My Ballard’s new approach to comments

Updated: Late Saturday night, we launched a new comments system here on My Ballard. If you’re like us, you’ve noticed the tone of My Ballard’s comments has gradually deteriorated over the last couple months. This has been a real concern for us, because we created My Ballard as a community-powered news source: a place for our neighbors to connect and openly share meaningful information about stories and issues that are important to them. The new system empowers you, the reader, to help improve the comment experience.

You don’t need to register to post a comment, but you do need to sign up if you want to “report” or “like” a comment. The more times a comment is reported, the more likely it will disappear. At the top of each comment thread, you’ll see a “sort by” option. If you select “best rating,” the comments that have been “liked” the most will appear at the top. “Popular now” ranks the comments that have been “liked” the most recently. Once you make a selection here, it will stick for the rest of the comments (but you can change it back, if you want).

Now, no commenting system is perfect, but we hope this is a step in the right direction. We ask that you please be patient over the next few days as we fine tune it, and let us know what you think below…


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squid
Member

We will periodically check the list of “reported” comments that disappear to see if there's a systematic effort to quash meaningful conversation. If so, we'll override the system and reinstate those comments.

Also, if you register for comments here on My Ballard, you'll soon be able to use that same profile on our other neighborhood sites as well. (It's different from the forum, unfortunately, which has a second sign-in.)

PDXBallardite
Guest
PDXBallardite

Geeky Swedes, you guys are doing an excellent job with this blog. I worked for more than 10 years at The Seattle Times and I have to say that your nose for news is par excellence. I also applaud you for taking a proactive approach to the often bizarre, paranoid and sleazy comments that have taken this cool community blog way off course. I moved to PDX from Ballard last spring, and this blog is an amazing way to keep me connected to my expat community. Keep up the good work and don't let the haters hijack this blog.

TTTHOTTC
Guest
TTTHOTTC

Thanks

ZEEF
Guest
ZEEF

Good addition to an already good forum. Please keep up the good work.

Pioggia
Guest
Pioggia

Thanks you! I had stopped reading comments for the most part because things have gotten so ugly.

windy
Guest
windy

Thanks. I turn to myballard.com to find out what is happening near home. I didn't post (until now) because I figured I'd just get attacked for anything I wrote (including anything as simple as a positive comment about a sunny day or upcoming community event). Reading the comments… the tone just saddened me.

I Know
Guest
I Know

Thank you for addressing this issue. This site was becoming so ugly and mean. It made me look at my neighbors as ugly and mean. It made me walk down Market Street and only see the worst. Again, thank you.

ktown
Guest
ktown

A big thanks to you. Nobody likes a censor, but the comment trails had gotten so bad, my wife quit reading them, and she was a total supporter of the free flowing attitude at the beginning.

LRF
Guest
LRF

Thank you for this policy. Frankly, I think comments on blogs and media have gotten to the point where they are more frustrating than valuable in many cases. Far too many people use comments as a bully pulpit to spew venom of one kind or another, or just to show off how much they don't 'think before speaking'.

I always wonder how did our society somehow deteriorate into such widespread rudeness, deliberate disruption and sometimes outright mean-spiritedness. It's definitely time for a return to good manners, and learning to offer discussion in an intelligent way that doesn't act more like a “drive-by ranting”.

It's time to end the disr

BentonJ
Guest
BentonJ

Thank you, Geeky Swedes, for this update. I think the new system will help bring out a greater variety of responses that better reflects the spectrum of this neighborhood.

Miss Wahoo
Member
Miss Wahoo

Thank you, Geeky Swedes. I appreciated the openess, but when a troll (or otherwise normal people exhibiting troll-like behavior) began their goading, it was very hard not to respond in kind. Which was awful, since this is such a great blog.

Laura
Guest
Laura

This is, hands down, my favorite source for local news. I think the tireless work that must go in to keeping the latest news always updated deserves to be treated with respect. I think any attempt you take towards keeping unnecessarily negative or meaningless comments from clogging this forum are welcome!

Keep up the great work and thank you for the amazing service to our neighborhood.

Silver
Member

I agree, LRF, it is “drive-by ranting” that bothers me.

The driving analogy can be taken further – when people can't see each other's faces, they sometimes treat other posters, and other drivers, as though they aren't real people. People they might meet in their neighborhood.

Drive nice, post nice. We are your neighbors. We're the ones you want to watch out for you! We're going to call 911 when your house is on fire!

Trix
Guest
Trix

I just started commenting on this site a few days ago and it didn't take me long to see the comments were on the ugly side a lot of the time. So, thank you for making MyBallard a more pleasant place to be. I know my neighbors have it in them to be polite.

chopper_74
Guest
chopper_74

Thanks guys seriously, for continuing to improve MyBallard, it's priceless. I'll do my best to bring my best to the forum.
However, I do find it harder to read through now, but perhaps it's just an adjustment thing.
Also, the comment numbers aren't there, so, 'post # 31' in a thread won't be as easy to find…
I'm also hopeful that the system won't be abused by a few, but I trust that if it is, you'll remedy the situation.
Thank you.

kurto
Guest
kurto

It's usually a bad sign when you see people commenting more than 3 times on one thread. It's especially a bad sign if you see 3 comments in a row from the same person.

Huffingtonpost has threading in their comments which allows for 'mini forums' to develop within the comments. It allows for important discussion in a way that doesn't distract from the breadth of knowledge that readers add through their thoughtful postings. Also, it allows for the appropriate 'spanking' of attention seeking folks by other commenters in a more direct way. Without threading then it's a bunch of people shouting in a room (even if it's civil discourse) and it's harder to acknowledge each other's contributions.

I think the neighborhood blogs need to partner with the PI so that we can subscribe to local blog/journalism media. Maybe then there will be the funds to pay for the sexier threading comment feature. :-)

LauraBeeSeattle
Guest
LauraBeeSeattle

Thanks Geeky Swedes, This is great news! I am always impressed by how hard you guys work and how responsive you are to feedback and news alike!

lakreitz
Member
lakreitz

Geeky Swedes,
Thank you so much for the change. Over the last few weeks I'd given up reading any comments on myballard. I felt badly for you that your hard work over the last year was being trashed and that a great local resource had been co-opted. Give some people the opportunity to be anonymous and the level of intelligence drops like a stone. I don't know if it was just one or two people or if they were even local. But I can say for certain, that I really didn't want to be some of those folks' neighbors.

You have made me very happy. The sun is out. It's a weekend. Civility may have returned to myballard. Can it get better?

Annamatopoetry
Guest
Annamatopoetry

Thanks! Hopefully there'll be less awfulness now.

Ben0228
Guest
Ben0228

Registered. Thanks. Anytime we can improve the tone of intelligent discourse it's great.

6_11_000
Guest
6_11_000

Thank you so much for solving (apparently it's working) the nasty comments problem! Every time I tried to read the comments to a story, I became so disillusioned with humanity that I vowed never to read them again. It made me very sad. Thank you, thank you.

The Raven
Guest
The Raven

All for it!

Krawk! Krawk! Krawk!

Rick Lewon
Guest
Rick Lewon

That is the problem with blogs: the type of people who frequent them and comment feel empowered as they are able to be instantly published and heard. I don't think the comments on blogs are representative of the Ballard community in general.

Also, looking at the blog entries for the new pets stores, I have seen NO mention of all the fine pet stores that have been here for over 10 years. I am hesitant to mention the name of the pet store my wife and I have frequented as I'm afraid they could be flamed on this site by half the members here and praised by the other half– you can do 100 things right and no on notices, but do one thing wrong and people never forget you.

With that said, great job on Ballard and other city blogs!

nina
Guest

Is there a way you can mark a post as “advertisement” or “paid” when they have paid for the post?

Perdita
Guest
Perdita

this is a breath of fresh air. thank you.