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A major commenting update for fans

The Z key is back, so start Z-ing through those comments!

Syndication: The Greenville News Ken Ruinard / staff via Imagn Content Services, LLC

You might know that we’ve been rolling out a new commenting platform across some of our sites. One thing we’ve heard loud and clear: It needed a much-loved feature from the old platform. And so, we’re delighted to announce that the Z Key is back.

If you know, you know, but in case you don’t: the Z Key (and on mobile devices, the Next Unread button) lets readers jump between comments they haven’t previously seen, in order to catch up on the latest comments and replies.

It wasn’t an easy thing to port over, but we’re delighted to announce that it’s about to go live, just in time for the start of the NFL season. It’s basically the same as the old version, with a few tweaks to make it even better.

We know you have been asking for this feature for a long time now, and we hope this makes community conversations easier to read and follow.

How it works:

When you visit a comment thread, you can tap the Z key to skip to the next unread comment (highlighted in yellow). If there aren’t any unread comments on the page, but there are more comments to be loaded, Z key will auto-load the next batch of comments and then jump to the next unread comment.

Right now, the highlighting/unread comments are device specific, so it will remember what you’ve seen in the same browser that you used before, but it won’t remember if you switch devices. Cross-device support will be coming in the future.

It’s not the only keyboard shortcut on offer in the new commenting platform. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Z – go to next unread comment
  • shift-A – mark all comments that have loaded as ‘read’
  • C – go to the next comment, regardless of if it’s new or not
  • shift-C – go to the previous comment
  • control-B – add/remove bold text in the comment you’re writing
  • control-I – add/remove italic text in the comment you’re writing

Also, you can now see what people are replying to by clicking/tapping on the words “in reply to” on a comment, and we know that a small number of commenters were sometimes experiencing a lag in the system. That’s all been fixed.

We’ll keep on developing and improving the platform, so let us know below what we should work on next.

Thanks for being part of our community, and thank you for helping us bring you the fan experience you want from our network.