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New comments FAQs: Our answers to your questions

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Last week, CBC.ca changed the system we use to allow the CBC Community to write comments on our news stories, and reply and react to those comments. 

As with any new software launch, there have been bugs, most of which have been squished, but we know from reading your comments that you still have questions and concerns about the system. 

Here are some answers to those FAQs: 

What happened to the "Agree" and "Disagree" buttons? 

By far the most common complaint from the CBC Community was that the new commenting system offers only a "Like" button, rather than the "Agree" and "Disagree" thumb buttons of the old system. 

But the option to disapprove of a comment isn't a common feature of social networks. Facebook doesn't have a "Dislike" button, for example.

In fact, of the popular social websites, only Reddit and the question-and-answer Stack Exchange network have the option of "downvoting" posts. And on those sites, voting a post or a comment down has a specific purpose: discouraging content that doesn't contribute to the community. 

On Reddit, that could mean trolling, spamming or writing something that's off-topic. On Stack Exchange, voting down is for "an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post."

Both sites state emphatically that voting down isn't for posts that a user simply disagrees with. Reddit's etiquette guide asks users, "Please don't downvote an otherwise acceptable post because you don't personally like it." 

And that was part of the problem with CBCNews.ca's "Agree" and "Disagree" thumbs. We journalists on the CBC Community desk are always looking for thoughtful comments on our stories that reflect a variety of opinions and, sometimes, the comments that we've highlighted in our blog posts have had a large negative score. They were buried under a pile of "Disagree" votes. 

We want to foster a diversity of views on CBCNews.ca, but scoring comments based on how many people agree and disagree with them created the opposite: an opinion monoculture. 

So, users of CBCNews.ca can now "Like" comments. You can change the order of the comments so that the "Most Liked" are at the top. Some of those comments will be ones you agree with. Some of them will not. And that's a good thing. 

What does "Most Active" mean? 

You can change the order of the comments to "Most Liked," "Most Replied," or "Most Active," among other options. "Most Active" takes into account the comments' Likes, replies and shares. 

What should I do if I see a comment that is abusive? What happened to "Report Abuse"?

For comments that are off-topic, abusive or otherwise inappropriate, every comment has a "Flag" button to let our moderators know that they should probably have another look at it. (You need to move your cursor over a comment for the "Flag" button to appear. We're working to fix that.)

Why am I getting emails from "Viafoura"? How do I stop them?

One of the features of CBCNews.ca's new commenting system is that it will notify you when someone replies to a comment you have made. By default, you will get at most one email a day notifying you of replies. If you do not want to continue receiving these emails, you can change this setting from "Daily" to "Never" in your profile.

What does the "Rank" number in my profile mean? 

CBC Community members are given a numbered rank based on how active that member is in writing comments, making replies and sharing others' comments. Higher numbers indicate a higher rank.  However, a user's rank has no impact on the moderation or display of comments. 

Has the way comments are moderated changed with the new system? 

Since 2007, CBC/Radio-Canada has contracted an outside company to moderate most comments on CBC.ca and Radio-Canada.ca. The moderators act according to the guidelines specified by CBC/Radio-Canada. Other than the "Flag" button replacing "Report Abuse," there have been no changes to our regular moderation processes. 

What does "disabled content" above my comment mean?

This message indicates that your comment was not published on CBC.ca because it did not meet the CBC.ca's guidelines. This comment is only visible to you when you are logged in to your account. Some common guideline violations are personal attacks, insults and defamatory statements against other CBC Community members. As well, we disable comments written in all capital letters. Even one word in ALLCAPS is sufficient for your comment to be disabled.

Why is my information being shared with a outside company?

CBC contracts the commenting system on our website to outside companies that specialize in such systems. Commenting has been provided by a third party since CBC first introduced commenting in 2007. We have legal agreements with these companies that ensure your data is kept safe.

Tags: CBC, Community, Community Reaction

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