September 1, 2008
What's in a Display Name?
We're happy to announce that we've released the beta of our commenting functionality, and it is now available on Baseball Prospectus articles for all Premium and Fantasy subscribers. Look at the bottom of any new article for the link.
When you leave a comment on an article, you'll be identified by your account's Display Name. This new setting is available by clicking "Manage My Profile" in the blue login bar on any Baseball Prospectus page (or by clicking here). In our experience both with community features on web sites and old-school Usenet newsgroups, people who take their online identities seriously provide a high level of discussion quality, and many or even most of those people identify themselves by their actual names. While we don't require that you do so, we do hope that you use your real name as your Display Name.
We've also noticed many sites where a user can change their identity from thread to thread or comment to comment, and when this happens here's how such behavior can generally be described:
Fig A: description of user behaviour when posting identity is regularly changed
To this end, we've set up the system to allow you to change your Display Name once every 90 days, so please give your choice some thought before you lock it in.
As for the comments functionality in general, by now there are a ton of systems out there that are freely available for websites to use (and we checked a few of them out based on subscriber recommendations--thank you!), but none of them worked exactly the way we wanted, so we ended up rolling our own. We've still got cleaning up to do, we'll be adding features as we go, and I'm sure some of what we've got in mind isn't going to work the way we expect. Please do use the link in the green Beta bar at the top of any comment page to send us feedback, and if there's a problem, we'll get it resolved as soon as we can.
We don't have a code of conduct worked out for the beta, so we're borrowing fivethirtyeight.com's comment policy for now.