From the beginning, HuffPost has been blessed with a very passionate and engaged community.
And, over the years, we've tried to deepen the ways you can engage with the site and with each other. It's why we launched HuffPost Social News last summer -- so you can easily connect with your friends from Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!, and Google Buzz, sharing stories and having conversations about the ideas, issues, and buzz-worthy items you care about.
Today we are taking that to the next level, with a redesign of our comment section and the introduction of HuffPost Badges -- a fun new way of recognizing and empowering our community.
To start with, we are recognizing our top users in three key areas of activity on HuffPost: connecting with others, engaging with our content, and moderating comments.
If you've attracted lots of fans and followers, you receive a "Networker" badge.
If you share a lot of stories via Facebook and Twitter, and have been busy commenting on HuffPost, you receive a "Superuser" badge.
And if you've flagged a number of inappropriate comments that we ended up deleting, you receive a "Moderator" badge. (For more details on each of these, and on how to earn one of these badges, see our HuffPost Badges FAQ.)
This last badge is part of something we've prioritized from day one. We've always wanted HuffPost to be home to conversations in which people connect, discuss, share ideas, and have lively debates about the issues -- while remaining civil. To this end, we've used a combination of human moderation, tech tools, and the input of our community members to flag inappropriate and objectionable comments.
The Moderator badge allows you to more actively participate in this process. If you are a Level 1 Moderator (earned by flagging at least 20 comments that we deleted, with a high ratio of good flags to mistaken ones), your flags now carry five times the weight of a standard flag. Level 2 Moderators (those who have flagged 100 comments that we deleted) are trusted to delete comments directly. We've seen how engaged you are in making sure the conversations on HuffPost remain interesting and productive, and are excited to have you become even more involved in helping maintain a non-toxic atmosphere.
We're also excited about a new feature that allows HuffPost commenters who are on Twitter to easily attract more followers. A reader just has to click on the Twitter icon under your username and they instantly are added to your followers.
And this is just the beginning. We have plans to add more badges and more features that will make being a part of the HuffPost community even more dynamic and rewarding.
Of course, if you don't want to participate in HuffPost Badges, you can easily opt-out by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to send your email from the email address you used to register your HuffPost account, and include your username.
So far, people seem to like the new design. Yesterday, when we quietly rolled it out, we received the most comments we've ever gotten in a single day -- over 100,000. Our community members are now leaving over 2.3 million comments a month.
As always, we want to hear your feedback. Let us know what you think -- either in the comment section or by emailing email@example.com.
And be sure to keep adding friends and fans, posting comments, sharing stories, and flagging inappropriate comments -- so you can earn a badge or level up the ones you already have.
Follow Arianna Huffington on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ariannahuff