Work Package no. 7 – Impact of comments’ moderation
WP 7 studies the impact of the moderation experiment on popular media audiences in Romania.
The objectives of WP7 were to identify the moderation effects on antidemocratic and intolerant discourse at the level of commenters and journalists and study their evolution over time.
Impact of “Less Hate, More Speech” moderation:
- Our analysis regarding commenting patterns on websites where we implemented moderation (GSP.ro, Tolo.ro, Blogsport.ro, Paginademedia.ro) shows that the share of moderated comments went down over time on all sites, suggesting that a decrease in the level of intolerant and uncivil discourse resulted in less need for moderation.
- There was no significant decrease in the number of commenters or comments, and there is no evidence that the moderation put in place on these four websites had a negative influence on the traffic on these sites, as both increases and decreases in traffic can be explained by other factors.
Perceptions of GSP.ro and Tolo.ro readers and commenters:
- A survey of over 500 GSP.ro and 900 Tolo.ro reader-commenters offered some insight into the reactions and perceptions of moderation of the section of the readership that is arguably most engaged. The survey revealed that the respondents were, on the whole, supportive of moderation and other “Less Hate” measures in the comment section.
- Almost 9 in 10 respondents from both GSP.ro and Tolo.ro agreed that publications can and should impose rules in the comment section. The majority of them also thought the moderation on the two websites was neither too harsh nor too lenient, although GSP.ro commenters did tend to agree that moderation should be more aggressive more than the Tolo.ro respondents.
- Perceptions of the quality of the moderators’ work were a little different depending on the website. While 65% of Tolo.ro commenters agreed that the moderators act consistently and fairly, a slightly smaller share, and less than half (46%) of the GSP.ro respondents believed the same. Still, a majority of the commenters perceived positive results of the moderation: 66% of GSP commenters and 77% of Tolo.ro commenters agreed that the number of aggressive, violent or intolerant comments had reduced as a result of the moderation.
- Large majorities of the commenters on both sites thought it was a good idea that authors or moderators highlight the best comments (over 7 in 10 respondents). They were also supportive of the active participation of journalists in the comment section (85% for GSP.ro respondents and 89% of Tolo.ro respondents).
Less Hate, More Speech – Youngsters Get Involved!
The project is run by Median Research Centre (MRC) in partnership with Educ Association and targets young people between 12 and 17 years old, in order to help them better identify and react to online and offline hate speech.
More, on the project’s website.