National Catholic Reporter to Discontinue Reader Comments

Over the past several years, a number of online platforms and blogs have discontinued comments, including The Deacon’s Bench, Rorate Caeli, and Commonweal. The National Catholic Reporter will now join their ranks. As of December 1, editor Dennis Coday announced today, comments will be discontinued.

The reasons are financial. Their preferred system, a self-moderating system called “Civil Comments,” is going out of business, and the cost of devoting staff time to moderating comments is prohibitive, Coday explained.

We at NCR are caught in a dilemma. We believe that the comment section is a valuable forum for discussion. I know that many of you have formed a community here. We do see the value of comments and want to bring them back as soon as we can, but we also know our limitations. We cannot return to an unmoderated, free-for-all, but we do not have the staff resources to do full moderation.

Prior comments will be archived, but not visible on the site until an alternative way of posting them can be established.

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5 comments

  1. Some people who commented at the Commonweal site were heartbroken when the comments went away. That publication’s recommendation was for commenters to move to the publication’s Facebook page, which probably offers some advantages to the magazine, although I’m not social-media-savvy enough to understand what they are, beyond projecting an image of being (very slightly?) younger and hipper.

    On the other hand, the comments section of First Things is pretty awful. A lot of rude and ad hominem things are posted there, and the ratio of high-value comments is distressingly low. If that site’s comments went away, the overall value of the site probably would go up.

    So in my view, a good set of commenters (as the ones who comment here) adds to the value of the site, whereas low-value bickering and insulting detracts from it.

    1. I commented occasionally at the NCR website, and thought that its use of Civil Comments helped to improve civility. At the same time, allowing commenters to post using anonymous tags rather than their real names (as at this site) let them go on voicing their culture war stands without an interest in engaging others.

  2. I’ve been a reader and commenter at NCR for a long time. I know NCR presents a progressive stance but I’ve never been able to figure out how so many contributors dedicated themselves to tearing down the church. I often wondered if I was the only one who could distinguish the failings and sins of churchmen from the day to day efforts on the part of so many Catholics to be faithful to Christ and the gospel. I won’t miss all that bile.

  3. Crux Now has no comment section, which eliminates any criticism which must make the editors assume they are doing a wonderful job. I mention to the Knights of Columbus I know that the sponsorship of Crux Now implies the the AP articles which Crux publishes are in fact the Policy of the Church, Huh?. Most Knights of Columbus have never heard of Crux Now so I guess their editorial policy is irrelevant. As a Journalist it must be very heartwarming to go through life feeling everyone adores you, Mr. Allen has always felt that way. Mr. Allen has always postured “You either agree with me or you are wrong”.

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