Hari's Corner

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Impediments to blog commenting

Filed under: Internet and Blogging by Hari
Posted on Fri, Jun 1, 2007 at 18:25 IST (last updated: Wed, Jul 16, 2008 @ 20:25 IST)

Here are a list of impediments I come across regularly with commenting systems on blogging platforms. This is a personal list, so obviously you'll see my likes and dislikes here. I am not targetting any particular blogger, so don't take it personally.

For what it is worth, here are my pet annoyances.
  1. CAPTCHAs - I've said enough about this in the past, so I won't elaborate except saying that typing down civjsiwep or 53912681 every time I want to comment on something is no fun. It gets worse over time, not better. Asking me what is 10+2 is slightly better, but still a nuisance.
  2. Moderated comments - while not annoying as much, author-moderated comments (where comments appear only after approval) break the flow of conversation since all traffic is directed through one person. It really slows down discussion.
  3. Comment popup windows - definitely most annoying. I prefer inline commenting systems. Popup comment forms are awkward.
  4. Wrong tab order in comment form - Blogger.com is the main culprit here. You would think google would have fixed something as basic as this after so much fanfare about the "new blogger". But they haven't. The tab order on the commenting fields should make it easy for me to post comments without using the mouse. Every time I use the mouse to highlight a field, I get annoyed. I'm sure a lot of bloggers feel the same.
  5. Not "remembering" comment authors - I like the system where a cookie is stored on the end-user's machine and once a name/e-mail/URL is submitted, I don't have to type it every time before commenting. Of course, I can always remove that cookie from the browser, so that's not a problem. Having to fill out name/e-mail/URL for every new comment is definitely a chore though.
  6. Aggressive comment spam filters - I don't want to be told that my IP is blacklisted and I should get a "anti-spyware tool" because my computer may be infected. Duh, I use Linux. It's not my problem that anti-spam authors have no idea about dynamic and shared IPs used by public ISPs in many countries and the stupidity of implementing IP blacklists in the first place.
  7. No acknowledgment - The best incentive to keep commenting is acknowledgment from the author. If I don't get acknowledgment over a period of time, my motivation to continue commenting is definitely reduced. Even if it's something as simple as "thank you" I prefer that to nothing, especially if I've posted a long, thoughtful comment :P
  8. No reciprocity - I generally do not expect anybody to post a comment on my blog just because I posted one on theirs. However, over time, I do expect some form of "giving back." Either through links or through the occasional reciprocal comment. Nobody likes being neglected. ;)
  9. Too cluttered - If the blog style is too cluttered, I have to search for ten minutes before I can find a small "comment" link tucked away somewhere in the corner.
  10. Requiring registration for commenting - Blogs are not discussion forums. So mandatory registration before posting is definitely a way of saying "no comments invited here." There are better ways to fight spam.
I hope I've not annoyed too many of you out there. However, if you are guilty of any of the above and I still comment on your website, it's because I really like your content enough to put up with all that. So be flattered. :P

18 comment(s)

  1. I'm only guilty of moderated comments cause well, when you only get 5 to 10 comments a month, it beats the captcha's but then again, I don't mind those as I know they're a good way to defend against the comments you don't want as I know first hand that I don't look at my blog on a daily basis.

    Comment by drew (visitor) on Fri, Jun 1, 2007 @ 20:21 IST #
  2. I don't mind moderation on your blog, Drew, mostly because you don't post too frequently. Also in other ways, your blog's commenting system is quite good.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Fri, Jun 1, 2007 @ 20:43 IST #
  3. Just wait till the Vista Blogging Engine comes out! You have just clicked on a comment text entry field - Confirm or Deny? You have just tried to enter some text - Confirm or Deny? You have just clicked on "Submit Comment" - Confirm or Deny? You'll LONG for simple captchas! :twisted:(You have just clicked on an emoticon - Confirm or Deny?)

    Comment by Dominic (visitor) on Fri, Jun 1, 2007 @ 21:02 IST #
  4. Hopefully, none of those issues are apparent on my blog. Especially since I disabled the offending plugin :razz:

    Comment by ray (visitor) on Fri, Jun 1, 2007 @ 21:05 IST #
  5. Dominic, wasn't that there since Windows 98? Why wait for Vista? :mrgreen:Ray, no. The only thing is that the comment submit button is too small. I always nitpick. :P

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Fri, Jun 1, 2007 @ 21:46 IST #
  6. Hmm... you did capture the other technical aspects of why one doesn't want to comment very well. And I agree with the fuzzed up tab order the most. It almost seems a crime to be using the mouse!

    Comment by Sudipta Chatterjee (visitor) on Fri, Jun 1, 2007 @ 22:53 IST #
  7. yeah yeah yeah, I have a stupid captcha. :) It stops the spam though! Totally agree on the popup window and dodgy tab order though.

    Comment by titanium (visitor) on Sat, Jun 2, 2007 @ 06:27 IST #
  8. Sudipta, the tab order is screwed up in Blogger because of the extra CAPTCHA field. I noticed that.Titanium, the only problem with your CAPTCHA is that I find it very hard to distinguish between 0 and O. Otherwise it's quite readable.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Sat, Jun 2, 2007 @ 07:15 IST #
  9. Good post, Hari. I've found a couple of blogs lately which simply wouldn't accept a comment, regardless of what I tried. The page just sat there, unchanged.Eventually I went off to look at something else, after making a mental note not to bother commenting there again.

    Comment by Baxter Tocher (visitor) on Sat, Jun 2, 2007 @ 23:08 IST #
  10. I moderate comments... I agree it slows down discussion. But i would like to moderate it for spams and for inappropriate/offensive comments... I don't reject comments that disagree with me or negative comments really.

    Comment by Bungi (visitor) on Sun, Jun 3, 2007 @ 01:47 IST #
  11. 1.Tried it for 1/2 hour. Angered me too much.2.Used to moderate 1st time comments to stop spam from making it to the public.3.I completely agree. One thing that I like to do is click on the "names" of commenters to see what they write and the popup causes the site to load in a tab of the comment window. What a drag!4.I haven't posted with Lynx or Links enough times to notice this (but I have visited blogs with Links to see what they look like to Google).5.I am in total agreement.6.I don't like being told that your IP is beiong blacklisted either, which is why I went with a different solution for controlling SPAM.7.I think that I can be occasionally guilty of this, but I can't remember, which is why I think that I probably am.8.I like your take on this. Something between a blatant "linky love" thing and not citing the other at all is nice.9.I think that you'll find we're on the same wavelength here. Wait until I unveil the next incarnation.10.I had an aquaintance do this for his personal blog after a redesign and I stopped commenting for a long time. I just recently registered. Someone we all know and love does this with his new WP install.

    Comment by MrCorey (visitor) on Sun, Jun 3, 2007 @ 04:41 IST #
  12. Hi.I realize I did not respond/acknowledge to most of your comments in my blog in time, but I've done that little late and of late am responding to comments at the earliest...btb nice post

    Comment by Shrinidhi (visitor) on Sun, Jun 3, 2007 @ 11:41 IST #
  13. [...] blogs recently (and I can relate to this). I’d recommend reading Hari’s take on “Impediments to blog commenting” to make sure our blogs are accessible to those who might wish to leave a comment. I’ll [...]

    Comment by Blog walkabout, 3 June 2007 | The Far Corner (visitor) on Sun, Jun 3, 2007 @ 20:16 IST #
  14. Baxter, yes. There are some bloggers who prefer to stay aloof. I guess it's their choice. But as you said, it's hard to post comments on such blogs over a period of time.Bungi, on some blogging platforms, there are no choices for anti-spam filters which work transparently from the end-user. Blogger is one of them. I sympathize with your decision to moderate comments.MrCorey, thanks for your detailed post. I'm glad to have been of some help. As a matter of fact, your comment is a great example of a thoughtful comment posted in response to the points in my article. No matter what, I always appreciate comments but I value well-constructed posts like yours even more.Shrinidhi, you're fine. No worries there. I'm talking about bloggers who *never* acknowledge a single comment on their blog. You definitely do acknowledge and reciprocate.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Mon, Jun 4, 2007 @ 08:09 IST #
  15. Well, I must either not be guilty of most (I know my comments don't set a cookie), or I have some really great content because Hari, you're my number two commenter of all time. A few more and you'll be number one. :-)

    Comment by RT Cunningham (visitor) on Wed, Jun 6, 2007 @ 00:34 IST #
  16. RT, you're not guilty of any of these. You also post a lot frequently and your posts are usually comment-worthy. :)

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Wed, Jun 6, 2007 @ 08:03 IST #
  17. Hari, I couldn't agree with you more on all counts. When I'm ready to comment, I want to just do it and not feel like I have to complete an obstacle course to do so.

    Comment by Brad (visitor) on Thu, Jun 7, 2007 @ 04:45 IST #
  18. Thanks Brad. Glad to see you back after a long ime :)

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Thu, Jun 7, 2007 @ 06:43 IST #

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