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Creating a Stronger Conversation

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, February 11, 2010, at 07:50PM

On the blogdowntown masthead, we say that this site is "a conversation about life in Downtown L.A." Over the last five years, you've added roughly 18,000 comments to the stories that have been posted here on the site. Your thoughts have helped to shape the direction of Downtown's development.

Every good conversation needs a few guidelines, though, and tonight we've launched a change to our comment system that I believe will help keep us on the right track as we continue to grow and move forward.

Most importantly, we want to strongly encourage those leaving comments to create an identity and stick to it. Conversation is strongest when it is a discussion between individuals, not between randomly-created pseudonyms.

This has two pieces to it.

First, we've tried to make creating an account on blogdowntown as drop-dead easy as we could. If you already use Facebook or Twitter, you can use your existing account on either of those services to log in to blogdowntown. Either process takes about three clicks and a total of roughly 30 seconds.

Second, we've made a change to how comments work if you don't use an account. You'll no longer be able to attach a name your comment; all un-authenticated comments will simply show up as "Guest." While you can -- and should -- include a name inside the comment itself, we believe that this will reduce the silliness that comes with the names that people make up to match their comment or to appear to be multiple people.

Obviously, no system is perfect. Folks that want to cause trouble are still going to be able to find ways to do so.

Going forward, nothing would be more exciting than to see folks create such strong identities here on blogdowntown that you recognize other commenters while walking down the street.

So have fun, and let's create a better, stronger community together.

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