We have some good news to share. Our mobile readers have told us experiences with BDN’s mobile site and apps have been frustrating. We have been listening and working on improvements, and are making a change today that is the first step in a series of website changes we will be making in the coming months.
The biggest change is a new mobile experience for the mobile web, featuring a smoother browsing experience, faster pages and login for subscribers.
One other change: A major source of mobile reader headaches has been our app, which we operated through a third-party vendor. Starting today, we no longer will use or support that app. To keep the BDN at your fingertips, just go to www.bangordailynews.com in your mobile browser, and follow the instructions here for iOS and here for Android to add the BDN to your home screen.
We choose to focus our development efforts on the digital experience for the largest number of people in our audience — our mobile website users. That means we’ve decided to retire the app, which a small portion of our audience uses. We look forward to being able to offer a better app down the road.
The new mobile site includes one big new feature in response to your feedback: a new commenting system. Here’s a little more about why we’re making this change, and how it will affect you if you read or write comments.
Here’s why we’re changing comment platforms
You told us that you wanted a number of things. We updated you on our progress in March here. Issues around commenting that you cared about and that we hadn’t addressed in March we have decided to address by moving to a new commenting system called Talk, which was built specifically to address many of these same concerns.
To speed up comments pages: Talk is lightweight and loads quickly.
To make moderation more consistent: With the assistance of Talk’s software, we will be able to encourage good conversation more consistently and get more clues about comments we need to read more carefully. Talk will let commenters know when something they have typed is likely to be perceived by readers as toxic.
To make it easier for journalists to participate: We will be identifying reporters in the comments, and highlighting your best and most insightful comments more regularly. We will encourage discussion around certain questions we may have for you.
What will be different?
Old comment threads on articles published before June 10 will continue to display Disqus comments, at least for the time being. When you make your first comment, you will be prompted to create a new account.
Within your Talk account, you will be able to adjust notification settings, download your past comments, delete your account, opt to ignore certain users and more.
When you are reading a thread, you can choose to “respect,” reply to, share or report any comment. Comments that are most respected will be featured in the thread, and reported comments will be flagged for human moderator review. You can also use the new “ignore” feature to hide the comments of any commenter from view.
One more thing: After careful consideration, we have decided to continue to not require real names. Doing so could have a chilling effect, and research has shown that requiring real names does not improve the commenting environment. When you create your Talk account, you’ll be asked to share your email address. Your identity will not be exposed on your comments, but we ask to know who you are so we can communicate with you when we need to.
Other than that, it’s pretty straightforward. We hope you enjoy the upgrade, and we look forward to hearing from you. Please send feedback to email@example.com.