The New York Times’ evocative reporting often leaves readers wanting to react. Up until now, they’ve been able to do so with astonishing freedom, being given up to 5,000 characters in the comments section that follows all articles on NYTimes.com. Now, the Times is asking readers to please, make it brief.
A note to readers yesterday announced that from now on, they’ll have 2,000 characters to make their point, cutting the limit by 60 percent. The Times said the reduction would "allow for an improved experience for commenters and readers alike."
The Times’ editor of interactive news, Aron Pilhofer, told TheWrap that the character reduction will benefit everyone. First and foremost, the vast scale-back will allow Pilhofer’s moderation team to spend far less time meticulously reading through massive chunks of text in order to approve comments.
Pilhofer said the reduction is also in response to both internal comments and messages from readers. "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," he said.