Perhaps you’ve noticed that a couple days ago we flipped the switch to enable the shiny new commenting system here on TechCrunch powered by Disqus. So far, the feedback has been very, very positive — and we’re pleased with how well it’s performing. But Disqus is just one step of what we need to do.
As many of you are well aware, the commenting situation on TechCrunch has been completely out of control for a long, long time. That seems to be one unfortunate side effect of when a site gets large enough (see: YouTube and Digg for other great examples). But we also realize that things don’t have to be that way. Some popular sites have very good comments (see: Hacker News and Quora for good examples of that). We’d like our comment section to be useful too. So we’re going to try to do something about that.
As I said, Disqus is the first step. The service offers a very nice set of tools for on-the-fly moderation. We’ve also worked with them to do things such as make it very obvious when an actual TechCrunch writer is responding to a comment (I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that something like a quarter of commenters claiming to be us — or at least me — were impostors over the past few months) — you’ll see our names in bright green when it’s actually us.
But as we’ve learned over the past several months, comment moderation is a big job. So we’re going to hire someone to help us with it. On the face of it, this may not sound too attractive, but the job we’re creating is about a lot more than just moderation. It’s also about responding and engaging with our readers in an actual conversation rather than shouting matches about nothing.
And it’s not just about our comments — in fact, that may end up being the smaller aspect. It’s also about interacting with our community on all the various networks where we have a large presence — Twitter, Facebook, etc. On Twitter, for example, we have nearly 1.5 million followers now. Sadly, right now, all we do is mainly shout links at them. It would be great to interact more there as well.
We’ve already gotten a number of resumes for this position when we quietly announced it several weeks ago, but we wanted to open it up one more time as we’re finally looking to hire this person soon.
Some quick requirements: you need to be based in San Francisco and willing to work out of our office in the SoMa district. But believe me, you’ll want to. We’re a fun bunch. Prior experience is obviously a plus, but not necessarily needed.
If you’re interested, please email: tcsocialczar [at] gmail.com
Maybe it’s too lofty of a goal to think that our comment section can be something like the one found on Hacker News, but it’s a good goal to have. As all of you know, the fact of the matter right now is that the vast majority of our comments are pretty worthless. It’s so bad that I use an extension to turn them off most of the time. But at the same time, we have an incredible readership at TechCrunch that spans the tech universe — and beyond. Whether you’re Mark Cuban or an unknown-but-devoted reader, if you have something worthwhile to say, you deserve to be heard.
One final thing: Just to be clear, we welcome dissenting opinions. What we don’t welcome is bile or nonsensical comments that add nothing. It’s going to be a work in progress, but we are working on it.
[photo: flickr/EraPhernalia Vintage]