According to a note on the site’s homepage Monday, “The shorter length will allow for an improved experience for commenters and readers alike.”
The statement is good news for readers who roll their eyes when commenters hog the soapbox. But for Internet users who view commenting as an opportunity to see reactions that would have otherwise been limited to personal letter or email, it’s a step in the wrong direction. Though 14 tweets’ worth of discussion is still a fair amount, the change opens the door for further character cutting in the future.
“5,000 [characters] is a lot,” Pilhofer said. “That’s not a comment, that’s an article.”
The shorter character limit will change community behavior. Readers who are used to writing essay-length comments may become more blunt as they aim to get to their point faster. Or they may work around the limit by breaking thoughts into multiple comments. Still, the shorter length will help Times moderators get through comments more quickly, allowing them to quell inappropriate threads with greater speed.
In late May the BBC dropped its limit to 400 characters — 20 characters less than is allowed for a Facebook status update.
The BBC’s character cut inspired Martin Belam, lead user experience and information architect at The Guardian, to survey the comment character counts of a range of U.S. and UK news media sites. Here’s a sample of his findings, updated to include The New York Times‘ recent change:
|Website,||Comment Character Count|
|Facebook (status update)||420|
|The Huffington Post||1,800*|
|The New York Times||2,000|
|The Washington Post||3,000|
|The Times (U.K.)||3,000||The Guardian||5,000|
*The actual limit imposed on Huffington Post is 250 words, which equates to 1,820 characters.
What do you think of The Times‘ comment character cut? Will it truly make for a more inviting commenting space or is the site infringing on commenters’ rights? Sound off in the thread below — we won’t cut you off.
Mashable’s comment character limit: 16,384
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Facebook launched a slew of updates to its public commenting platform Tuesday, but the company didn’t do too much commenting about it in public. The exception: Dan Rose, Facebook’s VP of Partnerships and Platform Marketing, who spoke at the Webtrends Engage conference in San Francisco.
In the video below, exclusive to Mashable, Rose explains exactly what will change with the Comments plugin. First of all, the important friends in your social graph will appear a lot more prominently. And secondly, the plugin allows comments you make on a third-party website or news page to appear in your Facebook News Feed for the first time.
What do you think? Is this a prudent move for the company? Will the Comments plugin dominate commenting on the web and cause trouble for other comment software makers? Let us know your thoughts — where else? — in the comments.
More About: commenting, comments, facebook, video
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The “private network” startup Path released an update Monday to its iPhone app that finally adds comments to the service. Path Chat, as the comment feature is called, will find its way to users who update to version 1.4.
Path Chat is a simple addition that adds traditional commenting to an otherwise untraditional service. Prior to the update, users could only provide feedback on photos by sharing an “emotion” or sending the contact a text message.
Path has faced criticism for some of its seemingly odd restrictions or limitations, such as 10-second video. Still, the startup appears to be growing in popularity and is now well-positioned to iterate and hire at a rapid pace with $8.65 million in fresh funding.
More About: comments, iphone app, Path, Path Chat
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