Monday, October 19, 2009

Cleveland.Com's New Commenting Policy

Improvements are coming to Cleveland.com. (HT to Jill Miller Zimon); cleveland.com's attempts to bring civility online seem to be working - Ted Diadiun. Also see:

Plain Dealer wants comments -- without the side order of bile
cleveland.com, the heart and voice of Northeast Ohio
Can't log in to post a comment? Fixes on the way

I wholeheartedly agree with the attempt to clean up the comments. There have been some amazingly nasty, childish commenting making the whole experience painful. As Jill pointed out in a comment on Facebook, any blogger has the ability to control commenting and determine their own policies. And that certainly extends to Cleveland.com.

Seeing the article by Ted Diadun finally prompted me to comment on the cleveland.com. I must say that I have been impressed with the efforts of Cleveland.com to become more usable and more inline with how I view how web pages should work. I don't rightly recall when the new layout/designed happen, but I like the new design much better. Additionally, I noticed with Starting Blocks that they were beginning to link to other blogs. My complaint with most newspaper sites is the lack of linking to other sites, most likely with the thought that they didn't want to drive traffic away from the site. The result, though, was that I didn't use Cleveland.com as a resource and rarely visited. It seems that this thought process is changing and they are becoming part of the "community".

I was really pleased to see that there is an effort to support OpenID. I now refuse to sign up for any site that does not support openid logins. The combination of the unpleasantness in the comments on Cleveland.com and the lack of openid support insured I would not register. It seems like both of my issues are being address, one with the commenting policy and two:

- Use your Google, Yahoo or AOL account to access cleveland.com: Tired of creating accounts for the different Web sites you use? Cleveland.com now supports OpenID (openid.net), a standard backed by some of the largest sites on the web as a convenient way to participate in each other’s sites.

Not that they still don't have work to do, but in my mind, they are clearly making great progress. In particular their commenting system is odd and needs some work, but they are aware of it apparently.

Addendum: Several users have complained about the way replies can end up underneath completely unrelated comments. As if to illustrate their point, that's happening to the comments on this story -- at least when I try to read them.
As I mention in these comments, Advance Internet has been working on a fix to make replies stick in the right place. I know that "they're working on it" doesn't stop you from being frustrated by how confusing the comments can be now, but all I can do is assure you that repairing this issue is a priority.

I also notice that there is an effort to have cleveland.com journalists and reporters to follow and respond to comments. That is essential if they want to participate in the "community".

Like I said, they're making progress.

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