Hey, Look, We Changed the Commenting System Again!

Good morning! Happy Friday! Happy Kinja (aka comments) Tweak Day — er, not tweak in the meth way (though discussions certainly can be twitchy). We mean that there's been an upgrade to Gawker Media's discussion system; look at any older posts and you'll see the visual changes. This is actually our fourth design iteration (we know) and the most significant thus far, so this post will provide some explanations. But the basics are the same and, having fiddled with it ourselves for a few days, we think this will improve reading experience and also addresses some of the feedback we've received over the past couple of months.

Wait, you're changing it AGAIN? Why?

A major complaint with the major comments design overhaul was that it was a lot of clicking and not a lot of reading. We agree, so we're fixing that a bit.


We're still going to show the featured discussion is a straight line, just as we did before. But sometimes we want to leave room for the replies to gather before we pull out a singular discussion to be highlighted, or sometimes all the comments are just a bunch of funny one-liners best read en masse. So instead of only drawing attention to the first reply on the post, this view will give you an easy way to scan through all the discussions — without having to click a million times — so you can find the one you want to join.

And we're still emphasizing ownership of your discussion threads. When people reply to you, you have to power to accept or dismiss them from any conversation you have started. This new layout will allow you to see the array of responses and immediately dismiss any posts that aren't worthy. If you comment and an MRA troll responds, just dismiss 'em. Now you're a superhero who's saved your community from eye-vomit.

Okay, I'm still here. So what's new?


To see all first level replies (thread starters) in the old view, you used to have to click through all of the teensy avatars at the top of the comments discussion. We liked this version because it was a quick visual conveyance of how many individual conversations were being started, but the avatars made the page look busy and it was just too clicky (and no, we were not mining for clicks — we don't get paid based on pageviews).


In the image at left, Lindy's post has a featured thread started by Erin. Whereas before you had to go clickity-clacking through all those avatars, now you can simply click the link at the top of the replies section to see all of the thread starts arranged in two columns.


This is also the view we show if there isn't a featured discussion yet, as is the case at left. As before, click on any reply to get to its permalink and see the discussions that follow.


The new permalink view looks much like the previous one; the difference is that we fan out the replies to the highlighted post into two columns, making it easier for readers to scan through all of the responses. At left, we've got an example of the "fan" based on the previous image above. Violet Baudelaire is one of the 45 readers who responded to Katie's post; yvanehtnioj is one of 5 readers who responded to Violet. 3 people replied to yvanehtnioj, one of whom was ididthatonce, and 2 people replied to ididthatonce. And so on, and so forth — a branch effect. To just see how all the other people responded to Violet (and not the replies-to-the-replies-to-the-replies), click on the "1 of 5 replies @Violet Baudelaire" or the permalink.

I hate it. I love it.

We knew you would. Anyone with questions/concerns/requests/insights is encouraged to go to our tech blog, where the comments are open for your wisdom and feedback. Or email feedback@gawker.com.


And so we go onward into the wild blue Friday yonder.

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