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February 11, 2015

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To Shut Down Trolls, Site Asks Readers to Pay to Post Comments

By Josh Wolford

Would you pay money for the privilege of commenting on a website? If so, how much?

An online magazine is looking to keep conversation on its articles "civilized and constructive" and has come up with the idea to charge readers for access to comments (both to read and to post them).

Jewish culture mag Tablet hopes this move will "help [it] create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of [their] readers."

"Tablet is committed to bringing you smart, enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, sometimes allowing destructive – and, often, anonymous – individuals to drag it down with invective (and worse). Instead of shutting off comments altogether (as some outlets are starting to do), we are going to try something else: Ask those of you who'd like to comment on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation," says the magazine.

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