Comments on websites

People can post anything to a great number of websites.

The interesting thing is the signal to noise ratio of sites is what determines if I read them or not.

I stopped reading http://news.zdnet.co.uk a few years back. It was very bias towards Microsoft and the comments from other visitors are largely uninformed or flame wars.

http://slashdot.org seems to be the king of commenting but it has the added bonus of being able to moderate comments up or down. You can still get flame wars but you also can find a nugget of gold. I have in the last year been reading it less and less, mainly due to realising that many people are commenting before reading the article. The first post syndrome is kicking in.

On http://lwn.net the weekly edition is subscribers only for the first week. The level of information is very high at the site. The information on the site is at the top end of technical. Comments are very high quality.

I started reading Scott Adams blog (the creator of Dilbert) and recently he turned off full blog posts in his news feeds, you have to visit the site (see the adverts) to read what he has to say (fair enough).

It made me wonder what happens to the quality of the comments on his blog. Surely people who read the blog using a news reader and now can not are not visiting his page (I am not visiting it as much). Surely its the more intelligent people that know how to use news readers that are no longer visiting the site. Therefore I propose that the average IQ of the readership might be dropping.

With any site that allows comments you have to manage the signal to noise ratio and deleting posts that are just nonsense can lead to cries of censorship.

I am more convinced not to read comments on sites. If somebody has something to say they can create a blog. If that blog is authoritative it should gain recognition in the way of peer review and cross linking. All we have now is people shouting what they think is true.

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