This challenge is due at noon Monday, Feb. 4.
This challenge asks you to consider the role of reader comments on news and information websites and then to engage in some commenting yourself. Briggs discusses the role of comments in Chapter 10 (“Managing News as a Conversation”). The Boston Globe article from Neil Swidey (“Inside the Mind of the Anonymous Online Poster”) discusses the thorny issues involved in allowing anonymous comments.
There are two parts to this challenge:
Part 1: The blog post
- Spend some time scanning news and information websites and blogs (NOT personal websites or blogs). If you need some help or inspiration, a list of the top 100 blogs can be found here, and a list of the top 100 U.S. newspapers and their websites can be found here. Seton Hall-related sites (such as The Setonian) are NOT allowed. Social media sites such as Facebook are NOT allowed. Message boards are NOT allowed. Find an example of an article or posting on one site where you believe readers’ comments (or at least some of them) were beneficial (by adding important information or contributing to a meaningful conversation). Also, try to find that site’s policies or guidelines for reader comments. Next, find an example of an article or posting on another site (NOT the same site as the first example) where you believe the reader comments (or at least some of them) did more harm than good (by adding information that was irrelevant, inappropriate, inaccurate, hateful, vulgar, etc.). Try to find that site’s policies or guidelines for reader comments.
- In a post on your WordPress blog, reflect on what you found. Briefly summarize the first article or post and explain how the reader comments were beneficial. Be as specific as possible. It might be helpful to quote specific comments. Next, briefly summarize the second article or post and explain why the reader comments did more harm than good. Again, it might be helpful to quote specific comments. Finally, summarize the commenting policies of each site (as best as you were able to determine) and discuss whether you think those policies had any influence on the tone or nature of the comments. What policy changes (if any) would you recommend to avoid “bad” reader comments like the ones you found on the second site? Use embedded links within your blog post to link to the articles or posts. (You probably won’t be able to link to individual comments.) Also, link to the site’s commenting policies, if possible. The post must be 400 to 600 words and should have an interesting, informative title.
Part 2: Your comments
- Engage in some commenting yourself. Post at least two substantive comments on news or information websites or blogs (NOT personal websites or blogs). These must be two different sites (not two comments on the same site). Seton Hall-related sites (such as The Setonian) are NOT allowed. Social media sites such as Facebook are NOT allowed. Message boards are NOT allowed. NOTE: A substantive comment is one that builds on the conversation and provides meaningful information. Comments such as “I agree,” “Very interesting article!” etc. don’t count. Your user name, email address, or the content of the comment itself should identify you in such a way that it’s clear to me that it really is YOUR comment.
Submitting the assignment
When you’re finished, email me at COJR3002@gmail.com by noon Monday, Feb. 4. In the email, include a link to your WordPress blog post (link to the post itself, not the blog’s main page). Also, include links to the two articles or posts on the web where you commented (link to the individual articles or posts, not to the site’s main page) AND tell me what your comments were (copy and paste the comments into the email). Finally, PRINT OUT the two comments you posted, staple the pages together, and turn them in at the start of class on Monday, Feb. 4.
The assignment is worth 20 points, broken down as follows:
- Blog post (16 points): Does the blog post effectively summarize the two posts or articles and discuss the ways in which reader comments were helpful or harmful? Does the post include a thoughtful discussion of commenting policies? Does the post contain properly formatted links to the articles or posts and, if possible, the sites’ commenting policies? Is the post free of grammar and spelling mistakes?
- Comments (4 points): Were the comments appropriate and substantive?