Earlier this year, we reported that Microsoft had temporarily suspended MSN comments while it was in search of a better solution due to a proliferation of abuse and trolling.
Microsoft may not have found that better solution yet, but they have still taken off comments wholesale from the site. This time, the message advising users of the temporary removal has been deleted, and the comment section simply doesn’t exist.
In a comment by a spokesperson earlier this year, Microsoft said:
We do not intend for this to be the end of user contributions, but a first step in creating a better way for our audience to engage in discussion around issues they care about. We are working on developing an entirely new discussion platform that will enable open debate, and at the same time go much further in protecting the user community from abusive and offensive posts. In the short term, the commenting feature won’t be available. However, it’s a necessary step in order to allow us to create a solution that welcomes open and intelligent debate in a respectful environment
MSN isn’t the only news publisher which has shut down online comments in the past few years. The Verge for one has switched from opening comments on all articles to a case by case basis. Several publications prefer comments be pre-approved before posting, and more still have shut down comment sections wholesale.
While comment sections have value in building a community, it appears that for some publishers, they can be more of a liability than they are worth.