Steve Rubel over at Micro Persuasion has the news that is now allowing readers to comment on every single story posted on their website, including wire stories.  Here is a controversial story about Tim Hardaway that has attracted over a 1,000 comments thusfar.  ESPN also has added a nice feature where they list out the most commented on stories (see right).

A couple of points about the implementation for anyone thinking of doing something similar on their own site:

( 1) A feature that allows users to report inappropriate comments has been included.  For sites the size of ESPN it is vital that you let your users help police the comments. 

(2) The site allows you to block the comments of users you don't like.  This is important.  Moderators at community sites (particularly sports ones)  spend a disproportionate amount of their time moderating personal feuds between users and dealing with complaints about a small percentage of really obnoxious and abusive users.  This feature allows users to block the loud mouths.  Problem solved.

Overall ESPN has done a real nice job and I'm a big fan of these types of features.  However I think there is one opportunity missed here.  Currently, there is no way for users to establish a profile where they can put in their real name, email address, website URL and other information.  Adding the comments themselves is great, but I think the real value comes when you provide ways for people to connect with each other.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.