We’re Tweaking Our Commenting System

And you’re going to love it.

Regular readers will know that here at MotherJones.com we use a third-party platform, Disqus, to host our lively comment threads at the bottom of every blog post and article. Overall, Disqus has been a great solution for us: Commenting activity is at a record high and spam has all but disappeared. Of course, this being the internet, we still have some trolls. But as much as we hate what comment trolls can do to the discourse, most of you end up being pretty nice once we get to know you.

We think this upgrade will make everything—from logins to commenting to following the conversation—just a little bit easier. If you’re someone who picks up new interfaces quickly you can probably stop reading here. It’s still Disqus, after all, and it’s mostly the same.

What’s New:

  • You can no longer comment with your old MotherJones.com login.
    There are a handful of you who comment using the MotherJones.com logins left over from our pre-July 2010 commenting setup. The last remaining holdouts, about 1 percent of our total commenters, will need to make a Disqus account or use Google, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, or OpenID to sign in. You can register a new account with Disqus at the top of any comment thread on this website. Once you’re in, follow these steps to make sure all your old comments are merged into your new account.
  • You now write your comment at the top of the thread.
    You can still reply to other comments inline, but the form for new stand-alone comments is moving from the bottom of the comments to the top. The form also looks a little bit different:
  • Now you can vote!
    You can now vote comments up and down. Upvotes are a nice way to acknowledge a fellow commenter and they’ll be able to see that you liked their comment by hovering over the vote button. Downvotes are anonymous and really don’t do anything. While we’re sticking with a chronological comment order as the default display, you can also switch to a “Best” view where the comments are ordered by the net upvote/downvote count.
  • Replies to your comments are a lot easier to find.

    Logged-in folks will notice the Community and My Disqus tabs at the top of the thread:

    The My Disqus tab displays all the replies to your comments in one place, along with the recent activity of commenters and conversations that you’ve signed up to follow. The Community tab allows you to see the most active discussions on the website, as well as the top commenters. I’d expect old standbys like Marcus_From_The_North, Clemans, and Nancy P to show up there.  

  • It’s easier to follow specific threads.
    It was always possible to subscribe to a thread via RSS or email, and buttons for those options have just moved from the top of the thread to the bottom, but you can now choose to “Star” a comment thread. When you click the little star button at the top of every thread you’ll receive notifications about that discussion on your My Disqus page and in your email inbox. More on managing notifications here.

  • It’s easier to share on Facebook and Twitter.
    Every single comment now has a “Share” button next to the “Reply” button. You can also share an entire discussion via the button at the very top of the thread.

What’s the same:

  • Our comment policy. We encourage civil, engaged conversation and our moderators have broad discretion to remove comments that violate our Terms of Service.
  • You can still help your hardworking moderators by flagging comments that violate our policies. But please use your flagging powers wisely.
  • We’re sticking with oldest comments at the top of the thread.
  • We’ll still have 3 levels of nesting.
  • We’re still supporting comments on the mobile site.

Well, that’s it. Let us know what you think…in the comments. Thanks!

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