The Outline: A Good Place: The Only Good Comments Section On The Internet. “No matter where the comments live these days, it’s almost impossible to find a comments section where the unsolicited opinions that live there are actually positive, let alone helpful. Unless we’re talking about the comments on NYT Cooking, a digital collection of recipes from The New York Times.”
New York Times: Why Spy on Twitter? For Saudi Arabia, It’s the Town Square. “Saudi Arabia provides no public spaces where citizens can gather to discuss news and politics. And the kingdom’s news media are state-owned or controlled, limiting the range of perspectives they carry. But many Saudi citizens have multiple cellphones and fast internet, which have led them to use Twitter to engage both with the world and with their fellow citizens. That has given the kingdom one of the world’s largest Twitterspheres.”
Undark: To Tackle Drug Use, Researchers and People With Addiction Alike Turn to Online Forums. “As the opioid epidemic worsens, claiming about 130 lives a day in 2018 in the United States alone, a cadre of researchers is looking for solutions to addiction and overdoses in the sprawl of drug forums. The researchers say that drug forums on the dark net — a catch-all for internet hubs that are often encrypted or unavailable through regular search engines — along with more mainstream counterparts like Bluelight and drug-related threads on the website Reddit, might be a medical or research tool in their own right.”
BetaNews: Yahoo Groups is closing down and all content will be deleted. “A piece of internet history is being consigned to the rubbish heap. Yahoo has announced that the once-popular Yahoo Groups service is being closed down later this month. More than this, the huge amount of information and exchanges that have been uploaded will not be archived. Before the end of the year, all Yahoo Groups content will be permanently wiped out — so if there’s anything you want to keep, you’ll have to act swiftly.”
The Atlantic: Where Toxic Masculinity Goes to Die. “There’s no elegant way to put this, but I’m in love with an online forum devoted to facial hair. Naturally, and like many other discussion boards, Beard Board is full of men—but the men here are kindhearted and supportive of one another. Cruelty is forbidden; generosity is encouraged. The site can feel like a haven, which is important, because while it’s nominally about beards—growing them, grooming them—in practice it offers a kind of group therapy.”
AdAge: Why Reddit Is Leaning Into The Idea Of ‘Community’. “In a small May 2019 Digiday poll, 34 percent of the marketers surveyed said they avoid Reddit due to brand safety concerns. But Reddit has a survey of their own to point to: A YPulse study commissioned by Reddit released earlier this month included the surprising stat that 72 percent of Reddit users, or Redditors, say brands are welcome to join the conversation.”
Harvard Business Review: How to Create an Online Community That People Will Pay For. “Since 2016 I’ve run an online community for members of my Recognized Expert course, and I’ve written extensively about building online revenue streams. If you or your company is considering launching an online membership site, here are six principles I’ve identified to maximize the benefit to your members and ensure they view your site as something worth paying for.” The headline made me cringe and the only reason I read it was because it came from HBR. (The cringing comes from my hangups, not anything pejorative about the author.) But this is a solid overview of things foundational to ANY online community, paid or not, so in it goes.