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We've heard for a while now from our commenters that they're a bit tired of seeing the same gray avatar for every single commenter profile. We couldn't agree more, so we're starting to do something about it.

And it all starts with one (slightly) less gray avatar.

We know our readers want our comments to be a friendly, lively place where they can exchange ideas and discuss hot topics in a smart, civilized way. So we're starting to evolve our approach to comments by relying on (who else?) our online community.

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You'll soon start seeing a new kind of user profile popping up in our comments. The new profiles belong to Globe Catalysts, readers who have been invited by The Globe and Mail to play a prominent role at

Catalysts make up a group of engaged Canadians who are interested in helping to shape the future of The Globe and Mail by setting the tone in our comments, sparking discussion and providing input to our editors and reporters. We're looking to our Catalysts to become leaders in our online community and elevate the debate.

Feedback from Globe Catalysts will shape decisions about how we deliver news to Canadians and how we interact with our readers.

How did The Globe select these Catalysts?

A few months ago, we sent out an invitation to thousands of subscribers to our e-mail newsletters. We invited them to apply to become Catalysts by telling us what they thought of Canada's future and The Globe and Mail.

From those responses, we selected a group of the most engaged, informed and passionate readers who represented a cross-section of Canadians from coast to coast. In recent weeks, they've been shaping our community strategy and telling us what they want to see in our commenting tools. Their feedback played a major role in the upgrade of commenting tools that recently rolled out.

What does being a Catalyst mean?

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Besides the Catalyst user profile, they'll be the first to try out new features at, like personalized avatars.

A selection of Catalyst comments are also featured on our new commenting maps, which will help us paint a picture of what Canadians are discussing.

How do I become a Catalyst?

Becoming a Globe Catalyst is free and voluntary. We will be opening up opportunities over the next few months to invite more readers into our Catalyst group and invite readers to sign up for notifications. We'll be looking for Catalysts who can be community leaders, meaning they have a history of engaging on our site in a respectful, insightful way.

What is the Catalyst code of conduct?

The Catalyst Community was established to help elevate the tone of comments on at and to act as leaders in our online community. They have to abide by a specific code of conduct, in addition to the community guidelines. The following code of conduct was developed by and for Catalysts.

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What Catalysts do

- Help out commenters when they need a hand

- Help keep discussion on-topic

- Intervene when discussion becomes immoderate or personal

- Bring particularly poor behaviour to the attention of Globe staff

- Act in any manner that is representative of a community leader

- Add thoughtful posts that add background info, perspective

- Recommend/vote on comments that add insight and contribute to the discussion

Catalysts are governed by an Ombudsman Committee, elected from its ranks.

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As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to