For The New York Times, it appears less is more. At least when it comes to reader comments on the website. Today the paper announced that it will now limit comments on article to 2,000 charahcters, down from its usual limit of 5,000. The Wrap investigated this new policy, and this is what Aron Pilhofer, Editor of Interactive News, had to say:
We’ve had one of the highest character limits known to humanity for a long time. We’ve gotten feedback from readers and frequent commenters, as well as internally, that our character limit is too high, that maybe we should force people to be a little more succinct. 5,000 is a lot. That’s not a comment, that’s an article.
He’s right. As you’ve no doubt seen, a lot of the people who leave comments on websites (not FishbowlNY readers, of course) do so with nothing positive to add. The Times is making a smart move by limiting the length of those comments. Now instead of writing a novel about how wrong a writer is, readers will have to write an essay.