For almost ten years, Hot Air has utilized a proprietary, members-only comment system. In 2006, this kind of system made much sense, but Internet standards and technology have moved beyond this kind of system. Beginning tomorrow, Hot Air will move from its present proprietary closed-comment system to Facebook comments. At that time, native commenting functions will cease, and all comments will come through the Facebook interface.

We have certainly enjoyed the comment section and look forward to seeing it grow and become more diverse. That is one reason why we feel it necessary to make this change. A closed, proprietary system requires far more resources to manage than we can apply to the task. As a result, we rarely have the opportunity to open the system to new commenters, which means that newer Hot Air readers have no opportunity to engage and provide their feedback to our articles. That is unfair to those new Hot Air readers, and it also deprives other readers from a broader range of views.

Also, our commenting format has been outdated for some time. The Facebook interface has comment nesting, the ability to like, and post-commenting editing capability. Rather than use resources to essentially re-invent the wheel, using what has become an Internet standard interface makes much more sense. Facebook has over a billion users and many Hot Air readers likely already have accounts, two key reasons we chose this platform for our site. Sites such as IJ Review, TechCrunch, Huffington Post, WebProNews, Inquisitr, and more have gone to Facebook comments, while almost all others have gone to some other outside platform that allows Facebook for a login, such as Disqus.  Some readers may have concerns about using their real identity to comment at Hot Air, and we certainly understand that reluctance. Anonymous accounts can be created on Facebook, though, and those can be used for commenting on other websites.

This will also allow Hot Air’s editors to put aside policing the comment sections. We get steady, and lately increasing, demands for interventions in quarrels between commenters that often requires much time and effort to unwind. Our terms of use will still be in force, but we expect to spend very little time moderating comments. Since comments will get linked to user’s Facebook’s identities, we expect that any conflict between commenters can be handled between those users. We will modify our comments disclaimer accordingly soon to emphasize that point.

While we want to open our comments sections to as many new readers (and existing readers without accounts) as possible, we also hope that our existing community of readers will continue to comment here — and engage with many more readers, too. To those commenters, we offer our gratitude for your patronage, and your patience as we revamp for a dynamic election year!