Together with Svenja Boberg and Thorsten Quandt, Dr. Lena Frischlich published the paper “Comment Sections as Targets of Dark Participation? Journalists’ Evaluation and Moderation of Deviant User Comments” in the journal “Journalism Studies”. User comments, as the most prominent form of participation in online journalism, offer multiple options for so-called dark participation, comments that transgress norms of politeness or honesty with partially sinister motives. The study focuses on how media actors perceive this challenge and how they react to it, especially with regard to strategic manipulation attempts. Based on a series of guided interviews (N = 25), the researchers examined the experiences of community managers with dark participation in German newspaper sites. The qualitative analysis of the content of the interviews identified four types of comment section managers, ranging from unconcerned gatekeepers to relaxed gate-watchers, alarmed guards, and struggling fighters.
The paper can be downloaded here.