The innovative high-end NYTimes dot com comments-section technology

Newspapers have done a lot of bad business over the past few years, including perhaps continuing to print and distribute newspapers! One of the things the New York Times seems to be doing right, though, is investing in some notably user-friendly web-interface wizzardry. The plan there seems to assemble an expensive team of designer-coders and give them rein to build a first-rate website while the deadtree edition of the Times moves along toward its inevitable end (or local limited circulation). The Times online-only Copenhagen climate change conference coverage has been fairly extensive and the comments section experience, including the blurby commenter silhouettes, draws me in every time.

Check it out. Here are the instructions:

Click on one of the boxes below to participate in a conversation… The boxes are sized according to the number of comments posted about each topic over the previous 24 hours. You can also mouse over the silhouettes to see a sampling of recent comments.

NYTimes silhouettes

The numbers of comments are reasonable so far. They’re in the hundreds. In other words, there’s none of the 3,000 over-the-top virtual scream fests that you see happening at least once a week at the HuffingtonPost, for example.

Popular Copenhagen thread topics today: Science of Global Warming, Prospects for a Treaty, Putting a Price on Carbon, Rich and Poor Nations.

It’s more sober country than the commentlands located elsewhere on the web. The interface sets the mood.

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About the Author

John Tomasic

Writer, editor, teacher, web wrangler. He has worked for art, business, culture, politics publications, five universities and a UN war crimes commission. @johntomasic | 720-432-2128 |

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