Introducing Our New Comment System

You may have noticed something different about Streetsblog’s comment system this morning. We’re doing a tech upgrade and introducing a new commenting platform called Disqus, which we hope will enrich the conversation here and make it easier for you to connect with other readers.

Disqus is a popular commenting platform and you’ve probably seen it on other sites already. If you’re new to Disqus, here’s how it’s going to change things at Streetsblog.

  • Threaded comments: You can now reply directly to someone else and have your reply appear indented below the original comment, instead of adding your thoughts at the bottom of the thread. The idea is to make it easier to track different discussions within a single comment thread. To reach a happy medium where the discussion doesn’t get too fragmented, we have the system set up to allow one level of replies, but not more than that. (So we won’t have endlessly indented threads delving into ever-more-off-topic digressions.)
  • Your identity: Disqus has some nice features that allow you to link your identity on Streetsblog to your accounts on social networking sites. You can now create an account with Disqus or use your Facebook, Twitter or Google accounts to identify yourself when you comment here. Your photo from this account will be pulled in beside your comment and other readers will know where they can look you up online. If you want to post anonymously, you still can. We have never and will never share your email or IP address with anyone else.
  • No more LivableStreets.com: Now that we have these better ways for commenters to identify themselves, we are going to finish shutting down livablestreets.com, where we’ve been hosting personal accounts for readers to share a little bit about themselves. A number of readers use those profiles to post comments here, but this is largely redundant given the integration between Disqus and other social networking platforms. If you have a livablestreets.com account, you will be receiving more information on this shutdown before it happens.
  • Adding images: You can now insert images into your comments. Once you start typing, you’ll see the “add image” button appear on the bottom left corner of the comment text box.
  • Liking and flagging: If you think another reader’s comment is spot-on, or is a nice addition to the discussion, you can now “like” it. The new system also lets readers help moderate the comments. If you read a comment that you believe should be removed, click the flag icon and a site editor will be notified. We do not want this feature to morph into a way to negatively rate comments that people disagree with, so here are three questions to ask before you flag a comment: Is it spam? Is it a personal attack? Is it hopelessly off-topic? If it falls into any of those categories, go ahead and flag it. If not, please leave it be.
  • Sorting: Streetsblog’s comment threads have always shown the oldest comments first. That will still be the default setting, but now you can choose to organize them so that the newest ones, or the most “liked” ones, are the first ones you see.

For now, we’re launching Disqus on Streetsblog New York City. If all goes well, we’ll be rolling it out on the other Streetsblog outlets soon. Thanks to Streetsblog technical director Chris Abraham for getting everything up and running.

There are bound to be a few hiccups as we settle in to this new system. Please report any bugs to tips@streetsblog.org. If you’d like to give us feedback on the new system and how you think Streetsblog can make the most out of the Disqus features, please leave us a comment below.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

We’ve Made a Few Comment System Tweaks

|
In response to some reader feedback since we launched the new commenting platform, Disqus, we’ve made a few adjustments to the layout of the comments section. There are two changes: The comment entry form now appears at the top of the comment thread. We did this because it’s the only way to have the Disqus […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Revisiting the Idea of a Bicycle Tax

|
The city of Tucson has some nice-looking bicycle infrastructure. Now the City Council is looking at imposing bike registration fees, even though the system wouldn’t even pay for itself. (Photo: Steven Vance via Flickr) Two different methods of making bicycle riders pay for roads came over the feed on the Streetsblog Network over the last […]

Caption Contest: Anthony Weiner on a Citi Bike

|
I don’t care if this is a carefully choreographed photo op. For one day, at least, we’re not going to run a picture of the Weinermobile in a post about Anthony Weiner. We’re just going to link back to the most recent post with a Weinermobile picture. And we’re going to turn this into a […]

Tell Cornell — and Electeds — How You Want to Fix NYC Congestion

|
Want to tell elected officials what you think should be done about New York City traffic? Here’s a way to pool your policy suggestions with other New Yorkers and reach elected officials beyond your district. The Cornell eRulemaking Initiative, or CeRI, hosts a moderated forum called “SmartParticipation,” developed to make it easier for people to weigh in on obscure […]

When Parking Spaces Are More Important Than Homes

|
Parking. It takes up a lot of space in the discussion of transportation and planning. No surprise, since one of the main problems with cars is how much space they take up even when they’re not in use. The Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC, is no exception. In a post today from Greater Greater Washington, […]