This story first appeared on RJI’s Futures Lab. Reporting by Mitchel Summers, Reuben Stern, Rachel Wise and Blair Ussary.
The Coral Project, a partnership among The Washington Post, The New York Times and Mozilla, is developing open-source software to help newsrooms make better use of comment sections. Greg Barber, head of strategy and partnerships at The Coral Project, says the three tools they’re building encourage more meaningful contributions and a stronger online community.
For more information:
- Trust is the first of three open-source products from The Coral Project. In short, it’s an “analytics tool that takes existing comment log data to give indicative reputational scores to publishers.” It enables publishers to more easily find what they deem are the best user contributions. Trust is currently in closed beta. The Washington Post has already installed Trust on their site, and the New York Times is working on integrating it.
- Ask is the second tool. With Ask, publishers could request for users to submit any form of content — like photos, video, live chats and polls — and then moderate and display the contributions on their sites. Beta testing for Ask is slated to begin in the coming months.
- The final product is Talk. Its purpose is to power comment sections and add “many new features to encourage more meaningful engagement, and to protect people from harassment.” A demo of Ask will be ready later this year.
- All the code and documentation for The Coral Project’s tools and software is available on GitHub.
Reuben Stern is the deputy director of the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and host and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.
The Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the receive email notification of each new episode.