New Comment System at TFB [Important, Please Read]

We are testing a pretty awesome new comment system that allows you to “thumb up” or “thumb down” comments. Highly rated comments are highlighted in yellow and controversial/hotly debated comments are highlighted in orange. Comments with a high number of “thumb downs” (and without sufficient “thumb ups”) are hidden. My comments and comments by TFB contributors will continue to be highlighted in dark green.

I am also testing comments going live immediately, without having to wait for me to manually approve them. The benefit of this is that it will allow debates to happen much faster, the downside is that spammers and trolls will have their comments approved automatically. I will be relying on y’all to thumb up quality comments and thumb down offensive comments and comments by trollers and spammers so that these comments are hidden and I can go through and delete them.

A screenshot of the new comment system showing a highly rated comments and a hotly debated comment.

Another nifty feature of the comment system is that a live preview of your comment is shown while you type it. This is useful if you are adding links or HTML to the comment.

I will be asking for feedback in one or two weeks time.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • fw226

    It’s definitely going to cut down on having eighty identical replies before someone can approve the comments, which is a huge plus.

  • Bob Barker

    I hope this will allow TFB to be a place for informative debate, the kind you would have seen on sites such as Slashdot or Engadget during certain eras.

    • DaveR

      ironically, the new system seems to self-generating identical replies.

  • SpudGun

    I’m really not keen on having comments hidden because they might go against the ‘group think’ of certain sections of the shooting community. Having a balanced view on a topic, both pro and con, is essential in making an informed and educated decision.

    If TFB becomes a glorified popularity contest, it will stifle debate rather then encourage it and possibly alienate large sections of ‘the silent majority’.

    The preview and chance to edit comments is great though, especially for someone like myself who only spots spelling and grammatical mistakes after the fact.

    • This threshold for comments being hidden is really high, I think its a total of -15 (ie. 0 up 15 downs, or 5 ups 20 downs).

  • TheAmdMAN

    Is there a thumbs down for the comment system? Completely hate the hiding of comments because now I have to go through and click that I want to unhide them to read all of the opposing viewpoints…

    I’m with SpudGun, it’s going to be a popularity contest. I don’t mind that terribly in the political/news forums but I do on the gun forum.

    Please disable that feature…

  • Simon_the_Brit

    What SpudGun says.

  • SteveW

    I just wonder why I now see all the comments twice, first in reverse order?

    • Kent J

      It’s because it defaults to sorting comments by highest rated first. Its a really confusing way to look at any sort of discussion. It might make sense if all comments stood on their own without context. But that’s typically not how it works.

    • Admin

      There was a problem with the CSS file when these changes were first deployed. If you’re using Chrome, you need to clear your cache for all TFB related files and that should solve it. Firefox & IE don’t seem to have this problem of reverting back to the cached CSS file.

      If you’re experiencing something different after clearing your cache in Chrome (or experiencing something similar but in a different browser), please reply here. Thanks!

  • C3PO

    Thumbs up and down feature: Meh, I can take it or leave it.

    The auto generated comment next to the thumbs about the comment. . . tedious at first, aggravating after day 2. I don’t care to be asked what *I* think about every comment. If I have smething worth adding to the discussion, I’ll trust my own judgement. Don’t cajole your readership.

    Auto-censorship: you want to force marketers to buy ads and keep radical political/racist/religious nuts off? have a flag button or moderate responses – which apparently you already do – or you just have the most enlightened and level-headed audience on the internet.

    What happened to the blog roll?! (list of other blogs on the left hand side) it was half of what I came to this site for.

    Thanks for getting rid of the annoying “Firearm Blog Advertising for sale” block up top.

    • Admin

      “The auto generated comment next to the thumbs about the comment. . . tedious at first, aggravating after day 2. I don’t care to be asked what *I* think about every comment.”

      Thanks for the feedback. It’s in the works to make this less intrusive.

  • Leonard

    This new system relies on the ability of us, your readers, to distinguish between spam and nonsense on one side and quality posts on the other. I hope we’re up to it, because, like SpudGun, I don’t think posts should be “downvoted” (and thus hidden from view) just because one doesn’t agree with what the poster says.
    And remember people, you can always not vote at all on a comment you don’t agree with but which otherwise adds to the discussion in a meaningful way.

  • Kent J

    I wish there were a way to sort comments by oldest first. That should be the default. I want to be able to read the whole discussion in order without having to scroll to the bottom. Ordering it by highest rated by default is confusing as hell.

    • Admin

      You have the option to sort by both “Most Recent” or “Highest Rated” using the toggle in the top-right corner of the comment section. The default should be “Most Recent”.

      • SteveW

        No, I don’t. Oh, I see “most recent” and “highest rated”, but they’re not hyperlnks. You can’t click on them.

      • SteveW

        Okay, your “clearing the cache” advice below seems to have fixed it.

      • Kent J

        I saw that I can sort by “most recent” or “highest rated”, but most of these comment threads contain discussions that to understand you need to read in chronological order. Even if you sort by “most recent” you still have to scroll to the bottom of the page and scroll up as you are reading the comments. This is not a natural way to read a thread. That is what I was pointing out.

  • Gir

    thanks again for your constant updating on this site! its been great to see you grow and develop it over the years and i personally always feel grateful that i can come here and trust the information you post.

    you’ve always been especially good about correcting any information that might be incorrect and being open to other peoples suggestions and thoughts. I just wanted to thank you for the work you do everyday on behalf of myself and the entire firearms blog community

  • Samopal

    I’m not sure this is a very good idea. I fear it’ll turn out like Yahoo Answers where everyone downvotes everyone else just because and somehow the trolls and idiots end up with the most thumbs up.

    If it does work though, awesome. It’ll be nice to see comments in real time.

  • Mount

    Have none of you been to Reddit? I was introduced to Reddit 3/4 of a year ago and have since fallen in love with the commenting system. It seems so much more efficient and elegant than regular forum-style/message board commenting. The only desirable thing I don’t see is a way to check for replies on site, without getting emails about it.

    I’ll probably be more active in commenting here now since it wont feel so clumsy, slow, and pointless.

  • Bagworm

    I always read from top to bottom, so I’m with those that want the comments sorted that way. The current system is confusing. Other than that I don’t have any real complaints. Always enjoy reading this blog…and most of the time the comments, too.

  • fw226

    For what it’s worth, it sorts perfectly on my iPhone – oldest first. The preview function is flawless, too. Even the HTML, apparently.

  • fw226

    However, if you have one thumbed-up quality post that’s earned a yellow background, every post after if will also feature that yellow background, even if it has no ratings. However, if below that there is a ‘hot debate’ post, it will have the orange background inside a box of the yellow, and then continue some weird coloring habits below.

    Also, I think ratings may be spoofable, since one post has a whopping 215 thumbs up compared to a max of 20 in most.

  • tommy2rs

    yeah this’ll work because the opinions and will of the majority always works so well. **coughObamacough** It’s also the reason I abandoned reddit for pinboard.

  • Nathaniel

    I think this comment system will work well. It seems to work well enough on YouTube, where a similar system is employed.