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I 'Like' What You Just Said On Gamasutra
by Kris Graft on 09/26/11 02:31:00 pm   Editor Blog   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

If you go to one of Gamasutra's stories right now and view reader comments, you'll notice a new feature: The "Like" button.

We focus-tested a number of different words to let users quickly show their appreciation for a another reader's comment, such as "Dope," "Sick," "Crispy" or my personal favorite, "Rad."

But it turns out most people like "Like."

In all seriousness, the addition of a Like button in our comments section is just the beginning of more regular updates to Gamasutra Network's user interface. We're hoping to continue to introduce improvements in the year to come. (As for "Liking" an actual article, stay tuned.)

Another tweak made to the comments section that you may notice is that commenters can no longer reply to a reply to a reply. Our longer comment threads tend to become confusing when replies go to too many tiers, so we're keeping it simple.

And if you haven't noticed already, we still have Twitter, Facebook Share and Google +1 buttons at the top of each story, so that you can easily share the great content we have here on Gamasutra. Another recent update is the "Exclusive" tag -- click on that and you can get an idea of the amount of legwork that our reporters put towards running original stories and analyses.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave any feedback in the comments section below. We'll be keeping an eye on it.


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Comments


Glenn Storm
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Rad.

Aaron San Filippo
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Why not use Facebook likes?

Kris Graft
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Hey Aaron,



One reason we opted not to use that because that would require someone to log into their Facebook account. By doing it this way, anyone with a Gamasutra account can use the "Like" feature. However, if you want to share a Gamasutra story on Facebook, you do have the option to do that. Also, we're looking into future social features that would require "Likes" to be part of our actual website.

Mike Weldon
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Because Gamasutra will still be here long after Facebook is forgotten.

Eric Schwarz
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While I tend to prefer a text response, the ability to +1 a post or comment is appreciated as well. Thanks for your hard work in getting this feature up and running!

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Im no big fan of those features. I feel it tend to create a "pensée unique" effect, that is discouraging diverse point of views.

Justin Nearing
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I can has notifications for when people reply to my comment or comment on an article I write thx

Jacob Pederson
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Yupo, this is my number one request for a new feature, although I would have phrased it a bit more politely :)

Luis Guimaraes
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Something wrong here. I get "unlike" button for a comment I never "liked" before. Also, I support this, it's kinda hard here to keep track of old discussions.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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I was seeing "Unlike" for Glenn's post too, but now I see "like". Might be a bug there.

Michael Gooch
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I agree. This would be greatly appreciated.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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This is definitely cool. Any thoughts of forums? They could prove useful for starting new topics that aren't yet fleshed out for articles or blog posts. Also for keeping hot topics on the (forum) front page (articles get bumped off as they become old news).



'Like' if you want forums! :)

Ted Brown
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Thanks, guys, we've been itching for this for a while!

Kris Graft
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Thanks folks, we're looking into the "Unlike" issue!

Victor Gont
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Great job. It's an awesome feature to have for those of us who just prefer to lurk around or for the days when one has the time to read the comments but not formulate a coherent and constructive post.

Michael Gooch
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The only problem that I have with a "like" feature is that it then turns many comments from a structured and levelled debate into a high-school popularity contest. This may not appear as vigorously on Gamasutra, due to many of the users being professional grade and intelligent individuals with a top notch administrative system (from what I've seen), but take any look at the hundreds of websites that have latched themselves to Facebook's "like" system, and you'll have a general idea of what I mean.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Exactly. We all wish that everyone would "like" according to the quality of the post, but human nature being as it is, people vote for whatever post is of the same opinion as them.

Kris Graft
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Hey Michael,



This is something that we considered, but along with "Likes" we will moderate comments and review new commenters before allowing them to comment on our site. It also seems that a lot of times, if someone has something more in-depth to say, they'll say it, and not use "Like" as a replacement for discussion.

Jamie Mann
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I dunno - adding a gamification system onto a website about professional game development is definitely ironic ;)



[EDIT] Also: unlike most places where you can "like" something, it's possible to edit your "committed" comments on Gamasutra - and there's no timeout on this facility. Is there anything in place to prevent abuse of this: people could write "i believe X" and then change it to "I believe Y" once the votes have rolled in...



[EDIT 2] Oh, and I appear to be able to "like" my own comments. Which seems a wee bit redundant...



Something like Slashdot's moderation system would possibly work better (i.e. an economic system where people can earn mod points to spend on other people's comments and/or mark the comments as being informative/funny/etc), but I suspect this only works well with a significantly huge user base.



Beyond that: I'm not too keen on the idea of limiting the number of replies to a post (though as someone who often responds to a response in a somewhat verbose way, I'm something of a guilty party and hence mildly biased!) - it'll most likely result in more confusion as people try to convert their "r2rs" into standard replies, thereby breaking the hierarchy of the "conversation". E.g.



comment 1

comment 1.1

comment 2

comment 2.1

comment "1.1.1"

comment 3

comment "2.1.1"

comment "1.1.1.1"

Etc...



(the other alternative is that people won't bother commenting - it'll certainly put me off crafting replies. Though it's left to the reader to decide if that's a positive or negative thing!)



Instead, it'd be nicer to have collapsible comments (again, as per Slashdot) - perhaps with everything past the third level defaulting to collapsed. This would reduce visual clutter while maintaining comment hierarchy.



And without wanting to sound like I want the moon on a stick, it'd be quite nice to have the following:

1) Could the "content" pillar in the middle be made dynamically resizable? I know we need to take handheld devices into account these days, but I'd expect most people these days to be browsing on high-resolution and/or widescreen displays these days - and increasing the amount of available space for content would make "r2r" comments wider and easier to read



(I've done something similar for www.xboxindiegames.co.uk: everything - including the side-bars - are dynamically collapsible and/or resizable...)



2) Could the "reply" feature offer some forum-style features, such as quoting and URLs? Again, I think the lack of these features is part of the reason why "r2r" comments were often difficult to read: the context wasn't always clear and "unformatted" URLs looked ugly - and were often broken up across multiple lines!



3) Could the reply textarea be resizable - again, it's quite small, especially when writing a reply, as it's crammed into the relatively small area next to your icon, rather than occupying the full width of the "content" column. Several times, I've ended up writing a response in Notepad (or Vi!) and then cut-n-pasting the response back into Gamasutra!

Alternatively, if a quoting system was built in, you could perhaps just copy the comment being replied to into the standard textarea at the bottom of the page, rather than inserting a textarea into the middle of the discussion hierarchy...

Michael Joseph
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Mr. Graft, is there anything you can tell us (broadly) about the internal discussions that precipitated this change?



You said in a comment "but along with "Likes" we will moderate comments and review new commenters before allowing them to comment on our site."



Seems to me the comments to date are generally well behaved with the overwhelming majority of commenters being reasonable adults. Even with serious disagreements occurring every now and then, nothing seems to have errupted into the sort of flamewar you see elsewhere. So I'm mostly just curious on the thought processes that lead those concerned to believe moderating was a necessary addition.

Kris Graft
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Hey Michael,



Please, call me Kris!



So regarding the moderation reference, don't worry, there are no changes there. What I meant is that currently (as we have been for a while) we have to manually approve new commenters. This is mainly a response to spam. Also, our editorial team always keeps one eye on discussions and we moderate as needed (we don't have a full-time moderator or anything, mainly because the discussions are typically just fine).



Don't worry, I agree that the comments are generally very good on Gamasutra, even when there are disagreements. So to be clear, there are no changes to our moderation. Sorry for the confusion!

Michael Joseph
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Cool. Thanks for the clarification Kris.

Aaron San Filippo
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One suggestion I have: Limit the size of replies to a few paragraph's worth.



Comment threads like these should really just be blog posts:

http://gamasutra.com/blogs/BrandonKarratti/20110927/8533/Choice_a
nd_Singularity.php

Jamie Mann
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But... how do you then have a conversation? Writing the blog entry, saving it and then posting a comment on the original blog with a link in it is distinctly unwieldy. I agree that comments can sometimes be too long and/or difficult to read (and I'm more guilty than most of writing long comments), but I think that's more due to the limited width of the content pillar and the lack of formatting tags (e.g. [quote], [url], etc).



Oh, and...

Jamie Mann
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You'll also have the problem that people may just break their response into multiple replies, which will be even more untidy and difficult to read!



;)


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