This week, Tablet Magazine switched to Facebook to power its comments section. It is our hope that using Facebook comments—which requires that all commenters to be registered Facebook users, which means (hopefully) that they’re all real people writing under their real names—will increase the quality of conversations in the comments threads at the end of all of our articles. Specifically, this should (again, hopefully) decrease the number of disruptive and antagonist commenters, who can no longer hide behind anonymity.
The interface is intuitive and easy to use, requiring only that you log in with your Facebook name and password. We understand, however, that we’re now preventing those readers who do not have Facebook accounts from commenting on Tablet stories. We’re regret that, but we also don’t see a better current solution, given the problems with anonymous and uncivil (and sometimes racist and anti-Semitic) comments we have been seeing when using our previous comments system.
It’s possible this new system won’t be much better, and we’ll have sacrificed the ability for all readers to comment without gaining any advantage in increased civility. If that turns out to be the case, we’ll consider other options. This is simply a test of this new format, but we’re hoping it works.