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Editorial: Why some people hate comments (and why we don't)

By dpreview staff on Aug 26, 2013 at 09:04 GMT

Barnaby Britton - Editor: dpreview.com

Mat Honan of Wired.com thinks the time has come to banish comments sections from web pages. Writing for Wired.com's Gadget Lab blog, Honan describes the 'collective delusion' among online publishers that comments are a necessary component of web content. Honan characterizes active comments moderation as 'a messy, frustrating and typically thankless affair that involves more time than most people have'.

I sympathize with this point of view. We've only allowed commenting on our content relatively recently, and in the case of full reviews, only in the past few weeks. And at first we had a tough time keeping up with the unwelcome comments - mostly spam - that appeared at the bottom of our articles. I don't know exactly where they come from, but there do seem to be armies of people in the world who are employed to sign up to sites like ours and post commercial spam in the comments until they either get bored or get banned. Nice work if you can get it, I imagine. 

DPReview admins can still see the spam, but you can't. How do we do it? Well that would be telling, but if you think that story is neat, check out this amazing deal two weeks ago my husband won $1 million...

And then of course there are the trolls. Anyone who comes to dpreview.com regularly and looks at the comments or reads our forums knows what I mean. The users that occasionally derail conversations with raving accusations of brand bias, attack other people for not knowing as much as they do, or criticize our content for not being good enough, fast enough (or long enough or strong enough, or the wrong color, etc.). 

Honan calls this 'digital graffiti on online real estate', and certainly, cleaning it up takes a degree of effort. I certainly don't agree with Digg CEO Andrew McLaughlin though, when he says that 'everyone who runs a commenting system ends up killing themselves or shooting up a post office', although I do have a few more gray hairs these days than I used to. 

All of us on the editorial team at DPReview have to reply to comments that most people would consider overly critical, offensive and sometimes very personal, but I wouldn't describe their authors universally as 'parasitic trolls'. Why not? Because pretty often, if a comment from one of our users gets me riled and I reply, more often than not they'll respond, apologizing for being hot-headed and thanking me for engaging with them. It doesn't happen every time, but surprisingly often, nonetheless. It's easy to cross the line when you're not sitting across a table from someone, and we've all done it. 

What I've learned about commenting, either by email, private message, public comments or forum posts, is that most people are pretty reasonable most of the time. And of the comments on dpreview articles, I'd characterize the majority of the discussions as pertinent and on the whole, constructive. There's always some mud-slinging of course, but that's where active moderation comes in.

Of course it's very hard not to take some of it personally. At the end of a long day, towards the end of a long week, I for one don't aways respond as well as I should to the more personal attacks that are directed towards us. But in general, if I take a deep breath and respond politely, offer explanations and ask for constructive suggestions, the fire goes out pretty quickly. Even if not, I'll certainly feel (and sleep) better. And although it's not always easy to follow, that's the advice I give to everyone that writes for the site.

So I don't think that comments sections should be banished - partly because I know there are ways of dealing with the truly suffocating stuff like commercial spam (without giving too much away, we've managed to pretty well hide it on dpreview.com) and I've been in this business long enough to know that a lot of conversations that start badly can still end well.

But I do agree with Mat Honan's final point: 

'If we want actual conversations, we have to acknowledge that those conversations are as important as anything else we publish.'

This is precisely why we continue to add new features to our forums, and if you read our weekly newsletter you'll have heard me banging on week after week about our system for creating your own articles. When we created the articles section of the site a couple of years ago, it was intended to do two things - mainly to allow us to post a more diverse range of content, spanning short reviews, technique articles, photography-related features and so on - but also, and no less importantly, to allow you to do it too. If you're a logged-in user and you've got something to say that's too long for a comments box or a forums post, why not write an article?

One of our priorities for the rest of this year and beyond is to get more comment on dpreview, to make the most of our readers' vast reserve of knowledge and experience and make our site a better resource for people who want to learn about photography. I want you to talk to one another, and continue to talk to us. Because the more you do, the less noise there will be. 

What do you think? Let us know in the... well, you get the idea. 

Source: Wired

Comments

Total comments: 288
123
Laurence Svirchev
By Laurence Svirchev (8 months ago)

Basically, I stopped using and even reading the the comments section on DPREVIEW. Most of my experience was that in asking simple questions or stating opinions were treated as insults or worse, 'foolish' in the eyes of some people. The ensuing discussions took on more the form of ideological debates rather than about the art and science of photography.

So now I just read the news and reviews and go about my own merry way rather than engaging in ultimately pointless discussions with people with agendas who hide behind the anonymity of the web.

0 upvotes
Xbrc
By Xbrc (8 months ago)

The reason you don't want comment (or have them hidden by default, needing a specific action - click - to activate them) is to make clear the difference between the information, coming supposedly from someone who knows what he is talking about, and the opinion, comments, from users who may be knowledgable but may not.
Now the reason why you chose to allow comment is because many people like to comment and you would lose reader if you turned them off.
Things the way they are, as the commercial says.

0 upvotes
spbStan
By spbStan (8 months ago)

Comments are a welcome addition to most sites provided the signal to noise ration is strongly biased tours signal. Other forums can create a useful, friendly, helpful community but DPR keeps getting worse in SNR while the articles and content are getting better. Taking a survey of other popular sites might reveal some clues as to how to slow the degradation of the forums. The better, more thoughtful and knowledgeable posters are becoming frustrated and are not posting when their contributions would be most needed.
I am a moderator for a large single brand forum and community and we make a determined effort to keep it civil, useful, helpful and on subject and it works very well. It takes some effort and a lot of volunteers but it can be done.
The difference between that one and DPR have between them is dramatic in mood, lack of hostility and nonsense claims or attacks.
DPR would be much more valuable of a resource if a plan was developed to clean up the garbage in the forums.

2 upvotes
Shashikant
By Shashikant (8 months ago)

I have learnt a lot and acquired great knowledge from comments. If comments are banned then I will not visit those sites.

0 upvotes
JohnMP
By JohnMP (8 months ago)

I agree totally about the screen colours. After a few moments of this awful white on black all I can see for ages afterwards is a horrible ripply afterimage that makes looking at anything else, never mind a photograph, a thoroughly unpleasant experience. Whoever thought this was suitable for a site that is ALL about seeing made a big error. I visit here reluctantly.

3 upvotes
pfzt
By pfzt (8 months ago)

i agree too!

There is a Greasemonkey script out there which allows you to change the colors but in return it destroys some of the page content, but at least you can read the site without having hallucinations afterwards.

And honestly, white font on black is a crystal clear webdesign no-go, i do not understand why they keep this here.

0 upvotes
peterblaise
By peterblaise (8 months ago)

White on black is unreadable and heavy, and I'd like one-page, reformattable, reflowable options so I can read later, especially on my hand-held tiny screen - but most importantly, everything on one page, article and all comments.

3 upvotes
rjx
By rjx (6 months ago)

To me white text on black is so 90's, or early 2000's. It reminds me of the people that had free webpages and decorated it with the most visually unfriendly colors simply because they could.

I've complained about this before here and I was basically made to feel like I'm in the minority. But it is a PITA reading stuff here due to the white text on a black background.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
JimBob0
By JimBob0 (8 months ago)

The question of comments on the site comes down to whether you feel it adds something to the website, or takes away.

With the quality of the comments made on DPR - it takes away from the value of the website. There are too many people who comment on things they know nothing about (which puts off the real contributors), there are too many people who are plain wrong when they comment, and there are too many posts which are just plain rubbish and totally off topic.

Frankly, the noise ratio on DPR is now far too high to be worthwhile reading.

But then - this isn't about comment - this is about ads.

3 upvotes
TxRetire
By TxRetire (8 months ago)

Newspaper survey after survey said Letters to the Editor were a high-readership page. Difference was that writers had to be verified to be published. Certainly didn't inhibit controversial comments, but did hold down nonsense, spam and did help cull letters of little or no reader value.

Today, we just have to skim comments sections across the web for items of value. There likely will be more value in a category-specific site, such as dpReview, so I'm glad the editors have chosen this path.

0 upvotes
Wild Tiger
By Wild Tiger (8 months ago)

I am posting here less and less because of the abusive comments from people who try to pose themselves to be knowing everything. People hide behind the veil of anonymity and attack each other.

2 upvotes
huyzer
By huyzer (8 months ago)

It's rather interesting for me to see sites from BBC news, where they don't have the commenting system available. I actually rather like it, compared to other places like Yahoo news, or any U.S. news sites.

Maybe it's just me, but hearing ridiculous opinions gets on my nerves. Hopefully mine wasn't too ridiculous. :P

1 upvote
faterikcartman
By faterikcartman (8 months ago)

The greater the likelihood a comment will make you look stupid or foolish, the more you're going to dislike comments.

1 upvote
peeder
By peeder (8 months ago)

If you can't take the heat stay out of the kitchen.

1 upvote
Mister J
By Mister J (8 months ago)

Good post, Mr B.

Comment and interaction are what the web is all about, particularly in a site like DPR where readers/commenters are mostly participants in the site's prime focus.

Just so long as you can remove spammers and trolls without losing too many hairs...

0 upvotes
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (8 months ago)

Well , I sympathize with his point of view too but that does not mean I agree with him though. And seriously banishing comments won't help either. This is Internet. Its mean for open exchange of info, idea, and yes comments of such. There will be ways for someone to comment or voicing his/her bit of POV on anything published online. It can be equally beneficial and equally destructive.

In short, the collective quality of the comments also somewhat reflect on the readership and this is perhaps in a way even more important to the publisher. And seriously today I am seeing a trend in online publishing. With the need to RUSH the news or have something. The time and effort taken to write a decent article or at the very least the editorial process is very much abbreviated. To a point that it would draw a lot of criticism and negative backlash of sorts.

0 upvotes
Stealthy Ninja
By Stealthy Ninja (8 months ago)

Canon is obviously better than Nikon and anyone who disagrees with me is an obvious troll and doesn't have a sense of humour.

Oh wait... or is it Nikon is better than Canon?!

9 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (8 months ago)

you misspelled Leica.

14 upvotes
leschnyhan
By leschnyhan (8 months ago)

The guy who wrote the Wired.com article is named Mat Honan, not Matt Honan as it appears above. Just FYI. (See Mat, a helpful comment!)

0 upvotes
Frank_BR
By Frank_BR (8 months ago)

An article with no comments is like a family with no children.

3 upvotes
misha marinsky4
By misha marinsky4 (8 months ago)

A day without OxyContin is like a day without sunshine.

- Rush Limbaugh

3 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (8 months ago)

Peaceful?

4 upvotes
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (8 months ago)

The comment by Frank_BR offends people who, through no fault of their own, cannot have children. I am deeply upset and Frank should be banished forever...

It's all pants of course. You know, its getting to the stage where people may become afraid of expressing a personal opinion just in case they upset others are deemed offensive or are branded a troll.

Sad really.

So much for free speech.

Where do you draw the line?

Some people really need to get a life and stop obsessing about gear the other person uses.

I mean, I am an unashamed Apple freak, use film and manual cameras, hate photoshopping. But if that;'s your bag, hey, that really is nothing to do with me.

4 upvotes
Bervilat
By Bervilat (7 months ago)

You are an Apple freak AND use manual and film cameras? One thing doesn't fit the other.
Can only be a master hipster.

0 upvotes
CameraAddict
By CameraAddict (8 months ago)

Since you are mentioning that people "criticize our content for not being good enough, fast enough (or long enough or strong enough, or the wrong color, etc" I must concur with them on the "wrong color".

Could you please make a button that switches the color scheme from a black background to white? I for one can't stand the painful white type on black background contrast.

2 upvotes
misha marinsky4
By misha marinsky4 (8 months ago)

"Could you please make a button that switches the color scheme from a black background to white?"

How are you going to read white type on a white background?

3 upvotes
Mr Blah
By Mr Blah (8 months ago)

As long as it's just an option; I actually like the darker color scheme.
Connect.dpreview is just too bright and cheery for me. :-P

3 upvotes
Wellington100
By Wellington100 (8 months ago)

No way, keep the black background because when I am on the net at 2.00am and my wife is asleep next to me, DPR is the only website I can use without the glare from the computer screen disturbing her, thanks to the black background.

2 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (8 months ago)

I also prefer the dark. Please, please don't go white background with gray text. Some sites are starting to do light gray background with black text. Thank goodness the white/gray storm is passing.

I had to help an office lady 'fix' her computer. It took a while, but I finally figured out she had turned text color to white. She had been used to Word Perfect's DOS blue/white and didn't think using white text in Word would be a trouble.. :^|

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (8 months ago)

Black is beautiful!

1 upvote
misha marinsky4
By misha marinsky4 (8 months ago)

"keep the black background because when I am on the net at 2.00am and my wife is asleep next to me, DPR is the only website I can use without the glare from the computer screen disturbing her"

Here's the perfect illustration:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/450066

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (8 months ago)

Your illustration did not work, whatever it contained. Hulu websites are only available within US.

1 upvote
itsastickup
By itsastickup (8 months ago)

Dpreview comments tend to be a pretty rich source of good practical advice and handson experience. It's why I read the comments more than the forums.

2 upvotes
itsastickup
By itsastickup (8 months ago)

I'm feeling a little commentstipated today.

Might have to try some syrup of troll.

2 upvotes
wjholtjr
By wjholtjr (8 months ago)

I, for one, hate comments and never post them.

13 upvotes
Graham Meale
By Graham Meale (8 months ago)

No comment.

9 upvotes
Beat Traveller
By Beat Traveller (8 months ago)

The problem with internet comments, aside from the spam, is that by and large people don't enter into debate looking to test whatever hypothesis or opinion they have against counter-evidence. What they end up doing is basically going in just to reinforce their own opinion by searching for enough posts that agree with them, and by finding reasons to dismiss out of hand the posts with dissenting views (trolling, shill, etc).

7 upvotes
Stealthy Ninja
By Stealthy Ninja (8 months ago)

I disagree. :P

1 upvote
Tan68
By Tan68 (8 months ago)

See D-K

0 upvotes
KHorn
By KHorn (8 months ago)

You know when I hear the word "WIRED" I think "cutting edge". After reading the article I think maybe Wired should consider changing their name to something they might be more comfortable with, like "NUETERED".

1 upvote
sbszine
By sbszine (8 months ago)

This kind of pointless comment is exactly what they're talking about.

2 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (8 months ago)

Neutered

0 upvotes
scrup
By scrup (8 months ago)

I don't even read the articles anymore. Just the title and straight to the comments for a summary.

2 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (8 months ago)

I used to comment things that I thought needed improvement, hoping that it would generate some practical reaction. So far, it was tolerated - and nothing else. So I thought, why comment at all if nothing changes?
Case in point: the Challenge Forum. There is a thread titled "What should be done with Cheaters?" well into its sixth chapter, but the situation still gets worse by the day.
So it's one thing being broad-minded, tolerant, understanding and democratic enough to allow comments, and there is quite another thing letting your own feature drown into mediocrity, to become a cheaters' playground and vanity paradise.
To DPR, positively or negatively charged hits may be equally valuable, but it's not so to the members. Tolerating wrong things will only drown the quality in mediocrity, like everywhere else. And before long, visiting here will be a loss of time - judging by many other, once successful sites, which have allowed themselves to deteriorate by the very same kind of attitude.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Wildbegonia
By Wildbegonia (8 months ago)

Agree.
...you mean: so the quality of mediocrity will increase. :)
Maybe a moderator is needed.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
dark goob
By dark goob (8 months ago)

I'd expect that from rushlimbaugh.com but Wired.com? Srsly?

1 upvote
David 247
By David 247 (8 months ago)

While not perfect and still having plenty of annoyances, I find that comments on DPReveiw are generally well managed. Most forums are informational, and most people are helpful. Sure their are the the naysayers, and those whose only pleasure in life is to harrass others just for the sake of harassment, but for the most part they disappear into the background of the good stuff. Considering the challenges faced, I think DPReview manages a pretty decent balance.

1 upvote
Impulses
By Impulses (8 months ago)

Why not simply create a news section on the forums and create a thread for every news post there... Then just simply link each article to it's respective thread and direct comments there. It's more conducive to follow up and productive conversation than a simplified comment system IMO. (I can't take credit, some sites I really enjoy so this, like oldschool CPU/GPU review and news site HardOCP)

I think that kinda approach really cuts down on the flame bait drive-by kinda comments (not to mention the commercial spam, though it seems you guys handle that quite well) and encourages more discussion amongst regulars. Falling that, I think a downrank system that hides comments that are voted down would also help (even Amazon uses this for their review comments).

1 upvote
Tan68
By Tan68 (8 months ago)

Yeah, there is a site or two I like that have 'companion threads'.

This isn't a bad suggestion. DPR may not mind how things are now.

Currently, threads cap at 150. I figure this could be changed for companion threads...

0 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (8 months ago)

My comments are nice!

3 upvotes
rallyfan
By rallyfan (8 months ago)

You like comments because they generate hits.

In fact you like comments so much that you still allow them even though you sometimes don't like their content.

Hits are crucial to you. The only thing that matters more is sales.

In fact you like comments so much that you post them even if the content offends you, and then you resort to offensive language, calling your readers "trolls" above.

Your critics are trolls? Really? If you reviewed cameras more quickly and didn't sell your site out to a sales site, neither of the above criticisms would have any foundation.

Today, however, both criticisms sometimes are founded. Reviews sometimes never show up at all (G5?) and since ownership structure of the website means bias is inherent -- denial won't fix this; only a restructuring that severs commercial ties will.

Your readers may not be trolls for pointing all that out; they may simply be awake.

4 upvotes
glhid
By glhid (8 months ago)

And here I thought trolls were those cute little Norwegian critters.
This post consists entirely of accusations: you don't do things the way I think you should, you're offensive for using the widely accepted term for doing exactly what this post does, you're sellouts, you're biased (the review you haven't done proves it), you're in denial. It's a conspiracy-theory rant, not a constructive comment.
And yes, ranting is exactly what I'm doing too. Not very useful either. It's all too easy to get caught up in a tight little circle that does nothing. Which is why I usually don't read comments -- but who could ignore them in an article on comments?

3 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (8 months ago)

Troll does sound gruff. I wonder if there would be fewer pointlessly contentious people had the name 'pixie' or 'woodland faerie' been used.

Some people might like thinking of their self as a fearsome troll. I imagine we would have fewer pixies.

Opportunity missed :^|

2 upvotes
speculatrix
By speculatrix (8 months ago)

I think there needs to be a -0.5 as well as a +1 button

That is to say community moderation/ voting accentuates the positive.

Meanwhile I think dpreview generally has quite good commentators and are worthy of reading. If you want to see how bad it can get, go to Boy Genius Report; there are trolls trolling trolls where people have set up parodies of other people's usernames just for that!

8 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (8 months ago)

Downvoting is a tool for mobbing. It is often used by a group of fans to protect the forum from alien foreigners with unwelcome opinions. It can also be used as an attack on a forum or forum member by coming from outside and downvoting everything some individual says.

Downvoting is generally a bad idea.

3 upvotes
bugbait
By bugbait (8 months ago)

I have been impressed by how many badly started threads have turned around into productive conversation. Immature comments on honest inquiry of course happens, but is easily ignored.

I like skimming through the article comments. Its a bit different clientel than the dedicated product forums and sometimes I pick up something I wouldn't of known about.

My biggest gripe about forum users is weak generic titles people use. Some interesting threads are lost inside one or two word titles.

2 upvotes
Jim Salvas
By Jim Salvas (8 months ago)

Huffington Post has announced that all new commenters will be required to use real names. I always have, but I wonder what that would do here.

2 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (8 months ago)

If HP asks users to use real names, that doesn't mean people will use real names! How are they going to enforce it? Would they demand that internet users submit valid licences so that they can verify names? Even that can be faked, as you can generate IDs in photoshops.

2 upvotes
Jim Salvas
By Jim Salvas (8 months ago)

They're going to require a Facebook logon. While that won't prevent all anonymous spamming and trolling, it should cut it down a lot.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (8 months ago)

I dont have Facebook account, for a reason. Now ... dont you give the good folks at DPReview any ideas of that kind ... thank you.

7 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (8 months ago)

Actually, I have wondered about requiring FB logon to prevent.. whatever-it-may-be.

How does this prevent anything, really. Is this power of prevention real or just a thing the FB people promote to further push their product.

I mean, lets use PayPal then. That comes closer to being linked to a real person. Dedicated troll to link bank account and etc. FB...

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (8 months ago)

I use my real name. But ... if it was enforced that i should do so, then maybe I should call myself Donald Duck.

1 upvote
yaduck9
By yaduck9 (8 months ago)

I like ducks

0 upvotes
zkz5
By zkz5 (8 months ago)

These comments are actually only equivalent to f/5.6 on a full fr... er... wait...

22 upvotes
Grevture
By Grevture (8 months ago)

Thanks for a much needed laugh :D

1 upvote
AlpCns2
By AlpCns2 (8 months ago)

Brilliant... thank you for some genuine humor.

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (8 months ago)

No no no ... F4 is always F4 ...

4 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (8 months ago)

zkz5: that may be, but they are still great for street photography.

3 upvotes
Karroly
By Karroly (8 months ago)

A comment is good or bad depending on the focal length you use. It is a matter of perspective. But move some steps forward or backward instead and then it is a matter of... point of view.

0 upvotes
misha marinsky4
By misha marinsky4 (8 months ago)

@zkz5: Best comment of the entire forum.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (8 months ago)

@Karoly - Focal length do not change the perspective. Its your view point that changes the perspective.

0 upvotes
babalu
By babalu (8 months ago)

The Administration is currently siding a setting of F16 / Tomahawk .

0 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (8 months ago)

The comments from f/5.6 to f/8 are usually common sense comments. We have to admire some comments f/0.95 or f/32 with some interest too.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 months ago)

I sympathize with your dilemma but these comments are inevitably a catch-all. Here, we have people who are new to photography (I would characterize anybody who's never shot a roll of film in this category) and at the other extreme, people who need to show how much they know. Like the person in a meeting who asks questions he/she already knows the answers to.

Then, there are the engineers, who want to discuss DxO numbers down to the last decimal; the white orb alarmists "Fuji will go out of business, tomorrow!", Foveon attackers/defenders, camera collectors, people who use Holgas and now phone photography. And this doesn't even address people who are only interested in images and don't care about the type of camera. Quite a mix!

1 upvote
Mikhail Tal
By Mikhail Tal (8 months ago)

If DPR banned comments then people like me would just spew in the forums even more than we already do.

1 upvote
Diopter
By Diopter (8 months ago)

John Kerry hates the Internet too.

0 upvotes
DotCom Editor
By DotCom Editor (8 months ago)

But, the Internet was invented by Al Gore. I know that because said so himself.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

DotCom Ed—

Al Gore never said any such thing.

And irony one of the men who did invent the internet is real explicit about crediting representative Al Gore with making sure the development of the internet was funded by the government. You know the long term government research needed so you can comment in this forum.

Simply repeating lies about someone you happen to disklike doesn’t make the lies true and contributes to the bag image of comment boards.

Next time try looking into what Al Gore actually said, instead of what Rush Limbaugh claims.

8 upvotes
Diopter
By Diopter (8 months ago)

Personally, I am optimistic.
The Internet will have more freedom than ever , but the publishers will voluntarily comply with the general guidelines , however the general guidelines may be more specific one day than the other.

0 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (8 months ago)

Only reason the internet was funded by the USG is because the NSA saw the potential.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

Antony J---

Not sure "only" needs to be there. And the internet existed before 1994, when one couldn't really just email whomever or read a newspaper or shop at Amazon.

Though yes, Google, Ebay, Netflix and Amazon have been used as ways of collecting data on our habits, and sometimes the NSA does the collection---this was all obvious years ago.

0 upvotes
Pentax_Prime
By Pentax_Prime (8 months ago)

Why is DPR no longer allowing comments to "What The Duck" postings?

1 upvote
JDThomas
By JDThomas (8 months ago)

Because too many people might point out the fact that it isn't remotely funny.

9 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (8 months ago)

Because it's not original content to dpreview.

1 upvote
Pentax_Prime
By Pentax_Prime (7 months ago)

Then why did you previously allow comments on "What The Duck" postings? ....

1 upvote
targut
By targut (8 months ago)

Thank you for raising this topic. I have suddenly understood that I prefer the news/blog like sites that allow readers comments. Moreover, I scroll to the end of the page of each and every site now to find user comments there :)

I think, this is already part of our live and those public sites which do not use commenting system will be dead sooner or later.

Indeed, moderation is extremely important and at the same time very expensive. And the commenting system itself requires much more server resources and maintenance efforts. We all need to learn effective ways to communicate and organize this.

User comments and forums are the most attractive feature of DPReview for me.. And I still cannot get used to reading white on black :)

0 upvotes
Zerg2905
By Zerg2905 (8 months ago)

"L'Enfer, c'est les autres..."
J. P. Sartre

3 upvotes
karet
By karet (8 months ago)

To Veroman regarding poor grammar: However thorough I reread my comments before posting I'm sure some grammatical errors end up in my forum posts. I think I'm doing pretty well for a European writing in a language that is not my mother tongue and I think lots of others do as well. If you value discussion with non English speakers this is something you'll have to accept.

10 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (8 months ago)

Yeah, grammar mistakes, maybe. A comma after an introductory clause here and there.

On the whole, it seems to me that not native English speakers (that's awkward) have as good as or better vocabulary than.. many Americans I know.

Maybe they use some unusual sentence construction, but they have a good vocabulary. :^)

1 upvote
Antony John
By Antony John (8 months ago)

"non native English speakers"
Truth be told, most of those who's English is not their mother tongue try to speak/write English more correctly than those brought up with English as their mother tongue.

0 upvotes
SundanceXY
By SundanceXY (8 months ago)

Well, in the EOS 1D-X preview from November 2011 until today there were over 400 comments (before you started deleting some) and I guess about 90% of them were asking just one simple question: Will there ever be a full review of this camera? You could at least have had the courtesy to tell all those who have taken the time to register and post here that there never will be a full review. But there was never any kind of response from your side.

2 upvotes
sandy b
By sandy b (8 months ago)

Purchasers of $8500.00 cameras do not come to DPR for purchasing info. Nor would purchasers of .0001 percent of dslr cameras sold make much difference. web space better spent on what consumers who come here care about.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
SundanceXY
By SundanceXY (8 months ago)

well, this is obviously not true. I at least did buy a 1D X and I would be interested in a full review about this camera even if I only had the budget for a 5D, 60D or 600D.
Quite to the contrary I wonder who really spends time reading an extensive review about a 300$ point and shoot camera.

2 upvotes
sandy b
By sandy b (8 months ago)

I would like to read it too, and I would never justify buying one. Truth is though, flagship reviews are traditionally the longest most involved reviews done. And then of course, the D4, which came out first, would have to be reviewed along side. I wish they would review everything, but I understand why they don't. And they don't review many PS anymore either.

2 upvotes
SundanceXY
By SundanceXY (8 months ago)

Actually, the point is not whether they do a certain review or don't. The point is that nobody is responding to hundreds of people asking if there ever will be a review.

2 upvotes
Mr Fartleberry
By Mr Fartleberry (8 months ago)

The biggest problem is that there's no category discipline enforced. Too many people head for the professional Nikon forum (AKA the D600 forum now) and post dumb questions about filters, camera bags and tripods.

It's painful and time consuming to figure out what is actually an issue, especially wading thru the usual, "I went to the Zoo Sunday, look at my pictures".

I can only hope companies like Nikon get a grasp of what their customers think when they see hundreds of negative posts about their new 500 dollar D800 grip.

That's where these comment sections have value, who sits down and biatches to say, Nikon about prices in a formal letter?

2 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (8 months ago)

At least this way you don't have to waste a stamp, asking Nikon for more reasonable prices. Presumably, they can get what they charge and realistically, that's all that matters to them. Canon sells $45 lenshoods (that should have been included, free) while eBay copies are $7.50, so it's the same all over.

1 upvote
Antony John
By Antony John (8 months ago)

Perhaps a 'Snobs' column is in order to cut out the plebs?

0 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (8 months ago)

I would guess comments/forums increase web site traffic manifold. Traffic translates into ad revenues, amazon sales, etc. Kill the comments and you kill the site.

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (8 months ago)

We survived more than 10 years without comments on articles - we didn't add them because of any revenue reason, we added them because modern Internet users expect to be able to engage 'on the page'.

5 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (8 months ago)

So ... modern Internet users expect to be able to 'engage on the page'? Then maybe 10 years without comments is no proof of anything. Or?

Just admit it. You DO like it when hits are increasing.

Not that I disagree. A site with lots of hits is lots of fun. So .. we all benefit from it.

1 upvote
Antony John
By Antony John (8 months ago)

To 'increase web site traffic manifold' would be an 'exhaustive' effort I guess ;-)

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (8 months ago)

Well, I decided open plenum versus dual plane. But, that's just me...

0 upvotes
GeraldW
By GeraldW (8 months ago)

Years ago, Hewlett-Packard bragged about their "next desk" philosophy. They felt that they were a large and diverse company, and if they could meet their own internal needs, then they surely could meet yours and mine.

That head-in-the-sand attitude was arrogant and nearly cost them the PC business. It caused them to go off on their own path and not listen to their customers, secure in the belief that they must be meeting the market's needs. As it turned out, they lost a lot of sales before they got their head out of the sand (or some other dark place).

My point here, is that if you do not listen, you become isolated and self-congratulatory; and one day you look up and say "where did they all go". Not having a means of feedback is effectively a policy of not listening.

Jerry

2 upvotes
veroman
By veroman (8 months ago)

At the root of the "Comments Issue" ... and I do consider it an online issue of major proportions ... is the fact that it's a free-for-all, with no editorial intervention beforehand. It's akin to the New York Times or any other daily newspaper publishing 99% of the letters they receive then, a day later, commenting on or correcting the ones that were in error, inflammatory, abusive, threatening, foolish if not stupid, etc. If this were the case, there would be no news ... just commentary.

Whenever floodgates like this are opened, one can say goodbye to proper and respectful language, critical and informed thinking, good grammar, etc. being in the majority. The wrongful use of "it's" and "its," for example, has reached epidemic levels at this point.

Comments are good to have and are often important. But serious journalistic venues tend to filter them BEFORE they pollute the environment. That's not likely to happen with a web site that's open to millions at a time.

0 upvotes
b craw
By b craw (8 months ago)

Not to imply unconditional support of the internet as it exists - it will inevitably evolve in form and function as time passes - but immediacy, for better or worse, is one defining characteristic of the medium. For comments to await a thorough review before being posted would become cumbersome and disrupt the speed of dialog. It is a comment thread, not an editorial followed by rebuttals. I believe the thread notion is designed for quick commentary; yes, sometimes it is poorly considered, abrasive and not constructive, etc., but this is the trade off for its positives, mainly conversing in (more or less) real time. I appreciate the methods of daily printed newspapers as specific to their nature, but reasonable policing after the fact seem just fine here.

As for grammar, I can only say that such a concept seems trite. As an educator, I get it. But I'm sure I detour from proper form here and there. And, what would the alternative be? I think many, including those speaking English as a second/third/fourth language, would be discouraged from contributing to discussions. And that would be unfortunate.

0 upvotes
abluesky
By abluesky (8 months ago)

I learn a lot from comments, but sometimes the trolls and spam is just too much anymore.

1 upvote
zigi_S
By zigi_S (8 months ago)

Well the biggest waste of space are the equivalence brigade and the pentax/sony fanboys. Everything else is pretty much fresh air.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (8 months ago)

Without forums and without the possibility to comment you will not have any dialogue with your users. Then you will not have any feedback on what they think. Moreover, without the possibility to comment (like e.g. this comment) you will fast lose most of your users. That is at least my belief.

I understand the problems though. One example is that it seems like the photography articles you write (like the one about the Hong Kong new perspective) tends to attract rather many posters that are very negative. Also the coloring B&W article attracted a bunch of very, very critical posts regarding coloring old B&W images at all.

This is not fun. Of course, opinions may vary, but some takes life to serious, and seems to want to attack where no attack is needed.

But, I think its necessary. If you want to have the world leading digital camera forum site, its not possible to be without it.

0 upvotes
skytripper
By skytripper (8 months ago)

It can't be news to DPReview's editors that too many comments on your articles are littered with personal insults and other inflammatory rubbish. Comments on most articles amount to arguments rather than well-meaning comments; and productive exchanges of information are rare. By contrast, FredMiranda.com (another well-known website catering to photography enthusiasts) manages to attract a large following of intelligent, engaged, friendly readers who greatly enhance each other's enjoyment of the site. I don't know how they do it, but DPReview would be a much more valuable resource if you somehow find a way to follow FredMiranda.com's example.

2 upvotes
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