Ayende @ Rahien

It's a girl

On comments and social interaction

I got a request in email to add something like Disqus to my blog, which would allow a richer platform for the commenting that goes on here. I think that the request and my reply are interesting enough to warrant this blog post.

My comment system is the default subtext one, but there are several advantages to the way it works. You can read the full explanation in Joel on Software post about the matter, but basically, threading encourages people to go off in tangents, single thread of conversation make it significantly easier to have only one conversation.

There is another reason, which is personally important to me, which is that I want to "own" the comments. Not own in terms of copyright, but own in terms of having control of the data itself. Having the comments (a hugely important part of the blog) being managed by a 3rd party which might shut down and take all the comments with it is not acceptable.

That is probably a false fear, but it is something that I take under consideration. The reasoning about the type of interaction going on in the comments is a lot more important. There is also something else to consider, if a post gets too hot (generating too many comments), I am either going to close comments on it, or open a new post with summary of what went on in the previous post comment thread anyway, so it does have some checks & balances that keep a comment thread from growing too large.

Comments

Dennis
01/07/2010 10:09 AM by
Dennis

Agree very much with Joels narrative on this subject. And the comments on your blog are almost all relevant and build upon each other instead of just saying the same thing over and over again.

David Hanson
01/07/2010 10:35 AM by
David Hanson

Makes sense, I use the same on my site for similar reasons.

Jeff Bullas
01/07/2010 12:04 PM by
Jeff Bullas

I especially agree with the the statement

" I want to "own" the comments. Not own in terms of copyright, but own in terms of having control of the data itself. Having the comments (a hugely important part of the blog) being managed by a 3rd party which might shut down and take all the comments with it is not acceptable"

Its the same as having your blog under your own domain and "owning it" rather than having under wordpress or typepad domain. If you want to move your domain to another host you can. Cheers

Andrey Shchekin
01/07/2010 12:15 PM by
Andrey Shchekin

I haven't cared about the technical details, but for Wordpress at least Disqus posts all the comments to the blog as well, so turning off Disqus leaves all comments as is, just not as pretty.

Haacked
01/07/2010 04:21 PM by
Haacked

Exactly why I haven't outsourced my comments. I agree with you and Joel about threaded comments. I think there other ways to improve Subtext comments than adding threading. Ayende, let me know if we can improve comments for you in Subtext. :)

Felix
01/07/2010 08:46 PM by
Felix

I think the problem is more sociological than technical.I mean, this is the Ayende blog, and someone can feel a little embarassed to start a complete thread inside it, and soemone else can use this as a sort of weapon to have the last word in a discussion.

NC
01/07/2010 10:44 PM by
NC

This blog just all credibility by mention Joel.

Andrew
01/07/2010 10:52 PM by
Andrew

NC, at least proof read your comments if you want to be a douche. No so much for our sake, but for the sake of the children.

Colin Newell
01/07/2010 10:55 PM by
Colin Newell

That's not such an irrational fear. I've just been watching a couple of bloggers have to deal with their comment provider shutting down.

NC
01/07/2010 11:06 PM by
NC

@Andrew - Noted.

What I was meaning to say, was:

This blog just lost all credibility by mentioning Joel.

rumburak
01/07/2010 11:37 PM by
rumburak

Social interaction? It only happens when you turn off the computer and talk to real people

Senthil
01/08/2010 01:16 AM by
Senthil

@ayende,

How about a 3rd party commenting platform that allows you to own your data and/or allows you to have our own installation.

The reason I bring this up is because the default commenting features of blogging platforms may not solve all commenting /discussion related problems.

One size may not fit all....

John
01/08/2010 05:48 PM by
John

Andrew, at least proof read your comments if you want to be a pedant. Not so much for our sake, but for the sake of the children.

Andrew
01/08/2010 11:22 PM by
Andrew

Whoosh. Way to completely miss the point John.

Comments have been closed on this topic.