Improving reader comments

Historic City News feels that reader interaction enhances the value of our reporting; we were founded on the principle of citizen reporters and for the next few weeks, we are trying a new, integrated approach to determine if there is a better way use our popular facebook page as a host for reader’s comments.

When a news article or editorial is published at, the Historic City News website, we simultaneously publish the article to our RSS feed, our twitter feed, and our facebook.

We have about 10,000 or more readers who have registered directly on our website to post comments or receive our Weekday Issue. Before the fiasco last New Years’, we were followed by around 4,500 facebook “friends” — after the conversion to a facebook page, we have recovered around 3,500 of those readers as facebook “likes”.

When readers posted responses on, we copied the comments and published them on our facebook page. Likewise, responses written by facebook readers were captured and pulled back into our local website. Clearly double effort and duplicate storage costs for us.

Two weeks ago, facebook released a new set of tools that replaces our locally stored comments with facebook comments that appear with each article. As a special feature, you can post your comments so long as you are logged into facebook — without the need to register on our website. You can also post if you are logged into Yahoo, AOL or Hotmail, and, you can sign up for facebook right from our news articles.

We will still maintain our registered subscriber database for readers who want to receive Weekday Issue or place classified advertising; which requires you to be logged in, first.

What we won’t maintain is our local comments database if this test is successful.

So kick the tires, drive it around the block and tell us what you think or if you find any bugs. I think you’ll like the new comment experience and the convenience of not having to provide us with additional login credentials to post replies as you browse our website.

Share your thoughts with our readers >>