Rotten Tomatoes' decision to suspend user commenting on "The Dark Knight Rises" — its first foray into such large-scale censorship — smells rotten to us.
It's a rotten idea for the world's most successful experiment in crowdsourcing movie fan sentiment. The platform is about giving the audience a forum for discussion — not just about helping Warner Bros. sell movie tickets.
The site's editor said, "We may do away with comments completely or get to a place where comments are only activated after a movie opens."
Apparently some rabid Batman fans were so incensed over certain critics' negative reviews that they unleashed their vitriol in record volume — overwhelming the site's moderators. Perhaps the worst comment said critic Marshall Fine should "die in a fire." Fans were being a**holes. We get it.
But this move — and the more troubling hint that comments may disappear entirely — signals a Tomatoes that is moving away from its audience in a big, and not fresh, way.