After earlier revolt, Digg users embrace new comments system

Update offers faster load times and options for showing comments of users and their friends

Almost a year after a new comments system prompted a user revolt, social news site Digg appears poised to roll out another system that is so far receiving warm feedback from its notoriously volatile customer base.

A Digg-produced video detailing features of a new commenting system, said to be "coming soon," was posted Wednesday on the site's home page. In the video, Digg founder Kevin Rose said the first thing users will notice about the new comments system is speed.

"Comments are loaded as the page is displayed," he noted. "That means no more AJAX loading. You click a box, and the comments expand."

Slow load times for comments was a major complaint of users when an updated comments system was launched last June. Just hours after Digg posted that update, complaints began pouring in about long load times and a new requirement that uses click to read replies to posts.

Rose went on to say that the new layout of the comments system is "superlight" with no boxes around nested comments. "We've added two new filters to the top of the site -'Only Mine' which shows just your views of the comments and 'Only Friends' which shows your friends your comments and replies," he said.

Digg also added a new type of comment sorting called "Controversial" to highlight comments that get the most Diggs and Buries.

"Submitting and managing your comments is now improved - a bigger submit box, longer edit times and now you have a delete button to remove the comment," Rose noted. "You can also now change your vote on a comment."

Complaints by Digg.com users are always notable after reaction to a separate user content issue last year led to an online riot that many analysts and academics at the time called a test case to determine who has control over user-generated content on social networking sites.

That revolt began after Digg.com succumbed to legal threats and began removing a software key for cracking encryption technology used to limit the copying of Blu-ray disks that was posted by a user. As Digg began removing the key, outraged users repeatedly re-posted it, eventually forcing the company to relent.

Earlier this year, angry Digg users threatened to boycott the site after the company began using a new algorithm that would let a more diverse set of users determine which stories reach the top of its ranking.

Digg user "Gllpoc" commented on Digg.com that the updated comments system has "all the improvements I've been looking for. Thanks for addressing each of these issues."

Along the same lines, Digg user "Applegeorge" said that Rose had "redeemed himself even if it took over a year."

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Heather Havenstein

Computerworld

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