Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/04/01/new_reg_comments/

New Reg comments system ready to launch

Forums a la mod - or not, as you prefer

By Team Register

Posted in Bootnotes, 1st April 2010 09:19 GMT

April Fools Exciting news from Vulture Towers - we're overhauling your comments system to make it more accessible and satisfying for you to use.

After an extensive consultation with our valued board of 'tame' commentards - those of you who responded eagerly to our call for comment consultants last year - and weekly all-staff comments discussion sessions, we've decided to make a few tweaks according to what you told us you want. Some of our decisions may not be popular, but we'll be keeping a close eye on your responses and if you're not happy, we'll do our best to remedy matters. We're here to help!

First, the not so great news. The Reg has been host to a thriving community of 'commentards', as they're affectionately known, for several years now, and a veritable 'comment reef' has formed of all the accumulated outbursts.

Sadly, this means we are now getting short of server space to store them all - so we'll shortly be restricting individual comments to 250 words each and 20 comments a day per account only. We're really sorry about that - it should only be temporary, however, and we'll keep you posted as to when you'll be able to run free at the mouth again.

Moving on, choice is the byword for our new system. You asked us for a truly flexible, linear and intuitive comments system and that's what we plan to provide under ongoing consultation, crowd-sourcing ideas from you all the way.

The big news is that we're introducing a two-tier subscription system, putting you one easy payment away from opinion-stating heaven. This is how it's going to work:

Standard subscription (£5 per year) - Enables you to post comments under moderation with the new 'three strikes' system (we'll explain this more fully later, but suffice to say you'll need to stay on your toes if you want to keep your account!).

Premium subscription (£12 per year) - Your choice to post moderated or unmoderated, so you can have a guarantee of publication (no more wrath of the Moderatrix for you!). You can also choose to 'hide' other comments according to a checklist of your dislikes, and there's a 'sticky' function that keeps your latest comment at the top of a thread.

Plus, you get unlimited comment allowance even while restrictions are in place for standard subscribers, so you can post as often, at whatever length and with any degree of ire you feel you need to express yourself.

We're setting up the subscription system right now so you'll be able to sign up in a couple of days. Clicking 'post a comment' should take you straight to the right page - if it doesn't, let us know through our new 'comment complaints' function which ensures your messages get straight to a dedicated inbox.

And there's more...

What else will you get for your cash (and loyalty)? Well, we're planning stacks of new features with easy one-click options galore - expect many new buttons to pop up over the coming months. But in the meantime, here are some of the features that will be good to go and available for you to use after next week.

Instaspeak: Skip the story - simply click on any headline to comment.

Dedicated 'new icon request' button: We'll aim to create any new icons requested within 48 hours and make them available for all commenters to use.

Writer Wipe: Set your filters so you never have to see a story from your least preferred writers ever again.

Supergrass option: Recommend deletion of all upsetting, contrary or objectionable comments in a thread with one click.

Commenter zapping: All commenter's names will come with a 'zap' button - after this is clicked by three other separate commenters, the offending account will be deleted. This is the first step towards making the boards truly democratic.

Opinion templates: Based on our successful 'standard comments' trial of 2008 - one click to post 'you owe me a new keyboard', 'all hail the Divine Moderatrix' or 'That's it, I'm moving to Australia because I think I will be happier there given the unimpeachable civil liberties credentials of the current regime'.

Easier, faster, better up/down voting An easy five-step process making it the work of mere minutes to express your momentary approval or disapproval of previous posters' viewpoints.

Full Comment Scan: Choose to view all deleted, withdrawn and unpublished comments - the unvarnished, unmoderated truth!

Our techies are also toying with a 'screamer' add-on so you can add sound effects to your comment including 'laugh out loud', 'impotent rage scream', 'whine of sarcastic histrionic unwitting prejudice-betraying outrage' and 'theatrical weary sigh'.

Then there's the 'boobies' and 'Bernard Manning' buttons, the 'quickie-flamer', the 'trollinator' and the 'quick libel' function - and excitingly, an actual 'new keyboard request' service. Don't touch that dial... we'll have more info soon.

Let us know what you think in the comments - we'll be perusing and analysing them all carefully at the next comments meeting (or 'forum', as we like to call it...). ®

Bootnote

April Fools!