You'll notice a lot of fundamental changes to Salon today, and not just the launch of our new Core membership program. We've changed the platform Salon runs on so that we can do a lot more -- and you can do a lot more, and do it faster (for the geeks out there, we've moved Salon from proprietary software to WordPress).
We hope this will mean a big enhancement for Salon readers. Here's a list of a few critical changes:
• New comments section: Commenters now will have to register either through Facebook, Google or the new Core membership. (Core members, like Premium members before them, will have a special emblem near their names.) If you have an old Salon Letters account, the next time you attempt to comment you'll be asked to log in via Facebook, Google or Salon Core (aka Premium). The process will enable you to link this new login to your old Letters account so your comment history will remain intact. We will also more aggressively monitor our comments section, and remove inappropriate comments.
"Readers complained loudly that our comment section too quickly turned into an unmitigated free-for-all," says Kerry Lauerman, Salon's editor in chief. "They were right. This is part of a long-planned effort to improve the comments section. We think Salon has the smartest readers in the world, and we want to make sure we're creating an environment so they truly can be heard."
The new comments section will also allow readers to respond to specific comments, creating a real dialogue with each other. (Note: On Sunday, the Commenting feature still had some bugs and was only working intermittently; our developers are fixing.)
• Cleaner navigation: We've streamlined the way you can find content, so we're emphasizing our core areas (Politics, Entertainment, Life). We've also made it easier for you to follow your favorite Salon writers; their bylines link conveniently to pages that spotlight all their work. From there, we've also made it easier to follow them with links to their RSS feeds, Twitter accounts and more. (We're upgrading our "Most Popular" content boxes; look for those to return shortly.)
• A faster, cleaner Open Salon: We'll be moving our popular blog network, Open Salon, to a new platform eventually, too. But for now, nothing will change there -- except the speed for readers and bloggers, which should noticeably increase. We've also staffed up with an additional site manager, who is going to help keep the site running smoothly.
• Better billing: Along with our new Salon Core membership comes a much better billing system for handling your account information. Salon Premium members are now Core members and may be eligible for additional benefits. Log in to your account for more information. And to find out more about Salon Core, read our founder David Talbot's letter.
• Tweaked design: We'll be working on a bigger, grander look to Salon in the months ahead. You'll see small seeds of it now, with bigger art and headlines, that better complement our bold content. Watch for much more soon.
We expect a few bumps in this transition, and will answer key questions as they come up in the comments thread below.
Thanks for reading Salon.