We’re facing a bit of a conundrum. The aim of Archive Vancouver is to create a new kind of city magazine that functions like a shared cultural asset. You guys supply the photos and you vote on what gets in and then we make the magazine you told us to. The Based On a True Story section offers Vancouver’s writers a chance to contribute humorous tales of truth or fiction that are set in our city. So far it’s worked pretty well, but we’re not satisfied. We want to hand over even more control but there’s a small problem.
One element of the magazine we’ve been reluctant to give over to the public is the comments. The reason should be pretty obvious: comment sections are the most toxic places on the entire internet, and the internet is a pretty bad place to begin with. So far, we’ve taken a half-pregnant approach to comments by supplying them ourselves or asking for volunteers from Vancouver. This gave us the freedom to edit every word a reader saw. Unfortunately, this structure has two major flaws: 1) The Archive staff is not very funny and the comments reflect that fact; 2) Writing the comments ourselves won’t scale when we take Archive to other cities.
So here’s the conundrum. Opening up comments to the public would certainly deliver funnier and better content for the magazine, which would enrich every reader’s experience when they picked up a copy. But a public comment section in the Archive app would probably turn your phone into a digital hellscape of vitriol, racism, and trolling. If we ruin the phone experience we will ultimately ruin the magazine because we can’t make a good mag without happy users on the Archive app.
We haven’t decided what to do yet, so if you have any suggestions send them to email@example.com. I’d love to hear them. At this point, the only guarantee I’m willing to make is a comment section on the Archive app will make use of the greatest feature ever created for social media: BLOCK USER.