Comments: A Kind of "Trolling"

When I was in elementary school I would often go often go on weekend fishing trips and I loved it. I loved fishing, but I was impatient. The one kind of fishing I hated the most was what is called "Trolling." When you "Troll" an area it means you put your bait deep, really deep, into the water and hope you get something interesting. I had a smaller rod so I could not send my line very deeply into the water. As a result, when we were in places that required you to send your bait deep into the water, I was not happy. I know this may seem a bit off topic, but bear with me. I am a big fan of tech blogs and love surfing the internet for interesting articles, but I hate searching page after endless page of boring comments for the one semi-interesting comment. I came to think about some ways in which comments could be better organized.

Tags

One of the great things that I think would help a comments section would be the availability of tags. So if someone makes a funny comment you tag the comment "funny". If someone posted an insightful comment you would tag it "insightful" or something along those lines. I am too often frustrated by searching through thousands upon thousands of comments that people think are "funny" when I want to have a serious conversation, but at the same time there are some times where I want to joke around about a topic. It just depends on my mood. So if you were to be able to tag comments to a certain category then it would make things easier to find and would definitely improve commenting as a whole. It would be up to the user, not the admin, to categorize the comments. Now that you have different categories for the ways in which you can find comments you need a way to sort them.

Tabs

A great way that you could easily sort through the many comments or to stay in the old format, if you wanted to, is to have tabs to sort through. by that I mean that you can click a tab for the humorous comments and the replies that come with them. I emphasize replies because I really do not like have comments that are a part of a particular conversation to be separated. There should be a tabs in the comments section for comments that users have tagged "funny", "insightful", "helpful", or for the original way to use comments if you really want to go back to that broken experience.

Notifications

The notification system of pretty much all comments is abysmal. Absolutely abysmal. I have gone onto my email and tried to see a reply to my comment by clicking on the link and have only reached the comments page of the article, not even close to my actual comment. I have lost the comment I made in the deluge of comments that occurs at any large site. I would love it if the Verge could use the login of the site to send me quick notification which will expire in 3 days if I don't click it to bring me directly to my comment. I place the 3 day limitation because that would help limit the amount of traffic that The Verge would get from sending these notifications. Depending on the servers The Verge uses the time in which you can look at your comment notification may vary, but the concept would be the same.

Conclusion

When I try to comment or read comments on any website that receives large amounts of traffic I keep having to "troll" through the comments like I'm deep sea fishing to actually find the interesting comments. It would only take some slight modification to really create a positive change in the commenting system on websites as a whole, but The Verge especially. I hope that someone reads this and decides to do something about the awful state of commenting on the internet. If change occurs as a result of this then I feel comments will improve dramatically as will your experience reading them.

Update: Someone froze the commenting on this particular article, not sure why, but just thought I'd pose the question to any admin who is in charge of the Verge Forums. My other articles still have commenting enabled and I know I haven't touched this article in a while.