As Internet trolling
persists, digital natives are in search of drama-free refuge. Web vigilantes are moving against the darker side of the online realm, and several top tier sites also are doing their parts to facilitate orderly discussion. Whether through better design or increased reader engagement, these digital forums are providing peace of mind in otherwise untamed spaces.
The Verge’s Forums:
With the Internet being an apparently unconquerable distraction
, web users are seeking more focused interaction and more refined discussion. Enter technology hub The Verge’s Forums
. Organized by category, topics on the old-school message boards range from home theatres to hacks, designed in a manner that the site's founders hope will promote civility. Indecisive readers who are unsure of what topic to explore can do one of two things: either visit the Off-Topic/Chit-Chat board
or dip into the well-organized "Recently Active," "Recently Posted," and "Popular in the Last Day" posts at the bottom of the main page.
ArsTechnica’s Comment Voting
: Feral commenters are known to make good online discussions go bad—which is precisely why ArsTechnica decided to introduce comment voting
. Readers can vote comments on news articles and features up or down by clicking on one of two arrows, with the clicked arrow changing colors to signify that a vote has been placed. The site eventually hopes to give special treatment to posts that reach a certain number of positive votes, perhaps by highlighting them and collapsing others that didn't make the cut. Sites like Reddit
have paved the way for comment voting, so expect to see this model surface more frequently in the future.
: When The Huffington Post reached 200 million comments
this past fall, the folks behind the site knew it was time for a redesign. While it did not alter its comments function drastically, the site did introduce HuffPost Conversations
, an enhanced platform that boasts a simpler layout and a new way to follow exchanges. Positioning article feedback as a series of back-and-forth repartee, a "Read Conversation" button allows readers and participants to see who said what to whom, and when it was said. Though the rollout is still in progress, specific comments can be shared to Twitter and Facebook, making the conversations even more social.