- Comments available only to paying subscribers — non-paying subscribers can only like comments
- Mention explicitly somewhere in the comments area the guidelines for discussion: Respect, Logic, Evidence — so that it acts as a mental cue everytime they navigate to that section.
- Every fact should be sourced by a link (evidence)— reports can be made by others to suspend comments that do not contain sources, or volunteer moderators can do this too (people will volunteer their time to do this if a. they get a reward, or b. feel as if they are ‘part of the economist team’
- Turn it into a game; achievements for good commentators, give away prizes or promotions for those that help the discussion etc.
- Get the authors involved in commenting and make it personable. They don’t have to reply to every comment, but adding extra information makes it feel as if the author is just another ‘one of us’. People become less empathetic if they feel their words aren’t valued and part of that value is through making an impact on a human being. Some of the best discussions are because authors chime in and make it fun.
- Profiles for commentators. Putting in place a history of comments for an individual allows others to follow them or allows them to ‘get a feel’ for who they’re talking to. It also acts as a reminder for the individual that their comments are not temporary.