Internet Trolls

Want to comment? Prove you’ve read the article first!

This genius concept was mentioned in a WSJ article on the nature of Internet Trolls:

A site published by the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK just rolled out a system that gives readers a brief multiple-choice quiz about the contents of an article—proving they really read it—before allowing them to comment.

Reading more on the idea, I really think that NRK are onto something:

NRK quizThe goal is to ensure that the commenters have actually read the story before they discuss it.

“We thought we should do our part to try and make sure that people are on the same page before they comment. If everyone can agree that this is what the article says, then they have a much better basis for commenting on it.” said NRkbeta journalist Ståle Grut.

Forcing users to take a little extra time to think about the comment they’re about to post also helps them think about tone, NRKbeta editor Marius Arnesen said. “If you spend 15 seconds on it, those are maybe 15 seconds that take the edge off the rant mode when people are commenting,” Arnesen said.

This isn’t just relevant for social media and news sites either…

I can see a need for this type of check-before-comment in all kinds of online communities, particularly in large-scale enterprise social networks – not so much to combat trolling (though that does occur on occasion), but in order to ensure some level of comprehension before enabling a further discussion (and potentially a tangential one at that) to be initiated.

You certainly wouldn’t want every document, discussion or blog post to have this feature enabled – it would add an additional element of inertia that would be tough to overcome.

But as an option that authors and community managers could enable on potentially controversial posts (such as CEO and VP-level blog posts, re-structuring announcements, etc.), I could really see this feature adding value.

What do you think? Would you be in favour of an optional comprehension check before allowing comments to be added?

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!
  • Lars Berntrop-Bos

    What, no quiz?