Norway 'anti-troll' site makes you read before commenting

March 2, 2017
The NRKbeta tech website says it get gets the same number of comments after introducing its 'anti-troll' feature

Victims of online "trolling", rejoice. A Norwegian site may have found the key to muzzling malicious commenters on the internet: requiring people to read an article before discussing it.

As an experiment, NRKbeta, a media and technology subsidiary of public broadcaster NRK, has since mid-February required viewers to correctly answer three questions about articles before being able to comment on them.

"Generally, we see that many read only the headline and a few lines before rushing into the section to participate in the debate," NRKbeta editor Marius Arnesen told AFP on Thursday.

"By asking three questions from the text, we ensure that the discussion starts around a common knowledge base," he added.

The method is a way of raising the level of debate but also of taming inflammatory reactions.

"If you've been annoyed by something in the article, you're forced to pause, think a little, and read the article if you haven't already done so," Arnesen said.

"We therefore hope to take the edge off when you are furious in the comment section," he added.

The experiment is still too new to draw any definitive conclusions, according to Arnesen.

But the number of comments seems to have remained more or less the same and the returns of regular readers are generally positive, he said.

"Laudable initiative", an online surfer commented on NRKbeta's website, adding: "Even though my faith in humanity does not go far enough to dissuade me from believing that every debate ends up veering off onto stuff like Adolf Hitler, immigration, rotten politicians, conspiracy theories..."

NRKbeta has yet to find a way to measure the results of its test balloon.

"How do you measure success in these matters?" Arnesen asked. "Is it a success to have fewer comments? More comments? And how do you measure their qualitative improvement?"

Explore further: Online comment sections may influence readers' opinions on health issues

Related Stories

Academia opens 'Sessions' to general audience

September 29, 2015

Academic social network site Academia.edu has opened a feature called 'Sessions' to a general audience after months of testing it with a small group of users. The feature is intended to serve as an avenue for writers of research ...

Recommended for you

Printing microelectrode array sensors on gummi candy

June 22, 2018

Microelectrodes can be used for direct measurement of electrical signals in the brain or heart. These applications require soft materials, however. With existing methods, attaching electrodes to such materials poses significant ...

EU copyright law passes key hurdle

June 20, 2018

A highly disputed European copyright law that could force online platforms such as Google and Facebook to pay for links to news content passed a key hurdle in the European Parliament on Wednesday.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rderkis
3 / 5 (1) Mar 02, 2017
What a stupid thing to do.:-)
But I love it!
dudester
Mar 05, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.