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“The way we raise the money at The Guardian is different than any place I’ve ever been”
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Dec. 3, 2008, 6:43 a.m.

Morning Links: December 3, 2008

— Blog pioneer Jason Kottke writes about how the “broken windows” theory of policing applies to web sites. In other words: If you want good behavior from comments, you need to keep the place looking clean.

Much of the tone of discourse online is governed by the level of moderation and to what extent people are encouraged to “own” their words. When forums, message boards, and blog comment threads with more than a handful of participants are unmoderated, bad behavior follows. The appearance of one troll encourages others. Undeleted hateful or ad hominem comments are an indication that that sort of thing is allowable behavior and encourages more of the same.

(Fellow blog pioneer Derek Powazek has made a similar argument some time ago, with concrete steps news sites can take.)

— Old Media New Tricks has a good interview with Aron Pilhofer, one of the NYT’s data/visualization gurus. Aron: “[F]or my little group, 2009 is going to be about community and about enabling the journalist to be more of an aggregator and curator…”

— If you liked the NYT’s recent piece on local independent news startups, you might enjoy this look at their British equivalents. (Although the Brits, in this case, seem less interested in muckraking investigations and more interested in giving quotes like “We are punk to their [local newspapers’] stadium rock.”)

— Tony Rogers quotes me defending the baby boomers from the charge of having ruined the American newspaper business.

Joshua Benton is the senior writer and former director of Nieman Lab. You can reach him via email ( or Twitter DM (@jbenton).
POSTED     Dec. 3, 2008, 6:43 a.m.
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