Ask Massively: No one loves blog comment systems

Ask Massively No one loves blog comment systems
Welcome back to Ask Massively! Today, let's beat our heads against some totally valid emails relating to Massively's adorable comment system, which we lovingly call "Hey, Livefyre is down again!"

Chris wrote, "Is there some way to create an ignore list? I'm irritated by a few people in certain articles who try to make the comments entirely about themselves. I primarily read this site at work, and the work network is garbage, which means that the browser freezes up when I try to load more comments. Is there some way to filter out certain users' posts?"

This is a good idea!

... A good idea that we can't make happen! No, really; this is something we've asked for. I don't know whether we'll ever get it, though. But I know it would make life easier for readers who would just like to muffle a few choice commenters who aren't necessarily breaking any rules but who really aren't contributing to the conversation either. If someone's being actually abusive or rule-breaking, though, please flag his posts and/or report him and maybe we can take care of the problem for you and us and everyone else all at the same time.

Ben wrote, "Your comment system is terrible. 99% of the time, it doesn't even let me comment when I'd like to. I click the 'comment' button and absolutely nothing happens."

Ug, I'm sorry. I don't know what precise issue you were bumping into or in which browser it was occuring, but I wanted to use your comment as a jump-off for a few tips for anyone having issues with the comment system. Maybe these tips will help you too.
  • Update your browser. I know that the site doesn't work very well in certain browsers period (Internet Explorer being the main culprit, especially for script-heavy stuff like comment sections). I always recommend Chrome and Firefox because I know they are the most heavily used by readers and most heavily tested by the tech team. Obviously, this doesn't apply to mobile browsers, but mobile comments do work again now (yay!).
  • If you're using a script-blocker (like No-Script), whitelist us and/or the Joystiq network.
  • If you're using Chrome and comments stop loading altogether, empty your browser cache (this works for me every time, to my eternal surprise).
Obviously, you aren't obligated to change your browsing habits just for one site, but I know that not everyone has these issues. I would like you also to have a problem-free comment experience, but these are the only answers I have to give you. How Livefyre intersects with Joystiq is just not something the editorial team has the ability to control. We just get to do battle with it and report the bugs! Readers, if you have any other tips for how to get specific browser configs to cooperate with Livefyre, please please please share them.

This change turned me from a consistent, fair app reviewer into someone who doesn't even hand out stars. Good job, Google.
These next two emails express similar sentiment about our account system:

Reh wrote, "I have a Livefyre account, but it doesn't allow me to interact with the Massively/Joystiq site... seems rather cumbersome. I certainly won't be getting Facebook/Gmail just to comment or interact."

And Bob wrote, "I would have liked to comment on some of the articles Eliot Lefebvre wrote about
City of Heroes, but couldn't find a way to do so without 'engaging' with some social media Web 2.6... thing. I also wasn't dishonest enough to set up a throw-away account just to comment. Whatever happened to 'net=dis-intermediation?"


I believe that you are correct, Reh, that a stock Livefyre account does not interface with the Joystiq network. (My purely speculatory guess is that it's because our version of Livefyre is too customized.) The accounts that do work are AOL/AIM, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, and Linkedin. I think the assumption is that the majority of folks who read and comment on blogs will probably have at least one of those and that it would be convenient for people to just use an existing account rather than make a new one for a comment system they may never have heard of.

Let's talk social media for a sec. Online privacy is a big deal to me as I know it is to many of you. I'm not at all happy about the trend toward forcing everyone to reveal a real name just to post snark about a video game (or leave a rating for an app... hi, Google Play). It doesn't make people any nicer, and it exposes nice people to endless abuse based on the gender or sexuality or age or ethnicity or religion or nationality implied in their names. I'm also not a big fan of social media as a lifestyle. So I really, really understand when you guys say you don't want to get a social media account just to comment.

That's precisely why I do not recommend using something like Facebook for your login here, even though it is available. Some of the social media tie-ins do not allow you to change your name, and you shouldn't have to use a real name to post a comment. I strongly recommend using Twitter, even a new account, as it's the least invasive and requires the least personal information of all of our possible logins because it allows you to pick a unique username. Please don't think of that as being dishonest. It's really, truly not. It's the safest option, period.

By the by, Bob, some of our writers leave their contact details in their columns, either in the final paragraph or in the swipe. Eliot, for example, always posts his email address in his parting paragraph. To contact those writers who don't do that, just drop us a note through our tips line addressed accordingly!

What should you play? Where is the MMO industry headed? How does Massively operate? Has Lord British lost his marbles? Why is the edit button on a timer? Should "monoclegate" be hyphenated? Editor-in-Chief Bree Royce submits to your interrogations right here in Ask Massively every Thursday. Drop your questions in the comments below or ping us at ask@massively.com. Just ask!

This article was originally published on Massively.