A Refresher Guide to Using ProfHacker

On the front page of The Chronicle this morning, you may have noticed the announcement titled “The Chronicle’s New and Improved Comments:”

The next time you comment on a Chronicle article or blog post, you’ll notice a number of new features. That’s because we’ve switched to Disqus, a commenting system that lets you engage in threaded discussions, log in with your Facebook or Twitter account, and do much more. We take your comments seriously, so we’ve made sure that all your past contributions have stayed on To make the switch, though, we’ve had to close commenting on old articles.

Questions? Thoughts? Please check out our FAQ, or drop us a line at

Now might be a good time to point out some new things about participating in the ProfHacker community as well as to revisit some longstanding things.

One feature of Disqus that we’re quite happy about at ProfHacker is the ability for readers to choose to be notified whenever a comment is posted in a thread where they’ve commented and/or to be notified whenever someone responds to one of their comments. We had a feature like these–provided by a WordPress plugin suggested by our readers–back when ProfHacker was independent, and some readers were disappointed when they could no longer engage in the discussions in this way. You can read more about these features on the Disqus site: “Managing Notifications” and “Notifications Settings.”

The Chronicle‘s “Community Guidelines / FAQ”

Need to understand The Chronicle’s guidelines for contributing to discussions? Read their “Community Guidelines / FAQ.”

The ProfHacker “Commenting and Community Guidelines”

Note that although ProfHacker is published by The Chronicle, we maintain editorial independence. As such, we have our own “Commenting and Community Guidelines.” Please read it, if you haven’t already.

And here are a few things to keep in mind when commenting on our posts:

  • We almost always end each post with a specific question or prompt. We welcome comments that respond to that question or prompt. Comments that do not stay on topic in this way may be deleted.
  • If you feel the post is inappropriate, poorly written, or just plain wrong–as readers sometimes do–the comments section is not the place to let your feelings be known. Please send an email to <>.
  • If you find typos and wish to point them out, please send an email to <>.


Need to figure out this new commenting system? Disqus maintains a help section to answer your questions about your account. In particular, you might want to check out the following sections:

Get yourself a Gravatar

“What’s a Gravatar?” you may rightfully ask? The word Gravatar is a neologism that means “Globally Recognized Avatar,” and… Well, here, watch this video (and then go get one):

ProfHacker’s easy-to-miss features

If you scroll down the page and look in the right-hand sidebar, (check out this screengrab) you’ll see that you can

  • Subscribe to our RSS feeds,
  • Search ProfHacker content only, rather than the entire Chronicle site, and
  • See what we’re up to on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr.

Want to explore our archives? We use two different ways of organizing the posts we publish:

  1. Categories, of which we have 9: Analog; Editorial; Hardware; Productivity; Profession; Reviews; Software; Teaching; Wellness.
  2. Tags, which are (theoretically, at least) unlimited. These are some of our often-used tags: Writer’s Bootcamp; Teaching Carnival; Open Thread; WordPress, Backup, and All Things Google.

At the very end of each post–just above the comments–you’ll see how an individual post has been categorized and tagged. If you click on a category or a tag, you’ll be taken to more posts that are similar to the one you were reading.

Any questions?

If so, please share them in the comments!

[Creative Commons-licensed flickr photo by Gregg OConnell]

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