Open Thread Mondays: New, New, New!

We hope you had a great holiday weekend, and are revved up for 2010. (Afterall, it can’t be as bad as 2009, can it? Really?)

To help usher in the New Year, we’re kicking off a month of new feature launches on Sheepshead Bites. Most of the features revolve around the software and technology of the site itself, but we’re also planning to announce a new content feature by the end of the month.

First up – and already installed – is our new commenting system. Powered by Disqus software, there are a slew of new features that you’ll love, and will help you get to know your fellow readers better.

With our new comment system you can sign in from several other services, or continue to remain anonymous

Perhaps the biggest change is that you can now connect your comments to other social media sites. By clicking the Facebook Connect, Twitter, or Yahoo buttons above the comment field, Sheepshead Bites will fill in your name and grab your profile photo – not to mention provide a link back to your account so the friends you make here can find you. Using this same service, you can automatically post your comment to your Facebook and Twitter accounts with a link back to Sheepshead Bites.

If you’re a frequent commenter, you may want to sign up for a Disqus account (it’s the first button next to the Facebook Connect icon). That’ll allow you to also link your blogs and additional social media, plus keep track of your comments across sites that use Disqus. It’s one of the largest comment management platforms, spanning over many of the net’s biggest sites and countless small ones like ours.

You can also subscribe by e-mail or RSS, add a photo of yourself, "Like" or "Flag" other comments, and create convos with "Reply"

Okay, that’s just the social media bits. With our new platform, all of you “lingerers” who read but don’t comment can now anonymously vote for comments that you like. At the bottom of every comment, you’ll notice a “Like” link, and clicking it will raise its profile. Similarly, readers can help police the comments by pressing “Flag” for items they think might be spam or could be overly offensive to other readers.

To make following discussions on comments a little easier, we’ve also added threaded conversations. That means if you’re replying to a specific comment, you can press the “Reply” button and your comment will appear directly below it. That’ll keep ongoing conversations grouped together and make reading responses easier.

Lastly, you can now subscribe to be notified of new comments to the articles you’ve posted on, or just the ones you’re interested in.

We hope you like the new system. If you have any questions or feedback, we’re all ears!