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Evolving the “Comments” Experience

August 13, 2013

Everyone wants the web to be a more participatory and interactive experience, but when it comes to news and magazine sites, little has been done beyond the typical comments at the bottom of the page experience.

This is far from ideal as it really puts a dividing line between the user, the content and their ability to comment and therefore place their comments in context.

The Atlantic’s Quartz magazine has recently introduced an alternative to comments, that it calls “Annotations”.

“Annotations are an experiment, and we consider this a beta release of the feature. The idea is to encourage thoughtful commentary and substantive contributions. Because you are annotating a specific paragraph, the discussion ought to be much more directed than usual. We’ll also reward your great annotations by featuring them more prominently, responding to you, and removing others that are off-topic or abusive.”

The idea is obviously to encourage more participation and to give the publisher some control over the comments and interesting since advertising is apparently paying for everything these days, they even found a sponsor.

It will be interesting to see if others in the news media space follow Quartz’s lead, which they say was inspired by the annotation innovation they had seen from both Soundcloud and Rap Genius.





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