"Having spent part of my previous newspaper career trying to moderate comments that ran to the tens of thousands every day — from readers who wanted to make points on stories about everything from the Middle East to homosexuality — I am intimately familiar with how bad comments can get. But I also believe that having them is important. And I think Johnson and others are missing the point when they dismiss them as worthless.
"In fact, my argument is the exact same one that MG Siegler dismisses so quickly: I think comments are the equivalent of free speech, and that they serve a similar purpose — to keep those in power honest, and to enhance our online lives in much the same way that democracy does offline."
(Published April 10, 2012.) I agree with this well-reasoned column, written by Mathew Ingram.