Posted May 10, 2012 08:52 am

Changes to our online comments

I’m sure you’ve noticed that we’ve made some changes to our online comments. It has already caused some discussion, so I want to give you a brief overview of the new features. We believe they will help to improve the quality of the comments and make the experience more enjoyable.

 

-We added a “thumbs up/thumbs down” feature which, judging by its usage, is already quite popular.

 

-We changed the appearance to make it more appealing.

 

-We added a subject field as an additional dimension for self expression. If you don’t use the subject field, the first several words of your comment will be used. The subject field is not mandatory, but have some fun with it. Be creative.

 

-Perhaps the biggest change is a point system where you will be awarded points for good commenting practices and have points removed for negative behavior.

 

You will receive points for posting comments, voting on comments and flagging spam. If you break the rules, you will lose points.

 

Much of the point system is automatic, but we will be able to add or subtract points manually (and only if necessary.) If we have to block your commenting privileges, you will, of course, lose all of your points.

 

We haven’t made any decisions on possible rewards for points yet. We are waiting to see how this all works. For now, you will get the recognition of gaining points (or not as the case may be) and being indentified as a regular part of our commenting community. I’m sure we will come up with some reward system soon though.

 

It is still a work in progress. There will be changes made as we see how the new system works and how you use it. It is new to me as well, so I will be learning the ins and outs just like you will.

 

The ultimate goal is always to foster good and respectful discussion on the important topics of the day. Sometimes it works well; sometimes not so much. We all know that it is not perfect. Any time a group of people with different opinions and personalities get together there are bound to be some problems.

 

This is an effort to improve the quality of our comments. We want our site to be as interactive as possible. We want to engage our readers in the newsgathering process. We want it to be positive for you and for us.

 

Also, we have something new coming soon that will allow us to publish more of the best of your comments in print and in another online venue. Your voices will gain more volume in our community. The point system may help us in this effort.

 

None of you are shy about letting me know what you think, so give me your feedback. I have already gotten several emails expressing concerns over how the point system will be administered. Don’t worry. We want this to be fair.  The bottom line is we want to reward good behavior and make commenting an enjoyable experience.