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Posted at 02:52 PM ET, 03/15/2011

About our redesign, new comments section and how to earn a badge!

As you’ve probably noticed, we’ve relaunched the washingtonpost.com home page, section fronts,article pages and comments section in hopes of fostering more substantive, serious conversations prompted by The Post’s reporting and analysis.

We’re still working out several technical issues and you may experience longer load times on certain pages. (Please e-mail us with specific questions or concerns regarding the relaunch.)

We remain committed to open discussions and anyone who registers as a Post user, or logs into the site via Facebook Connect can continue to comment in the new system and contribute to post user photo galleries and Discussion Groups.

As part of our renewed commitment, we’re awarding badges to readers who consistently submit insightful, timely comments on various topics. The badges — (virtual, not real) will appear next to your icon in our comments section. Badge holders’ views will appear prominently in our “Top Posts” and “Top Comments” threads.

You’ll also be able to respond directly to what others have said, creating subsequent threads instead of one crowded single thread.

Most importantly, however: Commenters remain responsible for what they post. Our moderators will remove posts that contain profanity, hate speech, or personal attacks or that otherwise violate our Discussion Guidelines.

We believe these new features will make your overall Washington Post experience easier and more informative and help us improve the level of discourse we’re hosting.

Share your thoughts — on the government, or the redesign — in the comments section below.

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