Popular Science Ends Comments
I received notice yesterday that Popular Science is ending their practice of allowing comments to their online stories. I was surprised that National Public Radio included a segment on the subject yesterday with the PopSci spokesman pretty much saying the same thing as their online explanation.
I can understand anyone not wanting to deal with some of the nasty comments that we often see online. I'm not so sure I go along with PopSci's reasoning. They seem to be concerned about University of Wisconsin research that suggested nasty comments to an article can actually change reader opinions of that article. I find that a bit hard to swallow:
They also make it clear that science is science and seem to think their reporting on science shouldn't be questioned. That's where I have a problem:
"A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science."
In other words, they consider the science they present as absolute and don't want anyone effectively convincing others otherwise. I find that troubling. I don't like nasty comments either, but I'd like to think I could find a less drastic way to remove them and a better reason for doing so.