The Washington Post, The New York Times and Mozilla have received $3.89 million from the Knight Foundation to create a commenting platform. Here is a guest blog post from Greg Barber, director of digital news projects and the project lead for The Post, explaining the unique collaboration:
Good journalism is rooted in connections: forming bonds among readers, communities and sources. Publishers bring together the concerns of the governed and the agendas of those who do the governing. They serve as a platform for civil discussion and civic debate. They’re an incubator for ideas.
Today’s a great day to be in the connections business.
The Washington Post is announcing a partnership with The New York Times and Mozilla to create an open-source community platform that will better connect readers and publishers. Funded by a $3.89 million grant from the Knight Foundation, the system will allow publishers to easily solicit, store, moderate and publish user contributions, assisted by advanced algorithmic moderation tools.
Most reader contributions are confined to comment sections, those sometimes shadowy corners of the web that can seethe with “Game of Thrones”-style rancor. In forums where the spotlight shifts to those who shout the loudest or snark the hardest, it should be no surprise when there’s plenty of heat, but little light.
The platform we aim to build will help publishers to efficiently discover and highlight thoughtful contributions, rewarding readers who engage meaningfully, not those who troll. And we know that readers have more to offer than just comments, which is why our platform will seek to manage contributions like blog posts, photos and video as well.
This is an exciting, unique collaboration — and a big undertaking. Our platform will likely start small and grow over time, with help, we hope, from publishers, the open-source community and readers like you.