The Kernel's solution to vitriolic blog comments: make 'em pay to have their say

Charging a few pence or cents to make a comment and then rewarding valuable commenters by paying them slightly more than the cost of making the comment.


'Result: Good commenters have a chance to make a little pocket change, which seems appropriate if we believe that comments actually enhance news sites. (They don’t, but anyway.) Good commenters, in that case, are shoring up the site with valuable content—something short of an op-ed but more worthwhile than the usual dirty graffiti—so it makes sense to pay them a tiny bit.


Meanwhile, bad commenters are free to get down with their shitty selves—but they have to financially support journalism while they do it. You want to weigh in on every article with a female-sounding byline, telling the author to get back in the kitchen? Be our guest—the money you spend will help subsidize more feminist writing.


Of course, implementing this would require a lot of new infrastructure. So it’s unlikely to happen, or at least to happen any time soon.


What should you do in the meantime? Well, I’ve had a lot of luck with a Chrome plug-in that turns off comments entirely, unless you choose to enable them on a per-site basis. It is called, appropriately, Shut Up.'