With six and half years of running YallPolitics under my belt, I’d like to think I have a decent sense of when it’s time to make some changes. I have made two big technology ones in the past (first the move to our content mangement system and second the requirement to register to eliminate anonymous commenting) and both of them paid off big.
Effective late last week, I have taken YallPolitics off of our native content management commenting system and migrated that to Facebook. There are two big reasons I did this.
1. Access – Registration spam is a huge issue under the current content management system that we use. I had actually been forced for a few months to turn new users on only manually. YallPolitics was always limited by those who wanted to go through our sign up process and then those that chose to comment (a relatively low proportion – as it is with most registration driven sites). With Facebook, literally anyone with a FB account can logon and comment, even if it’s only once.
2. Comment moderation – It’s still a huge issue. A lot of comments from people operating under screen names still need ongoing attention from time I just candidly don’t have. I think most people (even regular users) would be shocked at what I am forced to moderate out.
Facebook solves both of those issues. The 575,000,000 people currently using facebook can’t all be wrong. I may be a bit ahead of the curve on the exclusive migration for a site like this, but I think that everything will be trending this direction. Newspapers, magazines, etc. are quickly trying to get out of their own proprietary commenting system into more open source. I think it opens YP up to a whole new base of users and we will be driving that new involvement as much as possible. Also, comment moderation becomes basically a non-issue. If you are willing to put your real name by something, let ‘er rip.
I know that there are some really good commenters that will no longer comment because of this. I have heard from a couple. I understand it and empathize with them. However, I think this thing is for the best and it will be the law of YP from here until I am convinced that Facebook commenting is a mistake. My hope also is that policy makers (elected officials and others) will be emboldened to comment on YP via Facebook as they do on their own FB pages. I think this provides them with some fair means to engage people in a policy discussion that doesn’t have unnamed and unknown “bomb slingers” that can attack without consequence.
YP has thousands of regular users for which I am forever grateful. Hang with me folks. There are still a few bugs to work out, but I hope you’ll keep helping YP growing and making a difference.
If you have any questions or bugs to report in the new comment system, email me and I will be glad to address.