World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Online comments: Headache or key link to readers? Help our research

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

Online comments: Headache or key link to readers? Help our research

Join our research: online questionnaire (10/15 min)

News about user comments tends to be negative: publishers closing down or restricting comments because of online hate speech and abuse or because the cost of keeping conversations civil, through active moderation, is just too great for resource-scarce newsrooms.

There are however encouraging examples where the link between users and the newsroom is strong, healthy and of value.

Read: Five lessons from managing online comments

The World Editors Forum wants to tap your experience in a global study of how newsrooms are managing online comments. 

The online questionnaire, which can be accessed here, and takes 10-15 minutes to complete, probes the difficulties editors have in balancing free expression with the type of conversations taking place around their content. Editors who participate will receive preview copies of the research.

It will explore creative solutions being used by organisations that are determined to retain comments as a link to their audience. It builds on research Online Comment Moderation: Towards Best Practice, conducted by the World Editors Forum in 2013.

Read: Online comments prove value in wake of Brexit

This study comes at a critical time when inflammatory issues around race, religion, politics and immigration are testing the limits of free speech. Many publishers have opted to move the conversation to social media platforms, limiting their liability but increasing the risk for reputational damage. 


Cherilyn Ireton's picture

Cherilyn Ireton


2016-07-06 11:35

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The World Editors Forum is the organisation within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (, launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.

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