Why blogging comments suck

The other day, Gary Shapiro, the guy who runs the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, dropped by and left a comment here. There were a few problems:

1. My commenting system caught his comment in moderation, so people didn’t see it posted until I took it out of moderation right now.
2. No one probably knows who Gary is and thinks he’s just another random commenter. Some comments ARE more important than others, but there’s really no way for me to point out Gary’s comment without doing a new blog post. Even then, if you happen only to see the post that Gary commented on you’d never know that Gary’s comment deserves more attention than the other 54 comments left there.

How do you fix this? Not easily. I wish there were a system where I could tell my readers when a comment came in that deserves a lot more attention than the others. Also, I wish we could see the social network of the people commenting (I’d love to have their Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed networks show up linked into their comment somehow and also have warnings when people leave me comments that have a huge amount of social capital, like Gary does).

How did I know who Gary Shapiro was? I met Gary once and have heard him speak. His comment gives a hint at what he does, but his comment that he “runs the show” could be easily missed by an untrained eye.

Anyway, I’m interviewing Tim O’Reilly this afternoon (leave questions I should ask him here on this FriendFeed cluster) and I’ll definitely ask him about how we can improve our interaction systems on the web to better expose those who have real impact on all of our lives.

Thanks Gary for dropping by and defending trade shows and I’ll see you at CES.

Published by

Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. Robert – we’ll implement something for you with JS-Kit.com

    We also have a few ideas in the queue already – drop me a line for a sneak peak at our thinking – would love to get your feedback as always.

  2. Robert – we’ll implement something for you with JS-Kit.com

    We also have a few ideas in the queue already – drop me a line for a sneak peak at our thinking – would love to get your feedback as always.

  3. Chris: I’m hoping to see WordPress.com implement hooks into other social networks, too, like Facebook and Google’s Friend Connect. Looking forward to seeing what you guys are up to.

  4. Chris: I’m hoping to see WordPress.com implement hooks into other social networks, too, like Facebook and Google’s Friend Connect. Looking forward to seeing what you guys are up to.

  5. We already have Facebook Connect and OpenID implemented. Google Friend Connect and others coming soon.

    Announcement here: http://blog.js-kit.com/2008/12/09/connect-with-facebook/http://blog.js-kit.com/2008/12/09/connect-with-facebook/

    Our implementation is more publisher friendly than the version Techcrunch did (for example) because we don’t send users to facebook, we send them to a popup within your page so that readers can learn more and close the popup without leaving your site.

  6. We already have Facebook Connect and OpenID implemented. Google Friend Connect and others coming soon.

    Announcement here: http://blog.js-kit.com/2008/12/09/connect-with-facebook/http://blog.js-kit.com/2008/12/09/connect-with-facebook/

    Our implementation is more publisher friendly than the version Techcrunch did (for example) because we don’t send users to facebook, we send them to a popup within your page so that readers can learn more and close the popup without leaving your site.

  7. Why don’t you just let readers decide by themselves what is important and what is not? The idea of having “first-class comments” sounds a little like “let me tell you what you need to read”…

  8. Why don’t you just let readers decide by themselves what is important and what is not? The idea of having “first-class comments” sounds a little like “let me tell you what you need to read”…

  9. Does being “somebody” make a comment more important, or is it the content of the comment?

    Not saying you are implying this Robert, but it sort of reads this way. In any case, I do agree that commenting needs some dramatic improvements. Especially on high traffic/large discussion blogs such as this one.

  10. Does being “somebody” make a comment more important, or is it the content of the comment?

    Not saying you are implying this Robert, but it sort of reads this way. In any case, I do agree that commenting needs some dramatic improvements. Especially on high traffic/large discussion blogs such as this one.

  11. Why not use a comment engine that lets you highlight or otherwise promote various comments/commenters? Something like disqus (although that particular comment engine has its flaws, lol)

    It strikes me as slightly amusing that the concerns you express over the apparent invisibility of one commenter is the same as those felt by most amateur bloggers who wonder if their own posts are being overlooked.

  12. Why not use a comment engine that lets you highlight or otherwise promote various comments/commenters? Something like disqus (although that particular comment engine has its flaws, lol)

    It strikes me as slightly amusing that the concerns you express over the apparent invisibility of one commenter is the same as those felt by most amateur bloggers who wonder if their own posts are being overlooked.

  13. You could add your recommendation to the comment, you can add to your original post. there are ways to highlight it – but they’re manual, as you decide what is important to you. But I like Peter’s POV!

  14. You could add your recommendation to the comment, you can add to your original post. there are ways to highlight it – but they’re manual, as you decide what is important to you. But I like Peter’s POV!

  15. Robert,

    I’m glad you mentioned social capital (plus related concepts of intellectual capital, goodwill). I would like to see more people talking about it in fact. It’s something that will have to be addressed more as we evolve with FB Connect, OpenID, etc. because there is a value in a person’s name. I certainly see the benefit of it in my industry (legal publishing) as we progress beyond closed CALR systems, RSS aggregators, Twitter focus, etc. towards truly mashed content built through search. Capital will be a key part to telling the end user that this information is both on point and trustworthy.

    The callout for comments is a nice extension towards building an individual’s capital.

  16. Robert,

    I’m glad you mentioned social capital (plus related concepts of intellectual capital, goodwill). I would like to see more people talking about it in fact. It’s something that will have to be addressed more as we evolve with FB Connect, OpenID, etc. because there is a value in a person’s name. I certainly see the benefit of it in my industry (legal publishing) as we progress beyond closed CALR systems, RSS aggregators, Twitter focus, etc. towards truly mashed content built through search. Capital will be a key part to telling the end user that this information is both on point and trustworthy.

    The callout for comments is a nice extension towards building an individual’s capital.

  17. Matt: sorry, being somebody does have some weight. If Barack Obama says something in a comment it should hold more weight than if Robert Scoble says it.

    Peter Kim: yeah, it is very great that we no longer have walls and we can have conversations with rich and powerful people and that those conversations are pretty flat, but, sorry, what Gary Shapiro has to say about trade shows should hold more weight than what I say about them.

  18. Matt: sorry, being somebody does have some weight. If Barack Obama says something in a comment it should hold more weight than if Robert Scoble says it.

    Peter Kim: yeah, it is very great that we no longer have walls and we can have conversations with rich and powerful people and that those conversations are pretty flat, but, sorry, what Gary Shapiro has to say about trade shows should hold more weight than what I say about them.

  19. “How do you fix this? Not easily.”

    2 easy methods that the blogger can do himself:

    – Edit the original post and make reference to the comment there.

    – Post a comment yourself replying to and highlighting the remarkable comment. Everybody who scrolls through comments notices ones from the blog author.

    Some problems don’t need new tools.

  20. “How do you fix this? Not easily.”

    2 easy methods that the blogger can do himself:

    – Edit the original post and make reference to the comment there.

    – Post a comment yourself replying to and highlighting the remarkable comment. Everybody who scrolls through comments notices ones from the blog author.

    Some problems don’t need new tools.

  21. Rachel: I don’t like editing people’s comments. There’s always the chance I’ll screw it up and delete what they said (I’ve done that before, so it makes me skittish about hitting the “edit” button on someone’s comments). But, yeah, I guess I could add a line into his comment saying “Editor’s note: Gary runs CES, just in case that wasn’t clear.”

    I was thinking along the lines of bubbling it up, or changing the color (TechCrunch’s comments have different colors for their staff, for instance, which makes them stand out).

  22. Rachel: I don’t like editing people’s comments. There’s always the chance I’ll screw it up and delete what they said (I’ve done that before, so it makes me skittish about hitting the “edit” button on someone’s comments). But, yeah, I guess I could add a line into his comment saying “Editor’s note: Gary runs CES, just in case that wasn’t clear.”

    I was thinking along the lines of bubbling it up, or changing the color (TechCrunch’s comments have different colors for their staff, for instance, which makes them stand out).

  23. What is needed is a plug-in which enables you to give extra prominence to a comment with an extra border that appears around it. Kind of like a “favourite comment” system. Then you could have a favourite counter which appears at the top and a few quick links.

    In reality the commenting system on all the blogs need a serious AJAX and usability injection to bring it up to par.

  24. What is needed is a plug-in which enables you to give extra prominence to a comment with an extra border that appears around it. Kind of like a “favourite comment” system. Then you could have a favourite counter which appears at the top and a few quick links.

    In reality the commenting system on all the blogs need a serious AJAX and usability injection to bring it up to par.

  25. @Matt Roberts right some comments are better or have more weight I am fairly sure that I had Vint Cerf comment on one of my blog posts that got a mention and link from vallywag (which was kinda cool) so id I would defiantly want to highlight that as I would if Alex Payne had wanted to reply.

    maybe wordpress needs a comment voting system (probably limited to the author of the blog post) or sticky comment functionality (which I me sure could be done as a plugin)

  26. @Matt Roberts right some comments are better or have more weight I am fairly sure that I had Vint Cerf comment on one of my blog posts that got a mention and link from vallywag (which was kinda cool) so id I would defiantly want to highlight that as I would if Alex Payne had wanted to reply.

    maybe wordpress needs a comment voting system (probably limited to the author of the blog post) or sticky comment functionality (which I me sure could be done as a plugin)

  27. You raised so many of the issues I have about comments. Long strings, relevance. I often get a bunch of DMs on twitter telling me how people enjoyed the post instead of comments on the blog, and we all love comments.
    So people please while its fresh, leave a comment even if its to say interesting I enjoyed it.
    I use intense debate on my blog http://www.wisequeen.com which has Scoble on today by the way, for this reason so you can score points as a commenter.

  28. You raised so many of the issues I have about comments. Long strings, relevance. I often get a bunch of DMs on twitter telling me how people enjoyed the post instead of comments on the blog, and we all love comments.
    So people please while its fresh, leave a comment even if its to say interesting I enjoyed it.
    I use intense debate on my blog http://www.wisequeen.com which has Scoble on today by the way, for this reason so you can score points as a commenter.

  29. I think trade shows like CES are (slowly) on the way out. They are yesteryear’s way to get out product news. They were useful before the Internet. Now they’re questionable. Apple just dropped MacWorld and that says a lot. So maybe Gary’s comments are really less important than the other comments here.

  30. I think trade shows like CES are (slowly) on the way out. They are yesteryear’s way to get out product news. They were useful before the Internet. Now they’re questionable. Apple just dropped MacWorld and that says a lot. So maybe Gary’s comments are really less important than the other comments here.

  31. Are you running on a “.com” or “.org” WordPress? I’m on a “.org” and have disqus running my comment system and it works a TON better than using WordPress’ built-in comment system.

    I’m sure you’ve used it before, but feel free to drop on by and check it out. Link should be attached to the comment.

    -Adam

  32. Are you running on a “.com” or “.org” WordPress? I’m on a “.org” and have disqus running my comment system and it works a TON better than using WordPress’ built-in comment system.

    I’m sure you’ve used it before, but feel free to drop on by and check it out. Link should be attached to the comment.

    -Adam

  33. Why are you on WordPress.com? It’s painfully obvious you should have your own custom built blog running on your own server somewhere. If you had control of your source code all you’d have to say to your web dev is, “I need a way to flag great comments,” and 3 days later (tops) you’d be able to put little “Robert loves” badges onto comments you want emphasized.

    That’s the whole point of custom vs standard software. If you want features beyond what everyone else gets you need a custom solution. Build the blog you really want, Robert.

  34. Why are you on WordPress.com? It’s painfully obvious you should have your own custom built blog running on your own server somewhere. If you had control of your source code all you’d have to say to your web dev is, “I need a way to flag great comments,” and 3 days later (tops) you’d be able to put little “Robert loves” badges onto comments you want emphasized.

    That’s the whole point of custom vs standard software. If you want features beyond what everyone else gets you need a custom solution. Build the blog you really want, Robert.

  35. Hi Robert
    Chris Saad seems to have solutions. You should be able to ‘feature” comments and add an attached comment to it as an administrator.
    Did someone create a plugin for this?
    Coltrane swings, btw.

  36. Hi Robert
    Chris Saad seems to have solutions. You should be able to ‘feature” comments and add an attached comment to it as an administrator.
    Did someone create a plugin for this?
    Coltrane swings, btw.

  37. Robert, there are so many ways to handle this manually and programmatically it is not funny.

    First, every Comment has a unique link as you know:
    http://scobleizer.com/2008/12/16/are-bloggers-social-networks-killing-the-big-shows/#comment-2002366

    So in your article at the bottom, just add a “particularly significant” comment link and link to it …

    Second, you can custom do your theme to highlight a certain class of comments and then add a class to your comment form.

    Many things have karma … type of things running and I believe there is in fact a plug in that does something like that were people vote things up or down. See newsvine for an example of voting.

    I agree with folks who suggest you might use a few of your dollars or influence to run your own blog. It isn’t particularly expensive and you can customize to your hearts content. Given your A list status or whatever it is that makes folks tune in, you can probably even get someone to do it for you in exchange for their link on each of your pages. I know I might give that some consideration.

    Anyway, I’m not an important commenter … Let’s see what Gary thinks on this one.

  38. Robert, there are so many ways to handle this manually and programmatically it is not funny.

    First, every Comment has a unique link as you know:
    http://scobleizer.com/2008/12/16/are-bloggers-social-networks-killing-the-big-shows/#comment-2002366

    So in your article at the bottom, just add a “particularly significant” comment link and link to it …

    Second, you can custom do your theme to highlight a certain class of comments and then add a class to your comment form.

    Many things have karma … type of things running and I believe there is in fact a plug in that does something like that were people vote things up or down. See newsvine for an example of voting.

    I agree with folks who suggest you might use a few of your dollars or influence to run your own blog. It isn’t particularly expensive and you can customize to your hearts content. Given your A list status or whatever it is that makes folks tune in, you can probably even get someone to do it for you in exchange for their link on each of your pages. I know I might give that some consideration.

    Anyway, I’m not an important commenter … Let’s see what Gary thinks on this one.

  39. correction:
    Second, you can custom do your theme to highlight a certain class of comments and then add a class to your comment form.

    Should read to your comment DB, not form. Your reader doesn’t set it, you do.

  40. correction:
    Second, you can custom do your theme to highlight a certain class of comments and then add a class to your comment form.

    Should read to your comment DB, not form. Your reader doesn’t set it, you do.

  41. This was something I was planning to make for a while, but since you’re asking for it now, I’ll get right to it. Will update when ready :)

  42. This was something I was planning to make for a while, but since you’re asking for it now, I’ll get right to it. Will update when ready :)

  43. I’m sure you’ve heard of the plugin that ranks comments by quantity. I haven’t checked, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a plugin where you as the admin can star or “digg” someone’s comment, with the top ranking ones rewarded with a link from your front page (or something).

  44. I’m sure you’ve heard of the plugin that ranks comments by quantity. I haven’t checked, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a plugin where you as the admin can star or “digg” someone’s comment, with the top ranking ones rewarded with a link from your front page (or something).

  45. Saying that some comments should be promoted because they have more value than the rest has interesting and controversial consequences: the same could be said about blog posts, tweets, youtube videos, friendfeed links shared etc. Because, in essence, a comment is just another piece of content.
    Where does this all lead? To the unsolvable problem “who decides, what to promote, when and under what authority?”. I prefer the imperfect solution of crowds making the decision to the solution of any decisions taken by individuals, all too subjectively .

  46. Saying that some comments should be promoted because they have more value than the rest has interesting and controversial consequences: the same could be said about blog posts, tweets, youtube videos, friendfeed links shared etc. Because, in essence, a comment is just another piece of content.
    Where does this all lead? To the unsolvable problem “who decides, what to promote, when and under what authority?”. I prefer the imperfect solution of crowds making the decision to the solution of any decisions taken by individuals, all too subjectively .

  47. Good CMS software be out there, it just doesn’t come with WordPress. It’s not that “comments” overall suck, it’s just your default implementation of it. Commenting systems aren’t that important in blog software, it’s all about the singular broadcasting. Real powerful CMSes are too expensive for individuals, and the companies don’t deem fickle bloggers a relevant market, so you get blogs, feeds and wiki’s which, well suck. So to get anything of decent worth, once a site gets critical mass, you really have to hand-roll custom-program your own, and that’s quite expensive too.

  48. Good CMS software be out there, it just doesn’t come with WordPress. It’s not that “comments” overall suck, it’s just your default implementation of it. Commenting systems aren’t that important in blog software, it’s all about the singular broadcasting. Real powerful CMSes are too expensive for individuals, and the companies don’t deem fickle bloggers a relevant market, so you get blogs, feeds and wiki’s which, well suck. So to get anything of decent worth, once a site gets critical mass, you really have to hand-roll custom-program your own, and that’s quite expensive too.

  49. Robert, you make some great points here. Don’t know if you recall, but we talked at the Online News Assn. conference about the fact that the Medill School of Journalism (where I teach) is offering scholarships to computer programmers to (1) get a master’s in journalism and (2) work on an innovative project (with other students) that develops something relevant to the future of journalism. (Information about the scholarship program is available at http://www.medill.northwestern.edu/admissions/programmers.html.)

    It happens that the first project developed by a student team including these scholarship winners is (1) very relevant to your concerns about online comments and (2) now available online: http://newsmixer.us.

    Read/Write Web had a nice writeup about it today: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/newsmixer_an_innovative_community_news_framework.php

    For more information on News Mixer and how it came about, check out:
    * my posts about the project on the PBS Idealab blog: http://www.pbs.org/idealab/author/rich_gordon/
    * the class Web site: http://www.crunchberry.org

    The code behind News Mixer is open-sourced and available on Google Code: http://code.google.com/p/newsmixer/. We are hoping that others will “stand on our shoulders” and continue to develop this project.

  50. Robert, you make some great points here. Don’t know if you recall, but we talked at the Online News Assn. conference about the fact that the Medill School of Journalism (where I teach) is offering scholarships to computer programmers to (1) get a master’s in journalism and (2) work on an innovative project (with other students) that develops something relevant to the future of journalism. (Information about the scholarship program is available at http://www.medill.northwestern.edu/admissions/programmers.html.)

    It happens that the first project developed by a student team including these scholarship winners is (1) very relevant to your concerns about online comments and (2) now available online: http://newsmixer.us.

    Read/Write Web had a nice writeup about it today: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/newsmixer_an_innovative_community_news_framework.php

    For more information on News Mixer and how it came about, check out:
    * my posts about the project on the PBS Idealab blog: http://www.pbs.org/idealab/author/rich_gordon/
    * the class Web site: http://www.crunchberry.org

    The code behind News Mixer is open-sourced and available on Google Code: http://code.google.com/p/newsmixer/. We are hoping that others will “stand on our shoulders” and continue to develop this project.

  51. I think your idea misses the point, Robert. The whole purpose is to have a level field for everyone. It you start playing favorites the utility unravels.

  52. I think your idea misses the point, Robert. The whole purpose is to have a level field for everyone. It you start playing favorites the utility unravels.

  53. Yes, it’d be great to highlight comments by people with high social capital since it’s often a good indication of how relevant/interesting the comment is. But relevant to the reader may be a different thing (what counts as high social capital for you depends on your social network). Wouldn’t the best system be where the reader can order the comments either according to your (the author’s) estimation of social capital or according to theirs? I.e. either highlighting comments by people at the top of their social network (including, perhaps, Barack Obama) or by those at the top of yours?

  54. Yes, it’d be great to highlight comments by people with high social capital since it’s often a good indication of how relevant/interesting the comment is. But relevant to the reader may be a different thing (what counts as high social capital for you depends on your social network). Wouldn’t the best system be where the reader can order the comments either according to your (the author’s) estimation of social capital or according to theirs? I.e. either highlighting comments by people at the top of their social network (including, perhaps, Barack Obama) or by those at the top of yours?

  55. The underlying assumption above is that this blog has a single comment system. In actuality, it has two – the comment system I’m using now, and FriendFeed.

    So why not add a third comment system by invitation only where Gary Shapiro, Barack Obama, and other proven people can post?

  56. The underlying assumption above is that this blog has a single comment system. In actuality, it has two – the comment system I’m using now, and FriendFeed.

    So why not add a third comment system by invitation only where Gary Shapiro, Barack Obama, and other proven people can post?

  57. I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill. 2 things:

    1. It is a simple task to edit the original post, add a link to the comment in question, quote it and add a comment to the original post and then republish it. Lots of blogs do this already.

    2. Just because an important person posts a comment does not make the comment important, the content of the comment does. This is the beauty of the internet, the meritocracy of content. What is said is more important than who said it.

  58. I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill. 2 things:

    1. It is a simple task to edit the original post, add a link to the comment in question, quote it and add a comment to the original post and then republish it. Lots of blogs do this already.

    2. Just because an important person posts a comment does not make the comment important, the content of the comment does. This is the beauty of the internet, the meritocracy of content. What is said is more important than who said it.

  59. With threaded comments, the blog owner can easily comment on a comment to highlight its importance. This feature is now live in WordPress 2.7, and in distributed comment systems such as Disqus and Intense Debate.

    TypePad comments, too, come to think of it. All three support social media profiles to a greater or lesser extend, along with user voting, Open ID, and so on.

    There’s a lot not far down the turnpike.

  60. With threaded comments, the blog owner can easily comment on a comment to highlight its importance. This feature is now live in WordPress 2.7, and in distributed comment systems such as Disqus and Intense Debate.

    TypePad comments, too, come to think of it. All three support social media profiles to a greater or lesser extend, along with user voting, Open ID, and so on.

    There’s a lot not far down the turnpike.

  61. I disagree that content alone makes a post meritorious. It’s not only the content; the poster matters, relative to the content. Someone with more knowledge or experience in a subject has more weight with me. In posts about car repair, I’m going to give more credence to a mechanic with 15 years of professional service in commercial car repair or fleet maintenance than I am a weekend garage mechanic, especially when their opinions differ.

    But there’s a third value that’s also important: context. Robert said that Barack Obama’s post should have more weight that his. This depends. If the thread is about how to solve current domestic issues, or if the forum is on Change.gov, I might agree. But, if the topic is someone that Robert has talked to, then Mr. Obama’s (“I use Facebook”) post wouldn’t carry as much weight as Robert’s (“I’ve interviewed people at Facebook”), at least for me.

  62. I disagree that content alone makes a post meritorious. It’s not only the content; the poster matters, relative to the content. Someone with more knowledge or experience in a subject has more weight with me. In posts about car repair, I’m going to give more credence to a mechanic with 15 years of professional service in commercial car repair or fleet maintenance than I am a weekend garage mechanic, especially when their opinions differ.

    But there’s a third value that’s also important: context. Robert said that Barack Obama’s post should have more weight that his. This depends. If the thread is about how to solve current domestic issues, or if the forum is on Change.gov, I might agree. But, if the topic is someone that Robert has talked to, then Mr. Obama’s (“I use Facebook”) post wouldn’t carry as much weight as Robert’s (“I’ve interviewed people at Facebook”), at least for me.

  63. The irony of your comments about Gary Shapiro is I wonder how many of your other blog commenters — such as everyone posting above me — are known to you.

    Suppose you never met Gary nor heard his name. But you knew about the CES. If he posted a comment, not unlike mine here, would you know any different? And if not, why does it matter to point him out?

  64. The irony of your comments about Gary Shapiro is I wonder how many of your other blog commenters — such as everyone posting above me — are known to you.

    Suppose you never met Gary nor heard his name. But you knew about the CES. If he posted a comment, not unlike mine here, would you know any different? And if not, why does it matter to point him out?

  65. Robert,

    It is very easy to create a separate section for comments that you want to highlight on top of the rest of comments via CSS. You, as the publisher, click a button next to a comment you wish to emphasize and the div setting on the comment changes to `top` from `rest` and that comment moves on top of the rest.

    I am fundamentally against the idea though as the whole point of commenting is giving everyone a fair chance of expressing their views. You can instead move to a different mechanism with two ways of feedback: response vs. comment. Opinions submitted as response are moderated and you choose which one to approve and they are posted on top, right under your original post, the rest of the comments follow.

    Best,
    Basar

  66. Robert,

    It is very easy to create a separate section for comments that you want to highlight on top of the rest of comments via CSS. You, as the publisher, click a button next to a comment you wish to emphasize and the div setting on the comment changes to `top` from `rest` and that comment moves on top of the rest.

    I am fundamentally against the idea though as the whole point of commenting is giving everyone a fair chance of expressing their views. You can instead move to a different mechanism with two ways of feedback: response vs. comment. Opinions submitted as response are moderated and you choose which one to approve and they are posted on top, right under your original post, the rest of the comments follow.

    Best,
    Basar

  67. Hi Robert,

    I believe the reason no one has created a tool, to show certain commentors as ‘more important’ than others, is because there can’t be much demand.

    Whilst A-List bloggers like yourself often get industry leaders commenting on their blogs, many (including me) don’t. I write for small businesses and they are the all equally important to me and my readers.

    So, even though I recently had over 270 comments for one of my posts, I would never list one of those people as being more important than any other.

    I think for; you, Dvorak, Leo Laporte etc it might be a useful tool – not so sure of its value to the rest of us?

    Thanks for another interesting post Robert!

  68. Hi Robert,

    I believe the reason no one has created a tool, to show certain commentors as ‘more important’ than others, is because there can’t be much demand.

    Whilst A-List bloggers like yourself often get industry leaders commenting on their blogs, many (including me) don’t. I write for small businesses and they are the all equally important to me and my readers.

    So, even though I recently had over 270 comments for one of my posts, I would never list one of those people as being more important than any other.

    I think for; you, Dvorak, Leo Laporte etc it might be a useful tool – not so sure of its value to the rest of us?

    Thanks for another interesting post Robert!

  69. Hi Robert,
    you say two things very interesting :
    – “I don’t like editing people’s comments”
    – “sorry, being somebody does have some weight”
    That is all the problem as to me, on the one hand everybody has the right to comment any web content, and I think we agree with that point.

    But some comment are more relevant or have more weight.
    I think, this is a real topic, ’cause it is highly subjective. If I care about my friends, I want my friend comments to be highlighted, but nobody cares about except if Barak Obama is one of my friend…

    Indeed, your problem is how can I edit my blog?

  70. Hi Robert,
    you say two things very interesting :
    – “I don’t like editing people’s comments”
    – “sorry, being somebody does have some weight”
    That is all the problem as to me, on the one hand everybody has the right to comment any web content, and I think we agree with that point.

    But some comment are more relevant or have more weight.
    I think, this is a real topic, ’cause it is highly subjective. If I care about my friends, I want my friend comments to be highlighted, but nobody cares about except if Barak Obama is one of my friend…

    Indeed, your problem is how can I edit my blog?

  71. We highlight particular comments all the time on our blog, either by updating a post with the comment cut-and-pasted onto the front page, or else by addressing it in the comment thread itself.

    This seems pretty effective. IMHO, some situations really don’t need a new widget or a technology fix, they just need bloggers to be good caretakers of their blogs.

    But Robert, what you seem to be looking for is a magic pulse that goes out all across the land that says, ‘ZOMG! VIP X just commented on my blog!’ Me, I think you are selling your readership short, not to mention your own long-standing efforts to build up an intelligent, interactive community on this blog.

  72. We highlight particular comments all the time on our blog, either by updating a post with the comment cut-and-pasted onto the front page, or else by addressing it in the comment thread itself.

    This seems pretty effective. IMHO, some situations really don’t need a new widget or a technology fix, they just need bloggers to be good caretakers of their blogs.

    But Robert, what you seem to be looking for is a magic pulse that goes out all across the land that says, ‘ZOMG! VIP X just commented on my blog!’ Me, I think you are selling your readership short, not to mention your own long-standing efforts to build up an intelligent, interactive community on this blog.

  73. The problem of context, and being able to get more info about someone, without leaving the page, is *exactly* what we do.

    Your Retaggr Card is sort of a business card 2.0. All your personal, social and professional info, is in there, and the content you generate on on the web (Flickr, twitter, etc.) is there too.

    But here’s the cool bit : add our wordpress (.org) plugin, and when people leave comments on your blog, instead of just having the url to the person, their Retaggr card pops up and does exactly what you want Robert – you can see their Friendfeed, twitter, etc., and get to know them.

    Think of it as the gravatar idea but taken to the next level.

    You can see it in action on our test blog : http://www.spicevine.com
    Or more info : http://www.retaggr.com

  74. The problem of context, and being able to get more info about someone, without leaving the page, is *exactly* what we do.

    Your Retaggr Card is sort of a business card 2.0. All your personal, social and professional info, is in there, and the content you generate on on the web (Flickr, twitter, etc.) is there too.

    But here’s the cool bit : add our wordpress (.org) plugin, and when people leave comments on your blog, instead of just having the url to the person, their Retaggr card pops up and does exactly what you want Robert – you can see their Friendfeed, twitter, etc., and get to know them.

    Think of it as the gravatar idea but taken to the next level.

    You can see it in action on our test blog : http://www.spicevine.com
    Or more info : http://www.retaggr.com

  75. There are wordpress plugina which allow you to add a field into the comments form which allows the user to add their Twitter username.

    Thats a start, but I agree with your, there needs to be some sort of comment ranking system which allows users to easily identify priority comments over Joe Blogs.

  76. There are wordpress plugina which allow you to add a field into the comments form which allows the user to add their Twitter username.

    Thats a start, but I agree with your, there needs to be some sort of comment ranking system which allows users to easily identify priority comments over Joe Blogs.

  77. robert,

    i used disqus, and liked it so much that we invested in the company.

    there are other third party comment systems and most of them are mentioned here

    think of a third party comment systems as a “blog for your commenters”

    they gain status from commenting and their comments gain weight as others like them and rate them

    i also use disqus’ reblog feature to highlight the best comments i get right on the front page of my blog.

    bottom line is that comments don’t suck if you invest in them, treat them as real content, and put them in a system that allows them to thrive

    fred

  78. robert,

    i used disqus, and liked it so much that we invested in the company.

    there are other third party comment systems and most of them are mentioned here

    think of a third party comment systems as a “blog for your commenters”

    they gain status from commenting and their comments gain weight as others like them and rate them

    i also use disqus’ reblog feature to highlight the best comments i get right on the front page of my blog.

    bottom line is that comments don’t suck if you invest in them, treat them as real content, and put them in a system that allows them to thrive

    fred

  79. Robert,
    You said “Matt: sorry, being somebody does have some weight.”

    Who determines if you are indeed “somebody”?

    Why don’t you close your comments if they “suck” as you say.

    If what Gary had to say was so important, YOU make the determination on your blog and promote it as a post.

    Also, talk to WordPress and have them put a rating type of system in place where readers promote worthy coments to the top of the comment section and of course YOUR rating would have a larger weight in the promotion algorithm.

  80. Robert,
    You said “Matt: sorry, being somebody does have some weight.”

    Who determines if you are indeed “somebody”?

    Why don’t you close your comments if they “suck” as you say.

    If what Gary had to say was so important, YOU make the determination on your blog and promote it as a post.

    Also, talk to WordPress and have them put a rating type of system in place where readers promote worthy coments to the top of the comment section and of course YOUR rating would have a larger weight in the promotion algorithm.

  81. Why not implement a rating system for comments just like we rate other content? Then the highest rated (theoretically most intelligent) commenters will rise to the top as voted by all readers. Seems simple enough.

  82. Why not implement a rating system for comments just like we rate other content? Then the highest rated (theoretically most intelligent) commenters will rise to the top as voted by all readers. Seems simple enough.

  83. Sorry, Robert, but you’re way off here. The concept of “importance” is a value judgment. While content must be judged objectively (does it relate factual information), its *value* to any particular reader is determined by that reader answering two additional questions: (1) To whom does this information apply? (2) For what purpose?

    What you’re proposing is similar to saying “the sun is an important value.” Most would not argue on a geophysical scale. But to a specific reader (valuer), the question becomes… is the sun an important value in Kansas in August after it hasn’t rained for four months? Is it a value for someone with a home using solar energy? Obviously, each answer (and the intrinsic “importance” of the sun) would be different in these cases.

    Madoff was a very important man. I’m sure all of his comments would be highlighted as Priority One in a mechanism similar to what you propose… right up until everyone finds out he’s built his “importance” on sand.

  84. Sorry, Robert, but you’re way off here. The concept of “importance” is a value judgment. While content must be judged objectively (does it relate factual information), its *value* to any particular reader is determined by that reader answering two additional questions: (1) To whom does this information apply? (2) For what purpose?

    What you’re proposing is similar to saying “the sun is an important value.” Most would not argue on a geophysical scale. But to a specific reader (valuer), the question becomes… is the sun an important value in Kansas in August after it hasn’t rained for four months? Is it a value for someone with a home using solar energy? Obviously, each answer (and the intrinsic “importance” of the sun) would be different in these cases.

    Madoff was a very important man. I’m sure all of his comments would be highlighted as Priority One in a mechanism similar to what you propose… right up until everyone finds out he’s built his “importance” on sand.

  85. My question is how much information do you really need when someone leaves a comment? A comment’s worth is primarily based upon what the person says not who they are, I would think.

  86. My question is how much information do you really need when someone leaves a comment? A comment’s worth is primarily based upon what the person says not who they are, I would think.

  87. The issue is not, “Why blogging comments suck”. I’ve seen plenty of fine blog comment systems. If you were hosting the blog yourself and were capable of programming in PHP, you could hack out a comment rating plugin in a rather short period of time.

    Additionally, it’s not like you can’t edit important comments and add a small graphic or something.

    The headline should have been, “Why my blogging comments suck”

  88. The issue is not, “Why blogging comments suck”. I’ve seen plenty of fine blog comment systems. If you were hosting the blog yourself and were capable of programming in PHP, you could hack out a comment rating plugin in a rather short period of time.

    Additionally, it’s not like you can’t edit important comments and add a small graphic or something.

    The headline should have been, “Why my blogging comments suck”

  89. I've been used Disqus to secure my comment and to be interactive. It is also easy and fast to start using, whether you are a website owner or just a commenter.