We let our loyal bloggers know first about our plans to change to using Facebook for commenting on our websites.
In a letter to bloggers below, we outlined our reasons for the upcoming change. So far, the reaction to this news has been overwhelmingly positive. One of my favorite bloggers, Toni Marek, even posted about it before we did.
I have talked in the past with Toni and others about the challenges of moderating a news site. Although a regular blogger in the past, Toni told me she decided to stay away from the site because of the snarky nature of anonymous postings.
The huge and continued growing popularity of Facebook led us to this change. We have always wanted to keep the community conversation as inclusive as possible, so our commenting system was as open as we could make it within the bounds of our user policy. Because so many Crossroads people are on Facebook and voluntarily identify themselves there, we think the conversation will remain lively with this change. The Advocate's Facebook is brimming with reader comments daily, leading us to think the time is right for this switch.
We anticipate making the change in early July on VictoriaAdvocate.com. We also are working through what this change means for those who post blogs. Because blogs are not a Facebook feature, we have to create our own verification process for identifying bloggers on our sites.
The letter outlines how we intend to do this. A couple of longtime bloggers ask whether they need to follow the same steps. While we thank them for their contributions of the past, the short answer is yes.
You may still blog and comment on our site as unverified users, but these anonymous items will no longer be featured on our home page or under our articles. If a longtime blogger makes a strong case for being known only to us rather than all of our readers, we will consider an exception.
We are excited about this new approach and hope you will enjoy it. If you need help figuring out Facebook or blogging, please contact Advocate interactivity editor Jessica Puente.
Here is the letter we sent last week to our bloggers:
Thank you for your participation on our site.
We’ve been working hard to better the functionality of VictoriaAdvocate.com. Our first step was redesigning the site, and now we are adding Facebook commenting. So why Facebook commenting?
1) It’s familiar and easy to use.
Facebook has more than 800 million users. Most people you know already have one. If you don’t or don’t want to get one, we still offer regular accounts by email. However, you must be verified in order to comment.
Real names and identities can greatly reduce the number of trolls or anonymous posts that violate the user policy.
3) Automatic sign-in
If you’re already signed into Facebook and you go to VictoriaAdvocate.com, you will be signed up for commenting. You don't have to do anything else. This change is still being worked on so stay tuned for more on that.
So what does this mean for blogging? Our blog posting software is not integrated with Facebook, but we still want to promote the value of transparency throughout the site. We will feature only bloggers who are willing to verify their identities with us. We hope this will help foster the conversation among the community and bring new bloggers to the site. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your username, name, phone number and email address for verification.
Let me know whether you would like to share your identity with all of our users or only with us. For featuring on our home page, we will give preference to bloggers who share their identities with all of our users. To change your user name to your real name, please send me an email; we can handle this process for you.
Thank you for your cooperation and contributions to VictoriaAdvocate.com.
The Victoria Advocate
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