The Wall Street Journal is changing its online comments system, and renaming the section “audience conversations.”
Wall Street Journal spokesperson Steve Severinghaus told iMediaEthics that the changes are already in place.
In an e-mail posted by Nieman Lab, the Journal said from now on, only members [subscribers] of the Wall Street Journal can comment, comments will only be open for commenting for 48 hours, and the Wall Street Journal will have more moderators. (Severinghaus confirmed to iMediaEthics that “members” are subscribers to the Wall Street Journal.)
The Wall Street Journal‘s editor of newsroom strategy and interim chief technology and product officer Louise Story wrote a guest article for Nieman Lab explaining some of the changes and the background behind the move.
“We decided we could do more to foster elevated discourse and to welcome broader parts of our audience to join in conversations around our articles,” the Wall Street Journal’s Story wrote. “We kicked off a five-month process of in-depth audience research and news product development. It involved everyone from the Journal’s Standards desk, community team and numerous reporters to the product, design, technology, R&D teams, and the membership and customer service desks.”
Story also explained that the Wall Street Journal‘s research found that “heavy commentators are often not reading much of the articles they comment on” and in some cases are only replying to other comments.
Earlier this year, New Zealand news site Stuff changed its online comments policies after the shootings at two Christchurch mosques.