Hi Denise! I run a startup in San Francisco that is designing a commenting system from the ground up to machanically favor facts, logic and civility. It’s called Fiskkit.com, and I would (immodestly I suppose) describe it as the most advanced news discussion platform out there.
The short story is that Fiskkit replaces end-of-article comments with “fisking” - the blogging technique of commenting on individual sentences. We also allow for simple tagging of sentences for descriptors like False, Unsupported, Biased Wording, Straw Man Argument or Insightful. This lets us run a sophisticaed statistical test of signifiance to find patterns in the tags, to build an objective quality check of any article.
We are currently designing our system of comments on comments, which will allow us to add 3 new tags: Personal Attack, Profanity and Off-Topic. These tags will be keyed to a new mechanic — a Troll Filter which will allow readers to decide how much of that content they want to see.
If you are interested in re-designing commenting for quality, why don’t we have a short call? I can show you what we’re doing, and at the very least be a resource. I’ve been working on this for the last 4 years, full time, and.. I am a huge Economist fan. (I told my forlorn parents that I learned more from my $200 Economist subscription that my $200k Economics degree.) Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org — I would love to discuss.