Seperate Comment Systems

38

So now that the site has been live for nearly a month and I’ve had a chance to get used to everything one issue still bugs me on a daily basis.

Separating comments for premium and non-premium users really stifles interaction of the user community to discuss the articles. Those non-premium users are nearly second class citizens and cannot even reply to comments Premium users make.

Consistently having the check both sides of the comment system is time consuming and often means I simply miss out on valid points made by non-premium members.

I truly hope you will merge these back into a single view, perhaps offer filtering if folks desire that but I cannot help but feel like the comment system today needs to be changed.

 

If anyone agrees, disagrees or has any suggestions please chime in.

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38 Comments
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  1. 3 | Reply
    anchovylover Alpha Member #875 - 1 month ago

    I agree, it certainly is a disjointed experience. Having said that, I'm not sure how to change it.

    1. 2 | Reply
      Tallin - 1 month ago
      In reply to anchovylover:

      Just have it show Premium comments by default, then have a link that says "Show Peasant Comments". After you click that the non-premium member comments show up where they were made in the conversation. That's how other comment systems do it.

    2. 1 | Reply
      jr.flynn Alpha Member #424 - 1 month ago
      In reply to anchovylover:

      I think offering filtering to only show the comments of either side would work. They could make the premium comments weighted so that it is always like an invisible upvote (not a fan of that idea) but at least it would give premium users some kind of benefit.

    3. 1 | Reply
      offTheRecord - 1 month ago
      In reply to jr.flynn:

      Or just have a tag or icon identifying premium members, like the Alpha tag for the early premium adopters.

    4. 0 | Reply
      ommoran Alpha Member #208 - 4 weeks ago
      In reply to offTheRecord:

      I'm not sure I would like that system.  Quite honestly, I was beginning to avoid the comments on the site, as the incessant sniping and flame war BS that was going on was driving me crazy.  If I had to block any more users, I was just going to ignore comments altogether.

      I'm not sure if the site relaunch has quelled the idiots or not.  What I do know is that I don't see them when I just read the premium comments, so I'm starting to think all of my fellow Alpha members are mensa-level smart, and the rest must be clinging to the "no commercialization of the internet" mantra.  Being an alpha member, I like to delude myself with that mensa smartness.

    5. 0 | Reply
      offTheRecord - 4 weeks ago
      In reply to ommoran:

      Um...no comment.

    6. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 1 month ago

      In reply to jr.flynn:

      Name one article in which the BEST nonpremium comment was WORSE than the WORST premium comment.

      Paying for premium on this site is like paying to check bags on airlines or paying to get an inedible and ultimately undigestible sandwich during flight. Just a sign of the times.

  2. 1 | Reply
    MutualCore - 1 month ago

    I don't have a problem with separate comment systems as I am paying for better discourse. Let the 'dirty non-premium peasants' not see my comments. LOL

    My bigger gripe is a total lack of notification system. No way to know about new threads, no comment replies.

    Also the forum navigation is just wrong. I don't know what would be better but drop-downs are not what I'd expect in 2016.

    Also there is no link to 'Show New Posts' like on many websites. It's very clunky.

    1. 0 | Reply
      Tim Alpha Member #20 - 4 weeks ago
      In reply to MutualCore:

      Notifications are actively being developed. 

  3. 1 | Reply
    mdb17 Alpha Member #2427 - 1 month ago

    I have to say I agree as well. I would prefer the comments to show up together.

  4. 1 | Reply
    sham63 - 1 month ago

    Yeah, I don't see why they did that. If they want to separate premium and non-premium members just make it so the great unwashed can't see the premium comments.

    1. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 1 month ago

      In reply to sham63:

      They must also make it so the enlightened premium people can opt to hide the hoi poloi's comments.

      We can all argue over the merits of paying for premium articles, but it's laughable that premium people are also paying to see other premium people's comments.

  5. 1 | Reply
    lordbaal1 - 1 month ago

    Was anything fixed. It seemed like they implemented it, then stop working on it. Disqus was a lot better.

  6. 1 | Reply
    ozaz - 3 weeks ago

    I agree with OP. 

    Of course, Premium users should have a number of unique benefits but I don't feel a separate commenting system is appropriate. I enjoy reading and contributing to the article comments, but separating the comments makes for a disjointed, poor experience and has led to me being far less likely to engage in the site than I was prior to the revamp.

    I suggest merging articles comments into a single system, and identifying premium users with a badge. Keep the Premium forum if you want Premium users to have a place to have discussions independent of everyone else.

    And if you feel Premium users need to have a perk when it comes to article commenting, how about limiting the maximum number of comments that can be made by non-premium members? As a non-premium member, I would much rather have this limitation than have two separate commenting systems.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    1. 0 | Reply
      offTheRecord - 1 week ago
      In reply to ozaz:

      I still can't figure out why they would want to discourage engagement by anyone visiting the site and legitimately participating in discussions -- which is what this comment system does, imo. I've asked several times why they think this is a "good idea" and have yet to get an answer.

  7. 1 | Reply
    ChristopherCollins Alpha Member #2122 - 2 weeks ago

    I'm a premium subscriber and I would prefer if all comments were merged.  I think it harms the interaction between the entire community.

  8. 1 | Reply
    TenFour - 4 weeks ago

    The "Premium" model has ruined the site, and I come here less often. Check it once in awhile to see what is going on, but Paul is obviously trying to move more and more people to the Premium section. The problem is that I will not pay a subscription for anything if I can avoid it. That just encourages sites to publish more and more BS once they've locked you in, and you end up paying for lots of crap you don't want. Plenty of interesting free sites on the net to explore and interact with.

  9. 1 | Reply
    Tim Alpha Member #20 - 1 month ago

    I'm definitely watching this thread...This was a pretty heavily discussed topic internally many months ago.

    1. 1 | Reply
      offTheRecord - 1 month ago
      In reply to Tim:

      Would you mind sharing with us the reason(s) behind going ahead with this? As you can see, many of us are struggling to understand this decision.

      Also, two additional "Comment" comments:

      1. Make login a bit more persistent. It seems like I have to re-login every other day or so. "Remember me" and "Stay logged in" options would be useful.

      2. Notification of replies would be useful. As it is now, I have no idea whether or not someone replied to my comments unless I go back and re-read the comment streams I've participated in.

    2. 0 | Reply
      offTheRecord - 1 month ago
      In reply to Tim:

      I just saw that comment notifications are in the pipeline; looking forward to that.

  10. 0 | Reply
    WP7Mango Alpha Member #2513 - 1 month ago

    I disagree. Ironically, it was this very split which made me finally pay for the subscription!

    1. 2 | Reply
      jr.flynn Alpha Member #424 - 1 month ago
      In reply to WP7Mango:

      So wouldn't filtering the view (and remembering your preference) also meet your need?

    2. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 1 month ago

      In reply to jr.flynn:

      ++++ remembering viewers' preferences. What a concept!

    3. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 1 month ago

      In reply to WP7Mango:

      Really can't stand interacting with people who won't flush away their money as you do?

  11. 0 | Reply
    FalseAgent - 4 weeks ago

    Agreed. Premium comments are supposed to "elevate the conversation" but I feel like it's just creating an echo chamber/bubble/cognitive bias (but it's classy, since this one costs more money) and is the last thing we need for a Microsoft-focused site. Windows Central is already infamous for it's ridiculous forums, and sometimes, even their editors.

    Anyway, my point is that the people who visit Thurrott.com are, in a way, already a curated audience. I see myself as a person that follows Paul+Brad+Rafael when reading this site, and these three writers create quite a specific type of readership IMO. Within this following, I don't see much value in "elevating" the conversation even further. I think comments from the entire readership of this site is valuable, premium member or not.

    1. 1 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 4 weeks ago

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      There's no proof premium comments are generally superior to nonpremium comments. Premium comments seem to be a marketing ploy to add perceived value to the premium program.

    2. 1 | Reply
      Tim Alpha Member #20 - 4 weeks ago
      In reply to hrlngrv: 
      Premium comments seem to be a marketing ploy to add perceived value to the premium program.

      I think that's a little unfair.  

      We do feel it adds actual value and there was a lot of feedback re:Disqus that the comments were at times a bit of a cesspool of unproductive conversation.  The idea was to allow people that care a lot about this content (as proof that they are willing to pay money for more/better content and to support the content creators).  There was internal discussion about the separate threads, and we continue to discuss it. 

      I realize this isn't something you can easily quantify, but I've been paying pretty close attention and I genuinely feel that the premium comment threads are very in-depth, conversational and throught provoking.  I do believe that they are more so that then the standard comment threads.

      The question is whether or not this is a chicken and egg problem.  By segregating the comments maybe we are falsely creating that environment while stamping out a broader discussion.  That is certainly a valid question and it's one we're actively investigating. 

      Obviously one of our goals here is to get more subscriptions, but to imply that we're haphazardly doing things to add "perceived value".  I think the approach we've taken to this entire project is fairly unorthodox: Case in point...decision makers are actively engaging with the community for feedback on features that are built out (like this post right now).

      We will never be able to please everyone but our goal is to get as close to perfection as we can.  

    3. 1 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 2 weeks ago

      In reply to Tim:

      I read both premium and steerage comments. From my perspective, no difference in average quality.

      Have you cross-checked IDs for cesspit Disqus comments with questionable comments in the new system? Are all premium commenters saintly and astute in their comments?

      I was pleased that in the last week or so several of the articles had many more comments in the steerage section than the premium section. Whenever that happens, I only leave comments in steerage. I suppose premium members do control this. We could mostly elect not to use premium comments. That is, unless you restrict premium members to leaving only premium comments.

    4. 0 | Reply
      offTheRecord - 1 week ago
      In reply to hrlngrv:

      I've noticed this, too. More premium users participating in the non-premium stream is certainly one way to mitigate the negative aspects of the dual stream.

    5. 1 | Reply
      JudaZuk Alpha Member #2098 - 4 weeks ago
      In reply to Tim:

      I personally still feel Disqus was better, because with that I could block a user, I got notifications and I could use 1 login for all comments I made. 

       Sure there where times where a discussion could completely flip out, that is how the Internet is, but that can still happen, and the worse part is that there is no way to block an annoying user now .  With Disqus I could.  

      And also the comments where not separated in Premium and Peasant class like now, so it was easier  as a "Premium" member to talk to the "common people"

      also it was easier to edit a comments after the fact and the formatting was better, unlike the comment system today 

    6. 0 | Reply
      anchovylover Alpha Member #875 - 4 weeks ago
      In reply to hrlngrv:

      I disagree, if a person appreciates the work a site does to such a degree to pay for a subscription then why would that user drag the site down with inappropriate comments. Further more, is a visitor pops in and reads the quality of the comment section I would imagine they would be less likely to cause trouble. At this point the guests comments have been excellent on the whole however I believe that is because the Premium comments have also been excellent. They feed off each other.

    7. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 2 weeks ago

      In reply to anchovylover:

      Explain how nonpremium commenters, who can't access premium comments, could be swayed at all by the quality of premium comments.

      As mentioned above, to me this is pure marketing ploy, playing psychology with the paying customers.

  12. 0 | Reply
    Rob Campbell - 1 month ago

    It's the vi, mode-switching comment system.

    "Premium" comments is the goofiest "premium" feature I've ever seen, and - as you pointed out - the parallel implementation is ridiculously unfriendly.

    It would make more sense to me to have "comments" as freemium feature - need to sign up for the free Thurrott account to comment, which would also allow for easier moderation.

    1. 0 | Reply
      offTheRecord - 1 month ago
      In reply to Rob Campbell:

      It's already the case that non-premium visitors have to register on the site before being able to comment. Or at least, I thought that was the case. I had to register to be able to login and comment.

  13. 0 | Reply
    MutualCore - 1 month ago

    Something hilarious. Create Post doesn't work in Google Chrome but works fine in Edge.

    1. 0 | Reply
      anchovylover Alpha Member #875 - 1 month ago
      In reply to MutualCore:

      It's working for me. I know that doesn't help you other than thinking it may be an isolated issue.

    2. 0 | Reply
      hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 1 month ago

      In reply to anchovylover:

      I too can create Forum posts with Chrome (and Firefox). Maybe you have an unfortunate Chrome extension installed. Or are you behind an impertinent firewall?

  14. 0 | Reply
    hrlngrv Alpha Member #100 - 1 month ago

    Agreed.

    Especially foolish is separate comments for premium articles. If nonpaying readers can read 3 premium articles a month, let 'em also read the premium comments. Heck, let 'em MAKE premium comments. It's not like the nonpremium comments are any better or worse than the premium comments generally.

    For the few who just can't abide comments from the hoi poloi, give 'em a button in the comments section to hide nonpremium comments. [Make it as nonpersistent as the layout buttons in the front page of the site so they have to click it every goddam time they want to deviate from the oh-so-persisten decaults.]

    OR we could all just start using the Forum for all comments.