While some publications have abandoned comments or kicked conversations over to social media, I’ve always been thrilled with the conversations we’ve had here—and that goes back to even before I had comments! Whether we’re celebrating a show we all love or challenging each other to think differently about something, it’s wonderful to talk and connect. Thus, it pained me to move to Facebook-only comments last year.
But that’s changing starting right now.
As you’ll see when you scroll down, comments are now powered by Spot.IM, which also powers commenting systems on Engadget, HuffPost, Fox News, Refinery29, and other major web sites. But while I was drawn to the simplicity of their commenting system, they offer more than a box to type in.
Spot.IM brings several features I’m excited about:
- Comments are real-time, so you can see that’s someone responding to you, or typing a new comment, just like you were texting with them.
- You can post GIFs and images right from the comment box. I can’t wait to see your GIF game.
- You can also format text, using italics or creating a bulleted list, for example.
- Active and constructive members of the community will be highlighted and noted on their profiles, while trolls and spammers will be locked out.
- The Spot.IM newsfeed, accessible on desktop browsers with the little plus over there to the right, which will show you active conversations. You can also see what’s “popular in the community” in a new section that’s currently just below the comments, though I may experiment and move it around.
- Spot.IM gives me the ability to live blog, and I’m thinking about ways I might be able to use that most effectively.
Before you start commenting, a few things to know: Whether you were an active commenter on Disqus or a lurker, there are exciting new options:
- You can comment as a guest, with a temporary username.
- Those who are registered, however, will build authority in the community, and receive badges and labels—and that’s not just for those who start great conversations, but also for those who are active in reading and upvoting others’ comments.
- Disqus users, you can sign in using your Disqus account, and claim your old comments, which will hopefully show up in earlier comment threads. (They’re being imported now.)
There’s more to come, too! And I’m excited.
Since removing Disqus comments a little over a year ago, I’ve been sometimes actively, sometimes passively looking for a solution that’s better than just Facebook comments, especially because Facebook and its incessant tracking have their own problems. While I’ve been inspired by the work The Coral Project is doing for media organizations, it’s not yet to a place where implementation for smaller publications is easy.
So, I’m super-excited to try this. What do you think? Let me know—just scroll down!