CPO at Hacker Noon
The traditional comment box at the end of a blog post is not a sufficient way to facilitate reader and writer communication. It falls short in a number of ways:
The barrier to leave a thoughtful comment is very high. This greatly reduces the number of reactions per reader. So only the most popular stories get meaningful feedback.
Readers are forced to comment on the story as a whole rather than individual parts of the story. This generalizes feedback into blurbs like “nice story” or “great insights”.
Only readers that “finish” reading the story are able to react. The large number of readers that bounce midway through, don’t have an opportunity to react.
At Hacker Noon, we’re working to make content more interactive and interactions more meaningful. We’re starting by introducing inline emoji reactions. Readers can now respond to individual sections of content with an emoji reaction. We built this functionality in collaboration with Mozilla’s Fix the Internet program.
By default, we aren’t showing inline reactions in order to create a less distracting reading experience. You’ll notice light grey bars next to each section. If you hover over the bar, you’ll see emojis along with reaction counts from other readers. If a section is popular with a high number of reactions, we’ll add more bars and turn them yellow, green, or red as the activity heats up.
To test it out, try hovering over the margin here >>>
What do the emojis mean? Approximately:
Why inline emoji reactions?
Readers now have a low-friction tool to give writers specific feedback on their words. This creates a feedback loop that writers can learn from and improve their content over time.
The current version of our emoji reactions is a work in progress. We’re going to continue iterating to make the functionality more usable and useful.
Here are some of the things we’re thinking about improving.
1) Word level reactions. While reacting to paragraphs is better than “story level reactions”, it’s not as specific as we’d like. In the future, we’d like to experiment with an interaction that allows readers to highlight and react to specific words.
2) In addition to reacting to content with an emoji, readers will be able to add comments. Commenting should happen at the bottom of the story, in the margin next to paragraphs, and when highlighting specific words.
3) As we get stories with more reactions, we’ll start using reactions as a quality signal to sort stories. This could happen anywhere you see a list of stories. (tag pages, homepage, bottom of stories…)
4) Some writers might want to configure which emojis are available for reader reactions. Maybe some writers feel cyber bullied on social media and just don’t want to deal with negative reaction options. Other writers might want to lean in, and embrace critical feedback.
5) Instead of limiting emojis to 4 options, we’d like to introduce a “more” interaction to select from a broader set of emotions.
6) A few months ago, we prototyped a Hacker Noon leaderboard based on comments. We’d like to iterate on the design sort stories by the number of reactions received over the last 7 days.
7) When a story hits a reaction milestone, we want to celebrate that achievement with an email and/or a tweet.
8) When readers give a story an emoji, it’s an implicit endorsement. We think those endorsements should display on the reader profile.
9) What about an aggregate view of reactions?
10) Whenever a reader reacts to a paragraph, that reaction gets aggregated to the story and the total number of reactions is visible at the top of the story. This makes it easier for writers to get specific and general feedback.
🙌 That’s a wrap for this update. If you have any ideas to improve our emoji reactions, please feel to ping me on Twitter @duilen.