The site where readers must pass test before posting comments

The tech site NRKbeta aims to make readers think first before posting comments on an article.

Story highlights

  • Readers have to answer three multiple-choice questions before they can post comments
  • Many news platforms have disabled comment fields, turning to social media instead

(CNN)How often do you read a headline online and race to the comment section, desperate to vent?

It may be natural to many, but it's exactly the type of behavior that NRKbeta, the technology section on the news website of Norway's public broadcasting network, is trying to stop.
    On some stories, potential commenters must answer three simple multiple-choice questions about an article before they can post responses to it.
    On a recent NRKbeta article about a new Facebook search tool, for example, readers have to answer these correctly questions before they can post a comment: Who developed Stalkscan? Should you be terrified of Stalkscan? When did Facebook Graph Search launch? Three options are given for each, and the answers can all be found in the story.
    The site has few problems with its regular community of readers, NRKbeta editor Marius Arnesen told CNN.
    "But when we share our articles on the home page, they attract a lot of readers not familiar with the topics," he said. "They just read the headline, assume certain things and race to the comment field.
    "The aim is to make people take 30 seconds before they comment, to take the edge off."
    The initiative was launched three weeks ago. Arnesen admits that its success will be difficult to measure: "Are fewer comments a sign of success? Better comments? How do you measure good/bad comments?"
    But he said the initial reaction from the site's regular audience has been positive.
    Over the last few years, many news platforms, including CNN, have disabled the comment field entirely on some or all of their articles, choosing to encourage discussions on social media channels instead.