Online commentators that only have the goal of bothering other people may soon find that their goal is harder to achieve. The Norwegian public broadcaster, NRK, has implemented a simple solution: ask commenters if they read the article. NRK has put a short (and easy) quiz on some articles that is about the content of the article itself; if you answer correctly you can comment. If you get the answer wrong you will find you can’t contribute to the comment section.
Forcing users to take a little extra time to think about the comment theyâ€™re about to post also helps them think about tone, NRKbeta editor Marius Arnesen said. â€œIf you spend 15 seconds on it, those are maybe 15 seconds that take the edge off the rant mode when people are commenting,â€ Arnesen said.
NRKbeta is one of the few sections within NRK that actually has a comment section, and the blogâ€™s dedicated readership has built a community in the comments and typically has pretty positive conversations, Grut and Arnesen said.
However, when NRKbeta stories â€” such as the story on digital surveillance â€” are placed on the main NRK homepage, they attract readers who arenâ€™t regulars, which can bring down the level of conversation.