From the Mercury News:
Trolls take blow as news websites move toward pay-to-comment model.
Soon, only wealthy trolls may be able to spread racism, misogyny and incomprehensible gobbledygook in news website comment sections.
In a blow to the legions of angry, frustrated and otherwise voiceless folks sitting in front of sticky laptops in mommy and daddy’s basement, a movement is growing among media companies to make people pay for the privilege of commenting on news stories, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.
Publishers have long been frustrated by the widespread hijacking of comment sections by trolls, and the costs of policing the comments to weed out the worst vitriol and libel. In 2014, Recode, Reuters, The Week and Mic all deleted their comment sections, following the lead of the Chicago Sun-Times and Popular Science, according to the Harvard-based journalism think tank NiemanLab.
Over the weekend, Tribune Publishing, owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, started up a system at the San Diego Union-Tribune’s website that lets readers earn points by posting comments, making regular site visits – or coughing up cash, according to Bloomberg. For $1, readers get 22 points; for $10, they get 800. A minimum of 15 points buys placement in the “promoted comments” section. Commenters lose points for violating rules about relevance, respect, honesty and discretion.That's an interesting approach to community relations: View all commenters as trolls.
But actual trolls charge money to cross the bridge. Newspapers that post this charge are trolling. But it is their bridge and they can do whatever they want.