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ESPN Launches Article Comments

I noticed ESPN launched ESPN Conversations recently.


ESPN Conversations enables logged-in users to comment on an article.

The implementation is smart: only the first five comments are displayed, with a link to the extended discussions that ESPN's passionate audience is sure to generate. Each comment has an "inappropriate" flag and an "ignore this user" button, which is a really smart feature. Would be nice to see permalinks though.

More importantly, this is a sign that ESPN is finally taking larger steps to embrace its audience. I had conversations with several ESPN people three or four years ago about adding story comments, and the prevailing attitude was either arrogance or fear. It's exciting to see that a large media property with an community that's dying to be heard is working to give it a voice rather than fearing it.

I bet that the growth of great sports blogs with passionate communities like Deadspin, Offwing, and The Mighty MJD had an influence on ESPN Conversations getting off the ground.

Also cool to see ESPN is smart about scaling--they're using community comment policing--rather than stick to the "editorial approves everything" model that is suicide on the web. Looks like the classic argument of "it works for Craigslist, eBay, and Amazon, why not us" finally changed some minds.

To top it off, I bet that ESPN will see an already-high enagement metric jump even higher now that it's even easier to waste spend time on the site, which will only be good for ad revenue.

Good stuff, ESPN. Now if you could do something about that obnoxious ad that makes it impossible to scan your headlines...

ESPN's Headlines Box

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Comments (Post | Latest)

1. Jason said on Feb 5 2007:

Actually, ESPN hired a firm to moderate all the comments. They've got a few people reading all the comments and deleting offensive ones.

2. kareem said on Feb 5 2007:

Interesting tidbit, Jason, thanks for sharing.

Because the old habit of not trusting your audience dies hard, hiring an outside firm doesn't sound totally unreasonable to make everybody feel comfortable for launch.

If they keep the firm on beyond the first few months, it's wasted money. Community policing does work. Heck, why provide an option for the community to police if it's not even used?

3. Luis Villa said on Feb 5 2007:

run, don't walk to this post, wherein deadspin attempts to overwhelm ESPN Conversation by brute force, and mostly succeeds. They were literally deleting comments by the hundreds. I have no idea if an equilibria has been met yet, though.

4. kareem said on Feb 5 2007:

Knew I should've checked Deadspin before I posted this. They'll learn to use their community :)

Thanks for the hilarious link, Luis!

5. Sumit said on Mar 4 2007:

It really is about time they added this functionality (and be thoroughly abused in due course... thanks deadspin!). Im not sure if it will stem off the dedicated sites like or though. These types of sites are focusing on the idea of a sports community at their core while its more of an afterthought for

6. garry said on Mar 28 2007:

ESPN is just expanding. And I like what they added


Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

Opinions stated here are mine alone.

Contact: blog -at- reemer


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