The Power of Discussion

The readers’ comments on articles and headlines are one of the most popular features on the site. We have made changes to this feature to make the commenting process more interactive and encourage communication among our users.

The comments on the site constitute one of our site’s most popular features. We receive thousands of comments each month on the articles we post. Readers ask us questions, give us feedback, share information with each other, and debate the topics on the site all through the comments.

We installed some new software over Christmas weekend to run the comments portion of the site. We have seen a number of suggestions from readers on ways to improve the site, and with the new comments features, we have addressed some of these suggestions to try to make the section more useful than ever.  The new software is called Disqus, and it is used by sites such as CNN, Fox News, and TechCrunch.

How to Post a Comment

Just type in your comment in the box and then click on “post as” button. Your email will not appear with your comment. If you’ve not yet registered you’ll need to do so before you can post your first comment by filling out the short form presented to you (name, email and password).

I Don’t Like Change!

We realize the new comments section is different and will take some practice as it will do more things and enable you to communicate more easily with others in the federal community. That is our goal – to make it easy for readers to exchange ideas and to be able to know what others in the community are thinking about topics that impact all of us. At the same time, we realize the Internet can be a powerful tool and that some will use this technology to intimidate, insult or somehow make others uncomfortable.

New Features

  • You can receive notification by email when somebody responds to one of your comments.
  • You can subscribe to receive notifications for new comments on a particular article by email or RSS.
  • You can sort the list of comments on an article in several ways to see which comments are newest, oldest, or most popular.  You can also reply to and “like” individual comments.
  • Your email address will not be displayed on the site with your comments to preserve your privacy.

Advantages of Registering Your Profile

  • You can register to create a profile to go with your comments that lets you see all of your comments in one place on our site or any site that uses the Disqus software, and it allows you to share your comments on Twitter or Facebook. If you already use Twitter or Facebook, you can even log in using your account from these services.
  • Having a profile can also increase your popularity among other users on the FedSmith site; as more people “like” your comments, it will show up with your activity within the FedSmith community of readers.  Other readers can also choose to follow you as a commenter if they find your comments to be of particular use or interest to them. This will increase your credibility and status as a commenter in the discussions.
  • If you create a profile, you “own” the user id you create, so nobody else can comment under that username. (A feature that several of our readers have previously requested that we add.)
  • Registered users’ comments are posted immediately without moderation, however they are still subject to our site’s terms and moderation by the site administrators as well.
  • Readers can flag comments as inappropriate that contain swearing or other offensive/abusive language. Any comment can be flagged, but will only remove comments that contain swearing or similar language; just because somebody may disagree with the views put forth in a comment is not reason enough by itself to have it removed from the site. We encourage debate among differing viewpoints!
  • Visit this help page for additional help/information on using the commenting software.

These are just a few of the new features and benefits the Disqus commenting software offers you as a FedSmith user.

We hope you will try registering and using these new features and see how they can make your experience with the FedSmith site more engaging and useful to your career. We have a number of readers that comment on a variety of topics of interest to the federal community. Some of these readers are already receiving favorable comments from other readers and this will make it easier to make anyone who wishes to  communicate and influence others become an active member of this community.

We are constantly working to improve the site and its features.  We realize changes to the site can be difficult for some users, but we hope that the new software will ultimately improve the user experience for everybody. As always, we continue to welcome comments and suggestions from our readers!

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.