Story 2014-06-19 3P7 Mozilla to develop New York Times' new comment/contribution system

Mozilla to develop New York Times' new comment/contribution system

in internet on (#3P7)
Wow - This is big. The New York Times has selected the folks from Mozilla to develop their new comment and contribution system.
The New York Times and The Washington Post announced on Thursday that they had teamed up with Mozilla to develop a new platform that will allow them to better manage their readers' online comments and contributions. The platform will be supported by a grant of roughly $3.9 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, an organization that gives substantial money to promote journalism innovation.

Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox web browser and a nonprofit that works for open standards on the web, will help The Times and The Post build the technology for a platform tailored to news organizations. The platform, which will take approximately two years to complete, will eventually be available for other news organization to download free.
Looks like opportunity in many senses: a chance to rethink online commenting, a chance for Mozilla to make a buck, and a chance to put an axe in the head of "Sign into Facebook to comment" type approaches. Me, I would've recommended they install Pipecode. But hey.
Reply 17 comments

Peter Principle (Score: 3, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-06-19 17:30 (#26C)

Failing upwards. Great, the irresponsible maintainers of a second rate web browser get millions for something they have ZERO experience or expertise in, and reinventing a wheel that's available EVERYWHERE already via everything from phpBB to BuddyCloud and etc.

Nice grift if you can get it. Do-nothing Mozilla and "don't you dare read our web site" NY Times deserve each other. A conjoined failure spiral.

Re: Peter Principle (Score: 1, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-06-19 19:08 (#26E)

Why the downmod? Perhaps you could actually say something and CONTRIBUTE to a discussion rather than trying to "disappear" the one person who bothered to construct a comment (the only current post on the thread)? What a bad person you are.

Re: Peter Principle (Score: 1)

by on 2014-06-19 19:17 (#26F)

I've never understood all the hatred around paying the NYT to read their articles. Journalists cost money - I have a couple of journalist friends, and their kids need shoes too. I pay the NYT for a subscription that lets me read it on the web - $8 a month or something, not much considering what I pay for coffee in a month, and the quality of the reporting is good. You want free? Go to CNN or Washington Post, but you get what you pay for.

There's a whole generation that insists on its right to reading news for free on the Internet, forgetting that it costs money to get the news, write it, edit it, and run the servers.

Re: Peter Principle (Score: 2, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-06-19 19:27 (#26H)

I'll explain simply where the hatred comes from -- they're taking something away. People tend to resent that, whether it was a free lunch or not. Raising the price from "free" is never a popular move.

In general people do NOT hate the Wall Street Journal or scientific periodicals for their paywalls, simply because those paywalls have ALWAYS been there. But the NY Times has created and then progressively tightened its paywall over time, going from a site that was all-access and ad-supported for the general public to a closed site that will allow the public to read 2-5 articles before throwing up obnoxious blocks. It also greatly reduces the Times' value as a news source on the web.

We (the nonsubscribers) have lost access to something that was once available to us, simply because the NYT decided it couldn't make advertising work. It's sad, but not sad enough to make me comply with their demands to pay them...

In any case, it was only a small tangential remark about how neither Mozilla nor NYT are doing the right things, for themselves OR their users.

LWN (Score: 2, Informative)

by on 2014-06-19 23:11 (#26M)

I like the approach taken by LWN. Offer a subscription (starting at $3.50 per month) for full access to all articles. Once an article is over 2 weeks old, allow access to everyone.

Re: LWN (Score: 2, Informative)

by on 2014-06-19 23:12 (#26N)

Re: LWN (Score: 1, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-06-20 08:56 (#26Z)

Agree. Also, the price is reasonable. The NYT offers quality reading, but their prices are very high. Almost unreasonably high.

Re: Peter Principle (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2014-06-19 21:33 (#26J)

For 4 millions and 2 years, it will have to be muuuuch better than the dozens of existing systems. I lack imagination so I fail to see what great improvements can be brought to a system that fondamentally relies on the quality of what is posted. I fail to see how it may change the fact that most people commenting on newspapers websites cannot read and understand the articles, cannot spell and write coherent ideas, and/or continuously spam with their political obsessions, not caring how unrelated to the topic they are.

Re: Peter Principle (Score: 1, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-06-19 22:33 (#26K)

If they can replicate Wikipedia and get good quality contributors for free, they can finally fire everyone they want and more than recoup the investment. Why they wouldn't do that via a download of Wiki code and a $100K consulting contract is beyond me too.

Re: Peter Principle (Score: 1, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-06-20 03:47 (#26V)

Wikipedia needs a lot of work before it is ready for prime time. The only wiki software I know of which comes close is Confluence.

Re: Peter Principle (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-06-20 08:55 (#26Y)

Yeah, I agree. There are so many existing products out there - what could they be looking for that doesn't already exist? Disqus is perfectly reasonable for most purposes, for example.

Secondly, was this some sort of open tender that the Mozilla guys competed for and won on the strength of their proposal?

probable censorship (Score: 3, Interesting)

by on 2014-06-19 23:41 (#26Q)

sounds like an abuse of the grant money, at minimum waste - that could have been used to contribute and support journalism in so many other ways....the only result i see that could come of of this will essentially be fast, computer-assisted censorship:
  • they still aren't going to be able to moderate every single comment (uphill battle)
  • and the number of comments by volume will only grow with time, including proportionally trolls and spammers;
i really think its likely that a machine will end up deciding if you're comment is worth of anyone elses viewing or not. this progress journalism how?

am I just not understanding this?

Lots of young liberal arts college grads are looking for work (Score: 3, Insightful)

by on 2014-06-19 23:47 (#26R)

Seems it would be easy to hire interns at $10/hr to moderate the comments on a newspaper's web site in real time, and also maybe contribute youth-oriented content (entertainment and restaurant reviews, etc) on the side.

So... What Are They Doing Again? (Score: 3, Interesting)

by on 2014-06-20 04:39 (#26X)

Hey, Brian! How does it feel to write code worth $3.9 Million in 1/6 the time?

As is per what I've come to expect from the NYT and Washington Post, they are lacking the details I am interested in. When a commenting system gets large enough, you either get group think or mass censorship to force opinion conformity. How are they going to solve that problem? Since they have a time estimate and a cost, they should have an answer.

Better Discussion Here (Score: 2, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-06-20 14:18 (#276)

This subject finally turned up on Slashdot today, and the discussion there to date is DREADFUL. The quality and intelligence of the comments here is far greater on this subject.

This has NOT usually been the case with other "cross posted" stories, and I'm glad to see it start happening.

Re: Better Discussion Here (Score: 2, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-06-20 22:24 (#27A)

Yay us! Please spread the word to your friends. Unless your friends are dorks, in which case, spread the word to your smart friends' friends instead :)

Re: Better Discussion Here (Score: 1, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-06-21 03:35 (#27F)

Friends? I'm an anonymous poster on an obscure tech board. I have no friends. :)