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June 12, 2008 upgrades system for reader comments is rolling out a new public comment system today.

For the past year, has used a utility called HaloScan to allow readers to post comments on every story, editorial or letter to the editor on the site. In recent weeks, programmers at our corporate Web headquarters developed a new comment utility that we think is better for our site and for our readers.

Under the old system, commenters did not have to post a name. As a result, many anonymous commenters hurled harsh accusations at people mentioned in stories and at other commenters.

The new system does not allow anonymous posts. Comments can be made only by registered users. We hope that will lead to more thoughtful exchanges and fewer nasty ones.

To comment, make sure you've logged in using your account. Go to the bottom of any story, editorial or letter to the editor and look for the "Add Comment" tab. You'll be prompted to fill in a short headline and put your comments in a box. Once you've finished, click the "Add Comment" button and your comment will posted with your user name.

The new comment system has a way of blocking a long list of naughty words and phrases. If you read a comment that you think is inappropriate, you can click a button and alert Bee editors to the problem.

Commenting on stories is one of the many ways we allow and encourage readers to interact and respond to the issues in our communities.

We encourage you to give the new commenting system a try.

Dan Day is managing editor of The Modesto Bee. He can be reached at 578-2332.

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