Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Nine steps for how Facebook should embrace meaningful interac— er, accountability
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
June 10, 2016, 2:32 p.m.
Audience & Social
LINK: www.theguardian.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Ricardo Bilton   |   June 10, 2016

The Guardian is trying to hack its way into better comments.

Since yesterday, The Guardian has assembled its developers and product managers for another one of its two-day hack events, which it holds every three to six months. This time around, it’s focusing its efforts on comments and figuring out ways to improve them. The “Web We Want Hack Day” is named after the movement that’s, in part, looking to end abuse online and facilitate better discussions among readers.

The hack days have been a successful model for the Guardian. Ophan, the Guardian’s in-house analytics platform was created during a 2011 hack day by then-head of architecture Graham Tackley. So it’s fair to assume that some of these latest hacks could make it onto The Guardian’s site as well.

Here’s a brief look at some of the more promising new ideas from today’s presentations.

Maria Livia Chiorean, a Guardian developer, presented a simple hack that adds social media sharing buttons to comments on Guardian articles.

Developer Gideon Goldberg created a tool that sends readers e-mail alerts when other readers reply to their comments.

–Developers Simon Adcock, Kate Whalen, and Paul Roberts created a feature that introduces “verified commenters,” who would act as surrogate moderators, with special privileges and badges indicating their status.

— One developer created an audio commenting tool, which would let readers record voice responses to articles.

Guardian lead developer Simon Hildrew created a tool called “Setting the Tone,” which lets authors post comments alongside their articles to steer and frame discussions. “Smash the Trolls,” another idea introduced at the event, is an effort with a similar idea.

— Developers demoed a tool that would let readers highlight, tweet, and comment on specific phrases in Guardian articles.

— Developer Roberto Tyley created a tool that forces trolls to donate to charities related to topics like women’s rights, racism, or refugees before they’re able to comment on articles about those topics.

— Guardian readers also contributed some smart ideas to the effort. Commenters on The Guardian’s May post about the hack day suggested features such as a tool that would let readers mute certain commenters, curated comments that appeared alongside article, and a Stack Overflow-like reputation system. One commenter suggested an feature aimed specifically at banned users, whose article comments would only be seen by other banned users

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Nine steps for how Facebook should embrace meaningful interac— er, accountability
“There are broad concerns that Facebook continues to engage in deceptive behavior when it comes to user privacy, and that it is biased against certain groups, but outsiders currently have almost no possibilities to verify these claims.”
“Media is hard”: Corey Ford on why his media venture fund Matter is paused (for now)
“We made a lot of investments over time that we knew were never going to be grand slams, but that we thought could be good sustainable, viable doubles that were actually solving a really important problem in this space.”
How New York magazine thinks about having one paywall across multiple verticals
“We wanted to take these three different segments and treat them differently and be flexible enough to really target the people who are most likely to convert, rather than have a blanket rule across every site, every user, and treat them all equally.”