Now on Substack: Community Discussions

Today we’re excited to announce a new feature we hope your readers will love: the ability to talk to each other!

When we first started thinking about building community features, we knew the most important thing to get right was we had to make conversation as effortless as possible for your subscribers. So we decided to make it as easy as responding to an email.

Here's how it works:

Once you turn community features on for your Substack by ticking the checkbox in your settings page, every email you send to paying subscribers will come with a new prompt at the bottom.

It’s a nice touch that we hope will make it easier for all your subscribers, no matter how busy their schedule, to make valuable contributions to your community. (Why don’t you try it out on this email, now?)

As you’d expect, there are also likes and threaded replies, so it's easy make people feel heard and manage bigger, multi-faceted conversations. Any time someone writes a reply to a comment, all members of that thread get notified via email and can just hit “reply” to keep the conversation going.

Another nice touch: when you write a comment, your name will be highlighted in the color of your publication, like this:

One important note—for now, only paying subscribers can write or read comments. We think this is an effective way to get more free subscribers to sign up for full access and offer more value to your biggest supporters. Also, we’ve all seen what a dumpster fire comments on the internet can be. There shouldn’t be any such problem on Substack.

Some tips to get your Community started:

  1. To turn it on, just head to your settings page and tick the checkbox next to “Enable community features.”

  2. Write a post to subscribers announcing that comments are open, and ask folks to introduce themselves. (Or, alternatively, do a private AMA!)

  3. When people write good comments, hit the “like” button, and consider highlighting them in a future post. We think this is the best way to get more people to contribute, and to shape the kind of contributions people make.

Note: this is just the beginning! We know it’s a pretty simple and basic first version, but we wanted to get it out there quickly so you can start using it and we can evolve the product to fit your needs better as they arise from real-world use.

Thanks, enjoy, and let us know what you think!