Our Gawker bosses have decreed old-school in-line commenting is so 2005 and decided it's time for us to enter a new age of comments - the age of threading. Apparently all the cool kids are doing it and now, so will we. What's a threaded comment, you ask? Threading is a way to make comments read more like conversations instead of a bunch of disconnected single replies. Now, when a comment is replied to by other commenters, all the replies will appear directly below the original comment. Each of these blocks is called a "thread". All of this will be self-explanatory once you start using the new system, but read on for a more detailed explanation of how these threads will weave together to create a new, and more plaid, commenting experience.
The first comment in a thread will have a few distinguishing features, among them, the number of replies in the thread along with the time of the most recent reply. Clicking the reply arrow on the lower right side opens a comment reply input box directly underneath the comment. No need to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to reply. Replies to replies - sometimes known as second or third (or fourth) level replies - will not be indented as is the custom in most forums. Instead, second and third level replies will be collapsed. How are the threads displayed, still in chronological order? Each conversation will be displayed in chronological order. But organization of the conversations overall will be displayed based on popularity. The most popular conversations will migrate to the top. The most recent comment that has no replies will appear on top for approximately 15 minutes before being filtered down. If a more active conversation receives a reply within those 15 minutes, that conversation will overtake the stand-alone comment. Where did the plus and minus go? The plus and minus, which was used to friend or un-friend a fellow commenter, has been replaced by a heart. Friends show a red heart, and the rest are empty. What's the deal with the star again? Star commenters were readers who have 25 or more followers, or were designated as stars by a comments admin. With the introduction of threading, the number of followers required to attain star is increasing to 40. Is there a way to view comments the "old-fashioned" way? You can switch to the old style comments layout by clicking the "classic view" link in the comments bar at the top of the threads. We also wanted to take a moment to introduce Pete Gaines. His name's over there yonder in the masthead as our Commenter Admin. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and his job is to handle not only any questions you may have on comments, but also to approve and deny commenters and handle any unruliness in the Jalopnik commentariat. We'd also like to remind everyone of some rules on good commenting from our good friend Al Navarro — expect to see a more updated guide to hit these pages sometime in the near-term future. We'll also have some new and — gasp — innovative features coming shortly. Or, as soon as the Gawker tech team irons out the wrinkles. In the meantime, have fun kids, and try not to break anything.