Mediaite has joined the war on comments sections, publishing a lengthy diatribe against commenters who do not meet their standards of civility and political correctness.
Presented as a “reminder” about Mediaite’s commenting rules, the article is split between attacks on the site’s own readers and complaints about the job of moderating their comments.
One of the worst jobs here at Mediaite is the constant combing of comments for personal attacks, trolling, and unsavory missives. It’s a waste of time that can be alternately disheartening and disgusting.
Mediaite has a particular problem with “tard” words, such as “retard” and “f***tard,” and specifically instruct their commenters not to use them.
Feel like being taken seriously? Don’t make up words that end in “-tards” or come up with creative ways to type out your favorite racial or homophobic slur.
Mediate insists that they aren’t against heated partisan discussions. They just want respectful heated partisan discussions. And they’re definitely not the “fun police.”
We’re not trying to be the fun police. We don’t want to tell you to what to write, and we won’t. And we’re definitely not trying to bring a heavy dose of PC into the mix. You can still be incendiary and partisan and obnoxious — we’re just asking you do it with a greater level of respect.
Although Mediaite has not gone as far as Motherboard, The Verge, The Daily Beast, and other left-wing outlets that have shut down all or parts of their comments sections, their post is part of a wider, ongoing battle between online publications and their commenters.
Comment sections allow readers to question the reporting and opinions of the media in real time, changing the dynamic of news from a top-down transfer of information to a more democratic exchange. As the establishment has drifted further away from the public on topics like feminism, race relations, and immigration, comments sections have become a rare forum for readers to publicly challenge the establishment’s narratives.
Little wonder that comments sections are shutting down across the mainstream media. Most recently, The Guardian announced it would shut down comments on topics about race, immigration, and Islam, accusing their readers of “toxic commentary” on those issues.
Surprisingly, the move was praised by the libertarian UK news blog Guido Fawkes, known for its active and highly un-PC commenters. Paul Staines, founder and editor of Guido Fawkes, promised to “wage jihad” on his own commenters, and recommended that readers go to Breitbart if they wanted a lighter comment censorship regime.