A comment on Google News comments

Who can comment on stories?:

Right now, Google only posts comments from participants in stories. Participants are people mentioned in a story or related to organizations in a story.

I recall this test being pitched as a way for direct stakeholders in a story to add to it (and/or defend themselves if need be). It’s that second bit, “…or related to organizations in a story”, that makes these comments entirely too subjective. I’ve seen few actual “Comments by People in the News” – it seems a lot more like comments from people who, if they word their comments very carefully, will appease someone just enough to get some very high quality linkage back to their website and just so happen to have some ancillary interest in the news item at hand.

That’s not what quality information, or debate, is supposed to be about. There are plenty of high-profile news resources, including blogs, crossing all matter of subject that do a very good job of filling that role on their own. It would be a heck of a lot clearer (and probably a lot more substantive) if the comments at Google News were restricted specifically to those mentioned in news articles, or the spokepersons on their payroll.

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