Building better commenting

The Problem

Large news sites receive hundreds or even thousands of reader comments per story. Unfortunately, most of these comments will never be read. Given the large number of contributions, the standard access and presentation model for comments (linear scrolling) can present serious problems for users, even with threads and ranking.

The Solution

Refine — Better Commenting organizes comments by key terms so readers can easily view comments on sub-topics of interest to them. They can immediately see what topics have garnered the most attention and drill down to the specific comments that interest them most. Similarly, authors and publishers can see at a glance what aspects of the story have most engaged readers and drill down to see their specific questions and concerns. The system highlights key terms in the comments that were not in the original story, providing insight and access to readers' interests.

Refine — Better Commenting was developed by the Knight Lab at Northwestern University, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.


Refine — Better Commenting is currently under development and we’d like your help improving it. Please take a few minutes to tell us more about you, how you work, and how Refine — Better Commenting might be able to help you. Take our Survey!