Would you pay money for the privilege of commenting on a website? If so, how much?
An online magazine is looking to keep conversation on its articles "civilized and constructive" and has come up with the idea to charge readers for access to comments (both to read and to post them).
Jewish culture mag Tablet hopes this move will "help [it] create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of [their] readers."
"Tablet is committed to bringing you smart, enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, sometimes allowing destructive – and, often, anonymous – individuals to drag it down with invective (and worse). Instead of shutting off comments altogether (as some outlets are starting to do), we are going to try something else: Ask those of you who’d like to comment on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation," says the magazine.
That nominal fee is $2 a day, $18 a month, or $180 a year.
"The donation rates are small because we are not looking to make money, but instead to try to create a standard of engagement likely to turn off many, if not most, of the worst offenders. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place," says Tablet.
Some sites have moved away from commenting altogether. In late 2013 Popular Science disabled comments, saying "a politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics." More recently, Bloomberg turned them off.
It looks like Tablet wants to keep comments alive, at least in some way. It's unclear how many readers will want to pay for the privilege.
Tablet doesn't operate any other paywalls – the articles are completely free. And if you don't have the money and want to sound off, commenting is still free on their Facebook page.
Images via Tablet Mag