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A Comments Change

Tomorrow morning, The Trail will change how comments are displayed on the blog. Instead of appearing in chronological order, the most recent comment will appear at the top of the list, with older comments getting pushed down the screen.

Work is also underway on reinstituting the comment registration system, limiting comments to registered users of, which was lost last month due to a technical hiccup. The revived registration requirement, we hope, will cut down on some of the increase in personal attacks and offensive chatter on the comments board, which we've all been noticing and many of our regular commenters have been concerned about.

Thanks for reading. And now, back to the Trail.

By Editors  |  May 7, 2008; 5:30 PM ET
Categories:  About The Trail  
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Next: McCain, on Daily Show, Runs Through Runningmate Options


hillary is best for america,an iron lady who will fight for america and the world.
so sad that the media is destroying her great capabilities to lead this country and the world.

Posted by: allan b. beltran | May 8, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, Thanks for the Top Ten Obama Flip Flops, you need to post that on every blog possible! Because the media refuses to report the facts about Obama!

Posted by: gail g | May 8, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Sherri ; )

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

How that will help weed out the rude commentors I don't get but whatever works!

Posted by: Sherri | May 8, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that. I stopped commenting here, because of the troll infestations. There have been comments buried among senseless gibberish which were really worthwhile. I learned a lot from some of your regular readers here but simply didn't find the time to sort through all the rubbish to get at the gold nuggets.

Posted by: European_Elitist | May 8, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Granted Surf Rats do not posses the huge intellectual capacity that is inherent in WashPostians, but allow me to point out how annoying it really is to have to scroll across the whole distance of a longer Thread to get to the Comments Box, that USED TO BE right below the last Comment(With said Comments that might have been getting addressed).
Even Comments about the article also have to scroll down, only then, they could review other comments to see if their's was already said(Posted)!

The Reverse Order, -I don't know...

Posted by: RAT-The | May 8, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Richard Daly | May 8, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

If you can't get through at that number (they are closing the office down), try the general legal hotline to report any voting problems: (888) 472-9465.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse


Please contact the Clinton campaign at (919) 828-0034. Thanks : )

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

In NC inside where voting was going on ,there was a sign that read if you need help to vote so people were were moving to that side of the room on the bottom of the sign it read vote for obama isn't that illegal?

Posted by: maggie | May 8, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I like this new format much better.

Posted by: JakeD | May 8, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I think your new format will work well. I also read comments on another site (or 3 or 4) and at least one of them has latest comment at the top. This does not bother me. I like the idea of replying to a specific posting by hitting "reply".

Posted by: beccajo | May 8, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I will still avoid looking at the comments on this blog as much as possible, since it is as far from intellectual debate as possible, but this is still a welcome change.

Posted by: Corey | May 8, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

For pure quality, I strongly support moves to:

1) Require registration

2) Limit postings per user per discussion and perhaps limit postings by the same user per day/week/month across all discussions.

3) Limit posting length.

4) Allow postings to be tagged as replies to a specific message or thread.

5) A more difficult step that could greatly improve the quality of discourse here would be some level of regular moderation empowered to ban particular users for consistently abusing voluntary guidelines of conduct.

To make your comments section more enjoyable, I would suggest:

1) Allowing sorting

2) Allow viewers to block individual posters and the replies to those posters.

The biggest problem with your open comments section is that it is dominated by trolls, e.g., a very small number of voices repeating the same points over and over, without regard to the original topic of discussion. Another large chunk of messages is taken up by new posters responding to those few posters. These poor unfortunates waste a lot of bandwidth and screen space naively replying to these trolls.

All this makes it almost impossible to discover the few honest voices expressing new viewpoints on a current topic, much less engage them in a civil conversation. I believe that is exactly the intent of the majority of these trolls. Your goal should be to defeat that pattern.

The low level of discourse is also often the result of intentional provocation and once the tone is set, it is very hard to break it.

Thank you for your attention to this issue.

Posted by: drossless | May 8, 2008 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Let's turn our attention to the Truth About McCain:

Posted by: francislholland | May 7, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Bad idea. There is another thread that takes the latest first and it is very hard to make any sense out of it. Stay with the present format and it would help if a sign in name, such as was on your brother "The Fix" until lately.

Posted by: lylepink | May 7, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I doubt it too : )

Posted by: JakeD | May 7, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

I used to be a very active member here who would read nearly every story. But the comments section disgusted me to the point that I haven't been back in at least two months. I hope this change works, but I doubt it.

Posted by: Ryan | May 7, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

How about limiting comments to, say, two per article/blog posting? The spamming takes up space and it is tedious to scroll past it.

At least svliar will have to "sign" his posts again.

Posted by: gbooksdc | May 7, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm - after this change, wont people just keep reposting their comments over and over to be at the top?

I think this change would make the comment section useless.

Posted by: SpammersLoveYou | May 7, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

JakeD--Say hello to the new top of the thread! Ding!

Posted by: gmundenat | May 7, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

So, starting tomorrow, the following post would be at the TOP of the thread:

"Top Ten Obama Flip Flops"

10. Special Interests
Back in January, the Obama campaign described union contributions to the Clinton and Edwards campaign as "special interest" money. He changed his tune as he went after union endorsements himself. He now refers respectfully to unions as the representatives of "working people" and says he is "thrilled" by their support.

9. Public Financing
Obama replied "yes" in September 2007 when asked if he would agree to public financing of the presidential election if his GOP opponent did the same. His spokesman now says that he never gave such a pledge, and Obama himself has attached several conditions, including regulating spending by outside groups.

8. The Cuba embargo
In January 2004, Obama said flatly that it was time "to end the embargo with Cuba," because it had "utterly failed in the effort to overthrow Castro." Speaking to a Cuban-American audience in Miami in August 2007, he said he would not "take off the embargo" as president because it was "an important inducement for change."

7. Illegal immigration
In a March 2004 questionnaire, Obama was asked if the government should "crack down on businesses that hire illegal immigrants." He replied "Oppose." In a televised debate on January 31, he said that "we do have to crack down on those employers that are taking advantage of the situation."

6. Decriminalization of Marijuana
While running for the U.S. Senate in January 2004, Obama told Illinois college students that he supported eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana use. In the October 30, 2007 presidential debate, he joined other Democratic candidates in opposing the decriminalization of marijuana.

5. I was FOR the Gas-Tax Holiday before I was Against it!

4. I Did Not Have Spiritual Relations With That Man, Rev. Wright ...

3. I Won't Run On A National Ticket In '08.

2. "Selma Got Me Born"

And, the Top Obama Flip Flop:

1. "I Could No More Disown Rev. Wright Than I Could Disown My White Grandmother"

Posted by: JakeD | May 7, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

If we are going to have some choices, the ability to bypass posters by name wouldn't hurt, either. For that matter, the ability to jump to a marked post would help, so that you could come back to a column and start from where you last checked.

Posted by: | May 7, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*Thank you*

Posted by: Anonymous | May 7, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Wasington post you have double standard
from day one you did not say anthing
Hillary suporters are poor sports and that washington post changes the rules what about the racist comment using
profanity F-K word or personal attacks
white people black people Obama Hussien
empty suit, and now you throw the rules in are face ! give me a break Washington Post you are a Hillary suporter! I exspect you to censor my comment

Posted by: dvdpt | May 7, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I applaud the changes (now I can get the first AND last word ; )

Posted by: JakeD | May 7, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

This will reduce the power of the "First" comment, but will also reduce the readability of the comment discussion.

I agree with "hi" in suggesting a dynamic method which would allow the users select the sort order.

A system which allow for comment threads would also be helpful to allow us to follow the conversation better.

Thanks for your efforts to make this a better comment system!

Posted by: Franky | May 7, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Or even better, let readers choose whether they want to sort, fist to last, last to first, most recommended. That would be much better.

Posted by: hi | May 7, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Sorting by readers' recommendations! Haven't you heard that?

Posted by: hi | May 7, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

In agreement with iceman on the Order thing.

Additions wind up coming prior to original comments, and it gets downright confusing!

Having a proper order of Comments is by far better in this section, that never gets all that many postings/article anyway!

Posted by: RAT-The | May 7, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

yes , register.

the dead dead dead band width waster will be dead dead dead.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 7, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Why Thank-ya, Thank-ya!

Posted by: RAT-The | May 7, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Putting comments in the order of newest first is not a good thing. You have to read them from the bottom up to be able to follow the thread. Also, the quality of commentary seems to degenerate the longer a discussion goes on, meaning trivia and name-calling are the first thing most people will see. All around bad idea.

Posted by: iceman | May 7, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

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