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Add a comment at The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail’s Newest Secret Project™ has been released: Comments. (True, a last-minute test of the concept was quickly pushed out for the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival when readers were invited to submit their own reviews of the films, but this is the real, and permanent, thing.)

Looking ahead

The newspaper industry is generally a conservative sector, but the online side doesn’t always reflect that. I’ve been fortunate enough to work for three newspaper companies here in Canada that are willing to take risks. The latest, the Globe, has been the most open yet. A group (t)here began thinking outside of the industry box, and earlier this year, launched RSS and did a full-story redesign reflecting emerging trends in the Web-smart part of the blogging world. The results were a tremendous success.

This comments project also came about thanks to some smart, forward thinking by the company; and it was built by a small project team working under a relatively compressed timeline. The result: most users will be able to enter comments using a WYSIWYG interface, and, after the editors check for libel or vulgarity, those words will be posted.

First to invite Canadians

With tonight’s launch, The Globe and Mail becomes the first mainstream media outlet in Canada, and among the first in the world, to make its actual news pages comment-enabled. (For what it’s worth, we decided to limit comments to registered Globe readers — after some debate — because we wanted to prevent spam without resorting to captchas.)

No doubt there’ll be some issues (for example, you need JavaScript-enabled to submit a comment [although you can still send a letter to the editor]; and some display issues may creep up in some of our lesser-used browsers [email me when you notice any]), but it feels pretty good to be part of project inviting public comment; especially in an industry often seen as a very one-way enterprise.

That’s not all

And like a Ronco informecial… “wait, there’s more!”

There’s a couple of features that didn’t cross the finish for this release, but will be coming quite soon. One involves the use of something inspired by a Greek hero, and another relies on a three-letter initialism beginning with an “R”.

As for some of the Globe’s future secret projects, I’ll let you guess…