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(Brian Gable)
(Brian Gable)

A new approach to reader comments on The Globe and Mail Add to ...

The Globe and Mail is changing the way users leave comments on articles.

While other news sites have abandoned reader comments altogether, we feel there is value in maintaining a place for readers to debate the topics we report on and tell us what they think of our journalism.

We are adopting a new platform from Civil Comments, which relies on the community of commenters to self-moderate.

This is a fresh approach to a problem that publishers have been facing for years - how to foster intelligent debate from readers while avoiding trolls and the need for heavy moderation.

Our new platform asks users to review other comments made on the site before posting their own. Each comment is reviewed by the community for quality and civility. This peer-to-peer moderation process incentivizes users to be more respectful to each other regardless of how different their opinions may be.

The decision to adopt Civil Comments was made after an eight-week trial that ran on the Politics section of our website. We noticed that the number of comments for that section remained stable during the test period while the percentage of comments that were either rejected or flagged dropped significantly, pointing to an overall uplift in the quality of conversations.

We understand how passionate our users are and we welcome different views and opinions. But we also recognize that sometimes things can get out of hand.

We also believe that the vast majority of our community knows how to play fair. In fact, our trial showed that, with a few exceptions, our readers were willing to adopt this new approach in order to elevate the tone of the debate within comments. We were thrilled to see that.

We understand we may not get everything right from the start. We will look to you to let us know how to improve the platform and keep comments working for everyone. Try it out and let our Public Editor, Sylvia Stead,  know what you think.

Please note that during this transition any comments made before Nov. 28 will be hidden from view, but will return in the coming days.

Have a question about how to use our new commenting platform? Please consult our refreshed Community Guidelines or contact our Customer Services team. Please note that comments do not appear on mobile article pages though we may explore adding them in the future.

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