It is time for the Herald-Times to dump Facebook comments

The Herald-Times has a new owner and a new editor, and with that will come some changes. One of the changes that needs to be made is to the comments system. The Facebook comments experiment has failed, in large part due to the fact that the H-T has abandoned moderation of comments.

The Facebook comment section is slower and far less reliable than the native comment sections that existed from 2007 to 2016. Plus, one of the benefits of a HeraldTimesOnline.com subscription – the ability to comment on stories – is gone. Now anyone can comment whether he is a subscriber or not, and paying customers who do not have a Facebook account are locked out of commenting. This was an unjustified loss of value for paying customers when the system was launched in 2017.

One of the reasons given for switching to Facebook is that the H-T wanted commenters to use their real names. This is laughable nonsense. The Herald-Times always had the ability to mandate that real names be used in the old system, because they had the names and credit card numbers of everyone who posted comments. They could have easily simply mandated that all usernames be tied to a real name, or the username would be banned from commenting from that point forward.

It is too bad that the old comment system launched in 2007 that lasted through June 2013 is gone forever. That was the best comment system I have seen anywhere. That system is never coming back, but there is no reason not to use native comments again. The Herald-Times should either bring back the comment system that was in place as recently as 2016 or get rid of comments completely.