It’s been five days since we began the first testing phase for our new commenting system on some of SB Nation’s NFL sites.
As we’ve said elsewhere, this is the start of the journey, and we don’t have a timeline yet for the rest of the network beyond the 32 NFL sites. The feedback we gather from site managers, contributors, moderators, and community members as we keep improving the platform will help inform our rollout schedule from here.
Commenters from across our network have been vocal in their feedback, for which we 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.
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, we’re fixing it in the next release, coming out in the next few 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 managers
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 is too heavy-handed
Plus a few suggestions from moderators to improve that experience further. Some of you (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.
In the next release:
- We’ll let users opt in to unfurl all GIFs/Tweets/YouTube
- We’ll make “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’ll continue to improve the styling of the text, colors, and layout, to make it easier to read
- We’ll move the cursor to the comment box automatically when you hit Reply
These updates will be rolled out in the next few weeks.
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
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.
If you have any other suggestions, feedback, or ideas, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for being here, as we develop and improve our communities together.