The Guardian has introduced some welcome updates to its comments system, with comments now handled server-side instead of client side.

This means that the newspaper is not using javascript to display comments anymore, which brings with it a number of benefits, as pointed out by Malcolm Coles:

  • The comments will now be quicker to load up. The old Javascript system took way too long at times.
  • They are now accessible to more web users. Users who required screen readers and other technologies to assist with web browsing often don’t have javascript enabled. Now the comments can be seen by everyone.
  • Users accessing the site from mobiles can now read the comments and leave their own, though they will have to go to the desktop version to do this, as comment functionality is missing from the Guardian mobile site.
  • The content of the comments can now be indexed by the search engines, meaning SEO benefits for the website, and for those dropping links into comments, at least until the Guardian makes them nofollow.

The rest of the comment system remains the same as before, though I think it could benefit from some of the comments features used by the Daily Mail, though not the number of trolls on that site.

While users can choose to recommend comments, the ability to vote up and down and to sort between by oldest, newest, best rated and worst rates makes it easier to make sense of large numbers of opinions.