"Change is never easy."
As the father of six-year old twins, that's a phrase I find myself often repeating. Our family just experienced a big change when the boys started first grade earlier this month. In preparation for the possible tears and tantrums, we sat them down a few weeks earlier to talk about first grade: who their teachers would be and some of the fun things they would do. And while things might be a little different than what they were used to in Kindergarten, it really wasn't going to be all that different.
The big changes -- those are still to come (I am NOT looking forward to driving lessons, dating woes, and all that stuff).
We've been making some changes here as well. The latest involves moving over to an new commenting system to accommodate the discussions you may have with your peers and the authors of our news stories, commentaries and image galleries.
Now when it goes live (on or close to Tuesday Sept 28th), you may say to yourself, "Self, I don't see a whole lot that's different here." The differences are indeed subtle, but they also speak to our ongoing commitment to provide you with a better and more reliable community experience.
For example, judging by our inboxes here at InformationWeek, inexplicable comment rejections and the intermittent vanishing act played by entire discussions were a significant source of your frustration. Thankfully, our new platform -- based on Jive's JiveSBS -- addresses both of these major sore spots.
Additionally, the new system has an expand/collapse feature. When there are two or more comments, you'll start off in a 'Quick View,' which lets you see the first comment in its entirety, followed by the subject lines of subsequent posts. Clicking on the 'Full View' icon will allow you to read posts in their entirety (don't worry, the comments will be truncated to subsequent pages so you won't have to scroll on to infinity).
Another major feature of our new system is the nesting of comments. Whereas our old non-hierarchical system made it impossible to discern replies to the original story from those to comments made by your fellow readers, that distinction will now be easily made through the multiple levels of indentations that you commonly see applied to nested threads.
One very un-social-web-like problem with our current system is that it's been impossible to link to a specific comment within a discussion. The closest thing we could get you was to the top of an entire thread. However, if one particular comment caught your attention and you wanted to link to it via Facebook, Twitter, your own personal blog or even another comment, it was impossible. Heck, even we couldn't link directly to a comment from our homepage, articles or newsletters.
With the new platform and its ability to offer a unique permalink for every comment, we've blasted that shortcoming out of the proverbial water. Not only does every comment have its own permalink, we've also made the links to various social network and social news sites easier to find so you can post that much faster to Facebook, Twitter and Slashdot.
And, we're not even done. In the coming months, you'll see the addition of other community enhancements that empower you to engage your fellow readers as well as InformationWeek.com's editors in ways that weren't previously possible on our pages (for example, independently of any article, commentary or gallery we post).
Now remember how I mentioned earlier that change is never easy? The price to pay for the new system is that all our existing discussions are going the way of "As The World Turns." In other words, Bye-bye. But between the improved stability of the system, as well as the extra features (plus future ones we're working on), it's a little pain that offers plenty of promise. We hope you enjoy using the new comments system. If you have any questions OR feedback about it, feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.