In news that’s likely to outrage trolls and delight anyone who believes that a modicum of decorum is necessary for an exchange of ideas, News24 has announced it’s closing comments on its website.

In an announcement titled “Farewell to comments: Why we are making a change”, News24’s editor-in-chief, Andrew Trench, says that as of September 11th this year, you’ll no longer be able to comment under articles published on the website.

“We have decided to switch off comments on articles as a default from Friday and to implement a different approach to how we handle user contributions and engagement with our content on our platform,” Trench wrote.

“Our decision to change our comments policy follows months of internal debate and discussion which has seen us consider all options practically available to us on how to wrangle the thousands of comments which are made on 24.com each day.”

“The end result of these debates is that we have decided that we wish to be known for the quality of our content rather than for our comments,” he added.

If you want to know what prompted the decision, a quick gander at the comments currently filling up the section beneath Trench’s article might give you an idea. Such choice examples include:

“Silencing the voices of ordinary people. One step even closer towards dictatorship.”

“OLD DINGAAN REGIME ALIVE IN SOUTH AFRICA
Good stuff. Descendants of the good old Dingaan Regime
We are back to the good old pre 1900 days. The ways of the old King Dingaan regime: Stealing, robbing, looting, plundering, burning and killing the neighbours. No more comments from the tax payers.”

“Censorship = Dictatorship. Shame on you for betraying the voices of ordinary people, and yielding to the comrades. And your content is lacking anyway. It is decisions like this one that will speed up our journey to becoming Zimbabwe. Shame on you. Shame on you.

And our current favourite:

“This is NOT fair to LAZY SOUTH BOY….
What excuse will he have now, not to have a job ???

Of course, closing comments won’t eliminate anyone’s ability to comment on New24’s content – they can always head over to Twitter – and the site isn’t eradicating the comment function altogether.

As Trench points out, “we will retain the editorial discretion to open article-level comments on material where we believe comments will add value”.

Best of luck with that…

[Image – CC 2.0 Matthijs]