DJournal.com moves to Disqus in search of real conversations

By Todd Vinyard/Journal Interactive


Real conversations are a lot of things at different times – funny, tough, sad, challenging – but they are never easy.
My 4-year-old son Josh always asks that before he goes to bed he and I have a conversation. He generally picks the topics – Which are cooler – dump trucks or tractors? Are hamburgers or hot dogs better? Who is the best engine on Thomas the Train? Why does our favorite baseball team the Chicago Cubs always lose? They aren’t world shattering conversations and many like the Cubs one I don’t have a solid answer for, but we both get to know each other a bit better each time we talk and see where each other is coming from.
Tuesday, DJournal.com and our other family of sites in Mississippi take a step towards making our online conversations richer and more meaningful with the help of our website vendor Radiate Media.
We’re partnering with Disqus, a leader in the industry that handles commenting for sites like CNN.com, MLB.com and recently NPR.com. They have some tools many people have asked for – the ability to rank posters. Threaded comments to make the debate easier to follow. And the ability to log in with the social media log in of your choice.
Yes, you heard that right. You will not need to create a new password. I know that is a relief in today’s world.
A new survey commissioned by social software services company Janrain found that 38 percent of Americans would rather clean a toilet or come up with a plan for world peace than think of a new online password, according to a story on seattlepi.com. Strong stuff, but I agree. We’re going to make one less password for you to remember when you join us. Just come to us from where you are if it is Facebook, Twitter or even what’s next on social media.
One of the biggest changes posters will notice is an effort to limit anonymous posting. I’ve been working with online comments for almost 10 years – it may be why I have no hair and take some blood pressure medicine. Seriously, there has been value in anonymous posting in allowing people who might not speak up a chance to speak. But as more people come online to talk and with the growth of social media there has been increasingly loud user cry to know who says what. Tuesday will begin the work to answer that call.
There are other features in Disqus that we will talk about each Wednesday in the online section of DJournal.com as we get the new system going. I’ll take questions and comments along with suggestions on how to improve the system. And when we can implement your ideas, we will.
No commenting system will make things perfect. Conversations of course come from human beings and none of us are perfect. But a lot of times we are wise, funny, smart, generous, tough and provoking, especially here in Northeast Mississippi. All of us contributing and understanding there may be times we agree to disagree in respectful ways is what it will take.
If you’ve never commented before I hope you will join us (yes, I plan to test out the new system myself from time to time) and if you have been commenting I hope you will try this out and let us know. And if commenting isn’t your thing it is OK – you can email me at todd.vinyard@journalinc.com or call 678-1586.
Thanks for joining us here and in our other Journal products. I look forward to hearing from you and having some conversations. Just do a suffering fan a favor – don’t ask about the Cubs this year, please.

Todd Vinyard is the Online Editor for Journal Interactive and believes any team can have a bad century plus before winning the World Series.