I’ve tweeted it already, but it’s well worth reading this post from Kevin Anderson at his blog, discussing how journalists (and, we’d add, everyone who runs a discussion site) has responsibility for setting the tone of debate.
An extract, but read the whole thing:
Poisonous communities don’t sell. They don’t sell to most readers, and they damn well don’t sell to advertisers. It’s really interesting the different responses I hear when talking about some high profile engagement-based comment sites. People in the media laud them as visionary, ground-breaking and industry leading. When I speak to members of the public, they call the same sites toxic, offensive and aggressive. I often joke that a lot of publishers engagement strategy is really an enragement strategy. Find the hot button issues of the day and push those buttons until they bleed. … We have the opportunity to pull our audiences further into critical civic conversations but we have to seize it, not believe that interaction is only for ‘them’.