Policy and a Pint: Uncivil Discourse – Comments Sections in the Digital Age


The comments section of news stories and blogs can be an awful place. Or it can be a great source of intelligent conversation when done correctly.

The problem is a lot of websites don’t do it correctly, refusing to put any editorial work into the section and generally leaving the area to be a food fight.

Next Monday night, we’ll be participating in a Policy and a Pint discussion at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis. Here’s the pitch:

We tout the web as the great democratizer, but are comments sections curated op-ed spaces or totally open free-for-alls? Some call comments sections the new public square, but others say that the act of “trolling” actually stifles the ability for healthy public discourse. And how do the comments sections reflect – poorly or positively – on the mission or brand of the company? It’s a question that has implications for free speech, and we’ll tackle it at our next Policy and a Pint.

Host Steve Seel welcomes MPR News’ NewsCut blogger Bob Collins, U of M journalism professor Shayla Thiel-Stern, Julio Ojeda-Zapata from the Pioneer Press, and City Pages’ Aaron Rupar to the panel. You make it a vibrant conversation.