Via Slate. The website Popular Science has shut off its comments section. “Comments can be bad for science,” explained Suzanne LaBarre, the magazine’s online content director. She pointed to “trolls and spambots” who “overwhelm” the magazine’s efforts to “spread the word of science far and wide.” Thanks to these trolls, she went on, “the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.”
The Washington Post agrees: “Down with Comments” says Alexandra Petri. Will Oremus at Slate says this is a bad move: “LaBarre’s metaphors conjure an image of science as an ancient and immovable stone fortress, from which the anointed few (Popular Science staff writers, say) may cast pearls in the direction of the masses below, but which might crumble to dust if the teeming throngs aren’t kept at bay. This conception is antithetical to the spirit of free inquiry that has always driven scientific discovery.”
What do you think?