posted by Adam S on Thu 18th Aug 2005 23:28 UTC
IconI have just posted a new OSNews feature, email notification on comment reply. It's not the only change we made around here today. Read on for further details.

I kept hearing from users that what they really wanted was some notice, via email or via the site, that there had been a reply to a comment they had left. The staff discussed it and it is now complete and available to you. Simple navigate to your preferences page and choose "Send Me an Email" under the Notification heading.

Now that version 3 is maturing, the OSNews staff is learning from the data we've gathered and from the loads of feedback we've gotten. Many users have different ideas about where they want OSNews to go from here. Unfortunately, many people have different opinions about it.

We always hear the same few things - why not use Slash? Why not XHTML/CSS? Why isn't the comment view threaded? Few people, it seems, have taken the time to read How to Use OSNews Version 3, which explains the answers to these questions. Anyway, I can already envision if we moved to Slash, people would still say "Why isn't it XHTML?" and if we went to XHTML they'd still say "You're reinventing Slash," all without acknowledging our biggest boon, that we render everywhere on everything. Anyway, here are a few tidbits you might find interesting:

1. Now that there is a decent sized comment history, we will be regularly rewarding users by adjusting their comment votes in accordance with the volume of good comments they post. Note that like most large sites, it's not about volume, it's about good comments. Good comments are not just about positive moderation either. Admin review plays a role, to discourage "playing the system." You may have noticed the number of comment votes you're allotted has changed, and this is why. Comment votes will be regularly reviewed. I'd add, just so it's "out there," that we test for "suspicious moderation," which when the same account votes you up over and over again. ...Which leads me to:

2. New account terms are being drafted, mostly to prevent abuse. We are reviewing our database for those who create multiple accounts with the express purpose of modding themselves up. We're terminating those accounts, and in some cases, banning the IP. C'mon, that's no fun for anybody.

3. I rewrote portions of the moderation system to allow moderation without scoring. This means an administrator can wipe out off-topic comments without penalizing a poster with a -5. This is great news for the good poster who writes a good response to an off-topic post which is modded down along with an entire thread.

4. There are several new features which we haven't unveiled that we will roll out in the near future. The osnews engine now allows you to add friends, which allows you to quickly and easily locate comments from those members who you enjoying reading, as well as those who enjoy reading your comments. In addition, OSNews "User Defined Conversations" are functional, and we'll be demo'ing that once we finalize some terms.

As always, I've been taking user feedback and playing with things like an alternate XHTML compliant site, an OSNews meta-blog about site development, javascript enhanced posting, and the oft-requested "comment threading." I don't know which, if any, will ever make its way onto the site, but all exist and are mostly functional in some form or another. So tell us, given free reign, what would you like to see?

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