Fixing online comments — how do you automate trust?

Jeff Atwood, co-founder of Stack Overflow, has launched a new platform that he hopes will improve the nature of online comments by adding trust metrics — but there are no shortcuts to healthy online communtiies.

NYT editor: Journalism pre-dates newspapers and will outlast newspapers

In a recent “Ask Me Anything” interview with Reddit users, the Washington bureau chief for the New York Times had some refreshingly reasonable things to say about how the web has helped improve journalism, and how the practice of journalism will survive even if newspapers don’t.

Today in Social

When AOL reported its quarterly earnings, it showed that overall online advertising was up 6 percent, but that was driven primarily by Europe and AOL’s ad networks. Its own display ad business was flat, and it blamed a continuing sales force reorganization. It claimed its hyperlocal Patch business will hit $40-50 million this year. Earlier, Yahoo said its display ad business was up 1 percent. Microsoft said its online advertising business was up 8 percent due to search, while display was down slightly. Together, the big portals’ display ad revenues are either flat or down. Google is probably up, but it doesn’t break out display from search, and we’re all waiting for Facebook to report tomorrow. If it turns out that Google and Facebook are the only big guys up double digits, that presents a pretty gloomy picture of online brand advertising. Both companies mostly sell direct-marketing ads that qualify as remnant inventory for brand-name publishers. Would putting together some of these weak sisters help accelerate the business?

Handicapping Microsoft’s media business

Microsoft’s struggles to make a successful business out of advertising led to the company posting its first-ever quarterly loss. Some have been saying for years Microsoft should never have gotten into media. Is it about to get out?