Pretty much every news site is looking for ways to make its comments section less of a cesspool, from linking comments to users' Facebook pages to just getting rid of commenting altogether. Business Insider reports Norwegian public broadcaster NRk recently debuted a novel solution: a three-question multiple choice quiz about the article that users must pass before leaving a comment. The quiz debuted on a handful of stories on NRkbeta, the site's tech section, last month, Nieman Labs reports. The idea behind the quiz is to make sure people actually read the article before commenting, and NRk staff say it's working.
NRkbeta editor Marius Arneson says commenters getting facts from the article first turns what could be a useless "rant" into a more useful "debate." He also says the time it takes to pass the quiz gives commenters a chance to cool off before posting: "Those are maybe 15 seconds that take the edge off the rant mode." He and journalist Stale Grut say the quizzes have already made the comments more civil. NRkbeta is still experimenting with the quiz and may expand it to other NRk sections. Meanwhile, Google says it's developed AI software that gets rid of "toxic" comments by identifying problem words and phrases, the Telegraph reports. However, the software can be defeated by misspellings. Fortunately, poor spelling isn't a defining feature of most toxic internet comments. (Read more Internet comments stories.)