Let's go to Town Hall (Screenshot: The Simpsons)

If you’re a regular reader here, chances are you’ve already heard that The A.V. Club will soon be switching its format to Kinja. Having read your comments and received your emails, one thing is clear: Even for a site that’s weathered several complete overhauls, there’s been a lot of apprehension about this change, specifically. We haven’t been ignoring that unease. We just wanted to wait until we had enough information to address it accurately. After all, this is a big change for us as well.

Yes, The A.V. Club will be making the switch to Kinja, the same publishing platform used by our corporate brethren at the Fusion and Gizmodo Media Groups. This will involve not just a change to our commenting system, but to the layout of the entire site. Our tech team has been working with the Gizmodo team to make this as seamless a transition as possible, but we understand that you all will still have concerns. So today, we’re hosting this open-forum town hall to listen to them.

Laura M. Browning (Executive Editor), Sean O’Neal (Editor), Kelly Bishop (VP of Editorial Product), and Ernie Deeb (Senior Program Manager) will all be on hand from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Central today to respond here in the comments. In the meantime, here are some of the bigger questions—with answers!

WHAT IS KINJA?
Kinja is a publishing and commenting platform originally built by and for Gizmodo Media Group. It’s what Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Gizmodo, and the other GMG publications use. The tech team has been working for months to expand and tailor it specifically for The A.V. Club.

WHY ARE YOU SWITCHING?
Yes, this was a decision made by the powers that be, but as it turns out, switching has a lot of advantages for us. Kinja is a much more powerful and speedy publishing platform, and it should save us all a lot of time, along with eliminating many of the quirks of our old CMS. We’ll also have a much bigger tech support and development team, along with much better, in-house comments support—which is, frankly, going to be a big relief for our staff and, we think, for our readers. From a business perspective, it makes sense for us to be on the same platform as our corporate cousins, but we’re also optimistic about our new day-to-day operation, which should be a lot faster and more headache-free.

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WHAT ABOUT COMMENTS?
Every single existing comment on avclub.com will be ported over to the new platform. Every single one. From the very beginning of these discussions, we’ve made it clear that preserving our commenting community is a top priority, and we’re all committed to keeping it alive and well (even if it meant some poor sucker had to figure out how to migrate 160,000 Community comments). In a couple weeks, we’ll have more specific information about how to claim a Kinja commenter account—and rest assured, you’ll have plenty of time to do it. You’ll be able to claim a Kinja account with the same display name you use on Disqus, and you’ll have a full month after the migration to do so. And again, every single comment you’ve ever made over the years will still be on the site. Really.

And to reiterate, one of the best things about the Kinja commenting system is how much more support we’ll have. We’re optimistic that this will help keep trolls and spam away. You’ll also have a lot more power to flag those things, and more influence over who’s allowed to keep commenting; no more waiting on an antiquated moderation system that doesn’t have the necessary support behind it. With Kinja, there will be a lot more people to help if and when something goes awry.

WHAT WON’T CHANGE
The A.V. Club. We’ll still be doing film criticism, TV recaps, music reviews, games discussion, Podmass, Eisner Award-winning comics coverage—everything you read us for. Our entire archives are migrating over, so you’ll still be able to read those old Community reviews, along with everything else from our site’s long history. Neither our Univision parent company nor GMG has editorial influence over us; our overall vision remains the same. We’ll have the same writers, the same approach to covering pop culture, and the same content you’ve come to expect—albeit delivered in a slightly different-looking format. And while we recognize that no one likes change (including us!), we’re confident that it will all work out in the end.

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SO WHEN IS ALL THIS HAPPENING?
At the risk of announcing a firm launch date only to have to move it, for now we’ll say two to three weeks. Once we have the actual date locked in, we’ll give you plenty of notice via Newswire and other AVC community forums, along with those specific instructions on how to create your Kinja account. (And if you already have a Kinja account, we’ll have instructions for using that as well.) On launch day, we won’t be able to publish anything for a couple of hours while the switch is being made, but after that, everything will proceed as usual.

I STILL HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS/CONCERNS
That’s what this town hall is for. We’ll open up comments here at 2 p.m. Central for you to ask away; we’ll also highlight some exchanges up here. And if you still have any questions after this town hall is over, please feel free to email us.


Town Hall Questions

Does Kinja have subthreads?
Kinja does not accommodate nested threading. We know this is a big concern for our commenters. Our tech team is pulling as much feedback as possible from this discussion, and we’ll take a closer look at your ideas on the Kinja/Disqus feature gap as we continue to evolve Kinja. With Disqus, we were stuck with whatever they gave us, but with Kinja, we actually have the opportunity to improve it over time.

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Will my Disqus account still be there?
Yes! Nothing is happening to your Disqus account.

What about Kinja and privacy? I dont want to use Google/Twitter/FB to sign up.
You can create a Kinja account using Google, Twitter, or Facebook, or you can create a burner account. We’ll have specific instructions for this in the next week or so, and we’ll share it via Newswire and other commenter communities.

What about the grays?
As many of you know, one of the ways Kinja helps keep trolls and spam out is “the grays,” in which new commenters have to be approved by writers. Good news: If you get a Kinja account through our claim form—which we’ll have instructions about before launch—you will automatically be approved, and you won’t be in the grays.

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Additionally, once you’ve gone through the claim process and are automatically approved, you’ll be able to promote pending comments. That will help us identify other commenters to pull out of the grays.

Will Disqus upvotes be migrated over?
They will not, but we’re migrating over more than a decade’s worth of comments, so cut us some slack on this one.

Does Kinja have upvotes?
Yes! They’re stars, not an up arrow, but you’ll still be able to upvote comments.

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