When we first introduced a commenting system to The A.V. Club we didn’t know what to expect. Would our readers even want to comment on our articles? Turns out you did, and one of the most gratifying parts of working at The A.V. Club these last few years has been watching the comments section grow into a vibrant, thriving community of pop-culture obsessives. We want that growth to continue, which is why we’ll be introducing some changes to the A.V. Club comments beginning at midnight on August 23. What kind of changes? Glad you asked.
You must now register in order to leave comments
We know this won’t be a popular change in some circles but we feel we have to close the comments to unregistered users. As regular readers know, our comments are too often home to spammers and trolls. Most of them do not register. By requiring registration we believe we can eliminate many unwanted comments in one fell swoop. We know there are unregistered commenters who do not abuse the system. We’ve now made registration easier than ever and hope you stick around as registered users. Because most of our comments come from registered users, we don’t expect this to lead to any drastic changes. (And as for our already-registered users: Don’t you worry about a thing, your username remains safely yours.)
Users can now vote to close comments and flag inappropriate comments
Though we’ve done the best we can to patrol the comments section, it’s never easy to moderate the comments section on our own. Now you can help. See an abusive or spam-ish comment? Click to close it. If four other users agree with you, the comment gets collapsed. See something really out of line and offensive? You can also flag it and we’ll give it a look.
You can now “like” comments
But the new commenting features aren’t all about policing bad comments. They’re also about rewarding good comments. Do you like a comment? Now you can “like” a comment with just a click of the mouse.
You can now reference another user by name
Simply put an “@” before a comments username and it will appear as highlighted text in your comment. The user will know you’ve referenced them because you can now also…
Get notified when someone mentions you or replies to one of your comments
We’ve also installed a notification system. Want to receive an email when someone replies to something you’ve written or mentions you? It’s easy: Simply click the notification settings in the commenting box as you leave a comment. No more refreshing the page to see if anyone has something to say about something you’ve said. And speaking of not needing to refresh the page…
Our pages now have live updates. You can watch the comments roll in in real time.
A few other items of note
• All our old comments have been ported over from the old system.
• We’ve now added tiers to our comments. You can now have side conversations within the main conversations.
• Want to reorder the comments so you see the newest ones first? You can do that. Want to read the most active comment threads first? That’s also an option. Want to read the most-“liked” comments? That’s an option too! Like the classic chronological model? You can stick with that.
• Sadly, this new system does not allow for subject lines. If you would like to keep this tradition alive by using the first line of your comment as a subject line we would encourage you to do that.
• Automatic deletion of all firsties. (Actually, no. That’s a lie.)
• Your anonymity remains in place, if you want it to. We will never reveal your real name or email address. However, we will soon be revamping our profile pages. If you want to add your real name there, you’ll be able to do that. Which brings us to one other item…
This is just the beginning
Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing a few more additions to the commenting system and other parts of the site, especially TV Club, that we think you’ll enjoy. We can’t talk about them yet, but suffice it to say we like to think of The A.V. Club as a community of likeminded pop-culture fans and want to make that community even more tightly knit.
One last thing: We’ve worked hard to work out any kinks in the new system, but if we missed something, please let us know by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.