Ok folks, come tomorrow evening there is going to be a change as to how commenting works here! Our leading technical expert, Professor All Seeing Eye, explains how it will work.

Tomorrow we are upgrading the Comments facility and you will see some changes. The new system is called Echo (which used to be called Haloscan).

Comments will now be integrated in to the main webpage rather then in a pop-up box and some form of identification will be needed. This isn’t difficult or onerous as there are plenty of options.

Above the Comments box, when you first wish to leave a response, choose the drop-down arrow next to “Guest”. This will let you identify yourself with your Google, Twitter, Yahoo, Blogger etc etc names.

The Comments box itself has extra features to make your contribution more interesting. For emphasis, highlight a portion of your text and click on the Bold, Italicise or Underline buttons. To turn a word or phrase into a link to another site, highlight that word and use the sixth button to insert the destination. If you’ve made a mistake then use the Unlink button next to it to remove it. There are also options to use emoticons in your message or insert a YouTube link (although be aware that this does not work on all browsers)

Underneath the Comment box and using a standard file browse function is an option to upload a picture with your message, and if you wish to be emailed with any replies to your post then choose the “Follow” option.

There are two ways of contributing to a thread. Adding a comment will place it at the end of the thread in the normal way. However if you wish to address a particular comment then choose the Reply option underneath it. This will put your reply indented and directly below, enabling a discussion to take place on sub-issues within the thread as a whole. Try it and see! Any replies like this will generate an email notification if you’ve chosen to Follow your comment.

Comments will continue to appear in real-time…there will be no general moderation queue. However any comments with swearing in them will automatically be held up until approved.

There will be an open comments thread for experimenting with and helping us all to get used to a slightly different way of doing things, but hopefully this and a few changes to the background code of the site overall should address most of the issues which are mentioned from time to time.

I will cover this again tomorrow before it goes live but there are several virtues and few vices. I don’t imagine it will please everybody but there you go, we try our best. Trolls will vanish under this new system (Missing you already) and swearing will also be flagged up as the ASE points out.
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