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Why we are closing down comments on our site (for now)

Jamie Alter Lynton | April 21, 2015

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Screen shot 2015-04-19 at 6.34.30 PMReaders of LA School Report may notice that we are no longer providing an option for posting comments, following in the footsteps of other news outlets recently.

While our comment section sometimes served as a lively place for informed debate with differing opinions on education issues in Los Angeles, it has increasingly become a repository for diatribes, name-calling, politicking and personal attacks.

As a group of social scientists pointed out in a study called “The “Nasty Effect:” Online Incivility and Risk Perceptions of Emerging Technologies”:

“Much in the same way that watching uncivil politicians argue on television causes polarization among individuals, impolite and incensed blog comments can polarize online users based on value predispositions utilized as heuristics when processing the blog’s information.”

Reuters ended comments on news stories last fall, following Popular Science, which had grown weary of science skeptics. Others, like the Huffington Post now offer comments only through Facebook.

Here at LA School Report, we have asked our readers many times to tone it down. In many cases, it has not worked. While other sites have the capability of vetting comments sections, we have neither the staff nor the technology, and in those instances we have taken down uncivil comments, we are accused of being censors.

With apologies to our readers who have contributed to the healthy debate around education issues, we will be posting our stories without comments — at least for now.

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