Topic of the Week - What Form Will Comments Take?
The past week or two has included joyous events like a Drupal failure due to database issues, an ongoing issue with the recent comments block due to the same, and finally a total power supply failure that took the site offline for nearly 24 hours. The site being unavailable is what I would point to as to why there has been such a major downturn in comments and traffic on the site. Unless its something else.
There are strong indicators that anarchism, as practiced on the Internet especially, is dying. Some have posited that this site, and the kinds of discussions that happen here, is the cause, others may point to the mixed success of /r/Anarchism on Reddit, still others on the temporary nature of the anarchist blogosphere, or how boring the Anarchist FAQ is, but it must be something, right? Someone is to blame!
Some argue, despite some evidence to the contrary, that perhaps the quality of interactions we want to have with each other is not possible on the Internet. It's possible that while there have been great discussions, they are in the past and things have changed. An interesting proposal for change in this regard comes from, of all places, Vice. They propose shutting down comments altogether and returning to truly asynchronous call-and-response types of communication, in which comments are not published automatically, but are emailed in, and the good ones are published in digest form. For anews to take this approach would be a major culture shift to say the least, and we wonder both what you think of this, and more generally how to attract interesting engagement back to the site. Is the Vice proposal the future of mature conversation and is that the model we should follow or should we return to the free-for-all that we have abandoned in the past few months? Or are there other reasons that we haven't considered for the dearth of comments?