Our User Personas


Click here to read more about our Personas, and here to download a PDF containing all of these images. They’re works in progress – let us know below how we can improve them.

UPDATE Three new personas added on 5/10/16.

A Change of Focus
From comments to conversations
From comments to conversations

I’m 60% Courtney, 10% Larry and 30% something else.


That’s great. What’s the something else?


There’s obviously been a tremendous amount of work on these. Agencies spend months getting their psychographics / personae together for any one of their clients’ products. Very impressive. I’m daunted by the volume of information here – and that’s just reading

It would be interesting to put some of these traits into a ~personality quiz to help the community find their general types, drill into their specifics, and provide additional color to create – maybe – variations on these themes. I’ll work on creating an example to better explain.


Are you a Hack, Hacker, or Pundit


I think that the end user personas are a little biased against discussion. As if discussion would be inherently acrimonious/aggressive/bitter. I am missing a persona that loves debate, enjoys to look for weak and strong elements in an argumentation and uses discussion to get a better understanding of the different views involved in an controversial matter. Aren’t those the ones we want to read?

https://aeon.co/conversations has a community with a lot of such personalities.


Thanks Steve - we’ve talked about something like this. Ideally though we’d want it to be less definitive than Playbuzz/other quizzes. Ie, instead of saying “You are ‘Courtney’”, being able to say “You are 35% Courtney, 10% Sidney, 5% Salma” etc so that we can give something more substantive than “you are definitely Sara” response.

We haven’t found an online quiz builder that lets us do that easily, and we don’t have the developer resources right now to devote to building it ourselves.

Do you know any tools that could help us do that?


This is amazing!!!

Printed 3 copies out. One for my desk. One for our wall. One for our lead designer.

My favorite is Dev. Partially because I relate to him. Partially because that’s where Livefyre is mentioned. But he doesn’t like his technology. I see what you did there!


I met Edie in the street today :smile:


Hey all - this is fantastic work, and so inspiring. It feels good just to see some of these values actually written out somewhere - acknowledged and understood so they can be worked with.

My suggestion is likely one you’ve already considered. In your newsroom personas, is there room for an eager community engager? You have Margaret, who is spot-on as the distrustful skeptic and multiplied many times over in most newsrooms I know. I’m thinking about the reporters who have heard about the principles behind community engagement and think they’re solid, and would love to feel more empowered and supported in their own efforts to apply these principles and methods in their work.

It’s a bit lame, but I’m of course talking about myself here :wink: I was at Beyond Comments on the second panel, talking about how I used to host reader meetups and considered the quality of conversation to be part of my job. I still do. If you want to talk more, I’m happy to help.


Glad you like them !!!


Thanks Monica,

That is a really good idea. So many people in newsrooms talk about seeing the value of engagement but not being able to convince people . One of the things I am looking at is how non journalistic methods of community engagement and how they might help in news room evangelization.


Sounds promising. When you say non-journalistic methods, what are some examples?


100% Understood. You’re looking for a ~Myers-Brigs-type profiling quiz that can place members into broad)er categories.


It’s possible, to be sure, but I can’t rattle off a specific solution that helps make it so.

I’ll consult with a couple of domain experts. Even with a direct answer, there’s still work involved in getting to the main attributes and arriving at the questions and answers that define individuals as belonging to those attribute categories. You’ve (Coral) done a bunch of that; formulating those as questions and answers is more work, still.

I’ll follow-up here -


Can the Coral Project team say more about how these were developed? I’m curious to hear about the considerations that went into deciding which interviews / insights to include. I know that persona development is a lot of work and would love to know more about how you netted out on this set. Thanks.


Thanks Steve - that sounds great. We can work on the questions/answers if we have some guidance, and a template for the quiz. Let us know what you find!


Hi Emily – Absolutely. Over the past two years, we’ve conducted more than 300 interviews with commenters, comment readers, designers, developers, reporters, editors, businesspeople, and more.

Most of those interviews were more journalistic than scientific, although we bootstrapped our process with more formal interviews conducted by Machine, a terrific design and innovation group out of NYC (http://machine.io).

To develop these personas, we used a somewhat organic process of going through our notes from our conversations and docs we’ve created along the way that summarized them. We plucked out main ideas and fit them into categories, which then we melded into people.

Some of the personas are heavily based on specific people we interviewed. Most are amalgams. And I’m sure all of them could benefit from your expert touch if you’d have time to work with us on them!


I’m looking at community outreach and arts and culture right now. Theatre of the Oppressed right now , but later other ways of producing expressive product communally and quickly , so improve and dance. They’re great for establishing rules,encouraging participation and producing product . The methods so far are actually very similar.

Also we have gotten studies on peer mediation and teenagers that look promising.


Thanks Greg–this is the context I was curious about. (I’ve heard good things about Machine too.) Happy to lend a hand where it’s helpful!


There’s a couple stories that I’ve seen frequently that don’t seem to fit these personas.

  • The insidious,sneaky troll who carefully crafts flamebait to get good users at each others throat and then sits back and watches the show.
  • The far too passionate commenters who have good opinions, but are easily goaded into being disruptive from time to time.
  • The mob from Reddit/4chan/Slashdot/Twitter/whereever, that found out about something controversial from a link and are storming the castle with torches and pitchforks because it outrages them,


These are great suggestions – thanks, @stephdaugherty!

Are there other personas we’ve missed, Coral community members? Let us know!