Please Read The Comments

I think very few discussions have two sides. And way too many discussions have a bunch of internet commenters whose interest is not in contributing to the discussion that is desired. For your example, you’re likely to get a bunch of “there is no such thing as racsim” and “racism doesn’t exist any more” comments, plus inevitably “I’m a white dude and someone was racist to me”. None of them are “the other side” that you mention, and they simply don’t have any place in a discussion of discrimination against black people. Anyone taking part has already heard those comments, probably multiple times.

The question I want asked is “does this comment help the discussion?” If the answer is no, the comment should be deleted or at least moved to a different thread.

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Selective quoting appears to be broken, and “sorry, new users cannot upload images”

I also can only add three replies. So I’m editing in my reply: Firefox 27.01 on Win8.1. Interestingly I’m now seeing just the selective quote. It appears to be a timed “full view”, which (obviously) I found confusing.

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Selective quoting should work. What browser, version, and OS?

New users are prevented from posting images by default, yes. There is a bit of new user sandboxing. Spend some time reading topics here and that restriction is automatically lifted.

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I really like the downvote options on SO/SE sites, and think they add a lot to comment threads too. And I’m not convinced that replying to every single idiotic post with a reasoned explanation of why it’s a bad post is going to work. I mean, this post has a bunch of stupid “first!!” comments at the top. Should I reply to those explaining why I think that habit is a bad one that lowers the value of every comment thread that it infects? Would that really help fix the problem? I’d love to see the statistics behind your affirmative answer.

And I second the “great, you just doubled the number of tabs I have open” problem. The lack of any connection between the two windows is especially annoying if I open a tab or two while reading the post, then open a tab to add a comment. I suspect that hurdle is intentional, you’re trying to discourage comments unless they’re worth the extra hassle. Not convinced (having recently enabled disqus and jumped through their hoops to comment on a different site, that’s something I will very rarely do - the little “click to let disqus track you” button effectively hides the comments entirely).

Does it?

I tolerated those for a bit as comments were filling in, but now we have real discussion. As it turns out, I just deleted them right before I read your reply. :gun:

  1. At a high-end course on “Facebook Marketing,” we were told that censoring/editing/gating comments would hurt our business by eroding trust. My response: Ha. Ha. Ha.

  2. Most ungated Web communities are sick. Duh.

  3. The best self-governing community I’ve seen was the SFGate sports section. It was plain, plain, plan. Just threaded comments with thumbs-up / thumbs-down icons. Nobody wanted to look like a turd, and the up/down counts appeared beside each comment. It was wonderful - long threads of intelligent comments that gave real insights.

And then, of course, some middle manager at this typical foot-shooting newspaper website decided to listen to the graphic designer who said he could make it pretty. And thus it died.

  1. Horrible decision to make readers jump over 400 meters of hurdles to learn to use Discourse (where IS that damn comment box?). Really - it’s putting somebody’s good idea above what people expect and need - “I’ll interrupt my busy day to read Jeff’s stuff because it’s good. But, Jesus Christ, do I really have to self-flagellate by learning a new GUI in order to read what others say and post my simple comment. (WHERE IS the bloody comment box?)”

I don’t see where making us use Discourse adds one whit of civility.

I famously said that A blog without comments is not a blog and I stand behind that statement.

I’ve heard this argument from a lot of people and I have yet to understand why they make it. You go from “your blog should have comments” to this rather quickly:

In other words, if you are unwilling to moderate your online community, you don’t deserve to have an online community.

I don’t have nor do I want an “online community”. And by the way yes I am enjoying the irony in writing this as a comment on your blog. Mostly it’s because I wanted to see how Discourse would fare thus.

I know this post was written largely to pimp Discourse as a way of discussing one’s blog - but you make it with some rather strong assertions - none of which have any type of point which I can sink my teeth into. You’re basically saying “You should have comments because I think you should” and hey that’s neat but they don’t work out well for me.

Now we move on to the next point:

If your website is full of assholes, it’s your fault.

I would agree with this, but it’s half of an argument. The assumption you’re making is that I’m an asshole too - which many would agree with and that’s fine. I write posts that are challenging and some would even suggest they’re more than that. I maintain that I, like you, have some strong opinions. Unlike you I don’t claim that they’re weakly-held. They’re not and when you engage me on something I tend to engage back - and that’s when comments go to hell.

Let me expand on this a bit more. I do enable comments on some posts - typically posts where I’m writing code and am very interested in a conversation. On many others - I don’t want a conversation on the post itself. If people want to start one, take it to HN or Reddit. I like to think I’m OK with this decision because it’s my blog.

I left comments on a post I just wrote about Repositories and UnitOfWork. I had a particular point of view on the matter - it’s why I wrote the post. People had some good questions and overall the comments were going fine until the .NET faithful decided what I wrote wasn’t worthy and therefore I was an idiot (and was called that a few times).

I don’t mind being called names - it usually means the commenter has no other point of view. And that’s my point - why fill up my time and page with something that amounts to standing next to me and farting? This is your suggestion - that I need to allow people to come to my blog, to call me names rather than to engage, otherwise “it’s to a blog”.

I say “yes, it is a blog. It’s my blog” and if you don’t want to read - up to you.


Excellent. If those comments had survived, millions would have died from the facepalms.


Would certainly like to see this as some kind of option on ghost pro, though, probably would depend on the cost, heh. This is an interesting take on comments, though. Curious where it will go.

If you expect a lot of crappy comments, blogging platforms allow moderating comments before they are displayed on the site. That way you can simply ignore or delete any comments which you wouldn’t want to display, which I believe is a very efficient way to starve the trolls.

I’m guessing part of the point is also self-moderation. For my own part, realising that I wouldn’t want to enable comments while working on a blog post would make me think at least twice about whether the post is even worth publishing.

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Jeff, maybe those links should open in a new window `by default´… I clicked on them from and the first one opened inside some kind of iframe and the second one didn’t open. When you click on them from they work ok.

Discourse looks great!

An interesting question you should ask here,

How are comments looking here, compared to say another popular post like:

I would argue that discussion on this blog post is way richer and more interesting than the discussion there. Formatting, quoting, replying, liking all bring a different dimension to discussing. Further more weeding out people who did not really have something important to say is very valuable.

To me this all feels way more civil and engaging.

I should have expanded on this a bit more… it takes some time to do that for every post - and I certainly do that for the posts where I do allow comments. The net effect, however, is you see up-close and personal the sad state of “discourse” we have. People are less interested in talking about the points you make, more interested in “Rob’s doing X again ROFL”. For me, personally, it’s completely fatiguing.

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I guess your argument here boils down to:

I often create controversial posts, life is too short, I don’t want to be arguing with these people on my blog.

I would argue you are an edge case :slight_smile: … in all my years of blogging I can’t ever recall heated arguments like that on my blog posts. What I do recall is having software that was seriously flawed at handling the job of commenting. No reply by email, no notifications, no way to engage, poor way of dealing with spam and the list goes on.

I would argue that you could still have Discourse powered comments for every blog post you have. You have control around which comments are presented on your blog’s side. Show no comments, some comments, best comments. You know … Lot, Gamorra, Sandstones, whatever. Even in a room full of heated debate often some interesting discussion can arise, I would much prefer to have that discussion was controlled by me … on my blog than on hacker news or reddit. Dealing with trolls is way easier when you have software that is apt at dealing with it.

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a blog without comments enabled is not a blog"

I disagree. This is like saying a column in a paper without comments is not a column. Comments are a companion or an extra to a blog. Millions of people read blogs without reading any comments. The blogs are still useful.

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Its a bit of splitting hairs here, perhaps this is more accurate.

“A blog without commenting is very different to a blog with commenting”

Or perhaps the very accurate

“A blog without commenting is an online article”


"…Really hate having to (edit:two) windows open."
You must be one of the very few who doesn’t have more than one browser tab open

Well, the principle problem, and @sam’s complaint, is that you have to switch between the two to compose your response.

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I think this is the last comment I’m allowed to make unless the default 3 replies has changed :). You’re close, but that’s not what my argument boils down to.

As stated - it’s fatiguing seeing people respond to the posts I write with little more than a “U SUCK” after I’ve spent hours trying to get my point across without arm-waving. True, life is short and I don’t want to spend my time responding to TL;DR “not sure what you said but here let me frame your words to what I want to talk about”.

Discourse is lovely but frankly I feel (right now) like I’m in a room full of 100 different conversations that I can’t follow. I know Jeff hates threaded arguments but I find it hard to read. Lots of words - amounting to what really? What’s the point of this thread? That we should use Discourse to have a discussion about a blog that says we should use Discourse to have a discussion?

I walk away from here with what exactly? I think the point is that you guys put a lot of work into Discourse and we should try it for comments - and that’s a great point! I don’t have comments on my blog and I’m happy with Disqus. To me that’s sort of where the conversation ends? Is there anything left?

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You have ways of dealing with this though, ban the real problem users, keep comments for super controversial stuff on the Discourse side only. My point is that I would much prefer to have the content owned by me then on reddit/hn, cause sometimes … even controversial stuff has interesting and insightful commenting.

I am super curious to see how Discourse would fare for the style of comments you get.

Threaded vs non-Threaded is a never ending argument. People are often staunchly on one side or another side. Discourse is hybrid flat, you can still expand replies and quotes to get context.

On one side you have a better platform for 100 different discussions under one topic. On the other side you have a conversation that is practically impossible to track without constantly hitting the refresh button and re-reading stuff you read a hundred times.

As to what you are left from after this discussion, I am not sure.

I guess the point of the blog post is that you should enable commenting, discussion seems healthy enough for a topic that is not that sexy. I would imagine that most people who are super anti comments would not bother leaving interesting arguments here.