We just launched a new comment system!

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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dan
dan
2 years ago

Woohoo! I feel so fancy…

Kyle Banerjee
2 years ago

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.

Kyle Banerjee
2 years ago

People often quote portions of someone’s post to focus the issue and show what they’re responding to.

Where this was done in the old system, it appears that what they quoted appears not as a quote in the darker colored quote box but rather as part of what they typed themselves e.g. https://bikeportland.org/2020/05/06/man-hospitalized-after-being-shot-while-biking-in-southeast-portland-road-rage-314594#comment-7341294

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

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

You mean like this?

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

Or do you mean in comments submitted in the old system?

Allan Rudwick
2 years ago

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
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago

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

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

downvoting was obligatory. I really did not want to.

Fred
Fred
2 years ago

I did it just to see if I could.

Steve Scarich
Steve Scarich
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

This part of the new system bothers me. The ups and downs now appear as ‘net’ figures, so you can’t figure out how many people agree and how many disagree. Maybe this is this is the same way it worked before. It is kind of ‘milquetoast’ now. I notice that a comment I made yesterday was showing 5 likes and last time I looked it was down to one. I like to see where I stand on an issue.

9watts
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Scarich

I would agree. And am not at all sure about the downvoting system. Seems to me more passive aggressive than substantively disagreeing verbally with a comment. As readers we learn almost nothing from a high downvote count except that hoi polloi didn’t like something. As a reader I am not sure what I gain by noting that there is one downvote vs. thirty

Steve Scarich
Steve Scarich
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Scarich

Either I was wrong in my comment, or it has been changed since I posted. Now, I see how many ups and how many downs I get. I like it

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago

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

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago

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

Cyclekrieg
Cyclekrieg
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

What? The down/up vote system has kept the Pinkbike forums a garden of civility. (That was sarcasm.)

9watts
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

For instance at the moment Hello Kitty’s eminently reasonable suggestion about the prospective impact of downvoting has eleven downvotes! Really?

GlowBoy
GlowBoy
2 years ago
Reply to  9watts

And your comment has six downvotes. Now that this has been going for a week or so, I’m not sure how productive the downvoting feature is. Seems like a LOT of very reasonable comments are getting more downvotes than upvotes. Sad!

David Hampsten
2 years ago

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

BikeRound
BikeRound
2 years ago

Exactly: a troll is frequently someone who thinks a little differently or has opinions that does not mesh with the prevailing attitudes.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago
Reply to  BikeRound

Well we can’t have that, can we? I don’t come to an advocacy site to hear other opinions that might change my mind or give me a different perspective.

9watts
2 years ago
Reply to  BikeRound

I disagree. A troll (in Internet speak is nothing like what you suggest. A troll is someone who intentionally kicks up dust, provokes, baits, tries to disrupt. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll

pdx2wheeler
2 years ago

Very nice!

David Hampsten
2 years ago

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

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

But to answer your question: Yes this thing has tons of great anti-spam built in.

I saw very little comment spam in the old system, which was great. I’m also confident that the nesting problems are a thing of the past.

Doesn't Matter
Doesn't Matter
2 years ago

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
Schrauf
2 years ago

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.

Fred
Fred
2 years ago
Reply to  Schrauf

I vote for this idea.

Some Guy
2 years ago

I really liked that this idea was implemented and was very disappointed this morning to see that both up and downvotes are now gone

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago

One thing we haven’t tried yet is only have down-votes. That would let people who dislike a post indicate it, while encouraging those that liked it to respond. Upvoting is overrated anyway.

If you like this idea, please show your support by donwvoting it!

Some Guy
2 years ago

Thanks Jonathan! I, for one, hope you decide to keep up and downvoting. IMO, it allows a user to support salient comments or express disagreement without wading into the contentious waters of internet commenting. You have some passionate commenters (for better and for worse). The up and downvote can also help provide feedback to commenters if they choose to see how well/poorly their comment has been received. As always, thank you for your thoughtful work!

qqq
qqq
2 years ago
Reply to  Schrauf

Yes. There’s a big difference between say, a zero due to zero reactions from anybody, and a zero representing 20 upvotes and 20 downvotes.

BikeRound
BikeRound
2 years ago

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.

mh
2 years ago
Reply to  BikeRound

JM can’t possibly have enough time to do that.

Matt S.
Matt S.
2 years ago
Toby Keith
Toby Keith
2 years ago

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

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  Toby Keith

It’s just VOCs killing your brain.

Harald
2 years ago

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
Cyclekrieg
2 years ago

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

Lucy W
Lucy W
2 years ago

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

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
2 years ago
Reply to  Lucy W

+1 on that. We may disagree on topics and/or perspectives, but I truly appreciate the forum. You don’t get enough credit for what you do, JM.

Damien
Damien
2 years ago

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.

9watts
2 years ago
Reply to  Damien

Upvote.

qqq
qqq
2 years ago

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.

Alan 1.0
2 years ago
Reply to  qqq

Ok, but qqqq is rude enough to be prohibited on license plates.

BTW, requiring posting names to be unique would avoid confusion. Presently multiple people can post under the same nick, and that gets confusing.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan 1.0

What does qqqq mean? Even google doesn’t seem to know. All I found was this cryptic reference:

Some of the banned combinations seem to have no obvious inappropriateness, but are banned out of what these days is called “an abundance of caution” that someone might read something bad into them — such as QQQQ.

https://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-xpm-2011-08-07-hc-lender-column-dmv-banned-plates-0820110807-story.html

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

I think I just figured it out. Never mind.

Alan 1.0
2 years ago
Reply to  Hello, Kitty

It’s an oldie, but it took me awhile to sound it out when I first saw it. A friend tried for the plate and was rejected in the 80s.

Oh, and back on topic, I know Q is not q, so nicks could even be case sensitive and retain discretion.

el timito
el timito
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan 1.0

Ten Q very much.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  el timito

Qt.

Alan 1.0
2 years ago

It’s not only sock puppets and morphs. There’s also forgery where someone mimics another commenter (known as froggery in Usenet days). And then there’s just plain ol’ simple common names with no devious intent, but still plenty of confusion. It would be great if any commenter who runs into such a namespace collision could slightly alter their nick in future posts.

9watts
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan 1.0

I’ve noticed quite a few regular posters use multiple aliases with minute spelling differences. I always figured it was so they could (cross-)upvote their own posts.

Hello, Kitty
Hello, Kitty
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan 1.0

It’s not only sock puppets and morphs. There’s also forgery where someone mimics another commenter

Not to mention those who enjoy the discomfort of others when they use perversions like “qqqq”.

Alan 1.0
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan 1.0

oh! duh! (shameless self follow-up) – The mosaic avatar boxes are unique. QED

qqq
qqq
2 years ago
Reply to  qqq

Luckily I didn’t start out as “k”.

9watts
2 years ago

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
Johnny Bye Carter
2 years ago

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
2 years ago

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
2 years ago

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
Michael Andersen
2 years ago

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
2 years ago

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.