Do you all love this new site or what? We love it (we're biased, of course, but still), and one of the things we love most about it is that we've got a brand new, state-of-the-art commenting system. If you've ever commented on Joystiq, you'll probably have it all figured out already, but if not, here's a short guide to get you up and commenting (and moderating-- oh, the joys of comment moderation) with the best of them.

Your first comment

You've read something interesting, you've got an opinion on it, and you want to comment. Great! Click on the comments link below the post to go to the comment entry form, put in your name and email under "New Users" (your email is only used for verification-- we'll never spam you, ever, and the email is never shown publicly), look over the options listed and choose your preferences, and start typing. Then hit "Add your comments," and... your comment won't appear just yet.

We'll send you an email to verify that you are who you say you are, and then when that email shows up, you click a link inside it, and your comment will appear. There may be a short delay, but sit tight, it'll show up. Congrats! You made your first comment! But getting that email has another very important purpose, and that is that it will help you...

Set up your account in Blogsmith

Blogsmith is the blogging engine that we use to run all the Weblogs, Inc. blogs, including Massively. When you post a comment for the first time, you actually get an account in Blogsmith created for you. And you can use this account across all of our blogs, from Joystiq to Massively to Engadget. To access this account, all you have to do is click your name on any comment you post, and you'll be taken to a page with all of your comments and information.

If you haven't set up an account yet, you'll actually need to head over to Joystiq, our flagship site, and leave a comment there (currently, we're told that commenting on Massively won't get you the password you need-- when this is fixed, we'll update this post.) Then, you'll get an email with a password in it, and you can use that to log in on any of our sites-- just click on your name on any comment you've made to log in to your account. Once you're logged in, you can change your password, add an avatar (the little picture that appears by your name when you comment), add a URL for your name to link to (if you have one), and see all of your activity across all of our blogs. Pretty neat, eh? Once you've got all that set up, all you have to do to comment on any post is just enter your email and your password (under "Current Users" in the comments area)-- no email verification needed!

Replying to comments

Another great new feature of our system is that you can now reply to certain comments in the thread. Instead of just posting one long thread of comments, you can hit "Reply" on any baseline comments, and your comment will appear next to that one. This helps direct the flow of conversation in a thread, makes similar discussions more readable, and helps commenters more easily discuss the topic at hand. When you're responding to something in our posts, use the normal form, but when you're responding to a certain comment, click "Reply" on that comment.

Note that you cannot reply to replies. That's why many of the comments you see won't have "Reply" links on them.

Comment moderation

And now it gets fun. Some comments are great, and some comments are not so much. With our new comment moderation system, you can help us keep commenters on topic and insightful, and help us clean out the trash. Under each comment, there is a little bar with three circles, and three buttons. The red button with the down arrow will moderate a comment down, and the green button with the up arrow will moderate it up, each affecting the rating shown by the three circles. A highly moderated comment is one that is on topic, insightful, informational, and really worth reading. A low moderated comment is offtopic, mean, unfounded, inconsiderate, and worthless. It's up to you to moderate these comments (along with everyone else on the site), so feel free to moderate as much as you want. Every bit of insightful moderation you do helps us make the comments better for everyone. Plus it's really fun to give good comments more recognition, and help nix the bad comments.

The last button, the ! gray button, is for reporting comments that you find seriously offensive, is simply linkspam, or that need to be completely removed for other reasons. Hitting this button will send notice to our editorial team that the comment is a serious violation, and needs to be deleted completely. We also have the ability to ban commenters, so if we find reason to remove someone from the site completely, we have the ability to do that. Any other thoughts you have on this process should be directed to our contact form.

That's it! Now go comment!

Good comments are part of the lifeblood of any great blog, and so we want you to comment as much as possible. Tell us what you think of an article, give us your take on the subject, or just let the writer what you thought of what they wrote. And don't forget to moderate as much as possible, too-- comment moderation helps all of us make sure that every comment on the site is as interesting and worth reading as the content.

So go out there, read our site, and post some comments!

This article was originally published on Massively.
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