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Mozilla Working On a New Website Comment System 142

Posted by samzenpus
from the fight-the-trolls dept.
sfcrazy writes Mozilla is working on developing a content and commenting platform in collaboration with The New York Times and The Washington Post. The platform aims to be the next-generation commenting and content creation platform which will give more control to readers. Mozilla says in a blog post, “The community platform will allow news organizations to connect with audiences beyond the comments section, deepening opportunities for engagement. Through the platform, readers will be able to submit pictures, links and other media; track discussions, and manage their contributions and online identities. Publishers will then be able to collect and use this content for other forms of storytelling and spark ongoing discussions by providing readers with targeted content and notifications.” The project is being funded by Knights Foundation.
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Mozilla Working On a New Website Comment System

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  • by pecosdave (536896) on Friday June 20, 2014 @08:15AM (#47280369) Homepage Journal

    Remember the comment bar plugin Google had for Firefox back before the Chrome days? It let you comment on ANY webpage? Anyone who had the plugin could see you comment. Side Wiki or something? I can't recall the name.

    Yeah, this sounds a little like that.

    • Likewise I have been trying to find or remember this tool.

      I though it a very interesting idea. What happened to it?

    • by Ozoner (1406169) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:36AM (#47281337)

      Some further info on Side Wicki

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G... [wikipedia.org]

      "A good substitute could be the Google Chrome Extension: "Plus Comments" or "Site Comments":

    • by Rakarra (112805)

      Sortof. SideWiki had the advantage that the website operators could not easily censor and control the discussion.

    • by BoberFett (127537)

      I was just thinking about that, but I couldn't remember who created or much about it all really. Because it sucked.

  • by LordLucless (582312) on Friday June 20, 2014 @08:15AM (#47280371)

    Web browser maker decides to create a disqus competitor, instead of working on their web browser.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hognoxious (631665)

      Given how increasingly shite recent versions of firefox have been, that's probably a good thing.

      • What's wrong with them?

        I run often on a ---slow--- machine with a small screen (eee 900). The recent builds have seemed a bit better to me. And honestly the new style is butt ugly, but uses less screen space. With a nice, easy to find add on to restore a more classic look it's basically fine.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It's change... some of the neckbears just don't like change...
          Now, to return to our regularly scheduled "back in my day, I used lynx and you didn't hear me complain"... followed by "god damnit you kids, get off my lawn"

          • by Rakarra (112805)

            It's change... some of the neckbears just don't like change...
            Now, to return to our regularly scheduled "back in my day, I used lynx and you didn't hear me complain"... followed by "god damnit you kids, get off my lawn"

            Not a neckbeard, but in general, change for change's sake is not a good thing.
            If you throw out the good as well when getting rid of the bad, you'll just keep coming up with mediocre products (firefox, gnome, etc).
            I liked some of the more stable Firefox builds before they went on their arms race with Chrome. But now, I find hideous Firefox memory leaks, removal/hiding of long-established and very useful features, and a poorer interface. This is not progress.

        • I guess you're happy with the layout of the icons. I'm not. The current version (29) has severely crippled customization compared to whatever I was using before.

          But hey, rounded tabs!

      • In 2050 Firefox will be a wood-pulp mill in Finland.

    • by Tridus (79566)

      It's really something how they can't find time to make a 64 bit browser that isn't half-assed, but can find time for this instead.

    • Well, the core of Firefox was written more than 10 years ago, and while it didn't necessarily have to be that way, the truth is that it has simply not kept up. Just getting Firefox to optimally use a modern multi-core processor is considered a massive effort. It is time for Mozilla to close down Firefox development (like they did with Thunderbird). Or at the very least, fork Chrome - it's been done before and it will give them instant parity with all modern web browsers.

      • Tom's Hardware did a performance comparison of Chrome 25, Firefox 19, IE10 & 9 and some version of Opera. Firefox and Chrome were neck and neck, clearly ahead of the others.
    • Mozilla wants an 'open Web'. Making an open source browser is a big part of that.

      Protecting users from mass surveillance is another. Crippling third-party systems by default is a big part of that.

      Unfortunately that kills some existing services, like unified commenting systems, which users want. Someone *could* come along with a unified commenting system which doesn't conduct mass surveillance, but that's an unlikely business model at the moment. Hence Mozilla's solving the chicken-and-egg problem themselves

    • Web browser maker decides to create a disqus competitor, instead of working on their web browser.

      It probably has something to do with the money:

      "The two-year development project will be funded by a $3.89 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Miami-based philanthropic organization that specializes in media and the arts."

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday June 20, 2014 @08:17AM (#47280375) Homepage Journal

    Single sign-on is a fine thing. But let's encourage people to run their own message bases, because I'm tired of having to figure out which domains I need to permit scripts from, and because I don't really want one company aggregating all my comments without even having to work for them.

  • by wiredog (43288) on Friday June 20, 2014 @08:23AM (#47280391) Journal

    is probably the "least bad" one I've seen. It would be nice if multiple ratings could be applied to a post, ("+1 funny, +1 insightful, -1 Troll") but it is fairly good at reducing the trolls and flamage.

    • by Thanshin (1188877) on Friday June 20, 2014 @08:31AM (#47280437)

      The system is overrated because of the user composition.

      If Slashdot was a forum about games, movies and cars we'd have posts from five year olds with +5 insightful and infantile internet memes with +5 funny.

    • You've never been to reddit. That commenting system is close to perfect. It does it's job, and it's scaleable.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by UnknownSoldier (67820)

        Some of the subreddits are very good.

        However the rest of the site is full of emo redditards who downvote by group-think just because they "disagree" with the status quo.

        Reddit is the 4chan of /.

      • by JohnFen (1641097)

        I disagree. I HATE HATE HATE reddit's commenting system.

    • is probably the "least bad" one I've seen. It would be nice if multiple ratings could be applied to a post, ("+1 funny, +1 insightful, -1 Troll") but it is fairly good at reducing the trolls and flamage.

      It's got its problems though...
      When there's an article, there are some obvious things you can post and get high mod points for. You just have to be the first to post that particular comment.

      Article: Something about patent trolls
      Post: Patent trolls should be strung up by their thumbs!!!
      +5 insightful

      So basically, if you want higher mod points, you're just racing to make that post. That's dumb, and ensures the top 5 comments on any story are going to be very predictable and Slashdot comments have an obvious te

      • by Desler (1608317)

        Article: Something about patent trolls
        Post: Patent trolls should be strung up by their thumbs!!!
        +5 insightful

        Or make the "hilarious" joke about patenting the process of filing patents.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        So basically, if you want higher mod points, you're just racing to make that post. That's dumb,

        Which is why I, for one, don't do that. I personally have two goals in the /. MMORPG, aside from raising my achievement score; getting successful submissions (which raises the score) and getting good first-to-score-five comments, not just the predictable ones. I don't claim I'm the game's premier player or anything, but I think I've got some skills.

        I tend to see pretty much everything in game terms, probably due to all the formative years wasted playing dungeon crawlers, so don't be especially insulted. Bes

    • by Quirkz (1206400) <ross@quirkz.cPARISom minus city> on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:17AM (#47281727) Homepage

      I've often wanted +0 "inciteful" - a combination of insightful and flamebait, for those posts that blend useful information with a barrage of unnecessary name-calling.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by gbjbaanb (229885)

        not to mention a -1 "just plain incorrect". for supposedly factual statements made that turn out to be misguided, common myth, or at worst deliberately intended to mislead.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          not to mention a -1 "just plain incorrect". for supposedly factual statements made that turn out to be misguided, common myth, or at worst deliberately intended to mislead.

          In honor of Slashdot, land of strenuously defending bad behavior, I propose that it should be called (-1, WRONG)

        • by Rakarra (112805)

          not to mention a -1 "just plain incorrect". for supposedly factual statements made that turn out to be misguided, common myth, or at worst deliberately intended to mislead.

          I've wanted that for awhile as well. Eventually I started using -1, Overrated for that, justifying to myself that a factually wrong post at the default +2 or +1 is still "overrated."

  • Such systems already exist. There is one from Facebook, another one from Disqus, and many more. They always use this to track users across websites (since it's usually some sort of iFrame, if you stay logged on, you can track users over different websites) and sell the information to third parties. I wonder if Mozilla wants to get into that system or not. I'd be surprised (and disappointed) if they did.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Will this system support the moderation (a.k.a. censorship) of comments?

    I can't see mainstream media corporations adopting it if it does not support the editing or removal of commentary they disagree with.

    But does supporting such functionality conflict with Mozilla's mission and the Mozilla Manifesto? Can Mozilla really claim to stand for openness and freedom while simultaneously creating a system that supports overt and indisputable censorship?

    • by Tridus (79566)

      Shockingly, most major websites don't want to have Goatse links showing up to their users, and thus want moderation tools.

      I know, that's just crazy talk.

  • All this... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ilsaloving (1534307) on Friday June 20, 2014 @08:34AM (#47280451)

    At a time when news organizations are shuttering their comment sections?

    One news agency after another are realizing that comments actually *hurt* readership because there are enough asshole commenters out there posting crap, that it's actually turning off readers from their service entirely.

    • by RivenAleem (1590553) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:13AM (#47280653)

      Aww man, I started to read that in "Epic Movie Trailer Guy" voice.

      "At a time when news organizations are shuttering their comment sections, one news agency took a chance to engage with it's readers. This summer watch how The Washington Post turns the tables on big media. Clint Eastwood reprises his role as the pilot of the Firefox (*cut to scene of him clicking on a hyperlink*). From the Director of Mozilla vs Mothrasoft. Commenting will never be the same."

    • Re:All this... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bjdevil66 (583941) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:44AM (#47281425)

      At the same time, I have found that comments on news sites were actually some of the best information out there - just like here on Slashdot. Yes, there are ahole trolls and idiots, but there aren't as many as some make it out to be - and there are usually sides to a story that aren't being told by the story itself where commenters fill in the blanks.

      To be fair, though, the quality of comments overall - including here at Slashdot - has declined, simply because people don't spend the time typing up large treatises anymore. More people want a Twitter-like soundbyte more than information, and won't read comments more than a few lines long. They have better thing to... squirrel!

    • My local McClatchy-owned news site recently went to strictly Facebook login posting. Which whittled out the obvious trolls but as a byproduct, resulted in the same set of commenters on every article.

      But what's interesting is that even with their full names, pictures and even employer names showing alongside the posts, they still submit inflamatory and trollish stuff. Especially politics and religion. Like one adjuster for Allstate recently went on a rampage about an unmarried female congressional candida

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        re facebook posters... I always thought this quote was particularly apt:

        Over the Internet, you can pretend to be anyone or anything.
        I'm amazed that so many people choose to be complete twats.

        But.. it turns out that they were just twats all along, which is depressing.

  • Will it look up your voting record by scavenging your computer? Will you automatically make electronic transfers to the charity of Mozilla's choice when you use it? Will the mob form up at your house if you haven't voted for ?
  • All I want out of a commenting system is what Usenet has had for forever: a killfile. If I know that "John Doe <jdoe@example.com>" is generally a troll, I want to just not see posts by him.

    As far as I'm aware, there are no web forums or commenting systems which incorporate this functionality. I haven't done an in-depth study, though, so I'd welcome correction.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Slashdot does. Mark someone as a foe. Gone.

      • Is that what that's for? Oops. Egg on my face, definitely! In my defense, while Slashdot definitely has its trolls, the signal-to-noise ration is much better here than on nearly every other site, so I've never been sufficiently irritated enough to want to plonk someone.

        • by ais523 (1172701)
          You can set a karma modifier for foes and for friends; if you set your foes to have -6 karma, then they're going to be at -1 forever to your view and thus not show up. I know there's at least one Slashdot user who sets their friends to +1 karma, and their foes to +6 so as to not mod them up by mistake, which strikes me as a pretty backwards way of doing things.
      • by Rakarra (112805)

        What I want is a 'foe' system that cuts out not only the foe's posts but the entire comment tree started by them.

        I've found kill-files are somewhat useless when well-intentioned troll-feeders reply and I end up seeing the troll's nonsense in the first place.

    • by Desler (1608317)

      Most forums do have that. It's called an ignore list. They've had such a feature since forever ago.

  • Within the past 18 months along with the whole web site. It's gotten really JS heavy and the comments section (which is only allowed to fill the right 1/3 of the browser window), which makes it really painful to use and browse the comments.

    I liked the older system which had the comments on the bottom of the news story instead of on the side.

    It's may not be practical, but it would almost be nice to see an IMDB style comments section for every story the way IMDB has one for every cast member and every film/s

  • The Fine Summary states that the sponsor is the Knights Foundation. But the story makes reference to the Knight Foundation.

    Knights Foundation: does good works with London juvies.

    Knight Foundation: does good works with news organizations.

    /. eds: Please review and fix or clarify.

  • That's all I really want. The media seems to think that news is crowdsourcing common opinion. This will not add value to Firefox or the NYT.
  • by tom229 (1640685)
    Now I can flame them for abandoning their perfectly secure old sync method in favor of a "simpler" but much less secure username and password scheme.

    To their credit, the move was widely praised on "tech sites"(1) as a welcome change.

    (1): "tech sites" - Websites created or managed by hipsters with iPads that know what a partition is and wear NERD t-shirts. They also reformat their mom's computer from time to time. See: slashdot, arstechnica
  • "The most ambitious aim of the project is to create a feature that would efficiently highlight the most relevant and pertinent reader comments on an article, perhaps through word-recognition software."

    The object of the game is to get a complete load of bollocks accepted as the most relevant and pertinent reader comment on as many articles as possible. Extra points for the front page and headline articles.

  • Give less control to readers and allow the screaming angry retarded mob to reinforce itself by rabidly banning the 1% of people who don't agree with them.

  • While I generally support Mozilla's endeavors, as one of the last bastion of noob-to-guru accessible, Free/open source, secure and most important privacy respecting software around, this has me worried. The statement about "Publishers will then be able to collect and use this content for other forms of storytelling and spark ongoing discussions by providing readers with targeted content and notifications." could mean yet another data mining and targeted advertising opportunity, for instance.

    The only way I

  • This exists: Open Annotation [openannotation.org]:

    Annotation is a pervasive activity when reading or otherwise engaging with publications. In the physical world, highlighting and sticky notes are common paradigms for marking up and associating one's own content with the work being read, and many digital solutions exist in the same space. These digital solutions are, however, not interoperable between systems, even when there is only one user with multiple devices.

    This document lays out the use cases for annotations on digital p

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