Quartz Ditches Traditional Comments for Relevant ‘Annotations’

If you need some innovation inspiration, look no further than Atlantic‘s Quartz, a young outlet “for business people in the new global economy.” They publish online, but in an inventive HTML format designed to work well for smartphones and tablets.

The blog Evolving Newsroom notes this morning that now Quartz is taking things one more step by inlining comments to make them more relevant. Instead of a date- or popularity-sorted block at the bottom, Quartz is letting readers add comments that are more like sidebar annotations, right alongside the paragraphs they’re referencing.

While some sites boast of their comment counts, a quick glance usually reveals a mish-mash of trivial blather, name-calling and overt ignorance. Quartz’s approach just might be one that leads to actual, germane discussions.

We’ll see, though. Gawker has been doing something similar, allowing readers to annotate the featured images on their articles, which then merge into the comment feeds. It’s not exactly caused an uptick in civility or intelligence, but then again, we’re not sure it was ever designed to.