Improvements to My Ballard’s comment system

A couple weeks ago, we asked folks in the forum for feedback on My Ballard’s comment system. Many of you asked that we allow users to help moderate comments, as well as link comment profiles with forum profiles. We agree, so we’re beginning to work on connecting the profiles. In the meantime, we’ve switched back to Disqus, a comment system that has some great moderation features, including the ability for you to flag inappropriate posts (just “mouse over” a comment and click the “flag” link that appears.)

Disqus also allows us to better moderate a small handful of users who are posting under multiple names at high frequency — often to inflame a conversation or impersonate someone else — which has become an increasing problem with our standard WordPress comments. Thanks for your understanding as we try to keep the peace, and as always, please let us know what you think.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

47 thoughts to “Improvements to My Ballard’s comment system”

  1. Much appreciated! These changes will make this place a more welcome place for everyone… not just those with thick skins.

  2. Now just quit the Chamber of Commerce!!

    How can you post those pics of families and kids on bikes, and then align yourselves with Ballard Oil and anti-resident business groups to sue the city of Seattle to stop bike trails?

    The trolls here are what keep this blog honest.

    Quit the Chamber, Swedes. Show Ballard you actually care.

  3. Wow, just how incompetent can you guys be when it comes to the comment system. Switching back to disqus? I thought you went back to the standard WP cause you couldn't get disqus to work for you properly. Wasn't it over a year ago that you switched to disqus in the first place because standard WP wasn't working? And now it's going to take you however long to implement the system that you should have implemented over a year ago?

    I'm sorry for being so harsh but it just seems like a blog with the massive amount of traffic and comments should have figured this out a long time ago. I understand that “Geeky Swedes” is just a nickname and doesn't necessarily imply that you can even administer a WordPress blog correctly. Since your business has grown, maybe you could actually hire someone to put the comment system in place for you.

    At least disqus is threaded which is better then the WP comments that you were using and a must for the volume of comments this site generates. Never really seemed to stop people from posting under a million different names though.

    Sorry again for being harsh, please don't flag me!

  4. I get the unfortunate feeling in this context “trolling” means “saying anything that makes passive-aggressive liberals uncomfortable”.

  5. Hey Swedes,

    Reconsider just cutting comments or using an editorial board approach and post only relevant, substantive comments that contribute to understanding or appreciation of the subject of the post. Most of the comments offered about your posts really add nothing of value, nothing of substance. You have a like/don't like option which gauges the overall sentiment of your readers and you offer a Facebook share feature. Complaints about you or your business affiliations really are more appropriately the subject of a personal email to you. You also have a forum in which readers can endlessly discuss some of the more regular topics –old v. new Ballard gripes and bike trail litigation — which tend to rear up and can swamp comment threads on just about any subject.

  6. I've always liked the comment system at homewares DOT org (sorry, disqus is stupid and you can't type links.) It has a lot of features that have been requested. What does everyone think?

  7. Thank you for offering us a good example of trolling for the conversation – yes, this post is what is meant by trolling. Rude, name-calling, immature and doesn't bring anything to the conversation.

  8. This is what I fear most. Like it or not, this is the definitive neighborhood blog, sorta the only place to go. It would be a sad thing to squelch one school of opinion or another.

    On the other hand, if those of us that like to troll or dissent or play devil's advocate could do it a bit more respectfully, the forums would be a better place.

    Let's have this be a place of civil discussions, where the unicorns-and-rainbows crowd vs. the gritty-city-realists is not some rude childish battle, but rather a place where we can find some common ground, or at least begin to understand each other.

    Oh wait, this is the internet. My Bad. Carry on…

  9. This may seem obvious ks, but if you don't like the comments, then don't view them…

    If it's really 'journalism', they should entertain all opinions. It shouldn't be up to one person to decide who adds value or not, but the 'like' button will give everyone a voice in the matter.

    I don't see a 'dont like' button, which is discouraging. It really sets things up like a one-sided political blog, where dissenting comments are removed, and you're left with a choice of 'liking' what's left, or nothing at all.

    I recommend a dislike button, and then maybe some kind of thread filter that will show only the most liked comments, to save us time reading on the longer threads. (see reddit, slashdot, etc for how this works). You'll filter out the most down-voted comments, as well as the repeats, and the real discussions will be more visible.

  10. Maybe he loves Ballard itself and has an opinion he wants to share?

    Maybe you should either be more tolerant of his opinion, or explain why you disagree with him instead of trying to vote him off the island?

    Because your comment as it stands, gobigblue, adds 'nothing of value' to the discussion.

  11. Stand up and defend Geeky Swedes if you want to contribute. Suggesting someone leave and start his own site is a low and childish tack to take.

    (Only an opinion of course)

  12. www DOT homewares DOT org (sorry, disqus doesn't let you post links) has one of my favorite commenting set up. It takes care of just about everything suggested. What do you guys think of it?

  13. A dislike button is a bad idea because it would set it up to be a one-sided blog. If the majority of readers “dislike” a comment just because they don't agree with it, you will never get to read the minority view. All of the comments will tend to only represent the most popular side of an argument. Comments should only be removed if they violate comment policy which is what the “flag” button is for.

  14. If I didn't, I would have given up on this site a long time ago. Many others have just based on what they've seen me have to deal with.

    Unless you're my husband or parent, I am fairly certain I am not your “sweetie.”

  15. without feeding the fire, your comment seems to do just the same only in a milder form. where does it stop? just maybe don't respond? hmmm….

  16. eh, I'm talking user-configurable filter and no removal of a comment unless it violates policy. It would leave the decision about whether to read the whole thread (getting both sides), or skimming the popular topics.

    Also note that the filter would have to leave the entire chain of a reply thread visible, or else the upvoted 'oh snap' post at the end of it won't make sense.

    Filter or no filter, being able to vote dislike is something i would like to see. Perhaps 'Agree' or 'Don't Agree' would be more civil?

  17. I should've left out the “immature” part because that is a judgment call – you're right about that. And being sarcastic is a petty way to get ones point across too … that was knee-jerk on my part. But telling someone they are being rude and it is not appreciated is not name-calling or trolling.

  18. Hi Jizzball, we removed Disqus initially because we were one of the first blogs to use it, and it was consistently crashing and creating long page-load-times (up to 15-20 seconds).

    Now Disqus has significantly scaled up its technology and performance, so we've reinstalled it.

  19. they don't know how to ignore. they really want the drama and try to claim a high road that they do not. they get called on it all the time by numerous people and yet they don't stop.

  20. but people “flag” bombing comments because they don't like them gets comments removed entirely? this is very one sided considering the name calling that's allowed by people like ballardmama and the posts that have been flagged for review by others.

  21. It's true that I don't like some of the comments and I don't have to read them but often I start a thread to see if there are useful contributions — like someone has inside information about a restaurant opening — only to find it devolve rapidly into off-topic rants and name calling.

    All of that being, said my main point for the Swedes was that given the numerous methods of participation and feedback on this blog, permitting unmoderated comment posting immediately below their blog posts seems to be redundant. Doing a rudimentary cost-benefit analysis, these comment pages seem to be the least valuable form of feedback. Much is offensive, non-substantive and off-topic. If the purpose of comments is to get positive vs. negative feedback on the posts they can accomplish this effectively with the thumbs up and thumbs down buttons already in place. I am not referring to the “like” option for comments. If the purpose of comment threads below the blog posts is to generate meaningful conversation related to the topic of each blog post, strict editorial moderation paired with an identification system would be most useful to eliminate personal attacks and other worthless contributions and would minimize attempts at skewing feedback by multiple posting, assuming the identity of other posters and the like. If the purpose is just to let people talk openly they have a separate forum for that purpose. I have noticed on the forum that the regular posters have discussed, and are concerned about, the fact that most of the trolling and other uncivil behavior occurs on front page comment threads. Disallowing immediate feedback below a comment thread may reduce trolling by making it less satisfying for those who engage in that behavior.

    Some have raised the point that if this blog has journalistic standards it must allow all views expressed. If that is what the owners of this blog want they could certainly pick comments representative of various views. However I think you will find that most magazines, newspapers and television news shows do not allow unlimited, unedited feedback …

  22. So now that we're back on disqus (never liked that misspelled name, sounds too much like disgust) what's the policy with links? I posted a reply on the fence art story using a couple links to illustrate my point and it hasn't shown up. Should we expect that any post with links will wind up in comment purgatory?

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