We are in the midst of major discussions here on how we are going to respond to all your suggestions you've posted, and other stuff that has come out of our experience so far.
Tomorrow I meet with our amazing Drupal engineer, Kevin H (http://members.nowpublic.com/morbus_iff). He's project leader for the redesign.
It will address the following stuff:
1. Quality of submissions: we are going to rework Highlight so the "quoted material" will essentially be hidden, and the text box instead will say something like,
"Why are you highlighting this story? Please add your own original insights - if you can't advance what someone has already written you should probably look for a story that needs your personal attention" - probably something less inflammatory than that, afik.
2. There will be clearer messaging about our News Values, that will allow editors to zap in relevant reasons why they are flagging stuff the way they are.
3. Ability to do the flagging from the story detail page.
4. Some cosmetic changes to the user interface of our newsroom.
5. For the time being we'll stop including forum postings in the ShoutOuts on the home page. We're not yet ready to make this link to the NewsRoom fully public, yet. But it's coming.
Please post your comments to this agenda.
We're working with a phenomenal designer, Marc Baumgartner, to work on the user interface of the flagging system. He is like the Frank Lloyd Wright of web designers (he's an architect, btw!)
Some of the other issues we've been facing - let's call it the Collegiality Doctrine - is outside the redesign.
But I do want to address that issue here, in case everybody hasn't been put to sleep with my verbosity.
The reason why social networks work is because it's satisfying. Human society certainly keeps creating novel ways to discourage the human soul.
Here, we encourage. Good journalism, good discourse, good will.
So there's a very simple test for any posting that any of us might consider: is this flag, this comment, this forum post, encouraging?
Sound too Pollyana-ish? I think this would be a big mistake to characterize it so.
It is at the very heart of why I've put so much effort into NP, as well as that of the founders.