Why are conversations so different now?
The most intense change in this new version of Newsvine is the focus on smaller discussions in Nations. Nations are an evolutionary step from Groups, a little-used Newsvine Classic feature.
So why the big switch?
We wanted to offer those who share and publish content and those who discuss it more control over discussions. Nations accomplish that by specializing discussions as much as you want - now instead of dozens of fragmented discussions and derails in one big discussion, this encourages a customized experience. If there's a natural disaster affecting several countries, you might see a general world news Nation discuss it, along with Nations devoted to those countries, a Nation focused on disaster relief...and so on.
If it's a big enough story with lots of updates, then users can create a Nation just for that story. Or they can create a Nation with no rules and invite the people they like writing with.
On almost every other site on the internet, those discussions might happen amid long comment threads; here, it's an illuminated experience where you can see who wants to talk about what. Which provides...
The best conversations on the internet - so far - are tens of people leaving hundreds of comments. We've seen that over the years; there's great discussion to be found even in threads of 10,000 comments, but to build connections, it's better to have smaller gatherings.
People who use Newsvine have a longstanding history of connection. They talk outside the Vine, they share photos of their lives, they meet each other in gatherings called VineMeets. It's incredible. Offering the opportunity to build those types of connections - and have weeks- and months-long discussions - is central to the philosophy of the redesign.
Nations are a big, ambitious idea. Near as we can tell, nothing like this has been attempted before. We're attempting it because we think talking about something on the internet isn't something that should make you recoil. We've seen minds changed, events organized, and conversations become great articles on our humble news website. Those wonderful anecdotes can be the standard, not the glowing example.