At Mother Jones, we’ve said time and again that we depend on our readers to support our journalism. And over the past year, we’ve begun engaging with you far more deeply than we have before: We asked you to participate in our reporting, to tell us why you donate, and to help shape our beats as we launched new, ambitious projects. That’s helped us highlight your voices in our work, in addition to funding reporters and stories.
But one thing has been missing: a civil, inclusive space for the conversation to continue beyond the articles. Yes, social media serves some of that purpose, but it’s not usually a place for in-depth conversation—not to mention all the other reasons why more and more people have second thoughts about Facebook and Twitter. Plus, social media, with its opaque, ever-changing algorithms, is definitely not the place where you can do what we know MoJo readers want to do: Put the information to work, brainstorm solutions, and share ideas for action.
We know you want that because you’ve told us, and because you’ve done it: Years ago, after we published an investigation of a school using electric shocks to discipline vulnerable children, readers self-organized to address the problem. We want you to give you the platform to do more of that.
That’s why we’re reinvesting in our comments section. Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll be hearing from us about our new commenting system, called Coral. (Here’s some background.) The new system gives us features that we hope will create a better experience for commenters. It will help us identify comments that violate our community guidelines, and give you better tools for flagging bad behavior. And it will require all commenters to sign up for an account in the new system, just as people who comment now had to create an account with Disqus.
But tech alone isn’t the solution—it’s just the tool. The rest is up to all of us. On Mother Jones’ end, we’re in the middle of revising our community guidelines, and we’d love your feedback on what the guidelines say. You can do that here.
This is a way to hit reset on a conversation that has the potential to be productive, inspiring, and useful to everyone. We want to hear from you on how we should do it.
Do you currently comment? If you do (or don’t but might like to), what kind of community do you want to have at Mother Jones? What questions do you have for us? Let us know in the form below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.