Community on oder off?
Heike Gallery (Zeit Online) and Daniel Wüllner (SZ.de) examine the Internet’s current discussion culture, and the significance of communities for news sites.
Comment functions are often bound up with sociopolitical ideals: the freedom of expression, participation, equal rights. Yet increasingly often, the Net’s discussion culture is no longer seen as an opportunity, but instead as a source of complaint. This is evident, for example, in the way different editorial teams handle comment sections: Zeit Online and the New York Times have ramped up moderation resources, while other news sites appear to manage entirely without comment functions, or like SZ.de, allow them only on selected topics. Heike Gallery, head of engagement for Zeit Online, and Daniel Wüllner, who manages reader dialogue at SZ.de, discuss the following key questions: Is the comment function a part of journalism? Should reader participation be considered a standard offering? What happens when media organisations abandon their community functions? The outsourcing of Facebook discussions will also be discussed, along with users’ need to be able to engage in commentary and dialogue. Ultimately, moderation is often a question of resources: Can small media portals and local editorial teams cope with their communities?
Heike Gallery, Head of Engagement, ZEIT ONLINE
Daniel Wüllner, Team Leader Social Media and Reader Dialogue, Süddeutsche Zeitung
Annelie Naumann, freie Autorin, correctiv.org