Engagement Starter User Guide

The Engagement Starter is an in-article unit designed to help increase community discovery and engagement through custom calls-to-action, showcasing the highest quality conversations, rewarding high quality user contributions, and enabling top-of-the-funnel direct engagement.


The Engagement Starter currently supports the following customizable content and features:

  • Custom calls to action. These allow you to define the text prompts that direct users to read the comments or start the conversation.
  • Editor's Picks comments. By marking your best comments as editor's picks you can showcase and reward the best user contributions on your site to help spark healthy conversations. Note: Does not support comment replies marked as Editor's Picks.
  • Pinned comments. Have your staff write a conversation starter comment or a framing question, and then place it in the Engagement Starter by pinning it to spark audience participation.
  • Polls. Create custom polls directly in the Engagement Starter to allow direct audience participation, drive registrations and spark discussion.

Additional features:

  • Dynamic prompts that adjust the messaging in the Engagement Starter based on the status of the conversation
  • Customizable look and feel based on CSS variables. See our customization documentation.
  • Smart lazy loading, highly efficient code, and fixed height to prevent impact on Web Vitals
  • Ability to run ad unit next to the Engagement Starter using your own ad inventory or ours. More information about ad integrations


Please Note

Due to tight integration between the tools, at this time the Engagement Starter must be placed on pages with a conversation widget.


Standard in-article Engagement starter position showing a featured comment on desktop and mobile, with an accompanying ad unit.

Custom calls to action

Using custom calls to action, you are able to change the prompts that are displayed within the Engagement Starter. By default, the Engagement Starter unit will show the following prompts automatically based on the current state of the Conversation widget on the page:

  1. Header prompt: This prompt appears at the top of the Engagement Starter.
  2. Title: This is the title for the primary message in the body of the engagement starter. It is displayed in bold by default
  3. Description: This is the main message or call to action in the body of the engagement starter
  4. Button prompt: This is the text displayed in the button that takes the user to the conversation on the page.

This chart shows what messages are displayed by default based on the status of the conversation tool on the page:

ScenarioHeader promptTitleDescriptionButton Prompt
When there are no comments in the conversation yet."Start the conversation""Have your say.""Leave a comment and tell us what you think""Be the first to comment"
When there are between 1 and 5 comments in the conversation"Join the conversation""Have your say.""Leave a comment and tell us what you think""Read the comments"
When there are more than 5 comments in the conversation"Join the conversation""Have your say.""Leave a comment and tell us what you think""Read the [comment count] comments"
When the conversation is closed on the page but has visible comments"Read the conversation""Read the comments""and see what others think""Read the comments"
When the conversation is closed but there are no visible commentsBlankBlankBlankButton not shown
When the conversation on the page has been manually hiddenBlankBlankBlankButton not shown

At this time, the Title and the Description text cannot be edited from within the Engagement starter and requires developer assistance. Instructions on how the text can be customized are described here

Featured Comments

The Engagement Starter allows for the default call to action text to be replaced with a high-quality comment chosen from within the conversation. This can be a powerful way to draw your audience in, frame the conversation, reward your best commenters, as well as model high quality comments to your audience.


Example of a featured comment in the Engagement starter

In order to showcase a comment, you can use two methods: Using the editor's pick method, or using the pinned comment method. The steps are listed below:

  1. Ensure that you are logged in with a staff-level user account on the front end of your site.
  2. Identify a high-quality comment, a framing question, or any other comment you wish to promote into the Engagement Starter.
  3. Click on the three dots next to the comment you wish to showcase, and mark it as an editor's pick or select the pin option.
  4. The pinned comment takes priority over the editor's picks and only the most recent pinned or editor's pick comment will be shown in the Engagement Starter as the "Featured Comment".

Three dots on comments, showing the staff user menu where you can mark as an editor's pick and the pin options.


Staff can quickly and easily add a poll to an Engagement Starter directly on the page. This makes implementation and adoption very easy and provides a highly engaging way to allow for direct audience participation.

In order to replace the call to action with a Poll, a user must be in an authenticated state and then click the "Create a poll" button at the bottom of the Engagement Starter on the page.


Create a poll button on

This will open a settings screen below the engagement starter with the options to add a title or question for the poll, as well as a minimum of 2 answers and a maximum of 4 answers.


Engagement Starter with the "Create a Poll" configuration screen open.

To create a poll:

  1. Go to the page with an active Engagement Starter widget in the article and ensure that you are signed into a moderator or administrator-level user account on the site.
  2. Click "Create a Poll" button at the bottom right corner of the Engagement Starter (this button is only visible to the moderator or administrator-level users)
  3. Enter the Question into the "poll question" field. This field has a maximum character limit of 46 characters including spaces.
  4. Add a minimum of 2, and a maximum of 4 voting options. Each option has a 46-character limit.
  5. [Coming soon] Once the question and voting options are set, you can select a close date for the poll. This is the date and time that the poll will close automatically. If a date is not set, then the poll will run indefinitely until manually closed.
  6. Click "publish" to set the poll live

To close a poll:

  1. Ensure that you are authenticated as a moderator or administrator-level user on the page
  2. Click the "Poll Settings" button at the bottom right corner of the poll
  3. Choose "Close Poll" and confirm. This will stop the poll from collecting any further votes. and will display the results to all users regardless of the login status.



At this time, once a poll is closed it cannot be opened again.

To delete a poll:

  1. Ensure that you are authenticated as a moderator or administrator-level user on the page
  2. Click the "Poll Settings" button at the bottom right corner of the poll
  3. Choose "Delete Poll" and confirm. This will completely remove the poll from your site. All Polls data to the poll will be preserved.



We currently restrict the same device from voting anonymously repeatedly, using IP and local storage methods.

If bot voting is a concern, we recommend requiring registration to vote, in which case the anti-bot protections you have in your user registrations system would apply. When voting requires registration, then only one vote per account is allowed. This can be enabled in the Viafoura Admin console.

What’s Next

Developer implementation instructions for Engagement Starter can be found here: