Here are the most notable updates:
Host replies now display automatically. You can click in to view additional posts.
Some of the strongest feedback we heard was about how the chats are displayed. You’re here to read what our hosts have to say, and you want those answers to be easy to read. Now, the first answer from the host automatically appears in response to a question. We’ve also added a light blue background to make the host’s response more prominent and easy to scan.
To read additional comments and replies, you have to click in. We’ve heard from some readers that they want to read only the host’s answers and do not want to see further comments from chatters. Others have said they want all comments automatically expanded. We’re keeping the threading option because we believe it provides the greatest balance between these two desires, while providing readability and interactivity to continue conversation with a smaller group.
We’ve made the question-and-response submission process more clear.
All questions and comments submitted to our live chats are moderated. Your question or comment will appear only if a host responds or publishes your response.
When you submit a post, you’ll see a message noting it has been submitted. You’ll see a copy of the message, but it is visible only to you. It will publish to the page once it’s been answered or approved by a host. Some hosts may not be able to answer all of the many questions they receive in a chat — but they definitely see them!
You’ll see when you are hitting a character limit.
All posts have a 1,800-character limit. As you’re typing, you’ll see how many characters you have left and when you hit the limit. If you go over the limit, feel free to submit a second response, but concise posts are more likely to be read.
What we’re working on next
Sorting out the order of posts.
We’ve heard from many readers about chat chronology and needing to scroll constantly while participating live. We’re evaluating this and will be doing some testing to determine how we can create a better experience for readers who participate live and those who read transcripts later on.
Answers to frequently asked questions:
Why did you change your chat software?
We moved to Pubble because we want to improve our live chat experience. Like many readers, we believe that our live chats are some of the most valuable features we offer at The Washington Post. It’s a way for you to directly connect with our journalists, whether for advice or analysis, and we want to make them as helpful and engaging to our readers as possible.
For a number of reasons, our old software had many limits. It lacked certain features, and there was also no opportunity for us to develop new ones, which meant chats couldn’t easily evolve or improve. That software was also starting to break down. We wanted a tool that would be stable and have a development team actively working on it to give us the room to experiment with new functionalities and to update them to match other pages on washingtonpost.com — and that tool is Pubble.
We know it’s a change because our chats have looked and worked the same for many years, but we’re really happy to be investing more in chats. We’re listening to your feedback and applying your suggestions going forward.
How do I enter a new name or topic?
When you submit a question, you’ll be prompted to enter your name or the topic of your question. This name will stick with you if you continue to reply or comment on any live chat. You can change your name by going to the top of the chat and hovering over your avatar.
Click on your avatar and you’ll see a box to type in a new name. Make sure you click “Update.” You’ll see the new name show up in the box. Note that you can do this only at the top of the chat, where you submit a question.
What if I want to stay completely anonymous?
You can do that! As with our previous live-chat tool, you can add a topic or subject for your question instead, or pick a pseudonym.
Will all hosts be using Pubble?
We’re still transitioning some chats over as new features are completed and bugs are fixed, but yes. Soon all Post chats will be a consistent experience that is constantly improving.
I’m on the page, but the live chat isn’t showing up. What’s wrong?
It’s likely you have a third-party browser extension blocking the live chat. Try disabling any extensions and refreshing your browser. If you continue to have issues, please contact Customer Care.
Have additional feedback? Let us know here. We appreciate your suggestions.