February 21, 2013
After an experiment in which we opened comments to allow anyone to comment on Tracker posts, we have decided to require registration once again.
We found ourselves deluged with spam, despite the use of CAPTCHA schemes, and we didn't see a corresponding increase in legit comments. In fact, we were in danger of missing legit comments in our sweeps to clear out the spam.
Sorry about the inconvenience; we are working on a new way to do this, and we will open comments again as soon as we can.
In the meantime, if you are not registered, please register! And sign up for our daily alert regarding new posts!
We don't give away premiums for joining the way NPR or your local station does, but the cost of becoming a member of our station is zero. Can you find a better deal?
January 24, 2013
The Neiman Journalism Lab ran a piece yesterday by Sam Petulla on the increasing use of "sentiment analysis" in journalism. If the term is unfamiliar, the practice probably isn't. It's the use of such things a Facebook comments and analytical software to separate positive comments from negative ones, and to see how they correlate with, say, the results of an election.
January 4, 2013
An opinion piece in the journal Science (paywall) suggests that readers are influenced by online comments on a story as much as they are by the story itself, according to an article by Mark Johnson in the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin said they did a study in which they prepared a balanced news report about nanotechnology and showed it to two groups of readers. One group saw civil comments; the other saw uncivil comments and name-calling. "Disturbingly, readers' interpretations of potential risks associated with the technology described in the news article differed significantly depending only on the tone of the manipulated reader comments posted with the story," wrote the study's authors, Dominique Brossard and Dietram A. Scheufele, according to Johnson's story.
January 3, 2013
Announcing: Open commenting on the Knight Science JournalismTracker! No registration needed.
Our tech expert Patrick Wellever has been working on a project to open comments here to anyone, whether registered or not. He just emailed me to say he has thrown the switch. You now can comment on a post immediately even if you are not registered at the Tracker.
We still encourage you to register; we're eager to expand our circle of friends. But if you haven't registered and you feel the urge to join the conversation, please do so.