Techdirt

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
comments, first word, last word



Revamped Comment Buttons + New Ways To Buy Techdirt Credits

from the fixing-things-up dept

If you haven't noticed, we tend to do things a bit differently around here sometimes. While other sites are looking at ways to ban you from reading their site if you use an ad blocker, we've made it easy for people to block ads on Techdirt if they feel that the ads are a problem. And while more and more sites are turning off comments, we've always believed that the comments on Techdirt are integral to the site and a huge part of the experience here. Over the years, we've added a few things here and there to keep the comment section vibrant -- including the "insightful" and "funny" buttons, which let you vote and help to highlight the most insightful and funniest comments (and we highlight the best ones every week in a separate post).

A few years back, we also added what we call "credits" -- which can be used to tag any particular comment as the "first word" or "last word." This would help to really highlight a particular comment by reposting it on top of the comments or beneath the comments, with a highlighted background and presentation, designating it as a comment you really wanted people to see. This feature was mostly only available to our supporters who bought various blog perk subscriptions, such as the Techdirt Crystal Ball (which also lets you read some of our stories before they're available to the wider public), the Techdirt Watercooler (which lets you join our insider chat) or the full Behind the Curtain package that lets you really see a bunch of posts in progress, as well as join the insider chat.

As you may have seen (since we turned it on last night), we've revamped the comment buttons a bit, in particular, opening up the "first word/last word" system. Here are the key changes:
  • You can now just buy Techdirt Credits directly in the store, rather than getting them with a package or other purchase. There are bulk discounts as well, so buy a bundle of them. So this is a great way to both get a cool feature for yourself that helps promote good comments -- and to support Techdirt at the same time.
  • You can now take credit for giving someone a "first word" or "last word." In the past, no one (not even me) knew who was giving comments "first word" or "last word" honors. Now, there's an option every time you promote someone's comments to first word or last word status, you can let the world know you did it by checking the box that says "put my name in lights, too!" This is optional, but something we felt was worthwhile. If you're promoting someone's comment, take a bow yourself as well.
  • The buttons have been revamped. The old "word" voting buttons were getting a bit stale, so the look has been totally refreshed.
  • The "first word/last word" buttons are now in the voting bar with the others. Even though these aren't "votes" in the same sense, it made sense to put them all in the same place.
So, go ahead and check it out. Buy some credits, promote some comments, take a bow, and enjoy the comments section....

We're still working on some more features as well (for the comments and for, well, basically the rest of the site). So stay tuned...

Reader Comments

The First Word

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  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 10:39am

    The LOL comment

    It looks like the universal symbol for female. A circle with a cross below it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Digitari, 20 Oct 2015 @ 10:52am

    Just one more button

    the one with a troll face on it, PLEASE!!!!!! ( it doesn't have to do anything, but it would be nice to have)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2015 @ 10:57am

    Could you mute the colours down a bit, as they currently make the buttons stand out too much on the page?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2015 @ 11:02am

      Re:

      And here I was just thinking "these are too dark to see". Personally I'd prefer to see the lightbulb and "lol" in white instead of dark gray (?) on the green. I really have to squint to figure out what those are (and I'm only 24...)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2015 @ 11:07am

      Re:

      agree. green is too green.

      LOL - hard to make out that it says LOL.

      FW and LW need better blurb as to what they are/do.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        ltlw0lf (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 11:23am

        Re: Re:

        FW and LW need better blurb as to what they are/do.

        Haven't tried it, but do the FW/LW show up for people not logged in or who have no credits? Figure if they are hidden, then the folks who have credit know what the FW/LW buttons do (but it doesn't really matter, tooltips is turned on, so if you move you mouse over the button, it tells you what it means.)

        I actually like the new buttons, but agree that the green buttons are too green, maybe a lighter green will make those show up better.

        Other than that, the new buttons are great.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2015 @ 12:12pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          They do show up when not logged in, but they're grayed out. The insightful/funny/troll buttons show up in color, but they don't link anywhere--just to "#". That should be fixed.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2015 @ 11:43am

        Re: Re:

        Also agree. The green is not only too dark, but it is a different green from the "insider chat" button along side it, which is a different green from the "support us" button which is a different green from the " tech dirt deals" tab at the top.

        How about you guys have a pow-wow and chose your favourite shade of green.

        While you are doing re-design, can you let the site expand outward for people with hi-res monitors? The site is mostly white borders on my 15in Retina macbook.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Baron Von Robber, 20 Oct 2015 @ 11:46am

        Re: Re:

        And I thought it meant 101 as in instructional. =b

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2015 @ 11:21am

    "new ways to buy techdirt credits"? Techdirt isn't shy about pushing the purchase of techdrit credits.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ltlw0lf (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 11:30am

      Re:

      "new ways to buy techdirt credits"? Techdirt isn't shy about pushing the purchase of techdrit credits.

      Why not, you show up here to comment all the time...stop being a freeloader and actually pay for content.

      I've got so many credits they tend to go to waste each month...but I've always liked that Mike eats his own dogfood in the CWF+RtB (Connect With Fans+Reason to Buy) model that he has always been selling. Just wish the entertainment industry would learn to follow this model instead of the EMM+FCTB+CTPA (Enforce/Extend My Monopoly+Force Customers To Buy at unreasonable prices/with unreasonable caveats+Call Them Pirates Anyway) model they currently employ.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Leigh Beadon (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 11:36am

        Re: Re:

        I've got so many credits they tend to go to waste each month...

        You're not the only one, and its our hope that we can inject some new life into FW/LW to make it a more useful feature so you insiders get more bang for your subscription buck. We're planning to unveil a revamp of the FW/LW spots themselves soon, to make them more eye-catching and better highlight the commenter's name - and we're open to any suggestions people have on that front.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 11:29am

    WWKD

    One might buy credits only to discover that someone else has claimed the first word/last word. You need to sell insurance on those credits.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ltlw0lf (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 11:35am

      Re: WWKD

      One might buy credits only to discover that someone else has claimed the first word/last word.

      I've always been a fan of treating the first word/last word as a counter, where the current winner gets first or last words, and that way if I think something is a first word, but everyone else who has paid disagrees, their first word wins. I've always viewed the current model as a recipe for disaster (and even worse now) in that any spammer or troll can promote their comment to the first/last word and we are stuck with it. Don't know how easily it can be implemented, but figure this would be a good fix for the "insurance" aspect, since you aren't guaranteed to have the first or last word.

      But I think a system like that would be a little too close to Reddit's...so YMMV.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 12:00pm

    I do not like the new buttons design.

    It's against Web Design 101 to put dark on dark.

    Please use only white text/imagery on dark.

    I recommend adding another pixel between the buttons to expand the spacing between them. They look too bunched together.

    Not an option. Web design is what I do for a living.

    Glad to see Techdirt showing what others need to learn. There's a reason I keep subscribing.

    I was perusing my old comments and was wondering how difficult it would be to highlight our comments in a "Best of" page which would include only the LOLs and Insightful posts?

    Also, about that forum....

    >:]

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 12:02pm

    *sigh

    No edit option yet, so allow me to correct my post's "Not an option" with "Not an opinion".

    I only use "Not an option" when speaking with Sherman or Dodd.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2015 @ 2:02pm

      Re:

      It'd be kind of neat if the comments section could be 'wiki-ized' where any comment would show the number of modifications and have a complete history. So you can present the "correct" comment in-line, but have a complete revision history available so that anyone curious can see what happened.

      Nobody else seems to be doing this, but it seems like a no-maintenance method of handling things. Hey... you could even make it credits-based so that you need a credit each time you modify your post.

      Probably not a good idea to let people edit each other's posts, but it would enable fixes/clarifications without enabling outright censorship (the post long is still there in perpetuity).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2015 @ 2:07pm

        Re: Re:

        I much prefer a correction posted as a reply to your own comment, as it is approximately in order with other replies, allowing people to see replies to the original comment and its correction. The time history of a thread helps make sense of comments.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2015 @ 11:42am

        Re: Re:

        I find that "no editing" or "no deleting" is the best way to keep a comment section from getting out of control. One of my favorite forums has a strict "no deleting" rule (as in, it's not possible) and a poster only has about ten minutes to edit a post after it goes up. It seems to encourage people to think more about how their comment will be read before hitting enter. Add to that the fact that the mods are not shy about pointing out when a new user is posting from the same IP address as an old account, and it really keeps things under control.

        For a music forum, it's remarkably civil.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 12:04pm

    Oh, and here i was going to say i enjoyed the colors

    Always loved the design here, and i rather enjoyed the newer bit of green on the pages. My eyesight is not getting any better, but i like the buttons in the comments, too. (But then, i am not subject to protanopy or any other visual problems.)

    Of course, a user choice could be provided from a few CSS. Handy anywhere, but few sites do it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Violynne (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 12:07pm

      Re: Oh, and here i was going to say i enjoyed the colors

      I don't mind the colors. It's the dark text on the dark colors that's bothersome to me.

      I cringe when I see them, but that's just my profession screaming.
      :P

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JMT (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 5:20pm

        Re: Re: Oh, and here i was going to say i enjoyed the colors

        I don't have a problem with them. As Leigh said, it's subjective, and your profession isn't always right.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 12:58pm

    Those credits that Techdirt sells in bulk at discount... do you respect the first sale doctrine? I mean if I buy credits in bulk, can I resell individual ones for profit?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    radix (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 1:48pm

    If you really valued the dialog here, you'd turn comments off.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    charliebrown (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 2:08pm

    You need an "agree" button, a big green tick. Or it can be any color you choose. But most places I've seen have it green, like the "go" traffic light.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Scote, 20 Oct 2015 @ 2:14pm

    I'm not wild about this idea of selling the crowd sourcing that elevates comments. I see the comment rating buttons as a way of sorting comments by quality, something that shouldn't be sold to the highest bidder lest you damage the system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 2:43pm

      Re:

      I'm not wild about this idea of selling the crowd sourcing that elevates comments. I see the comment rating buttons as a way of sorting comments by quality, something that shouldn't be sold to the highest bidder lest you damage the system.

      The *voting* remains the same. Anyone can vote funny or insightful (or report). But the first/word last word is separate from the voting.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Scote, 21 Oct 2015 @ 6:51pm

        DNL paid upvotes

        "The *voting* remains the same. Anyone can vote funny or insightful (or report). But the first/word last word is separate from the voting.


        First word/last word are both forms of voting. You have merely made *some* forms of voting available for sale. First word is a god mode upvote. Allowing people to *buy* these positions in the comments is the comments section equivalent of allowing writers to buy the ability to post editorial content (as opposed to *advertising* content).

        I applaud Techdirt's commitment to creating reasons to voluntarily pay for free content, and I do not use ad blockers, or the ad blocking feature of Techdirt, because I want to support this site and it's editorial content and mission. I also appreciate Techdirt's clear labeling of StackCommerce affiliate marketing content, unlike some sites, such as BoingBoing, which co-mingle editorial and advertising content without clear labeling. However, these paid votes cross the fuzzy line for me. Not a huge deal given how haphazard unpaid, crowd-powered modding/upvoting is, but still a bit of a deal in my oppinion.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    BentFranklin (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 2:18pm

    My 2 cents: The button backgrounds are over-saturated. The shadowing makes the icons with dark foreground harder to insta-grok. THe light bulb doesn't look like a light bulb.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    JMT (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 5:25pm

    Formatting and editing comments

    If you're revamping the comments, it'd be great to get some formatting buttons for things like bold, italics, URL's quoting, etc. Plus maybe a five minute editing window to fix those dumb typos...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      MrTroy (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 8:27pm

      Re: Formatting and editing comments

      +1 for easier quoting, without losing styles from the text quoted!

      WYSIWYG formatting or in-place preview (so you don't lose the context of the comment being replied to) would certainly be nice.

      Just avoid that WYSIHYD thing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 20 Oct 2015 @ 9:11pm

    There is one pet peeve that annoys me often: if I check the "Email me when there are new comments on this thread" checkbox and then click "Preview," the check on the preview page is gone: should be carried over.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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