Sepia Mutiny’s new commenting system

You have spoken. We have heard. We agree. The level of discourse in the comments following blog posts has declined substantially since we first started in 2004. I won’t go in to all the reasons behind this but it involves an evolution in the way people use and interact with blogs, as well as the time the bloggers here have available to moderate. Over the coming months we will be making changes to the website to better your experience, as well as, hopefully, increase the value of the discussions that are being had on this site. Here are a couple of the near term changes our awesome website admin team, Chaitan, Kunjan, and new team member Vishal are getting set to roll out as early as today:

  • You will now have the ability to “Login” to leave comments. This means you can use your Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. ID to serve as your login to leave comments on SM. Why should you choose to do this? Well, we want everyone to be able to tell (even if it is via an anonymous Google/Facebook/Twitter account) who the people are that leave the best and most substantive comments here at SM, the people that are contributing an edifying perspective. We also want people to know who repeatedly derails comment threads by violating our comment policy so that our bloggers can more quickly and effectively moderate comment threads.
  • You can continue to leave comments totally anonymously as always. BUT…starting September 22nd these comments will be hidden by default (collapsed) and most people will never see them unless they take the time to uncollapse them. For practical purposes this means if you want to leave comments with total anonymity, very few people will actually see that comment.

The new comment system is in testing mode so please use this thread or the “Contact” link at the top of our homepage to send us feedback about any bugs you have found. Thanks, and please let our wonderful admin team know if you like!

97 thoughts on “Sepia Mutiny’s new commenting system

  1. Abhi: Your tech team have done a great job. Just a note to folks: If you do not select “nickname” then it automatically selects your first few letters of your e-mail address. So if you do not want people to know your first name (most e-mails starts with your first name) make sure you select a “nickname” and update your profile. Moreover, you cannot have more than one “nickname”. The same will have to be used for either posting comments or posting news story. I learned these facts the hard way. Hope this helps.

  2. It will be interesting to see how the comments change. If the mutineer tech team could please bring back a numbering system for the comments, that would be super helpful.

  3. “I think we’ll just see the same people commenting over and over instead of the large variety of commentors and opinions we have right now.

    i think that’s the point :-) i am happy.”

    Diversity is great – except when it comes to opinions ;)

  4. Good work, Mutiny!

    Yo Dad, I respectfully request you dig out the old pictures. :-)

    Not that I want to, but how do I uncollapse the anonymous comments?

    • They’re not collapsing for me.

      Now who will save me from the bad posters on the internet!?

    • Saheli; Don’t mind if I do! The problem is the Boss at home owns all those pictures and would not let me release at any cost;-). Jealosy thy name is W!

  5. I agree that numbering will be helpful; it will help with the retroactive name changing problem Razib was talking about. (Though honestly, Razib, you are the only person I know who consistently and frequently changes your name, and you don’t change it fully, so I think it will be fine.)

    • I agree that numbering will be helpful; it will help with the retroactive name changing problem Razib was talking about.

      We are looking into a better way to do this. When a moderator deletes a comment, the numbering is thrown off. So since numbers and nicknames are changeable, the reliable way to preserve a ‘reply referrer’ (what?), is to use the ‘reply’ link next to the comment, and perhaps quote the original commenter like I did here.

  6. Yoga Fire: I don’t think they are currently collapsed (they won’t be collapsed until Sep 22) I was just wondering if it would be obvious how to uncollapse them.

    • Ah. I feared for a moment that we Mac users were to be thrown to the wolves; forced to endure every random anonymous commenter the internet has to offer. The horror. The Horror!

      Kidding aside, I am so glad I no longer have to type “brown” every single time I post. Seriously.

  7. (Though honestly, Razib, you are the only person I know who consistently and frequently changes your name, and you don’t change it fully, so I think it will be fine.)

    there have been people using different names in the same thread to push the conversation (obvious from the same IP).

  8. the “intern” warned the sock-puppeteer to stop doing what they were doing, noting that they could see the IPs.

  9. Why not just move to Disqus. Its an excellent commenting system. You can take this overhead from your site maintenance and give it to Disqus. Have you guys thought about it? disqus.com

  10. Hooray! Is there an amnesty on asking for homework assistance or celebrity contact info until the 22nd of September? :) I’ve always wanted to do that just for kicks :)

    • Hooray! Is there an amnesty on asking for homework assistance or celebrity contact info until the 22nd of September? :) I’ve always wanted to do that just for kicks :)

      Only if it is funny. Otherwise …

  11. Please update the “Mutineers” page. The Rocket Scientist (as far as I know) is not found in Houston anymore;-). Some “regular” contributors have left and some new “guests” bloggers have been added. Thanks

  12. SM’s tech team is really awesome. Permitted but collapsible pseudonymous commenting is the best comment-innovation since disemvowelling.

    I’ll stay anonymous.

  13. Well that means there’s no amnesty :)

    I will make requests anyway. It’s a two part question: What’s it like to work at Brewster Keegan; and can you write me a recommendation?

    Kenneth Park, Class of 2004

  14. GREAT!! Now I can bookmark the mutiny again. Hopefully the comments will get better and people will behave themselves.

    Cleo F.K.A. AnjaliToo

  15. Depends on the purpose of doing this. Keeping comments on topic is one thing. That can already be done now with moderator that know the difference between off topic comment from a comment that is just different from the moderator’s. Dissent is healthy, and comes with diversity. PC dictatorship and bloggers wanting comments that align with their view is another. That results in an self congratulatory echo chamber. I think some bloggers here may be truly trying to ensure good commentary, while I suspect some other bloggers have less tolerance for views that are different from theirs.

  16. Yay! 3 years later…I’m calling it my comeback!

    Hopefully people won’t hate me as much if I post cute picture of kittens and puppies to offset my blowhardiness.

  17. I’m late to comment on this, but I just wanted to say that I am SUCH A FAN of both this system and Sepia’s wonderful tech/admin team. Thanks so much, you guys. I really, really appreciate that you make my blogging life easier and more pleasant and I can’t wait to see how this works.