The Scoop

A blog about what's new and changing on sacbee.com

September 11, 2008
Sacbee "Pluck"ing away at a better commenting tool

From my e-mail Inbox:

"I have read the Bee online since it came on the Internet, I am seeing more and more comments which serve no purpose except to attack people, make comments which are just to belittle people, call people names."

The gentleman who e-mailed was not anonymous, but most of the people who leave comments on sacbee.com are.  And the reader is right.  Often, users take advantage of that anonymity to leave remarks that they wouldn't dare sign their names to.

With the redesign of our Web site, we will launch a new commenting system that we hope will allow us and readers do a better job of policing our message boards. The new system is not fool-proof, but it holds the promise of providing users with a better way of interacting with sacbee.com -- and each other.

The new commenting system is , one of the Web's leading purveyors of social interaction tools.  Many other newspaper companies are using Pluck's SiteLife suite of tools and we're happy to be joining them.

How will Pluck make sacbee.com better?

  • There will be a three strikes and you're out policy for inappropriate comments. If three different users flag a comment as somehow offensive, it will be removed from the site for moderator review.  Currently, one flag removes the comment.  The new system will cut down on the break out of "flagging wars" that some readers wage simply because they don't like what another person has to say.
  • Pluck will help us better track abusers by assigning demerits to users whose comments are flagged. The system will notify us if any one user racks up a number of demerits.  We can review that person's commenting history and decide whether he or she should be barred from discussions. 
  • Users will be able to message one another directly.  You will be able to send a message to a specific user if that's what you want. No need to drag everyone into a conversation that meant only for two.
  • You will be able to create "personas" to go along with your user name.  You can post your picture, or an avatar. Share with others where you live, your interests, your background. The more we know about one another, the less we are the nameless and the faceless open to attack. For an example, see Dayahka's profile page on USAToday.com.
  • You will be able to launch your own blog. Just in case commenting isn't enough to get your views across, or you just want to share more about life,  you can use your Pluck persona to blog to your heart's content. If we like what we see, we'll feature your blogs on their own page, much like they do at SFGate, which already has Pluck in use.

Those features are just some examples of what Pluck has to offer. As I said, the system is in use on other newspaper Web sites like the ones noted above. Check them out and let us know what you think.

 

 

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

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About The Scoop

The Scoop is a blog where the managers of sacbee.com talk about new initiatives and our plans for sacbee.com. You can reach us by at the e-mail addresses below or you can comment on our postings.

Tom Negrete is managing editor of The Bee and oversees the daily work of journalists who produce news content for the newspaper and sacbee.com. Negrete, who has been at The Bee since 1994, has served as assistant managing editor for business and sports, sports editor and assistant city editor. E-mail him at tnegrete@sacbee.com or reach him at (916) 321-1171.

Seán McMahon is The Bee's Director of Digital Media, overseeing the interactive efforts of the company. His e-mail is smcmahon@sacbee.com.

Linda Gonzales is digital team leader for Sacbee.com and has been an editor at The Bee since 1995. You can email her at lgonzales@sacbee.com.

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