It may just be a sign of the times. Others who have been long-time members of the site aren’t so sure:
For almost ten years, Hot Air has utilized a proprietary, members-only comment system. In 2006, this kind of system made much sense, but Internet standards and technology have moved beyond this kind of system. Beginning tomorrow, Hot Air will move from its present proprietary closed-comment system to Facebook comments. At that time, native commenting functions will cease, and all comments will come through the Facebook interface.
We have certainly enjoyed the comment section and look forward to seeing it grow and become more diverse. That is one reason why we feel it necessary to make this change. A closed, proprietary system requires far more resources to manage than we can apply to the task. As a result, we rarely have the opportunity to open the system to new commenters, which means that newer Hot Air readers have no opportunity to engage and provide their feedback to our articles. That is unfair to those new Hot Air readers, and it also deprives other readers from a broader range of views.
Also, our commenting format has been outdated for some time. The Facebook interface has comment nesting, the ability to like, and post-commenting editing capability. Rather than use resources to essentially re-invent the wheel, using what has become an Internet standard interface makes much more sense. Facebook has over a billion users and many Hot Air readers likely already have accounts, two key reasons we chose this platform for our site. Sites such as IJ Review, TechCrunch, Huffington Post, WebProNews, Inquisitr, and more have gone to Facebook comments, while almost all others have gone to some other outside platform that allows Facebook for a login, such as Disqus. Some readers may have concerns about using their real identity to comment at Hot Air, and we certainly understand that reluctance. Anonymous accounts can be created on Facebook, though, and those can be used for commenting on other websites.
So, it remains to be seen what the future holds. To quote Cicero:
The distinguishing property of man is to search for and to follow after truth. Therefore, when relaxed from our necessary cares and concerns, we then covet to see, to hear, and to learn somewhat; and we esteem knowledge of things either obscure or wonderful to be the indispensable means of living happily. From this we understand that truth, simplicity, and candor, are most agreeable to the nature of mankind.