If Gawker Media is any evidence, “adding a few obstacles” for commenters can improve the volume and quality of comments. Nick Denton’s blog network revamped their commenting system last summer, and after an initial fall-off, they’ve seen a dramatic increase in reader responses. The Nieman Journalism Lab explains:
In essence, Gawker’s “class system” means unknown commenters get stuck behind a “show all discussions” link few users will click. What most readers will see are only the musings of trusted commenters and the few comments from the riff-raff that either Gawker staff or trusted commenters have decided to promote – the “featured discussions.”
Maybe exclusivity is the path to Internet glory after all?