Feature Request: Require active subscription to post comments
We're seeing a large increase in comment spam lately so I'd like to formally make the feature request for something that I know I talked to support about in the past. We require email confirmation when new accounts are created but obviously the spammers have automated their way around that.
I'd like an option to require an active subscription to post comments on the site. This offers numerous benefits to all Town News customers:
• Provides another perk or subscriber benefit to paying readers.
• Potential to increase Day Pass sales for those who aren't subscribers but really want to share their opinion or comment.
• Reduces comment spam to virtually zero.
I could see it being useful to allow this setting to be toggled per URL/section so that for example you could allow anyone to comment on obituaries but not news stories.
1. All of the items listed above.
2. Every day.
3. Every reader.
Please let me know if anyone has thoughts or questions!
Customer support service by UserEcho
Looks like this just got rolled out: https://www.townnews365.com/releases/software_releases/new-comment-availability-setting-allows-comments-to-be-part-of/article_8c0470ac-e3da-11e7-b318-af0928c5adea.html
Yes! Let me know what you think!
We're finally rolling this out and have a request for additional granularity:
We'd like the option to enable the ability for non-subscribers to still read comments, while not being able to post without a subscription.
If readers see the discussion they are missing it could serve as another incentive for them to buy a subscription or even just a day pass so they can chime in on a particular article.
If the non-subscriber can't even see the comments being made they won't even know what they are missing.
Kevin, I've asked for exactly this recently! Any updates?
None on this specific request unfortunately.
I was going over this with another publisher who was asking for the same thing, and I feel like in the end he just decided to put commenting behind the paywall as a "membership" bonus, but look at ways to better promote the existences of the comments on the page (without being able to read them).
We've actually done this as a customization in the (long ago) past, and there could be awkwardness in how this would look to the non-subscriber.
So, you go to the article, and as a non-subscriber, you can't actually READ the article itself. But, then you scroll down and you can then read the comments about the article which you haven't read.
In some cases (this is also popular on link boards like Reddit), one of the users will actually summarize the article so that non-subs can learn about it and don't have to subscribe or log in (or so they can just TL;DR it).
So, in effect that could then be a disincentive to subscribe, because now you can glean information about the story without needing to subscribe.
That being said, when I was discussing with this other publisher, we did come to the agreement that there needs to be better promotion of the comments when you're behind a subscription. Maybe there could be one comment there, and it says something like, "There are 24 more comments to read if you become a subscriber now!" or something.
Anyway, let me know your response to that idea, if you agree with the premise, and if not, what are your thoughts. And if so, what ideas you may have for promoting the comments better when they are behind the paywall.
Those are some good thoughts. I could see the "..there are XX more comments.." working well.
However what about content that is not behind the paywall? For us that is about 50% of the things on our website. If we are allowing anyone to read the article then it makes sense they should be able to read the comments attached to it as well, just not be able to comment themselves without a subscription.
Yeah, that's my issue too, Kevin. We don't put our articles behind a paywall at all, just our members-only content. And "joining the conversation" is one of the main selling points of our membership, so ideally non-subscribers would see the conversation but couldn't participate.
Food for thought
What happens the first time you have to ban a subscriber for being a world class troll/stalker, won't they just turn around and insist on a partial refund now that part of the feature set of their subscription is no longer available to them?
I think we'd just chalk it up as a loss if that ever happened. At least in this case they wouldn't be able to just make another account to comment with after being banned I guess.
In our experience banning a user only prevents them from commenting, not from reading articles behind the paywall. We've had some readers go over a year without realizing they were "banned" simply because they don't comment frequently.