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Posted at 06:13 PM ET, 01/30/2012

About our changes in comment threads and moderation

Since we installed a new comments system during our redesign last March, we’ve seen a 142 percent rise in comment submissions. As more and more people stay on The Post’s Web site to talk about the debates, the latest primary, the D.C. food scene and many, many other topics, we want to ensure that we’re constantly improving the experience — both by making the comment threads easier to use and by fostering smarter, livelier and more civil conversations.

Today we’re making a number of changes and moderation updates to our commenting platform. The moderation changes are listed below, and it’s important to note that all decisions on comments still will be made at the discretion of our moderators.

(Note: Some of the cosmetic changes we made won’t take full effect until your browser’s cache has been cleared. You can wait for your browser to do it on its own, or you can do it yourself by following these instructions.)

Starting today, we will:

• Award more badges to users who regularly post quality comments, using the value a commenter adds to the community and the number of “Recommends” his or her comments receive as key criteria.

• Be more aggressive in banning users who don’t regularly post quality comments as well as those with a high percentage of deleted comments.

• Delete all comments that direct name-calling and insults at other commenters.

• Add words to our list of terms that call for automatic deletion of a comment.

• Be more aggressive in our efforts to eliminate “trolling” — generally defined as posting comments that serve more to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations.

• Increase the number of Post staffers who post and reply to questions in the comments. (In recent weeks, we have had more than 40 reporters post in comment streams, and that number will continue to grow.)

Also, the staffers who manage our comment threads are now available by e-mail at comments@washingtonpost.com.

Our efforts to improve the comment threads will be an ongoing process, and we want — actually we need — your help. If you’re interested in giving detailed feedback on our comments, their moderation and changes that we are considering for the future, I encourage you to fill out this form. We’ll get back to you soon to get your input.

Additionally, here’s the complete list of the display/function changes we’re making in comment threads today:

• Reduced the size of the comment submit box. It expands when you click into it.

• In the Top Comments tab, the first reply to each comment is visible, with a “View More Replies” link that exposes 10 additional replies at a time.

• In the All Comments tab, the first three replies to each comment are visible, with a “View More Replies” link that exposes 10 additional replies at a time.

• Eliminated white space above user names in top comments and added white space between each post

• Moved the Newest First/Oldest First/Most Recommended First sort options into a drop-down menu next to the Pause/Load New Comments button.

• Changed the icons for Pause/Load New Comments

• Added a “Read what others are saying” header above the Top/All Comments tabs.

• Updated the style of Top Comments/All Comments tabs

• Added a “bubble” icon at the top of the stream to indicate total number of comments in a thread.

• Updated the background images for some small icons (such as the “Recommend” icon)

• Fixed the display of pop-up “tool tip” messages on Recommend and Report buttons

• Added a link to frequently asked questions about our comments

• Updated the link to our page that explains our commenting badges.

• Changed wording in submit box from “Weigh In” to “Add your comment”

• Changed the Sign In/Sign Out/Register/Create MyPost ID from buttons to text links.

• Changed the Change/Add Photo link under a reader’s avatar

• Changed the readers’ default avatar

By  |  06:13 PM ET, 01/30/2012

 
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