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Monday, March 02, 2009

Ken (CR Companion fame) on Comments

by Calculated Risk on 3/02/2009 06:15:00 PM

The Haloscan comment system crash on Friday. Ken has suggested the following:

With this recent haloscan failure, I’ve been investigating JS-Kit and its alternatives (disqus, intensedebate, sezwho). I’ve been frustrated by how ill suited they are to a community like CalculatedRisk, which is really more a real time salon than a blog with semi-static comments.

I’ve also had an evolving interest in enhancing the commenting experience for Calculated Risk users, first through CR Companion, and more recently in building a prototype for a searchable index. Lately I’ve been bubbling with ideas on what could be done to improve things specifically for this blog. But I’ve also been somewhat wary of taking the project on, as this truly is a 24/7 community, and I’ve witnessed how harshly judgment can come over the tubz (the recent Louis CK Everything’s Amazing, Nobody’s Happy bit comes to mind). I may be a CR addict, but I do have a family and personal life, and would like to keep them.

It occurred to me today that there is an alternative. There are clearly a great many talented IT people on this blog, several of whom have already demonstrated both their interest and mojo quite effectively. Perhaps some of you might be interested in joining into the process of building and maintaining an alternative system that is written specifically for us? One that could satisfy the various nits many of you have?

What I’m envisioning is building a site that runs in parallel to JS-Kit for awhile, posting back and forth, much like CRBot’s iRC channel, for safety’s sake.

To get the ball rolling, here are some of the features I’ve been picturing, grouped by Must Haves and Would Be Cool. I imagine you have some of your own ...

Must Haves
  • Fast
  • Simple
  • Generic browser support, including mobile devices
  • Registration (simple, relatively anonymous, with openID support)
  • Multiple moderators (for CR’s sanity)
  • Permalinks per comment
  • Homepage links
  • Threading with a better UI for real time (before you say “yuck!” or “huh?”, let me put together a prototype so you can see what I mean)
  • Choice of a decent editor, with preview and edits within a 5 minute window
  • Keyword searchable archives, with slices by user, CR Post, date, tag (see below)
  • Multiple handles, single user
  • Personal profiles (member since, homepage, deep thoughts, etc.)
  • Visitor count
  • Would Be Cool
  • Autorefresh (like CR Companion, only more efficient)
  • CRVIX and other stats
  • Tags per comment/thread (e.g. news, well-said, funny, youtube, thread-music, thread-of-the-day)
  • Word clouds per CR post, or per user to give a quick sense of what’s being discussed (or constantly ranted about)
  • Private ratings and filters, ala CR Companion (I’ve taken to heart the desire to avoid a public popularity contest)
  • Top Ten Threads of the Day
  • New post notification (CRBot/The Pig), maybe even from multiple sites like CRBot does (with tags, so people can ignore if desired)
  • A financial dashboard mashup
  • An easy way to paste in references to previous comments
  • Anyone interested? There’ll be need for client and server developers, sysadmin types, graphic designers, testers, lawyers, nay-sayers, etc. This might take awhile, but it’ll be worth it.