Welcome To Stereogum’s New Commenting System


Welcome To Stereogum’s New Commenting System


Today we finally launch a new community platform. Since Stereogum began 20 years and 1½ months ago — jeez, we’re older than Geogaddi — comments have been the lifeblood of this publication. We have the best community on the Web 2.0 and it would be a lot less fun around here without your insights and inside jokes, many of which I understand. Most sites don’t even allow comments anymore, so we are especially grateful for yours.

For as long as most of you have been reading, we have been using WordPress commenting. Before that we were on Movable Type, and before that LiveJournal. These systems all offered limited toolsets and customization. So we put our heads together to make the user experience a lot smoother, and it only took us about 10 years.

As you are probably aware, Stereogum is now a fully independent business. I acquired the site from our parent company two years ago. Until that point, putting resources behind any meaningful functionality upgrades was ultimately not my call. While, miraculously, we always maintained full editorial control — which was most important, to be honest — from 2007 to 2021 all of our our development requests were added to a list which was then placed under a pile of 5,000 SPIN magazines.

For a long, long time we wanted you to be able:

  • to edit and delete your comments
  • to change your username, account email, and avatar
  • to delete your account
  • to easily post emojis and gifs
  • to upload your own images directly to the comments
  • to get a notification when someone replies to you (game changer imo), if you want
  • to adjust the display order of comments, especially for TNOCS, which gets hundreds of comments per post
  • to mute users
  • to help identify trolls and spammers

We no longer wanted to host comments on our server, so that our cloud costs wouldn’t be so high and pages would load faster. We wanted better spam detection. We wanted everything to work just as well on mobile as it does on desktop. And we wanted to be able to migrate your OG Stereogum accounts and their vast archive of comments.

Our new conversation platform does all of that, and some other things that won’t be ready until later this year (or 2032). We actually planned to launch this when we redesigned in late 2020. At the 11th hour there were issues that forced us to roll back to WordPress comments, and given our small product team (which is me and a freelance dev) it took a long time to resolve them. It was expensive, too! (Stereogum Shop: open now.)

You’ll notice there is no more downvote option. I was already planning on nixing Lowest Rated Comments from our weekly best/worst comments round-up, but we decided to get rid of downvoting entirely. No more ganging up on someone who criticizes Beach House, sorry guys. But you can report/flag any comment that crosses the line and if enough people do, it’ll automatically get bounced offline to a moderation queue. You can also now see who upvoted your comment.

Which brings me to our community guidelines, which are the same as they’ve always been: don’t be a jerk. Use your judgment and you probably won’t get banned. We are pretty lenient around here, but we don’t tolerate hate speech and only tolerate jerks if they’re making the music we write about.

What else… Because we finished migrating your WordPress comments last summer, your last few months of comments won’t appear until a second import is completed in the next few weeks. Don’t worry, they are not gone forever. Oh, and all Stereogum album review articles — i.e., Album Of The Week, Premature Evaluation, and The Anniversary — now have a place for you to add your own rating of the album on a 0 to 5 star scale, which gets aggregated with others into a community score.

A few pro tips:

  • When you leave a star rating on an album, you need to write a comment with it for the rating to display with all the comments. If you don’t, it’ll still count, it just won’t display as a comment.
  • If you wanna include a YouTube URL, just give it a second for the embed to appear before you submit. If you include more than one YouTube in a comment (looking at you, TNOCS) only the first will embed. We are asking the software partners if this can be adjusted, but that seems unlikely.
  • Our new software has a ton of configurations for content filtering. We’ve set the sensitivity pretty low, but if the system incorrectly thinks you posted spam or porn or something, just let us know so we can make adjustments.
  • E-mail notifications for likes and replies are optional — you can set that on your account profile.

Finally, if you are having trouble commenting (e.g., if you log in, but the comments area thinks you’re logged out) it’s most likely a cache issue, which we are working on. But for now you can:
1. Try logging out and back in, or
2. Try clearing the Stereogum cache in your browser, or
3. Try commenting in an incognito browser

So give it a go below. And if you are getting an error or have any questions about this new dawn of UGC get in touch.

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