Culver City (CA) - It has been two months since we launched our article comment system and by most accounts it has worked fairly well. Comments trickled in at the beginning, but have since grown to more than 150 comments a day. In total there have been 2253 comments written since the February 28th launch of the new comment system.
For long time TG Daily and Tom’s Hardware Guide readers, you’ll remember that we were a little late on the article comment game and many of the other tech sites have had in-line article comments for ages. We launched our new website using the Joomla CMS system in February and then installed an inexpensive comment system called JomComment.
Currently you are allowed to respond to any of our articles by clicking the Show/Hide comment form at the bottom of the article. Then you simply enter in your name, email address, title and the comment. Real names and emails are optional.
New comments aren’t published immediately; rather they are kept in a staging area. The editor who wrote the article is sent an email notification of the new comment and then goes to the JomComment control panel. The text of the comment along with the user information is show and we just have to click on the big red X, which changes to a green checkmark, to publish the comment. Published comments then take about five minutes to synchronize with the article.
We’ve been quite liberal in the review process, out of fairness and necessity. Many of the comments have been quite educational and have given us ideas for future articles, but we do draw the line with readers who threaten other readers. Often we see dozens of unpublished comments on each visit to the control panel and I personally just start clicking the red Xs to get them out of the queue.
We've been very surprised at some of the most commented articles. A few weeks ago we ran a series of ethanol/alternative vehicle stories that came out of the Alternative Fuel and Car Expo in Anaheim California which is just an hour drive from our Culver City California offices. Those stories received several dozen comments with the discussion getting quite heated at times.
Of course not everything is perfect with the system and we are working with the developer of JomComment to add some features. We might add an email response to readers telling them that a new message has been added to their thread. Of course for this to work we would have to mandate some type of registration or else the emails would bounce off the fake email addresses. Another feature we want is a threaded comment list because a single layer of comments can get confusing when you are trying to respond to another poster.
We are also working on putting a “Most Commented Article” box somewhere on the right side to show the most talked about articles.
Alright, I’m going back to the JomComment control panel. In the 20 minutes that it took to write this article, nearly two dozen new comments need to be published. I’m beginning to hate these red Xs.