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04 Apr

Social media has changed the equation for a number of publishers that already use Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr to distribute their stories to new audiences.

As Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg wrote on Recode’s decision to end comments: “We believe that social media is the new arena for commenting, replacing the old onsite approach that dates back many years.” The benefits to social are that people are already on those networks, already holding conversations and sharing stories, Swisher told me.

Many news organizations have had comments sections for as long as they’ve been online.

For just as long, many have agonized over the value of the conversations that rage in the space below a story.

We’ve been turning those on and letting people follow a lot of our specific writers.

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That comes down to, again, the relationship between the people who work at The Verge and the audience who reads it and cares about it. That’s a much harder solution than we’re gonna build in down-rank buttons and shadow bans. In certain posts, we chose to leave the comment thread on.

We did keep comments on our opinion pieces, because we felt that that is where you are trying to start an argument in the best possible way.

[Commenting] wasn’t a main lever of engagement for us, quite frankly.

Patel: Comments and community are foundational for the company, and they’re foundational to The Verge. We didn’t get rid of them, and that makes us a little different from everybody else you might be talking to.

We want to have a big community, a vibrant community, and find ways to grow and nurture that community over time.