Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Journalism

Quiz Could Force Commenters to Prove They Read Stories

A few simple questions about news stories could force would-be commenters to show they actually read and understand what they’re talking about first.

All you have to do is read a few comments on a typical news post on Facebook or a news website story and it immediately becomes clear there are people who are commenting on stories they’ve obviously not bothered to read.

It’s as if we now live in a society in which people are so desperate to have their say that they’d rather do so even if they aren’t fully informed on a topic. What’s worse than this compromise is that they’re adamant that their position, even when it’s not grounded in any of the information being presented, is the only one that’s correct.

It’s a sad commentary on how we are these days.

But Norwegian broadcaster NRK is trying an interesting little experiment on their website: before people who want to leave comments on a story will be able to do so, they have to answer questions about the story itself: the quiz’s creators, The Independent reports, hope the questions will make sure everyone who decides to comment on the story actually understands what the story is about to begin with.

But there’s a second motive besides ensuring better understanding:

“If you spend 15 seconds on it, those are maybe 15 seconds that take the edge off the rant mode when people are commenting,” said Marius Arnesen, editor of NKRbeta.

Part of me thinks this is a spectacular idea.

Another part of me, however, thinks this is probably going to backfire in a big way: how can we expect readers who can’t take the time to even scan a story they’re about to comment on publicly to take the time to potentially “cool down” before doing so?

Where does this dedication to being informed begin and where does it end?

If I had to guess, I would expect this site’s comment counts to drop, and sooner or later, the notion would be scrapped. (Or, perhaps, comments themselves will be scrapped, which seems to be a growing trend.)

It’d be nice to think something as simple as this could stop trolls in their tracks.

On the other hand, I suspect true trolls would just take the quiz and keep trolling along.

Would you take the time for a quiz to be able to comment on a story you were interested in?

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Patrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.