NPR's use of an outside blog comment moderation firm has come in handy — particularly in the days after the Juan Williams firing in October, when "we had tens of thousands of comments coming in that week," NPR Senior Strategist Andy Carvin tells the American Journalism Review. ICUC Moderation Services now monitors all blog posts. "NPR was forced to take defensive action after barrages of inflammatory posts by trolls and spammers polluted its discussion boards and threatened to become a persistent problem," as AJR reports. Previously, interns and NPR staffers deleted offensive posts. But the online comments have become so plentiful that they simply couldn't keep up.
The service began on Oct. 12. Just eight days later, Williams was terminated after he said Muslims on airplanes made him nervous (Current, Nov. 1).
Carvin says visitors who feel the need to vent are still free to do so on NPR's 1.4 million-fan Facebook page, where "users are snarky and swear like sailors."