Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hello Next Big Future!

Dear loyal NBFers,

Recently, Brian mentioned in a post that he'd like to give Next Big Future a redesign and that part of the redesign would include updating the commenting system. At SolidOpinion we're well aware of how important commenting is to Next Big Future. In fact, commenting may be the most important part of NBF. NBF and the NBF commenting community were part of the inspiration behind the creation of SolidOpinion, so you can imagine how excited we are to work with the NBF community.
We'd like to take an opportunity to introduce ourselves through this post and encourage dialogue as we work to bring you the best possible platform for the site's redesign in the coming week. We've been paying close attention to the discussion around the switch and realize a lot of users have misgivings about switching from Disqus. The concerns that have been voiced thus far have been valid and thoughtful. So, we'd like to take an opportunity to respond to some of the questions users have had about us and talk a bit about how we plan to benefit the NBF community.

Top 10 Community Concerns:
1. Will we lose our old Disqus profiles and comments? (Honk, GoatGuy, Others)
A)  No, NBF users will retain all historical comments and users will have their existing screen names.  Note: At the moment it will be necessary to sign in to SolidOpinion and create a profile in order to comment on the mirror site. Users who choose to do so will have their Disqus comments imported into this profile once the final integration takes place on the main site. Users who do not wish to make a profile will have their screen names and comments automatically carried over as well.
2. Will we have the ability to quickly edit our comments? Why the redacted should it cost points? (Anthropic, GoatGuy, Others)
A)  Comment editing is available, quick, and does not cost points. (Note: we are limiting the impact of the point system)
3. Gamification does not suit the NBF community. Lots of fluff, it's unnecessary. (Uzza, Others)
A)  We have a lot of features and are implementing only those features which will enhance the NBF community. No fluff, we promise.
4. Is it all about ignoring other commenters? Customizing what they see? This is balkanization like cable news. (Publiseur, Others)
A)  The platform is set up so that the highest rated comments and the highest ranking commenters will rise to the top and guide the discussion. SolidOpinion is not a "pick and choose" commenting platform that allows individuals to sort what they see; rather it's a community based pulpit that gives additional exposure to those comments and commenters ranked highest in the community. We have the option for single users to ignore individual commenters but that function will not be present in the NBF integration.  
5. Are you trying to turn us (the commenters) into a revenue stream? (Honk)
A)  Though we are compatible with micro-transactions, that kind of environment does not suit the NBF community. Don’t worry Honk, we’re not going to start digging in your pockets. Instead, we're providing a better revenue generation avenue than Disqus does through targeted ads at the bottom of the page.
6. Monetized micro-transactions look like a scam. (Honk)
A)  Micro-transactions are available, however, they will not be an apparent aspect in the SolidOpinion integration of NBF. No NBF user will EVER be required to make a micro-transaction. We want to employ tools that enhance the community, not detract from it.
7. Acclimate us. Take us on a journey. Don't push us off a cliff. (IKNOW)
A)   We will provide open a/b testing through this mirror site to introduce NBF users to SolidOpinion. This will be a great way for us to internalize your feedback and provide fixes, as well as provide a place for NBF users to experience the comment system before a full integration. We (SolidOpinion) are also here to answer any and all questions or comments, directly.
8. I like the ability to push high-ranking comments to the top. (Anthropic)
A)  So do we. The SolidOpinion system on NBF will be set up to display the highest ranking comments and comments from the highest-ranking users at the top. Users have the ability to grow their rank by earning points through positive participation, thus getting their own comments featured more frequently as an incentive.
9. I like having moderation in place. (Anthropic)
A)  We have a multi tiered moderation approach meaning blacklists for certain vitriolic or offensive words, human moderators, and community moderation ability.
10. No emojis – for the love of God. (Paul451)
A)  Emojis are an optional function and – like all the SolidOpinion functions – can be enabled/disabled by Brian. We will be launching without Emojis.

SolidOpinion benefits we'd like to highlight:
Your input so far has been invaluable and we hope to hear more. In the meantime we'd like to take a moment to highlight a few of the ways our platform will help enhance the NBF community.
  • Reputation building and incentives through the point system.
    • Users gain points in SolidOpinion when they participate. Those points decide a user's rank and higher ranking users (like GoatGuy) are given increased ability and moderation capability.
    • Comments from higher ranking users will be featured more prominently, helping provide direction to the community discourse. Think of it like giving GoatGuy a microphone.
    •  Lesser-ranked commenters have be able to earn increased status and ability by gaining points. This incentivizes positive participation which is good for the community, reduces moderation costs, and rewards NBF’s most influential members for their contributions.
  •  Increased moderation functionality.
    • This cuts costs and keeps the NBF community a safe, accessible place. Better moderation encourages new users to join the conversation and reinforces the contributions of existing members.
  • Functionality that suits the NBF community.
    • We have a lot of functionality. Some functionality works for certain sites and some functions don’t. What we will provide that isn’t currently available on Disqus – yet very applicable to NBF – are things like video and picture embedding in-line and the ability to annotate another user's comment. This provides a cleaner conversation space for those who would like to post videos and pictures while not linking out to another site. This is good for Brian’s traffic and good for the community’s expressive ability.
    •  If there is functionality you don’t like – tell us. If there is functionality you’d like to see – tell us. Unlike Disqus we don’t force a “one size fits all” solution on a community. We’re here to provide tools that help the discussion.
  • Community building support from SolidOpinion.
    • We are the best at what we do – build communities. We use researched-backed methods to help encourage growth based on each individual community’s needs. This is good for Brian, good for NBF users, and good for future NBFers as well.

Thanks for taking the time to read a little about SolidOpinion. We'd like to invite you to continue to visit the MirrorNBF site and comment, as we'll be posting the same content from the main site on this mirror. Please lend us your thoughts, recommendations, and questions about the platform in the comment section of any article and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Or, reach out by emailing our community developer, Clint at We look forward to the dialogue as we work to bring you the best possible comment system in the coming weeks.

The SolidOpinion Team


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