Commissioning comments and author engagement

We recently announced we’d start commissioning comments from academics. Here’s an update on how it’s going.

The idea is to invite academics with subject expertise to contribute to the discussion – we let them know an article in their area is coming up and invite them to comment. The more informed opinions we get on our site the closer we get to an informed, solution-driven discussion. Commissioning comments helps us achieve this.

(Academic participation in the comments also helps the conversation stay on track – certainly a bonus.)

We don’t provide any editorial steer or suggestion about the individual’s comments– just an invitation to participate. Commissioned comments are not about us adding balance or an alternative point of view. They’re simply about inviting people to contribute their expertise.

We’ve often said we want our comments to be more illuminating than the original article and commissioning comments is one way to do that.

What do you think about commissioned comments? Do you want more academic perspectives on any given topic and, if you do, is commissioning comments a good way to go about it?

Cory Zanoni, community manager