Daily Mail site claims comments firstDailyMail.co.uk is claiming to be the first national UK newspaper website to provide a readers' comment feature on all its articles.

Reader comments were first introduced alongside stories in July and the system was recently upgraded. The site now receives around 2,000 submissions each week.

"We don't consider the Mail site to be simply a newspaper online," said Nigel Vincent, Associated New Media's executive editor.

"We want to provide extra features over and above the newspaper and the internet allows readers to interact with the site properly. People see it as a good opportunity to get involved."

He said that Daily Mail readers are known for their strong opinions and the reader comments feature allows them to directly contribute their views on a story without needing to go to a separate discussion section or forum. Reader comments also inform the site's own news agenda and help to build loyalty among users.

Among the most popular stories so far was a piece on a government initiative to teach young children about gay lifestyles and divorce; it triggered 85 comments within a few hours. A report that Cliff Richard was about to end his recording career prompted a rapid response 'save Cliff' campaign.

All comments will be moderated before publication by staff at ANM's community department before being published. Comments are limited to 1000 characters and users are asked to submit their name, email address and location.

"It's a balancing act. Users don't want to wait a couple of hours for their comments to appear on the site so our team works as fast as possible," he said.

"But we have to be responsible and if we didn't pre-moderate we'd make ourselves vulnerable."

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