“Structured Comments” on the NYT

Nieman has a little post about the New York Times’ new approach to comments, which incorporates some structured discussion questions/prompts. I think it’s a great idea, and it’s one that we built—albeit in more one-size-fits-all, rudimentary ways—into the original features for GigaOM Pro. Our motivation, like theirs, was to provide a comments section that was an additional feature, rather than a discussion thread. It was my perspective then, as now, that general discussion belongs in an open social forum, not behind a paywall, because you invite voices from outside the community, drawing in new readers and adding more grist to the mill. Providing a structured “comments” thread gives you, as a publisher, to do something different that drives “reader engagement” in new ways. I hope to see the New York Times show us some new examples of what that looks like.

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