To Clean Up Comments, Let AI Tell Users Their Words Are Trash


Comment sections have long acted like the wiry garbage cans of news websites, collecting the worst and slimiest of human thought. Thoughtful reactions get mixed in with off-topic offal, personal attacks, and the enticing suggestions to "learn how to make over $7,000 a month by working from home online!" (So goes the old adage: never read the comments.) Things got so bad in the last decade that many websites put the kibosh on comments altogether, trading the hope of lively, interactive debate for the promise of peace and quiet. But while some people ran away screaming, others leapt in with a mission to make the comment section better. Today, dozens of newsrooms use commenting platforms like Coral and OpenWeb that aim to keep problematic discourse at bay with a combination of human chaperones and algorithmic tools.