Happy Thanksgiving, folks! Here's hoping your main course is tender and juicy, your side dishes tasty, and your love overflowing.
Over the course of the long weekend, we're going to be doing a few updates to the website to fix some bugs and make some improvements. We've fixed the disappearing photos issues, but the biggest change you'll notice is our comments section.
We're switching our comments over to Facebook connect. Several of you have followed my struggles with recent flame wars and how exhausting it's become. With each commenter's name and photo next to the comment, I think the bottom feeding will diminish quickly. Often posts that ended up a bloody troll slaughter on the site resulted in an in-depth and intelligent conversation on our Facebook page. When you're held responsible for the things you say and can see the face of the person you're attacking, people have a tendency to be more respectful and less hateful.
We've allowed commenters to sign in via Facebook or a Bilerico account since the redesign and the majority of new commenters have chosen to login via Facebook. Now we're making it as easy as possible to comment on our site by eliminating the need for yet another username and password to interact with the community. If you're logged in to Facebook, you'll be able to comment automatically on Bilerico Project.
A checkbox under the text box allows you to post your comment and a link to the post on your Facebook wall; friends' replies to your wall post will show up on Bilerico as replies to your comment. This will help build the community further by exposing more and more people to our content and our readers.
On my end, I'll save a lot of time. The e-mails from folks who can't access their accounts or forgot their password will end. I don't have to go zap the numerous spam accounts that sign up every day to push viagra, shoes, and promising real estate ventures any more. The ability to allow the community to be more self-policing is a huge draw as well.
Don't worry - we've saved all the old comments and they're all still displayed. New comments on all posts will use the Facebook system. If you see something wonky, feel free to e-mail and give us a heads up.
I know some of you may have some privacy concerns about the change. You don't have to post anything to your Facebook wall to comment on the site.
Some of you may not be out to family or co-workers or live in a dangerous situation that requires more anonymity. I understand that your situation may not allow you to confidently comment on the site, and I hope you'll understand why I've chosen to implement this system. I'll be sorry to lose some of you that don't feel comfortable using your real name; hopefully soon you'll be in a position to return and rejoin the conversation.
Bilerico always required contributors to use their names because they needed to stand behind what they wrote on the site. Today, commenters are being asked to do the same. We've passed on several excellent applications from would-be contributors who wanted to use an internet handle instead of their name - so how can we hold a lower standard for people who can literally write blog post-length comments on every post on the site?
Currently the Ed Team members are the moderators, but a few of you have offered to help with the community as moderators and that's possible now. If you've been hanging around Bilerico for a while and want to assist, e-mail me and we'll talk about it.
(Photo credit: John Selig)