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Awesome Comments
 

Awesome Comments

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What's wrong with current comment systems and how can we do better?

What's wrong with current comment systems and how can we do better?

We have built a new comment system from the ground up designed to support genuine conversation.

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  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
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Awesome Comments Awesome Comments Presentation Transcript

  • Xianhang Zhang Bumblebee Labs dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • 2 person team
    • 3 months old
    • Goal is to build “provocative social software”
    • 1 product release, 2 more in the pipeline
    • Happy to talk more after this about collaboration.
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
  • dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • For many people, commenting is their first
    • and possibly only foray into the social web
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • “ Communications tools don't get socially
    • interesting until they get technologically boring ”
    • – Clay Shirky
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • There has not been much innovation in the comment space
    • Slashdot pioneered their “Karma” system in 1997
    • To this day, I’m not aware of any other system of that level of complexity
    • most major sites are still using the most basic commenting systems despite their obvious flaws
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
  • dub talk - October 2nd 2008
  • dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Signal/noise ratio is too low
    • Insightful comments get lost
    • Lack of readership due to low quality
    • Hard time keeping track of the narrative thread of the conversation
    • Despite this, people yearn for conversation (Herring )
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Small, personal blogs read largely by friends and family
    • Social networking apps
    • Highly targeted blogs aimed at a professional audience
    • Sites cultivating return audiences rather than drive by, search engine traffic
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Large sites
    • Sites with high traffic per page
    • Sites with low traffic per page
    • Entertainment sites
    • Sites with an influx of new users
    • Sites with controversial topics
    • Sites with low community involvement
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Poor explanation:
    • There’s a lot of stupid people out there
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Better explanation:
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • We rely on social cues to determine acceptable behavior
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • We rely on social cues to determine acceptable behavior
    • Online environments lack a richness of cues
    • There are no repercussions for pathological behavior online
    • Gresham’s law applied to commenting:
    • Bad conversation drives out good
    • Some small percentage of misanthropic users (ie: trolls) ruin it for the rest of us
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Moderation
    • Increasing barriers to participation (registration, captchas etc.)
    • Rating
    • Filtering
    • Disemvowelling
    • ROBOT 9000
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • For conversation to happen, there must be a narrative thread .
    • If I refer to Comment X, you must have read Comment X to understand my reference
    • Rating systems must keep the chronology intact while making highly rated comments visible
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • This is most often done via threading
    • Heavyweight approach, lots of intricacies
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Initial site developed over 12 hours
    • Very simple concept
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
  • dub talk - October 2nd 2008
  • dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • How do we prevent this site from being just a flash in the pan?
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Build remarkable content
    • Remarkable
    • adjective
    • Pronunciation: i-ˈmär-kə-bəl
    • Something which people will remark about.
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Initial user impressions are generally very positive
    • But the site can quickly lose its appeal
    • In order to support long term growth, we needed to build conversation around each question
    • Constraints:
      • Anonymous everything
      • Heavy reliance on external/search engine traffic
      • Many questions, long tail of quality
      • Primary navigation is random
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Large sites
    • Sites with high traffic per page
    • Sites with low traffic per page
    • Entertainment sites
    • Sites with an influx of new users
    • Sites with controversial topics
    • Sites with low community involvement
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Commenting system designed from the ground up.
    • Goals
      • Drive out poor comments
      • Support remarkable content
      • Support real conversation
      • Give people a sense of ownership
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Every comment has vote up and vote down buttons
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • New comment
      • Registered users: 2.0 points
      • Unregistered users: 1.0 points
    • Vote button
      • Registered users: 1.0 points
      • Unregistered users: 0.1 points
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Progressively degrade comment readability at lower scores
    • Show undegraded comment to original poster
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Voting is unbounded both up and down
    • but…
    • Makes it easy to find and promote remarkable comments
    • We are using the lack of information as a design feature
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008 Actual Score Displayed Score -2.3 -2.3 1.7 1.7 3.5 3.0+ 98.6 3.0+ 100.1 Awesome
    • Non threaded
    • Comments are sorted by displayed score, then by date posted
    • Reply button on all comments
    • All replies to your comment are highlighted
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Original posters are highlighted
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Identity can be established while maintaining anonymity
    • Visiting a question/comment you made automatically upvotes all it’s children
    • Returning to a question/comment rewards your repliers
    • You are personally in charge of voting your repliers correctly
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • All comments at 3.0+ are displayed in chronological order
    • Conversation can happen at 3.0+
    • This is the default if you post as a registered user (2.0) who replies to a poster who regularly returns (1.0)
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Commenting systems are generally horribly designed from a sociability perspective
    • Better conversation is a force multiplier for the social web
    • Awesome comments is a ground up rethinking of how commenting should be implemented
    • Still very much an experiment, details will change as the system matures
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008
    • Bumblebee Labs: http://blog.bumblebeelabs.com
    • Am I Normal or Not?: http://www.aminormalornot.com
    • Email me: [email_address]
    • Need a designer? [email_address]
    dub talk - October 2nd 2008