New Commenting Features

As some have already noticed, we installed some new commenting plug-ins late yesterday adding some features that many have been requesting

As some have already noticed, we installed some new commenting plug-ins late yesterday adding some features that many have been requesting:

  • Editing: It happens all too often. You compose an insightful, witty bit of prose and hit POST only to discover that the formatting is wrong, you’ve misspelled something, or you left out a word and thus completely changed the meaning. Now, you can go in and fix it within three minutes. After that, the comment will live on to your eternal shame.
  • Reply: You can click on the “Reply” link on the lower right of any comment and it automatically puts an @commentername and hyperlinks the comment to which you’re responding. This provides most of the benefit of threaded commenting while retaining a single thread.
  • Like or Dislike: I’m skeptical of this one and it may be short-lived. The idea is that other users can signal when your comment is abusive, trollish, or otherwise unhelpful to the discussion. If it works properly, it’s a more immediate and less harsh feedback mechanism than moderator warnings and bans. The concern, of course, is that people will simply vote for commenters they like on ideological grounds and vote down those they disagree with. We’ll see how it goes.

Overall, the tenor of the discussion here has improved vastly since we started cracking down on or most annoying trolls a couple weeks back. Removing just four people from the conversation has been a classic case of addition by subtraction.

FILED UNDER: OTB History, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. PJ says:

    +1 for Editing.
    +1 for Replies.
    -788965454 for Like and Dislike.

    Not sure what amount of dislikes hides a comment, if it’s 4 dislikes or if the sum of dislikes and likes equals a -4 or less.
    Besides disliking/liking on ideological grounds, it also (might) open up to having to like comments only due to the fact that others are disliking them (on ideological grounds or to troll), just so that they don’t end up hidden.

  2. John Peabody says:

    Three minutes?! I only get three minutes to edit? What if you

  3. Janis Gore says:

    @PJ: Hey, hon. Just checking the “reply” feature.

    And “edit” worked.

  4. I guess the big test for like/dislike will be the Doug’s next Sarah Palin post. ­čśë

  5. mattb says:

    Ditto what PJ says!

    In terms of like/dislike, this is typically teh suck unless it’s based on some type of membership/credibility system (a la slashdot).

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:


    +1 for Editing.
    +1 for Replies.
    -788965454 for Like and Dislike.

    My sentiments about the “like/dislike” option are already known. While I might vehemently disagree with any number of people, I would never vote to strike a comment of theirs.

    As to the other stuff: +11

  7. Jay Tea says:

    I’ll echo the above sentiments, but add this: maybe it’s a bit of selection bias, but so far the only comments I’ve seen hidden have been from conservative commenters. One of mine suffered that, and I gotta admit I half-expected it — it was pretty close to the edge of acceptability, and apparently over that edge to enough people. But I haven’t noticed any left-leaning commenters having their comments hidden.

    I gotta say, it seems very Kos-sy to me…