The National Journal announced Friday that it would become the latest publication to eliminate its comments section. While they remain committed to the noble calling of serving the public interest through the exchange of ideas, Editor in Chief Tim Grieve writes, the comments section of the venerable Washington insiders’ publication doesn’t live up to those standards.
The good news, though, is that Internet harassment can be combatted and reduced. While the problem is far from solved, a few online communities—especially in the world of multiplayer gaming, which has long struggled with issues of incivility and abuse—have come up with some innovative techniques to deter harassers and sometimes even reform them. If Facebook and the other social networks were to take a page from these approaches, they could make huge strides in turning the Internet into a less toxic place for everyone. But embracing their lessons would also require a whole new way of thinking about online behavior.