Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Commentariate must decide forum preferences

Ok folks. Some of us have discussed creating our own forum where we can have our discussions without concerns about the paywall. I started looking at some options. Here are three: (To see the detail, click on the image.)

1. Disqus. Advantages: We all already know it. Disadvantages: Nanny filter (possibly). Discussions deleted after 7 days by Disqus.

SPOKE TOO SOON ON THIS. SORRY.  It turns out that you can't create any new channels. Their documentation talks about how to do it, but you can't actually do it anymore. Instead, you have to find a channel where you already fit, and do your discussions there. THANK YOU SO MUCH, DISQUS, FOR NOT UPDATING YOUR DOCUMENTATION.

1 Alt. We migrate en masse to The Atlantic discussion group on Disqus, as recommended by johnny sunshine.

2. Bravenet. Advantages: Pick the way you want to view the discussions (topics). This includes a threaded view. Disadvantages: We have to trim posts once we get to 1000, but this will probably be less frequent than Disqus. When you're reading the messages, they aren't threaded as they are in Disqus, but they do have an easy-to-follow order.

3. Boardhost. Advantages: Best batch of tools for formatting and managing. Unlimited number of posts and visits. Disadvantages: No threading. The list of responses is simply chronological, so you can't reply to a specific comment without copying their comment into yours, and your reply gets put at the end of the list.

All these services are free, for now. All let people start new topic discussions, so any of us could start a new topic thread. All have admin tools. All have advertising, but I didn't get to see if it's annoying or not.

So, everyone, please discuss and say what you prefer. If anyone has other suggestions, please do the exploration of the features and let us know. It's certainly possible that there are better free services out there, but I don't have the time to hunt them down. Plus it has been aggravating. (Oh, you want threading, well, PAY UP!)



Luc said...

I prefere option 1 (=Disqus)

1 We all know it.
2 Don't mind discussions being deleted after 7 days. Most of us post on topic for a couple of days and move on to another actual issue.

johnny sunshine said...

I think the no-threading aspect of option 3 is disqualifying. I'd prefer to have discussions last more than 7 days, so I'm inclined to the middle option, but that's not a deal breaker.

johnny sunshine said...

A question: are you thinking that all discussions in this new forum will be discussions of Bloomberg Opinion articles alone, or will members start discussions about articles they found interesting from other similar places (the Atlantic, the New Yorker, Politico, the WaPo, etc.) as well, or just start discussions on some current event (Trump did X, outrageous or not? Discuss! Scotch is better than bourbon, Discuss!) not tethered to a particular article?

Because if it's Bloomberg alone, I fear discussions might dwindle fairly quickly as new blood fails to refresh, perhaps even if we invite good commenters from there to join us, due to the paywall sharply restricting readership.

If it's about articles from many places, it means people will have to come to the discussion forum, find articles that might be interesting, go off and read 'em, then come back in an hour or two days and log their reaction, which means the time that would usefully be allotted for the discussion might often exceed 7 days.

If it's the third, I'm not much interested. I like to react to an article's argument, and usually to a previous commenter's take on the article's take, not just dump my 2c on a topic for the sake of hearing myself bloviate.

Tony White said...

@MP -- new site

I think that being able to have "threads" is essential. I like what Johnny Sunshine said -- we don't need to hear ourselves "Bloviate" and should be able react to an issue/commentor. If we can have Disqus, the only limitation is that the comments aren't backed-up [who cares!].

I say curtain #1, Monty!!!


Anonymous said...

@johnny, we wouldn't be limited to BB articles. There's no reason for that restriction, so I can easily see people quoting for some other source, providing a link, and then we discuss until we vomit or go to bed or pass out.

I hope we don't veer onto celebrity gossip, or sports, or which bourbon is best, but a bit here or there would be ok.


Tony White said...

re: More on a concept/discussions

I was re-reading the comments on this thread/page and thought of a concept regarding WHAT issues would be discussed. I like the idea of ALL of us contributing an "article" and allowing the Commentariate to "have at it" after viewing the author's work. The author could write about ANYTHING [gardening, auto repair, the Federal Reserve, college debt, war... anything], and then open it up for discussion. And EVERYONE must participate and write an article. We could do it on an rotating basic, or whomever volunteers [I don't want the same 4-6 people doing the bulk of the writing]. It would be funner this way [to all write about what we want to].

The only drawback to this forum would be receding members, but maybe we could recruit new members via outside sites the Commentariate visit.

We could also copy and paste other articles from anywhere [NYT, BB, WSJ, etc] and comment on that material.


PS - a lot of us didn't read most of the articles we commented on; sometimes introducing an headline and topic is all we will need to start discussions.

ModeratePoli said...

@everyone, I was anonymous at 9:48. I don't remember hitting that button, but there's the evidence that I did.

johnny sunshine said...

We could always start out at the known quantity (Disqus) and move elsewhere if the consensus gets too annoyed at the 7 day limit, or a better option arises, too. We're mostly all following each other. We'd all figure it out pretty quickly. So it's not a decision that can't evolve at a moment's notice. I think this will be a fertile field for startups, because it's not so data-heavy that the server costs are huge.

I, for one, would like the feature that used to append to discussions at my local newspaper, where you could insert graphs (pictures, too, but pictures aren't visual data the way graphs are, and graphs often are more useful than 1000 words) into your comment. I wonder how much more useful a discussion on, say, taxation or the national debt would be with the ability to insert an automatically-scaled graph in there.

Alternately, we could just hang on here and see if enough people avail themselves of the clear-browsing-data cheat codes to keep the old BB comments alive despite their best efforts.

mb said...

I would prefer Disqus, for the same reasons johnny sunshine mentioned.

The second option, Bravenet, is also acceptable.


ModeratePoli said...


I'm sorry for this mistake, but it turns out that the Disqus choice isn't really available. I have a good excuse for this, in that the Disqus information isn't updated, and they don't tell you that you can't actually fucking do what they say you can do. Sure, one part of the directions say you can start a channel, and get people interested in it, except that you can't.

So the choice is attempting a hostile takeover of an existing Disqus channel or option #2. No one seems to like option #3.

Please be kind about this mistake. Honestly, I tried.

And if some are interested in a hostile takeover, they can volunteer for the mission.

Tony White said...

@ MP -- re Disqus choice

It figures!!! My life's story in a nutshell: whatever I pick is ALWAYS totally a failure.

OK, enough self-pity -- I go for option #2 then, Pat {sayack}.

ModeratePoli said...

Test. Why did I stop getting comments?

johnny sunshine said...

I expect The Atlantic Discussions' moderators would be happy to let us slide in under their aegis, so Disqus would probably be back in play. They're really mostly the same sorts of folks we are, though probably a bit more female and less money/business oriented. They'd probably welcome the fresh blood too.

Traveler said...

I agree about Atlantic and Disqus as the most usable alternative. Atlantic seems to allow all sorts of discussions. As we do on TRS, all of us commenters get an article from our various sources, post a link to it with our snide comments, graphs and cartoons. Usually gets a pretty good thread going. I post BB articles there all the time. I see little difference for our proposed site here.

BTW, don't you have to comment here so you can get notifications from your posts here? I just read your post of last week linking to this site. Probably not the only latecomer.

Let's get it done!

ModeratePoli said...

I checked out The Atlantic channel on Disqus and wasn't impressed. Too many topics, not easy to find those I was interested in, too many other people. I like our group, and would like it to have a home where we are the leaders and set the tone. Also, there weren't many conservatives among the commenters I read, which also bothers me. A bit of an echo chamber there. My 2 cents.

johnny sunshine said...

TAD (The Atlantic Discussions) has dwindled a LOT over the past year or two, and homogenized, and become a kaffeeklatsch of like-minded neighbors, probably mostly because there's no more Atlantic comment section they can recruit good new commenters from. A fate that we'll have to watch out for too, as Bloomberg comments dwindle and largely restrict to those rich enough and financial-news-oriented enough to pay up.

We could come in, post at the headline of a new topic [BB crowd chat] for a while, post alongside them without crowding them, and they could drop in as they like or keep to their coffeeklatch Friday-morning stuff. And we could keep recruiting from Bloomberg's comments, and elsewhere. I really think they'd welcome it. The main issue I see is that, at least when I used to post there ending mostly last fall, they moderate a lot more aggressively than I'd like, and close discussions when there's no moderator around. We might have to discuss our approach to moderating, see if they can accept a more loosey-goosey approach in our subset of discussions.

Or someplace else, fine by me. I just wanted to present that view.

JC1010 said...

MB But it's not an annoying echo. More seriously, I'll be happy to go with whatever the rest of you decide on. Thanks for all the extraordinary effort on your part.

Tony White said...


You realize this means war, right? Delete my name from the list!!!


ModeratePoli said...

@TW, delete you and everything crumbles like a house of cards. Actually, it is a house of cards, but let's keep up appearances.

Also, EVERYONE, I realized this isn't an either/or decision. Why not do both, and see which works out better? I see only one reason not to, and that's a weakening if we split. However, they aren't mutually exclusive, so a split would be indicative of the market preferences.

Craig said...

@ModeratePoli - I'm fine with wherever the group chooses to go, though anywhere which might get more traffic from outsiders would be better for interesting discussion. Just post the links here, and I'll click em.

@Traveler, I signed up for TRS under the name "Craig" - can you grease some wheels to get me in the door?

Traveler said...

Tony, what is your beef? Sorry if I missed some inside baseball here. Is it the concept of forming our own discussion group? I think its worthwhile as BB is so erratic these days even if the paywall were more reasonable. I sure hope you stick around and keep upvoting Yak's posts.

Craig, I have notified the mod at TRS. Once he tells me to pull the trigger I will let you know. Hope we can get more of the crew here. TRS is only myfirst blog of the day, then I hit BB (and here of course). And hopefully our new community here.

MP, good luck!

Luc said...

Going on leave (on a desert place without internet))) for a month.
Will find you lads and Bea afterwards.

Take care

Fish Heads said...

I've been gone all week with no phone, internet, etc. Are we commenting or still striking? I just dropped a smartass comment on the editors post about migrant farm workers. Saw that the Yak had a comment on there as well.