New Comment Features On GeoCurrents

Dear Readers,

This is Kevin Morton, GeoCurrents’ web tech. Several months ago, Professor Lewis and I set out to create a look, feel, and organizational structure for GeoCurrents that matched the same quality standard of its posts. After the labor-intensive Master Map release yesterday, I just put the finishing touches on our revamp today with an improved commenting system from Disqus (pronounced “Discuss”). I am making this post to let those readers who follow us regularly know what the new comment feature has in store for their experience on this site.

Disqus is an elegant commenting platform that has been garnering a lot of popularity lately, even being adopted by large news company websites including CNN and Time. Beyond its aesthetic elegance, GeoCurrents readers will also find Disqus to have a bit more functionality than our previous commenting platform. For instance, you can now reply directly to individual comments, embed images from your computers and video from across the web to help illustrate your points, and share your comments with friends and colleagues immediately so they can weigh in on the conversation too.

But perhaps the most exciting feature of Disqus as it pertains to GeoCurrents is its community building potential for those who follow us regularly. If you take a look at the comment thread from yesterday’s Master Map release, you’ll see that each of my comments contains my name, a link to my personal website, a short description about me (“A Stanford student studying Empathy while building websites on the way to independence”) to give other visitors some quick context about who I am, and a picture that when clicked expands my profile to show some of the other thoughts I’ve contributed to GeoCurrents.

An aggregate count of all the posts I have made on GeoCurrents is also tallied, and if I’m a frequent commenter you may see me listed under the “Most Active Members” in the GeoCurrents Community Box (the location of which is shown at right).*

The end result is an ability to make the presence of your thoughts and insights felt throughout GeoCurrents, while simultaneously letting those struck by your comments know about any other projects you may have going on where they can read more of your thoughts.

To get started, just take a few seconds to make a Disqus profile, so you can use that instead of posting as a guest each time. Here’s how:

  1. Go to leave a comment on any post throughout GeoCurrents, and hit “Post as …” in the bottom right of the comment box. (For convenience, just scroll down and make the comment on this post–feel free to tell us what you think about the site revamp, the new commenting system, and/or what you’d like to see from GeoCurrents in the future, organizationally or thematically.)
  2. In the log-in box that pops up switch from Guest to Disqus and click “Register a new Disqus profile” (see image at right).
  3. Follow the instructions, set an avatar, description, and website if you like, and you’re all set.

So feel free to take a few seconds to set up your Disqus profile. It will make GeoCurrents a richer, more integrative forum for discussion, while giving you a chance to build a reputation with us and other visitors through your ideas.

P.S. To further round out the finalization of the revamp of the site, the GeoCurrents Base Maps Professor Lewis made available for download on Thursday can now be found in the GeoResources tab in the main navigation.

 *For those like Asya Pereltsvaig and Jim Wilson, who have a long history of commenting on GeoCurrents, your posts before this upgrade won’t be immediately added to the total of your new profile, but I think Disqus should prompt you to merge your older posts with your new profile once it senses your name and email is the same in both cases.