Kotaku Comments Get Star Power, Edit Option, Tiering

I've often said that more important than the stories, the writers, the pictures and videos to Kotaku, are the commenters.

You are Kotaku's lifeblood, the thing that drives us to inform and entertain. Your input is often invaluable. The ever-growing sense of community is really what makes Kotaku what it is today and continues to move it onward and upward.

That's why today we are launching a revised and much more robust commenting system. It is one that takes into account many of the solid requests and suggestions you have made of us. That means that now, yes, you can edit your comments.

More interesting, more importantly, we have also tiered commenting, meaning that if you are one of our star commenters your comments will now get much deserved top billing. These star commenters will also have some interesting new powers. Yes, POWERS!!!

Here's a quick guide to the new commenting system. I'll also be updating our official commenting FAQ.

The Key Changes
* Privileges for star commenters
* Image and video embedding in comments
* Comment threads will appear newest first. Comments in a thread, though, will remain in chronological order.
* Related stories show to the right of each post
* Comments can now be edited for 15 minutes after publishing

The new commenting system now has levels, four of them. Here's a run down of what they are and what they can do.

Stars
* A gold star next to the commenter's name.
* Comments given priority and published immediately after post
* A star commenter can see comments even before a moderator has approved them
* By replying to any comment, a star commenter can give it priority
* Promotion of another's comments to the featured section

Guest Stars
* Commenters whose thread is given priority by star commenter
* Automatically post their replies to the featured section within their thread

Commenters
*Can reply to threads.
* Become Guest Stars if a star promotes their thread

Pending Users
* Can reply in threads, though they won't be visible to others until approved
* Can have threads and replies approved by stars

How do I edit my comments?
You will have 15 minutes after a comment has been published to edit the text, though they will not be able to add an image or video. Once the edit is made, a message will appear below the comment indicating that it's been edited.

Can commenters upload images and/or post a video?
Yes, image upload, inserting an image URL and inserting a YouTube URL will be available in comments. Images and video will be displayed at 340-pixels wide.

Why don't I see all replies?
Comments are filtered such that only those comments made by starred commenters ("Stars") or selected to be featured by our Editors or starred commenters appear by default. You can view the unfiltered comments on any post by clicking the "Show all comments" link at the bottom of the page.

How can I become a starred commenter?
Starred commenters are designated by the Editors and Moderators. In the past, Stars were designated by virtue of their popularity among other commenters. That tended to favor the sociable rather than commenters who contributed information to a discussion. Now that Stars' comments are featured so heavily, we need to handpick them. And because we're also featuring the comments to which Stars respond, they must also show judgment in choosing discussions to engage in. Translation: don't respond to trolls.

I'm a Star but I can't see my comment
Even a Star can be off-topic sometimes. Moderators — rather than applying the rather extreme sanction of banning — can now demote an individual comment. So that's why you can't see it among featured comments. Try clicking on "Show all comments."

Designed with a mind toward more readership participation, this new system will allow us to do some pretty cool things like hosting liveblogs and live chats with developers directly in our comments. You will also, moving forward, have many more chances to participate not just in the conversation, but the substance of Kotaku's articles. Think reader-generated lists and photoshop and video contests.

This is, we at Kotaku hope, the start of a brand new day in commenting. A step toward finally giving some much deserved readers and commenters the spotlight they so richly deserve.

A word of warning: This is a substantial tech change for Kotaku and Gawker and it's bound to have its hiccups and bugs. Please email us when you see them so we can get to smoothing out the rough edges. And please, as we strive to work out the kinks and go over our list of starred users and those who deserve to be starred users, be patient.

Thanks!

This will be going live over multiple servers so it may take a few before you see it on Kotaku.