There are 247 comments on The New York Times post this morning announcing an update for a severely outdated comment system. Before today, the NYT‘s comment system had several drawbacks, including, most notably, the lack of comment threads. Yep, until today there was no way to respond to individual comments on a story; your comment just ended up on top of all the other comments in a long, dumb queue.
But today the Gray Lady announced a revolution in reader responses. “Today we are introducing enhancements to our comment system to improve the community experience across NYTimes.com,” writes executive editor Jill Abramson.
The changes include a profile picture to go with each comment, a “recommend” button for each comment, Twitter and Facebook share buttons for each comment, a pane to view “reader’s picks.”
NYT also created a special status for its best commenters, a system employed by Reuters:
And finally, we are introducing a program for “trusted” commenters — those who have maintained a history of posting outstanding comments on the site. Submissions from these members of our community will not be moderated in advance. Trusted commenter status is offered by invitation only.
The system still has some shortcomings: most of the comments have no pictures and not all articles enable comments, to name two. Although it’s an improvement over yelling at the paper at the breakfast table, we suppose.