a companion discussion area for blog.codinghorror.com

Please Read The Comments


Yea I do this now with fb comments, simple embed in the theme. Very easy. I would argue Comment system built into Ghost would be bad, better to keep it agnostic… Just embed Discus, FB, or (preferably) Discourse…


Jeff, glad to see comments come back to your blog. Two problems I see right off:

The “x replies” text under a comment that has been replied to is far too faint to see unless I mouse over the comment. I’d like to be able to know if someone has responded to a comment without having to muck around with the mouse.

Also, can the full text of the original post please be reproduced at the top of the page of comments?


The biggest issue I’ve had with Stack Overflow is that the moderators are a little TOO efficient (from my limited experience). Having your post slammed down by a moderator and simply linked to a ‘doesn’t have enough detail’ is quite rough for a new user. Good moderators also have to be welcoming to new users, rather than throwing their weight around for 100% of cases.

It’s an issue with many technical communities, and it doesn’t have to be that way. Stack Overflow already has a way to surface good answers to the top, so there’s plenty of opportunity to let folks make mistakes without ‘polluting’ the accuracy of the answer.


I really enjoyed this post.


It’s good that you’re acknowledging that risk, but you should recognize that your actual blog post trivializes the issue. You write (primarily) about software, and you’re recognizably part of a privileged majority culture, so generally speaking, the comments on your blog are not going to be the of the “frequently misogynistic, homophobic, racist” variety that the anti-comment-reading movement is trying to avoid. (Or at least, the comments will be less vitriolic and hateful, and you personally will be a less frequent target.) The point is that in your case, poor comment quality may only amount to “so many pesky words,” but your view that this is a useful or accurate summary of the state of all unhealthy commenting communities is essentially blinkered and myopic.


I was curious if it would ever be possible to claim post we made prior to the conversion, but after looking at some of the post from my alter ego @jamesm I’m not sure I want to. There are a few of those attributed to me I doubt I would write on my worst day. One in particular manages to be both more intelligent and more crudely vulgar than I can claim to be. (ok I can by that crude and vulgar, but I’m generally not in internet discussions) And quite a few covering areas of knowledge I don’t have. I’d prefer not to take credit for either the good or that bad that isn’t mine.

Is it possible that the conversion combine any post from a user with the name James M* into one user? I know all to well that James Morgan is a common enough name that you might have more than one that has commented in the past, but that seems unlikely.


@VenTatsu, see this meta post:


Actual human “moderation” is bad, because far too often moderators are on power trips, and there’s no higher authority to appeal to when a moderator is being an asshole. I had that problem a few times on boingboing (Discourse), which is why I don’t bother with them any more. So I wouldn’t say Discourse has improved this situation so far.

What is needed is a user reputation system.

Digg v3 was the only good comment system I’ve ever used, at least having upvotes and downvotes let you read only the best comments, and never see the stupid ones. I miss Digg v3.


You shouldn’t have to delete them. With a reputation system in place, people would know that “first” posts would get them downvotes.


If you don’t like quotes in a flat discussion system… you’re gonna have a bad time. Did you ever notice that my blog posts have quotes in them? They do!

Every blog of a certain size is a de-facto community. If you have 20+ regulars showing up and hanging around for just about every blog post, you have a community. For smaller blogs, that might not be true. Of course it depends what your goals are.

It has been improved, but will never be a full-bore embedding scenario. It’s more of a “here are my latest tweets!” or “here is the latest RSS!” panel. An observation window.

See this meta post.

Where did I say that? I don’t think I ever said that. I refer you to the official Discourse guidelines that ship with every Discourse instance

Downvotes have no place in systems of discussion based on opinion. They should be flagged, sure.


The knock on libertarians shows a lack of understanding of what libertarianism is about. Libertarians uses the non-aggression principle as its basis with a strong belief in property rights. So, if someone wants to moderate their comments they can, its their blog, its their property. If someone doesn’t want to moderate comments then that’s OK, it’s their property. Libertarianism recognizes the the plurality of society and has a live and let live attitude within the bounds of NAP/property rights. And when I say live and let live I am not saying that means people can’t suggest to one another better ways to behave/live/act, as long as they don’t go out of the bounds of NAP/property rights.

I like Stack Overflow but its communities has serious problems with the moderators and the way it is set up. Michael Richter articulated it best - you might have to visit the googled cached version, it seems his website was down.


Indeed, good point, I updated the graph with the proper attribution link.


Well that was the point I was making, flat discussion is not very good in my opinion (too little offtopic, confusing, hard to follow a single person train of thought). On the other hand the threading model of slashdot is not that much better either (too much offtopic). I was hoping for something better when I first heard of Discourse. Quoting works for blogs because you can easily follow the full train of thought of a single person (the blogger).

Although I have to say that Discourse implementation of quoting is superb, you can open the full post for each quote which is an exceptional feature that any discussion with quoting should have. But if you plan to go ahead with it you should allow recursive quoting like I tried to do here (and failed).

When I first head of Discourse I was hoping something new, something better. What I see is a very good implementation of classic forum-like discussion boards.

Also I suggest you make your own icons, I am tired of seeing font-awesome everywhere (said by someone who uses font-awesome extensively in his own projects). Do it or go fa fa-home.


It seems to me to be fairly clearly implied throughout your post, but I think I misunderstood the particular sentence I quoted about “pesky words.” I thought you were referring to “poor” comments being “so many pesky words,” but now I realize that may have just been a humorous way to transition to the little “esteem for humanity” graph.

I still think, however, that you are unfairly downplaying (or perhaps merely underestimating) the negative aspects of abusive comments. For instance, in what might be considered your thesis paragraph, you say:

The emphasis, of course, is mine. “Noise” is the only negative aspect of comments that you explicitly acknowledge. I generally dislike the term “privilege” (and the related phrase “check your privilege”) in this sort of context, but I can’t shake the feeling that your stance on the “don’t read the comments” issue is inextricably tied to your privileged position of being fortunate enough not to have to deal with the same level of vitriol that some other writers face.

I don’t think I’m being disrespectful by pointing this out, so I’m not sure why you’re referring me to the guidelines page.


I’m a little surprised that this Discourse instance, associated with Jeff’s own site, isn’t connected to the username registry. I’ve noticed that it hasn’t been used for many installations, but assumed that Jeff’s installation would want to show off that capability.


No, I am not. What I “said” was these guidelines:


Which are documented here.

This is what is built into Discourse. That’s the goal. That’s what I said, that is what is documented.

Is there any reason a theoretical community of transgender people could not adopt this proposed set of guidelines – and the tools to make enforcement of said guidelines easy and automatic and crowdsourced in Discourse?

codinghorror said:
Rammstein said:
get them downvotes
Downvotes have no place in systems of discussion based on opinion. They should be *flagged*, sure.

That’s some great inside the box thinking. Downvotes are for the quality/politeness of the post, not disagreeing with the opinion.


Huh? I distinctly remember that being what they get used for. It doesn’t matter what the instructions say: given the design of the software, people use downvotes for disagreement.

Discourse’s flags have options for dealing with the politeness and quality of the post: Inappropriate, and Notify User.

And if you disagree, write a reply. As I’m doing right now.


Why not the on same page though? This feels a bit more like commenting about a blog on Hacker News/ reddit for example rather than directly to the blog itself.

There are no links that encourage the user to make a comment or reply to another comment. Just the vague “continue the discussion” link.


I moved 2 posts to an existing topic: Why not quote the full blog post in each topic?