An update to the Irish Times comments system

We’re changing how users sign-in to comment

Since relaunched in 2013, we have continued to make improvements to the site. Some of these upgrades have been obvious, while others are more subtle and less immediately visible to our readers. Earlier this year we migrated user comments to a new platform. For most commenters, the change was minimal and the user experience remained largely the same. But the change of the new platform allowed The Irish Times to better engage with commenters, and to identify more quickly where the most active and popular discussions were taking place.

We are constantly looking at ways to improve the experience for both commenters and non-commenters. One improvement would be to bring informed and articulate comments more to the fore. We want to offer our readers the opportunity to have a more interactive and engaging relationship with our journalism. Some of our columnists, for example, already embrace the opportunity to interact with readers’ feedback and reaction. We envisage this increasing and believe we have an opportunity as well as a responsibility to improve the commenting experience for everyone.

Right now the only way to sign in to comment on an article is via a social media account. Irish Times readers with Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIN accounts can sign in and start commenting straight away. This approach has advantages and disadvantages. It gives some users a one-click sign-in if they’re already logged into their social media network. However, people who, for whatever reason, don’t have one of these accounts feel excluded. Another downside is that we have not been able to communicate directly with commenters as much as we would like.

People regularly get in touch with The Irish Times to complain that they either do not wish to use their social account to comment, or that they don’t use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIN. A September Ipsos MRBI survey revealed that three out of five people were using Facebook (the most popular social media network). That means at least two out of five people are potentially barred from commenting on at the moment. Clearly that’s not what we want to see.


How we’re changing Irish Times Comment  

We believe we need to balance the interests of those who can comment at present with those who are prevented from doing so. In order to redress that balance, and to engage better with our commenting community, from next Monday (20th October) we will introduce email registration as the only way to comment on All existing comments will remain visible, but existing commenters will need to setup a new Irish Times account.

If you have an Irish Times account for Newspaper Delivery, Digital Edition or Crossword you’ll just need to sign in and choose a Screen Name. If you do not already have an account with The Irish Times you’ll be asked to create a new Irish Times account and choose a Screen Name. One request we make is that the email address you use to sign in and comment is active and in-use. Creating a new Irish Times account will be straight forward, and should take no longer than a few seconds.

We hope this change, which is just one of a number of planned improvements to our site and mobile apps in the coming months, will encourage more interaction and engagement on

If you have a question/query about these changes please feel free to ask them below - I’m happy to engage with anyone who has feedback to offer in the comments below.