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We just launched a new comment system!

Posted by on May 8th, 2020 at 1:50 pm

Screenshot. Or just scroll down to see it and use it IRL.

Hi everyone.

A quick break from our regularly scheduled programming to share some housekeeping news: We’ve just made a major upgrade to our commenting system.

You know how much we appreciate and value your voices, so this is super important upgrade for us.

Our current system needed to go. After 474,185 comments in the past 15 years it was dated, buggy (reply function was always breaking), and it didn’t have any formatting or editing features. We’ve made a few minor upgrades in the past, but this is the largest by far: A wholesale fresh start! We have heard your cries for help and hopefully this new system answers them.

The new system is very highly regarded and is loaded with features and capabilities (we haven’t turned all of them on yet because we want to roll things out carefully to make sure to avoid hiccups). It’s call wpDiscuz and it’s used by tons of sites all over the web.

Here are just some of the features:
– Editing (for up to 30 minutes after posting, and only if you allow cookies)
– Sorting by newest, oldest, and most voted comments.
– Vote up or down
– Easier to read threads/replies
– URLs (links) automatically linked
– “Read more” on long comments
– Ability for admins to close reply threads (useful when two people won’t stop off-topic arguing)
– Subscribe to all comments or just replies to yours (you don’t have to leave a comment to subscribe to them)
– “Sticky” comments: Admins/authors can promote any comment to the very top.

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And there are many other features that give us more control over how the comment section works and looks in general. We’ll be rolling out and testing new features in the coming days and weeks depending on how things go.

I’m super excited for this! I believe so strongly in having a quality comments section and investing to make them work better is part of our commitment to elevating and amplifying your voices. The better job we do on our end, the better job we expect (and hope!) you to do on yours.

Here’s to many more productive conversations!

Please let us know how this is working and what we can do to make them better. Thanks.

(*Special shout-out to our tech partner Bozz Media for making this happen!)

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Robert AlcortaSome GuyGlowBoyHello, KittyJonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) Recent comment authors
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dan
Guest
dan

Woohoo! I feel so fancy…

Kyle Banerjee
Guest
Kyle Banerjee

Looks like things the people quoted now look like part of their post.

Not sure if anything can be done about it, but if it’s not a huge hassle, that would be a nice thing to fix because mixing these things is sometimes confusing.

Allan Rudwick
Subscriber

I hope launching a new thing on Friday afternoon doesn’t cause you headaches. I know that trying to do major changes tends to happen towards the end of the week because that’s how productivity works, but releasing on a Friday can mean weekend debug :/ Looking forward to the new system.

I know you had been putting this “please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward.” thing above the comments sections. Maybe you want to elevate comments from new posters a bit by default?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Can’t wait to downvote all the haterz!!!!!!!!

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

This is a very nice update, JM. Thank you.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I think the lack of a downvote option led to more civility than having it will.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

How good (for our intrepid host) is the new comment system in keeping out trolls and spammers?

pdx2wheeler
Subscriber

Very nice!

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Can we fix nesting errors or is that still up to the host to fix?

Doesn't Matter
Guest
Doesn't Matter

Except for the HTML editor, which has an old-school feel to it and is not very user friendly, the new system looks pretty nice.

Schrauf
Guest
Schrauf

Cool! Is it possible to display the up/down voting gross rather than net? For example, showing 30 up votes and 25 down votes, rather than just the net of 5. I think that would be even more interesting.

BikeRound
Guest
BikeRound

Are all comments now going to be sent to moderation before being posted? I really like the old system where comments were posted first, and only moderated afterwards if need be.

Matt S.
Guest
Matt S.
Toby Keith
Guest
Toby Keith

Nice upgrade to BikePortland! I love that new car smell.

Harald
Guest

Thank you for not going with some privacy-destroying 3rd party option like Disqus and keeping things in-house! And not requiring yet-another-account!

Cyclekrieg
Subscriber
Cyclekrieg

Awesome. The reply and link features will be appreciated. Good job and thank you.

Lucy W
Guest
Lucy W

Congrats! Thanks for all your hard work on the site, both the tech and content ❤️️

damiene
Subscriber
damiene

Hey Jonathan – while you’re asking the comment-technology-powers-that-be about separating up- and downvotes, I don’t suppose you could ask about an option to always expand “long” posts, so as not to have to click “Read More>>” fairly often? It’s a minor but already persistent pain point, and as noted by other commenters, the “summarized” version does away with formatting until expanded.

qqq
Guest
qqq

Is there a 3-letter minimum for a name? I tried my usual “q” and got rejected, then “qq” got rejected. I can certainly live with qqq, though.

9watts
Subscriber

Is there a way to tweak the new system to allow direct replies, quotes, etc. in the old comments? Comments made before last week?

I for one like to scan the older archived discussions and it can be nice to insert a comment sometimes. Presently those options do not appear to exist.

Thanks.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

I am not liking the “read more” feature of long posts. The preview text you get does not contain any of the post formatting, so it’s just one big long paragraph of normal type until you click on “read more” and then suddenly you have formatting and line returns and a much easier post to read.

Not sure if it’s possible to disable that feature and just show us the entire post. Maybe you save on some bandwidth by not loading the entire message. Page length isn’t too much of an issue because you can collapse any long replies.

9watts
Subscriber

one more observation.

Let’s say I am subscribed to three conversations here. Time was, subsequent replies to comments in those three threads would show up in my email inbox organized by thread.
But now *all* replies from all threads are stacked in one long string in my inbox. Can the previous version be restored?

Thanks very much.

9watts
Subscriber

The new forum software has a super elegant quote function that highlights text portions to which the commenter wishes to respond. Is that a feature we could have here?
Also, and this is a minor point, the box around the comment used to be much easier to see, the value of which was to recognize the nesting level, which comment was being replied to. The large blocky avatars as well as the faint box outline make this difficult.

thanks.

Michael Andersen
Guest

I like it!

Is there a way to sort by approval? I’d love to have the most-upvoted or best-net-rating comments appear at the top of the list.

One downside I see is that there’d be less understanding of who posted what first, especially if people forget to thread. But I think it’s also easier, with this new interface, to remember to thread.

Robert Alcorta
Guest

Thank you for setting this up to give us an opportunity to connect with others here in Portland. Especially during this time of Covid-19, it is really helpful to have space where we can connect with others and grow in community. It is a great vision and idea.