EspnW Can't Have A Comments Section Because The Internet Is Awful

The women’s sports website killed its comments section months ago.

Scroll through the comments section on your average EspnW story, and you'll delight in the carefully reasoned arguments and intelligence of your fellow sports fans.

Just kidding! That part of ESPN's website dedicated to female athletes was such a cesspool that the network did away with it, columnist Jane McManus explained Wednesday on Twitter.

"Comment sections at EspnW were installed as a way to build community," she wrote. "And they did. Mostly for men who hated women's sports. We axed them."

It seems the website quietly did away with allowing comments months ago. An analysis of online harassment published earlier this month by The Guardian has led to more discussion about monitoring abusive comments on the Internet.

The Guardian found that sites with predominantly female writers are particularly susceptible to lewd comments, concluding "that articles written by women attract more abuse and dismissive trolling than those written by men, regardless of what the article is about."

Such content -- which was seen in the EspnW comments section -- only begets similarly sordid responses and "drives away the people who would have thoughtful critique and dissent," McManus argued.

"I loved the idea of building a community of users," she wrote, "but that community never arrives when the vile stuff gets posted first."

EspnW did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The site is now part of a long list of digital media properties that have deleted or significantly pared down their comments sections. Some websites (including The Huffington Post and ESPN's main website) have relinquished control of the comments and let Facebook do the heavy lifting instead.

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