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Updates on the new SB Nation commenting section

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You have questions, hopefully here are some answers

Instructor Training Nuclear Power Plant Worker Photo by �� Tim Wright/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Good morning gang, I know there have been some questions about the new system SB Nation is rolling out for the commenting section and hopefully here are some answers that you’ll find useful. Currently, the new comments are only being used on the mothership and the NFL team sites. I want to stress this: there is no schedule for rollout on the college sites yet, so please go and try it out at Acme Packing Co. or your favorite NFL team site (Bleeding Green Nation is an excellent choice, Go Birds) and let us know what you do and don’t like.

Here is the email from the editorial director of team communities that he sent out on Friday:

It’s been over a week since we began the first testing phase for our new commenting system on SB Nation’s NFL communities, as well as SBNation.com. Scroll to the comments section here if you haven’t seen an example of our new commenting system yet. This email will update you on our plans, share what we’ve learned, and invite you to help us shape the future of commenting on site from here.

As we’ve said elsewhere, this is the start of the journey – we are improving our commenting platform all of the time, and we don’t have a timeline yet for the rest of the network beyond the 32 NFL sites. The feedback we gather about the improvements from site managers, contributors, moderators, and community members will help inform our rollout schedule from here.

Commenters from across our network have been vocal in their feedback, for which we – editors and members of the product team – genuinely say thank you. We know we can continue to evolve this platform into the tool you deserve, and quickly. Thanks for helping us learn how.

If you have any other suggestions, feedback, or ideas about the commenting platform please email them to coralsupport@voxmedia.com or reply to this email. And if there’s anything else you’d like to hear about in the future from me or SB Nation, just reply to me directly.

Here’s what we’ve learned so far, and what we’re doing about it:

What you like

Many of you:

  • love the Ignore button
  • are happier with the mobile experience (except for one small display bug, and we’re fixing it in the next release in the coming weeks)
  • like the ability to control your default sort, from Oldest to Newest to Most Recs
  • like the idea of downloading your comment history
  • like the easy GIF library and ability to search directly on the site
  • like seeing your comments highlighted by site moderators
  • Like the staff badge for managers, writers and moderators

And Moderators really like the new tools that help them spot problems early, and manage the community effectively – making it harder for trolls, spam, and abuse to spoil the conversation.

What needs work

Many of you:

  • want to find out where the new comments are more easily
  • don’t like the new reading experience (newest first, no unread/recently loaded comment markers, no Z shortcut)
  • don’t believe this will work for Game Day Threads
  • find the fonts a little hard to read
  • don’t like the experience of reading deep into a nested conversation
  • want to auto-show GIFs/Tweets/videos
  • want to upload images elsewhere
  • want the cursor to start in the Reply comment box when you hit the Reply key
  • feel that the moderation assistance by the system is too heavy-handed

Plus we’ve gotten a few suggestions from moderators to improve that experience further. Some of you (though far fewer than these other requests) asked for the return of signatures, titles, avatars, and the sarcasm font.

What we’ve done so far

  • We’ve adjusted the moderation settings to make it much more lenient, and give more leeway to site moderators. Personal abuse against other members of the community/site team will still be removed
  • We’ve updated fonts and colors to make things easier to read. We’ve continued to improve the styling of the text, colors, and layout
  • You can now automatically show all GIFs/Tweets/YouTube videos. You can do this via the My Profile tab at the top of the comments, and going to Preferences
  • We’ve made “Read more of this conversation” open in a new tab. We know that doesn’t fix the problem completely this is an intermediate step to let you keep your place in the conversation, while we build a better long-term solution
  • We’ve moved the cursor to the comment box automatically when you hit Reply

Here’s what else we’re going to address, which will take us a little more time

  • Improvements to the reading experience, including the ability to read nested discussions without losing your place, and to identify new comments quickly
  • Improvements for embedding and display of third-party images

More updates are coming in the coming weeks and months. And of course we will continue to read and listen to feedback, as we develop the platform. Meantime, we’re seeing many of you using the new commenting platform to talk about sports, and we’re glad to see it.