Help a college paper pick their new comments platform


#1

Hello, my name is Seth Archer, and I’m the current web editor for The Post, the student paper at Ohio University.

We are currently in the process of designing our new website, which means we have the chance to pick a new commenting platform. We would love your help picking one! I will periodically post pro/con lists for each platform we come across, based on our student news perspective.

If you have a platform you use, really like, or even help build, let me know! And if you don’t agree with any of the pro/con lists, let me know that as well! I’d love your help in picking the best tool for our new site. Hopefully others that are going through the same process will find this helpful and join the conversation.


#2

Hey Seth,

What are the technical limitations involved? What publishing platform will the new site be using?

It looks like your current site uses Blox. Are you staying with them?

Best,
Jason


#3

Hi Seth,

When selecting a digital tool to implement, I find it helpful to define the goals and limitations (as @postmatic also mentioned) of the project.

Finding a commenting tool will be easy because there are plenty, and many are easy to implement. The question is: which one will help you accomplish your goals?

For example, a recent project I was on defined Commenting as a requirement very early on, but during Customer Development (user testing), we learned Commenting would likely not provide the value assumed, so we scrapped the feature.

During that time, I found this article which discusses the overall value of comment threads - http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/a-blog-around-the-clock/commenting-threads-good-bad-or-not-at-all/

You also mentioned posting a list of platforms. Do you have a link?

  • Ryan

#4

Hey Jason,

We will be moving away from Blox to use SN Works as our developer, host and CMS. This means that a custom commenting system is more than likely not possible, but we should be able to implement existing systems like Facebook comments or Disqus.

-Seth


#5

Ryan,

All of that is good information. As of right now, we do not have a formal list, as this process is just starting. We are aware of the more popular ones, like Facebook comments, and Disqus, and hope to expand that list through our research.

In terms of goals for the platform, we are hoping to jumpstarting our comment section. On our current site, we don’t have a lot of interaction below our stories. Any platform that will encourage more discussion will be an improvement for us.

The second goal is civility. Once we get the users talking, we’d like them to be as civil as possible, but we know this is really hard to accomplish. We don’t have human moderators now, but if a large enough volume begins happening, we would be more than willing to add that position.