New America: Bringing the Public Back In: Can the Comment Process Be Fixed?. “The public deserves a voice in the decisions we make as a democracy, including the regulations that govern our economy, foster competitive markets, and protect individual rights. In recent decades, the public comment process for agency decision-making has been the principal way in which government agencies understand and reflect the view of not only experts but average citizens whose lives will be affected by these choices. In order to participate meaningfully in decisions, citizens also need access to information about the agency and the data it has collected. But these processes—the public comment process, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and other transparency rules—are facing profound threats.”
The Next Web: Facebook is testing ‘private comments’ to save you from idiots. “Facebook is experimenting with privacy settings that apply to individual comments. This means that you could write a reply to a thread, but only pre-approved individuals can see it. “
Hongkiat: How to Read Deleted Reddit Comments. “While browsing through Reddit, you must have seen deleted or removed comments that may have aroused your curiosity. But do you know you can recover most of these deleted comments with the help of third-party tools? In today’s post, I’ll show you four tools that can help you see deleted Reddit comments one way or another. These tools are completely free to use and aren’t illegal as well.” The article notes that deleted content is usually deleted for a reason, and you should expect offensive content.
Quartz: These simple design tricks can help diminish hate speech online. “The age-old problem of balancing free expression with harmful, and false, content seems like an impossible problem. But online, at least, there’s a lot that sites can do to fix it, says Susan Benesch, a faculty associate of Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society who studies dangerous speech on and offline. Indeed, our decades of experience in web design have already taught many sites how to discourage incivility and promote reasoned debate.” A number of different case studies. Useful article.
The Verge: Instagram now lets you limit who can comment on your pics. “Instagram is launching a handful of new tools today to combat harassment and help its community members. The first of those is much requested: the ability to limit who can comment on your photos. Instagram now gives everyone with a public account the ability to limit comments to only people they follow, only their followers, or both their followers and people they follow.”
Quartz: Analysis of 500 million Reddit comments shows how the alt-right made the alt-left a thing. “By taking a deep-dive into the data, we can see the different ways in which the alt-right have attempted to capitalize on Trump’s speech and the opportunity to turn the ‘alt-left’ into a mainstream political concept. Through examining the last six months of Reddit comments—all half a billion of them—we can see the intensity with which /r/The_Donald has attempted to push the focus of public conversation toward condemnation of the left, not the right.”
Engadget: Google’s comment-ranking system will be a hit with the alt-right. “A recent, sprawling Wired feature outlined the results of its analysis on toxicity in online commenters across the United States. Unsurprisingly, it was like catnip for everyone who’s ever heard the phrase ‘don’t read the comments.’ According to ‘The Great Tech Panic: Trolls Across America,’ Vermont has the most toxic online commenters, whereas Sharpsburg, Georgia, ‘is the least-toxic city in the US.’ There’s just one problem.”