Morning Media Newsfeed: PopSci Kills Comments | @Horse_ebooks Exposed | New Reuters Editor Named

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Why We’re Shutting Off Our Comments (Popular Science)
Comments can be bad for science. That’s why, here at PopularScience.com, we’re shutting them off. It wasn’t a decision we made lightly. As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter. The Atlantic Like a narrow Supreme Court opinion, PopSci‘s defense was case-specific, without presuming to tell other sites they should follow along. Comments “erode the popular consensus” on scientifically validated topics, Suzanne LaBarre, PopSci‘s online content director wrote, such as climate change and evolution. It’s perfectly legal to wonder aloud on your Facebook page whether dinosaur bones are real or placed there by a spiritual entity to test our faith. But it’s not quite the discussion a site like PopSci wants to cultivate under a column by a world-renowned paleontologist. The Washington Post / ComPost End the comments! For civilization! They’re finally doing it. No more comments. Popular Science has just announced that it is putting the kibosh on the comments. And it can’t come soon enough. paidContent I’m tempted to argue that it’s also bad for science when you jump to conclusions based on very little evidence, or when you close off potential avenues for informed debate that might help your reporting, but there’s a bit more to it. FishbowlNY It’s hard to argue with her, but we’re sure someone, somewhere, really wants to.

‘@Horse_ebooks’ Has Been A BuzzFeed Employee Since 2011 (Gawker)
Since 2011, the semi-legendary spam Twitter feed “@Horse_ebooks” has been under control of Jacob Bakkila, a BuzzFeed creative strategist who used to tweet under the handle “@agentlebrees.” Bakkila revealed his identity in an art installation called “BearStearnsBravo” at the FitzRoy Gallery on Chrystie Street in New York. In a series of tweets from the Horse_ebooks account at around 10 a.m., Bakkila gave out the project’s name and a phone number. NYT / Bits For months, the Internet was captivated by the mysterious and strangely poetic Twitter spam account Horse_ebooks. The account spat out comical snippets of speech, including: “Unfortunately, as you probably already know, people,” and the occasional link to a website advertising eBooks about horses. It was an Internet phenomenon that spawned legions of fans, who created Web comics and jewelry devoted to memorializing its bizarre existence and even led to a hunt to unearth the people behind it. The New Yorker / Elements Horse_ebooks has inspired fan fiction, Tumblr accounts, T-shirts and tattoos with its weird Zen-like sentence fragments, such as “Who Else Wants To Become A Golf Ball,” or “For The Highest Price Possible, No Matter How Much Time You Have Had To Prepare!,” or “Everything happens so much.” Daily Beast / Art Beast BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith, one of whose employees was involved with the project, claims to have been in the dark. “We have a total organizational separation between editorial and our often-brilliant creative team,” he said, adding, “I didn’t know about it, and I don’t know of anyone in editorial who did.” PRNewser The most interesting thing about the big stunt reveal to us is that BuzzFeed used the very same fake feed as a source for stories many times over the past two years. Apparently the work was so good that multiple writers remained convinced that it was a real spambot.

Dan Colarusso Named Executive Editor of Reuters Digital (Capital New York)
Dan Colarusso is the new executive editor of Reuters Digital, making him the third person this year to hold that title at the news service. His appointment, announced in an internal memo obtained by Capital, follows the resignation last week of Jim Roberts, who had taken the job in February after accepting a buyout from The New York Times. Prior to that, it was held by Jim Impoco, who left Reuters in January and was recently named editor of Newsweek. TheWrap Roberts decided to leave Reuters after it scrapped plans for its “Next” project, which would make Reuters a consumer-facing news source in addition to its wire service. NY Post / Media Ink In addition to being executive editor of Reuters Digital, Colarusso will remain global head of programming for Thomson Reuters. FishbowlNY Colarusso reports to Steve Adler, Reuters’ editor-in-chief.