Comment is Really Free

There is a growing trend amongst news websites to reduce or restrict the number of news articles that allow you, the reader, to comment on them directly on their site.

Many news sites are 'off-loading' discussion onto social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr citing the cost of moderation, legal issues and the general habit of people to be a little more vociferous when they are truly anonymous.

We don't have an issue with that, it's their site, it's up to them what they want do with it but maybe we're just a bit old fashioned and don't want to be flitting from one social site to another just to have a polite discussion with people we don't know who don't care about our opinions anyway, while all the time filling up our Facebook or Twitter accounts with comments about things our 'Friends' or 'Followers' really don't need a 'ba-ding' about.

So we had an idea, why don't we use Chrome's browser extension technology to make it look like your commenting right there on the site?

So we did.

Regarding moderation, we agree, it's way too expensive to pay people to pass judgement on everyone else's opinion and who is to say the moderators opinion is worth more than the commentors. So we decided that the best people to moderate the comments where the commenters themselves, so we've given everyone the ability to do their bit in moderating other people's comments.

Comment is Really Free at theguardian

The first news site we did this for is the UK's "theguardian" website. We chose The Guardian because it has a very active set of commentators and a very peculiar 'algorithm' for deciding what articles are and are not open for comments. They also have strict in-house moderation rules, which it seems baffle even commentors of the longest standing at the site.
It's also one of the few (reasonably) high quality UK news sites that is still completely free, and if we can keep more people on their pages for longer hopefully they will remain a free news outlet.

See how it works and download the Chrome extension


Comment is not yet Really Free at the BBC

The BBC used to have a very active "Have Your Say" comments section but in recent years this has been massively reduced to a very few articles that appear to be carefully selected to not attract very many comments.
The BBC is our next target for community moderated inline comments. The BBC is one of the high quality UK news sites that do not require a subscription and we'd like to keep it that way.