The Post is the first news organization to use the software developed by The Coral Project
System integrates with Modbot, The Post’s AI moderation technology

The Washington Post announces it is rolling out Talk, a new commenting system that will allow The Post to better engage with readers who comment on its stories and help promote civil conversations. The software was developed by the Coral Project, a collaboration between The Post, the New York Times, and Mozilla, funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Post will integrate Talk with ModBot, The Post’s AI-powered comment moderation technology.

“Many of our most loyal readers are commenters. The combination of Talk and ModBot will allow us get to know them better, more easily interact with them and quickly find and highlight thoughtful and insightful comments for all readers to see,” said Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, managing editor at The Post. “This is a first-of-its-kind commenting system that takes a comprehensive approach to comments, giving us the technical capability to connect with commenters in a deeper, more meaningful way at scale.”

Using this technology, The Post is more readily able to engage with its readers at scale. Talk’s moderation panel serves up statistics to help moderators understand a commenter’s contribution history at a glance. Then using ModBot, the system can remove comments that violate Post policies, approve comments that don’t, and provide analytics for moderators about the tenor of a conversation. The combined result is more efficient human-led moderation that is primed for the challenging task of surfacing and curating the best reader contributions.

Talk’s platform offers many benefits for readers, including letting them sort comments under a story by a variety of criteria, providing more deeply threaded conversations. Talk makes it easier to edit published comments or report comments or users who violate Post policies. Users also have more control over their comment experience, including whether or not they want to load new comments when reading on mobile.

“The Coral Project has been an unprecedented partnership that took on one of the industry’s biggest challenges: improving the digital dialogue about the news. Its exhaustive research, which included collaborating with hundreds of journalists around the world, has produced technology and best practices that will have a lasting impact on the way newsrooms and readers engage with each other,” said Greg Barber, director of newsroom product at The Post. “Post readers have been a key partner in Talk’s development. Through surveys, interviews, and comment threads, their feedback has helped shape what Talk looks like today.”

Talk and Modbot technologies are available to Arc Publishing clients.