InformationWeek's New Commenting System, Take 2 - InformationWeek

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Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
9/30/2011
10:53 AM
Tom LaSusa
Tom LaSusa
Commentary
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InformationWeek's New Commenting System, Take 2

We're apologizing for the miserable experiences you've had with our current commenting system, and launching a new system, powered by Disqus.

"A riot is an ungly thing...undt, I tink that it is chust about time ve had vun." Inspector Kemp, Young Frankenstein

Folks, you can put down your pitchforks and torches: the monster has been vanquished. Our comment- duplicating, CAPTCHA-failing, and audience-and-editor- frustrating commenting system has been replaced.

It was more than a year ago when I extolled our new Jive SBS-powered commenting system. Among some of the new features we championed were the ability to expand/collapse discussions and nested comments, so it would be easier to figure out which posts were direct responses to earlier ones.

We were also looking forward to backend improvements that would stop valid comments from being rejected for no reason, or entire discussions poofing out of existence. The inclusion of a CAPTCHA field was going to help us trim down the spam--something that had become a serious issue for us.

All those things sound great, right? Too bad it didn't quite go that way.

I'll spare you the details of all the back-end problems we encountered--those were our devils to be faced. Needless to say, no one was impressed with what was happening on the front-end. The CAPTCHA did little to stop the spam; in fact, as the spam continued to filter through, valid comments appeared to be blocked. The CAPTCHA would fail multiple times, even if you entered the string correctly. And then if it did go through, users might find their post duplicated two, three, five or more times (I think the record was 8 at one point.)

Bottom line: The plans we had to create a great community atmosphere between our audience members and our editors/writers tanked faster than Charlie Sheen's Summer Warlock Tour. The audience started to disappear, and justifiably so. Hell, if our own staff was too frustrated with the system to use it, why would we expect YOU to?

A few months ago we launched our sibling site "The BrainYard"--a community for social business. Rather than use JiveSBS, the commenting system was powered by Disqus. You've probably seen the Disqus commenting system being used on Fox News Channel's site, as well as Wired's Engadget, and elsewhere on the Web. It's a robust system which the BrainYard editors found very easy-to-use. A simple registration is all it takes to start posting: There's no CAPTCHA in sight.

It didn't take long for us to realize that we should roll the Disqus commenting system out on InformationWeek. So after some coding to Disqus to accommodate our site needs and the obligatory testing, we did. You can see the end result right below. There's nesting comments, the ability to "like" comments, and permalinks so you can promote a discussion elsewhere (such as a social network). You can even upload a profile picture, so everyone can see your smiling, non-rioting face (hopefully).

As with the last time we switched commenting systems, switching over to Disqus means the existing comments powered by the previous system will disappear. Given how few comments there have actually been recently, I think we can all agree that it's no big loss.

So as we wipe the egg off our faces, and extend our apologies, we hope that you'll join our community as it starts to rebuild. We know you've got some great opinions about our content--and we very much want to hear them.

Tom LaSusa, Community Manager

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
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