I noticed yesterday that the Globe and Mail's online update on Judge Marshall's ruling didn't allow comments.
Today's update on the situation doesn't allow comments either. It's the only story without comments that I see from a glace at the others on the front page.
The day before saw 43 comments before further comments were closed.
It's ironic that Editor-in-Chief Greenspon wrote during an online chat less than a week ago:
D N from Whitby writes: Hello, Mr. Greenspon. I was wondering how the addition of comments to the website is going from the Globe's perspective. The fact that the comments are edited makes them somewhat more civilised than the typical blog, but I find that overall, the effect of all this online punditry seems to lower the public discourse into the equivalent of a bunch of people in a room shouting at each other. A few people comment, then people disagree, then everyone criticises everyone else and the whole thing seems to degenerate into name calling and attacks. How does online reader feedback fit into the Globe's future? And do you care to comment on the overall effect of the internet on public discourse and the role of the G&M therein?Fine.
Edward Greenspon: I guess this set of questions will get us off to a fast start! We see the Internet as a far more horizontal (or level) medium than newspapers or broadcasting. One of its great strengths is the immediate interactivity you can enjoy with your readers and they with one another. We've invited our readers to "join the conversation" and I don't think society can ever be worse for having more discourse. We don't edit comments per se. We either post them as they are, or we decide not to post if an individual comment is judged by our editors to be racist or defamatory or resorts to foul language or personal attacks. I don't think about it as "a bunch of
people in a room shouting at each other, as you state, but rather as a salon or
restaurant, where we serve up the food (the news), but we don't determine what
people discuss at their tables. The good thing about our salon, we hope, is that it attracts a more intelligent clientele than the other places on the street. I think this ongoing conversation is an important part of our future, but the most important thing about dining at Chez Globe is the quality of the food and service.
It's not surprising that Caledonia Wake Up Call is getting so popular - the people still need to eat and if the Globe is now saying that you can't talk about this topic in their restaurant then they'll go somewhere else.