What’s the point of Premium and Standard comment separation?


I don’t completely understand the point of Premium and Standard comment separation on the site.  What is this supposed to do?

It seems like this is an attempt to maybe separate the fluff from legitimate comments, but that isn’t quite the way it seems to work.  I see great and crap comments under both.  Also, it seems the site recently switched from showing Premium comments by default to showing Standard.  Where should I post a comment?

Honestly, I value seeing them all, in one place.  I appreciate the thoughtful, differing perspectives.  Yes, there are the usual crap comments and personal attacks that have to be weeded through, but that’s the nature of the Internet beast.  And it does seem like up/down votes, combined with a report abuse or ignore button, could help deemphasize or outright eliminate those.

My suggestion to the site product owners and developers is to combine the two unless I’m just totally missing the mark on the purpose of separating the two.

Respectfully, J

Comments (20)

20 responses to “What’s the point of Premium and Standard comment separation?”

  1. jwpear

    My apologies.  I just noticed there is another thread on the two comment tabs.

    • offTheRecord

      In reply to jwpear:

      Yeah, we've been complaining about this (and comment functionality, in general) since the beginning of the Premium subscriptions (and the dumping of Disqus). Even many Premium subscribers don't like it. Although there's plenty of speculation as to why they've done this, I'm not aware, yet, of any actual "official" (or even unofficial) explanation as to why they think this is a good idea.

      I used to spend a lot of time on this site and participated extensively in the comments section. I definitely spend much less time here, now, and even less of that time interacting in the comments (compounded by the fact there's still no comment notification). Now, I realize I'm not a subscriber and my opinion may not mean a hill of beans, but this negative aspect of the site would still exist even if I was a subscriber.

  2. Tony Barrett

    I can understand having premium articles and other content for subscribers - but the split comments just seem pointless, and it means article comments are disjointed and confusing. It doesn't serve much purpose as far as I can see. A single, flat comment section, maybe with an icon indicating the author is a subscriber would be enough - at least everyone can contribute together! Standard comments get most of the feedack anyway.

  3. jwpear

    FWIW, some two plus years in, I've kind of gotten used to the two being separated. I just don't read the non-premium comments any more. Surely missing some good perspectives, but whatever. And still think they should be combined. Truly first world problems. Cheers!

  4. robinwilson16

    It would be good if someone could fix the notifications which I don't think have ever worked in the two years since this question was posted, but I agree that the comments should be in a single list with options to toggle both lots on and off otherwise it is one discussion for the privileged and one for the rest on the same topic interspersed with the odd spam here and there. Do we know the actual reason why or is the truth out there...

  5. mmcpher

    Does this kind of segregation actually drive subscriptions to Premium? Because if it doesn't it sure does undermine and confuse each of the parallel tracks of discussion. The Premium Posts and Articles (which presumably have Premium-only comments) seem to be the more effective promotion anyway.

  6. karlinhigh

    Also, it seems the site recently switched from showing Premium comments by default to showing Standard.

    I have never noticed this. I see Premium comments as default, even just now. Maybe browser environment affects this?

  7. PeterC

    I seem to remember the comments got quite heated and disrespectful of each other a whiles back. Separating them as they are was a way of “kind of” resolving this, otherwise it becomes a time consuming and heavily moderated issue.

    Edit>> my mistake. I’m thinking of a different site completely, and actually a totally different subject matter too ! Apologies. PC.

  8. robincapper

    As a premium user I find the split comment system annoying.

  9. hrlngrv

    I actually like the new default being standard comments, so most people comment there. Takes work to use premium comments.

    For premium articles, if standard accounts get 3 premium articles per month (?), why not let those accounts have full access to all comments in the 3 articles they choose? Granted that'd require rather complicated cookies.

    I haven't seen much spam in standard comments, so the NEED for premium comments seems unproven.

    If premium account holders just want to avoid the hoi polloi, give 'em their own section in the forum.

  10. offTheRecord

    I just noticed that I can no longer reply to Premium comments on non-premium articles like in the past, either. I realize the way it worked was very kludgy with my replies showing up in a different comment stream (and perhaps that's why it was changed), but at least it was possible. This just encourages non-premium readers to completely ignore the premium comment stream. Assuming this isn't a temporary glitch, It almost seems as if they want non-premium readers to just go away.

  11. Chris_Kez

    I've sometimes wondered if there was a technical reason for the split.

  12. JudaZuk

    I don't see a point of the separation , I just find it annoying

  13. Lewk

    I'd love to see it change to be just one thread of comments from both Premium and Standard, and you just click a button to hide all the standard.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Lewk:

      Why stop there? Why not 2 checkboxes, one to hide standard comments, the other to hide premium comments. Not as if there aren't an ample number of times the standard comments are more interesting.

  14. Jhambi

    Oh wow, this thread is 2 years old. It was just bumped by PeterC yesterday.