These decisions may smack some as subjective or even malicious. After all comments are arguably the digital age response to print's "letter to the editor" — and they often contain criticisms of the article ranging from grammatical erorrs to factual oversights. Some may view the decision to ban comments as a form of censorship, a means for writers to escape any sort of visible accountability among their audience.
While that statement does not get to the meaty subject of real trolling and sock puppets, it does beg a very important set of questions. Especially when the reason for Popular Science from them claims:
And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.
As the article points out, Science is not about doctrine. Science is about methods of proof. Science also requires collaboration and gets much better when numerous minds work on and debate the Science.
Is censorship the right direction, or is finding more intelligent ways of reducing sock puppets and trolls through moderation?