrunch recently rolled out a new commenting system in an effort to reduce ‘trolling’ and the anonymous comments they receive on their blog.
The popular tech blog is trialling Facebook comments as an alternative to its usual comment system – Disqus. A recent post by TC shared some points as to why Facebook was the comment system of choice;
Of course, there are also cons;
So how’s it working out?
A blog posted by TC yesterday suggested so, “is the system actually working? Well, yes — the real question is: is it working too well?”
Previously, the blog received hundreds of comments on every post, but generally more than half of these were useless.
With the new Facebook system, as you would expect, the overall number of comments has fallen dramatically. However, the quality has generally improved.
In fact, TC claim that the once trollish garbage that used to infest the comment section has been replaced with quite the opposite. Many people are now leaving comments that “gush about the subject of the article in an overly sycophantic way”.
Evidently the TC community has some mixed opinions about Facebook comments;
One reader expressed; “I like it. There’s no good reason to want to be anonymous when expressing an opinion – which in itself is only really valid in the context of the person making it.”
Another said, “I surely like removing the trolls, but I’ll be leaving much fewer comments now, since I don’t want people investigating my personal life because of a controversial comment I left on TechCrunch.”
There lies both the problem and the solution.
By essentially banning all anonymous comments, you are segregating a huge amount of readers and potential ‘commenters’. After all, not all anonymous posters are trolls and let’s not forget that not everyone has a Facebook account.
Yes, being required to post with Facebook reduces trolling but it also excludes anyone who has the slightest sense of privacy.
It’ll be interesting to see how long TC stick with the Facebook commenting system.
What do you think? Are you a TechCrunch reader? Good move or bad move?
Please leave your comments below. We promise not to stalk you on Facebook.