Have something to say about what you’re reading on SchoolBook? We’ve made it a whole lot simpler for you to speak up.
Now, when you open any post, you will see a yellow talk-bubble in the left-hand column. Sometimes, the bubble will include a specific question, as has been the case with our posts until now.
But more often, the bubble will welcome any comment related to the post, freeing readers to react, share, question, prod or respond to one another.
Click in the bubble or scroll to the bottom to add your voice to the conversation.
We added the open-ended comment threads, mimicking other blogs on nytimes.com and elsewhere, because we know some SchoolBook users have been frustrated that they couldn’t weigh in on all the issues, ideas, news and opinions that touched, angered, inspired or entertained them.
Conversation — along with news and data — is one of the pillars of SchoolBook, and we wanted to do everything we could to make it flourish.
We’ll still have some directed queries on the site, sometimes associated with posts and other times standing on their own. It is our hope that these questions — and, especially, your answers — can be lasting resources for future SchoolBook users.
Soon, we will be unveiling a conversation page in which these are indexed and you can easily sort by subject and see where the dialogue is most lively.
You have already had useful and vibrant discussions on topics like:
What advice do you have for eighth graders and their parents about choosing a high school? What tips do you have for parent-teacher conferences? Is inclusion the best approach for special education students? How should the grading of Regents exams be handled?
The responses have provided such a well-rounded collection of opinions and expertise that we have created new posts based on the highlights.
But we know that readers don’t always want their comments directed. And, frankly, we often found ourselves straining to frame the best question for a post we knew could naturally prompt conversation.
So now you can comment freely. Please.
Soon we will also ask you to associate your comment with a particular school. That can help other readers place your views and experiences in context. And it will help enhance our community-building efforts on SchoolBook’s school pages, because users will be able to look at comments from others associated with their school, as well as the overall conversation.
One thing has not changed: You must log in through Facebook. It’s not because we love Facebook. And it’s not because we plan to use that log-in information for anything other than verifying that a real person is behind the comment.
We know that requiring a log-in through Facebook has lost SchoolBook some commenters, but we also know it has helped us avoid some of the trash-talking and conversation-hijacking seen elsewhere on the Web. So far, we’re confident that requiring people to put a name to their remarks has elevated the level of conversation.
We do owe you a clearer explanation of what the Facebook log-in portends, as well as a better road map for participating in SchoolBook. We also plan to start directing questions to individual school pages, in hopes of prompting more localized conversations.
Those will come soon. Meanwhile, we’re opening this post to comments. Tell us what you think about this change — and feel free to offer other ideas to help make SchoolBook your go-to site for all things schools and education in New York.