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Daily shelves comments as it plans to inspire ‘better conversations’ online

Natalie FahyA regional daily has turned off online comments as it prepares to launch a new system aimed at encouraging “more constructive conversations” on its companion website.

Nottingham Post and Nottinghamshire Live editor Natalie Fahy has announced the move, which will see a new commenting platform introduced next week.

The new system for registering to comment on Nottinghamshire Live stories has been described as a “big improvement” on the current platform.

HTFP has approached Post owner Reach plc for further information on what it will entail, and whether its other titles will also be introducing the same system.

Natalie, pictured, posted on Twitter: “We’ve temporarily turned off comments on our stories as we switch over to a new commenting platform.

“This should make the experience better for everyone and encourage more constructive conversations.”

An explainer entitled ‘Why are comments turned off?’ has also appeared on the Nottinghamshire Live site.

It states: “We are switching to a new system for registering with us and commenting on our stories.

“The new commenting platform will be a big improvement on our current system and we hope it will enable much better conversations on all our stories.

“While we switch everything across, we’ve had to deactivate commenting for a few days. If you’ve already registered you may get an email asking you to confirm your account.

“By the end of next week, we hope it will be up and running again and we’ll have a fresh start to commenting on our site.

“We look forward to sparking some great conversations with you from next week.”

HTFP reported in 2018 how the Bradford Telegraph & Argus had removed the ability for readers to comment on its stories online, claiming extremists were using them to “sow the seeds of division”.

Editors and journalists from titles including the East Anglian Daily Times and the Bolton News have since spoken out about their own battles with abusive remarks on their websites which prompted the comments feature to be disabled on some stories.

And in June this year, Worcester News trainee reporter Jemma Bufton admitted she was unable to recall a day when she hasn’t been “publicly humiliated” by online commenters during her six months in the job.