JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2009/10/ok-what-do-you-want.html (34 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1255656761-613648  BlogDog at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 01:32:41 +0000

I'd rather you fight than switch.

Tarey Tahn

jsid-1255657046-613649  DJ at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 01:37:26 +0000

I find comment threading to be a feature in search of a need. Your mileage may vary.

My only complaint about Haloscan has been reliability. It's feature set is fine with me.

jsid-1255658457-613650  Kevin Baker at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 02:00:57 +0000

That's two against . . .

jsid-1255658759-613652  Linoge at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 02:05:59 +0000

Assuming its old-comment-import is bulletproof, I would not be oppposed... if only to fix your blockquotes ;).

jsid-1255660860-613656  Jerry the Geek at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 02:41:00 +0000

I've skimmed briefly thru the ECHO website. It's obviously designed for blogs with more traffic than mine, but it may work out well with yours.

I definitely think you should try it out. After all, a dollar a month is dirt cheap.

And if it doesn't work for you, I'll know not to try it.

My only concern is, if it does NOT work, how difficult is it to switch back to Haloscan?

So ... do, please install Echo. Be a beta-tester, or gamma-tester, or whatever. We all love it when someone else challenges the new frontier -- and takes the arrow for the rest of us.

jsid-1255661315-613657  kahr40 at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 02:48:35 +0000

I've had no problems commenting with Haloscan.

jsid-1255663779-613658  Ed "What the" Heckman at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 03:29:39 +0000

I don't see a need for comment threading. In fact, it can be down-right difficult to find new comments with such a system.

But there are four problems I do see with HaloScan:

1 - Reliability. Need I say more?

2 - Broken blockquotes. All it would take is a simple change to the CSS file, but it hasn't happened For. Years!

3 - Searching. Gotta have it, especially when Marky says something stupid which has already been addressed.

4 - Link Limits. Three active links is just too limiting when you're trying to write a comment that uses a lot of research. While I found that HaloScan will automatically turn a raw address into an active link, and that you can have more than three of those links in a comment, it's just not as good as being able to use as many proper (a reasonable number, anyway) anchor tags as needed.

If Echo solves these problems and can be used without threading, or at least has an easy way to find new comments, then I say go for it.

P.S., It would also be nice if the storage of the default name didn't choke on double-quotes. (Every time I go to comment, I have to put everything after "Ed" back into the name field.)

jsid-1255664014-613659  Bill at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 03:33:34 +0000

I don't comment much, so I don't care one way or another. The question to ask yourself though is this:

Assume that you chose to implement the new comment tool, and assume that it turns out to be a complete and total disaster. What would it take to revert back to your old system? Would you lose monetarily? How about the ability to retain your existing comments? Would they be trashed during the conversion?

If you can unroll the change easily in the event of trouble, then sure - go for it. But only after you have a good backup in place!

jsid-1255664612-613660  Jim at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 03:43:32 +0000

Threads are for forums.

Comments are comments.

Threaded comments tend to become self-isolating individual blog-posts within the larger comment thread, both stealing thunder from the original post, and often rendering following a cogent conversation in general comments unreadable in chronological terms.

My take?

Doom on threaded comments.



Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX

jsid-1255665817-613661  Kevin S at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 04:03:37 +0000

I like it fine the way it is - why fix something that isn't broke? - but hey, it's your blog. I'll comment either way, just as infrequently :)

jsid-1255673005-613664  pdwalker at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 06:03:25 +0000

The only thing I'd like to see in a comment system is that replies are emailed rather than just links to the comment thread. It makes it easier to follow the comments.

Other than that? I see nothing terribly wrong with the comment system you already have.

jsid-1255673217-613666  Britt at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 06:06:57 +0000

Count another vote for keeping it the way it is. Running around changing things just because we can....well, it's rather lefty.

jsid-1255677898-613667  Regolith at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 07:24:58 +0000

The biggest problem I have with your current setup is that I can't middle click to have the comments open up in a new Firefox tab; I have to left click to open up a new window. It's a bit annoying, as I don't like to have a lot of windows opened up at once.

Threading can be both good and bad. I've seen it get so completely out of hand on high-traffic blogs that it makes it impossible to follow a conversation, particularly when everyone is replying to a low-value comment. On the other hand, it works well in low-traffic blogs where the use of threading is minimal.

jsid-1255695398-613669  Brigid at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 12:16:38 +0000

I read much more than I ever comment, but the only once I've ever had trouble with on anyone's site is wordpress comments. Give it a try if you want. But we'd appreciate feedback if it's not what you expected.

jsid-1255696578-613670  geekWithA.45 at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 12:36:18 +0000

Echo seems pretty interested in merging commenting with social media-esque systems...which is perhaps not bad, but we must wonder to whom the benefit of such an arrangement accrues. Site owner? Commenting community? Comment vendor? Entities that own the system of identity and tech unification of a community obtain and leverage significant value from their users, and especially from site hosts who bring them users. Is the value exchange fair, or unbalanced? {shrugs}

Jury's out for me on threaded comments. I can see long threads branching in terms of their sub topics and digressions. There's more than a touch of forumlike feature in that, which I think fits...honestly, the form of comments as we know them today is very much the inertia of the design of early, crappy implementations.

So, as to what commenters here value, it seems like it is:

* The ability to express structured discourse, with lots of citation like links.

* The ability to link to points within comments, when calling out the assertions of others

* The ability to block quote the quotes of others

* The ability to search not only the thread, but the aggregated threads of this site.

It's not clear to me whether echo serves those ends much better than the incumbent or not, but it seems like it *might* be worth a trial run on a few posts.

jsid-1255697583-613671  Unix-Jedi at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 12:53:03 +0000

I don't know about Echo, but Haloscan bites the big one, especially for sites where big discussions get going.

The biggest problem with Haloscan is it's a "disjointed" system - the comments aren't tied to the post.
What post does: http://www.haloscan.com/comments/khbaker/7455472563871117966/

Go with? I can figure it out programmaticallym but not via any system that should be there.

Add to that that after a while, Haloscan reports "0 Comments" - despite how many are actually there. (This is why Google misses a *lot* of the comments in the archives - it's not searching them, since it's "seen" that there aren't any to go index. Some of the 100+ comment threads are hidden behind the "0 Comments".

To me, that's the biggest sin - now you can't search comments. (I noticed this looking for a couple of threads where I knew something was said - I remembered the post, found it in archives, and it said no comments - clicking on it though revealed a lot of them.)

Keeping the info in the comments is relatively simple. I can do it in (not that long).. and Robb probably could do it inside of that, and go to lunch and come back.

jsid-1255707953-613680  DJ at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 15:45:53 +0000

"Searching. Gotta have it, especially when Marky says something stupid which has already been addressed."


Yes, good search tools would be very nice.

"Link Limits."


Yes, link limits should be vastly increased.

jsid-1255724309-613697  DirtCrashr at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 20:18:29 +0000

What IS comment threading - what's it LOOK like? If it ends up looking at all like this, you can forget me ever returning, seriously. I once tried to hold a discussion with that guy and wound up in Total Wonderland.

Also, I went back from HoloScan to Blogger commenting because I was getting too much SPAM off Haloscan including SPAM-backtracks - I get Zip Nada at Blogspot.

jsid-1255724796-613700  Kevin Baker at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 20:26:36 +0000


In comment threading, you can respond to a specific comment, and your reply will appear below that specific comment, slightly indented. Subsequent responses to that original comment will appear below yours. Responses to YOUR response will appear, again slightly indented, below YOUR comment. It's pretty apparent when a sub-discussion is taking place, and you don't have to read through every comment to follow the discussion like you do now.

jsid-1255729238-613703  Peter at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 21:40:38 +0000

So long as U-J is happy...


jsid-1255732725-613705  DirtCrashr at Fri, 16 Oct 2009 22:38:45 +0000

Ok I get that. Like Usenet. It will be an interesting challenge for your Marx-bot to keep-up because it drives everything Left to Right!

jsid-1255747509-613713  Bilgeman at Sat, 17 Oct 2009 02:45:09 +0000

"In comment threading, you can respond to a specific comment, and your reply will appear below that specific comment, slightly indented. Subsequent responses to that original comment will appear below yours. Responses to YOUR response will appear, again slightly indented, below YOUR comment."

My God, man! That will make The Smallest Minority look like Democratic Fucking Underground!

The Horror....The Horror!

One of the charms of clunky old Haloscan, especially on a blog like this one, is it does rather enforce people remaining on point.

With your commentariat, I don't think that will be much of a problem, except your bestest chum Markadelphia will be dragging his "Opprobrium Tail" through your comment section like Godzilla through Tokyo, but I guess that comes with the territory.

Seing as how you're being shoehorned into it, I'm sure we'll all adapt.

But I heartily endorse shooting at dawn the first varlet who uses:

"+1" and/or "Bump".

My two Pelosi's worth of opinyun on the matter.

jsid-1255788595-613723  DJ at Sat, 17 Oct 2009 14:09:55 +0000

Hmmm ...

Think of all the broken links in the imported comments, those that now point to comments in Haloscan.

Bummer ...

jsid-1255798813-613724  Stephen R at Sat, 17 Oct 2009 17:00:13 +0000

Comment for: http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2009/10/ok-what-do-you-want.html

Bad points:

1. Any links to existing comments will probably be broken.

2. Threads will probably not be good on this blog. If you can turn them off, do so.

Good points(?):

1. Hopefully the new system will be clever enough to actually link back to the posts. (Then I can stop putting the "comment on" links in my comments ;-) )

BTW Kevin -- If you ever have a mind to move your blog to WordPress, I'd be happy to help you out.

jsid-1255801419-613725  Magus at Sat, 17 Oct 2009 17:43:39 +0000

Checked it out at the link provided. It looks like mangy dog ass -- overall I'd rate Echo as "meh".

I don't believe commenting to a blog post is "Social Networking" which is what Echo bills itself as a tool for.

jsid-1255803094-613726  DJ at Sat, 17 Oct 2009 18:11:34 +0000

Magus, I finally took the time to look at it, too. (I bin bizzy.)


Complaints are, in the order they occur to me as I look at a sample site:

1) Light gray text on a white background? Why not use invisible ink?

2) Little pictures of all the commenters? In engineering terms, it's called "chart junk". It is decoration that serves no purpose but has a cost; it eats up space, memory, and bandwidth. I'm not ten years old; I don't need cute and I'm not cute.

3) I see a handful of comments, then a "More" button. I hit "More" and a few more comments appear. I hit "More" and a few more comments appear. I hit "More" and a few more comments appear. And so on ... How about showing them all, or at least adding a "show all" button? Goddamn, but that's annoying.

4) I don't see a "Preview" button. If it were my blog, this would be a killer.

I am not impressed yet.

jsid-1255808148-613729  Stephen R at Sat, 17 Oct 2009 19:35:48 +0000

"Little pictures of all the commenters?"

Actually, avatars are useful for following conversations and keeping track of who said what. It's just a visual cue as to who said what (and humans are very visual creatures).

A good system will take those commenters who don't have avatars and make an image from their IP address. Looks like a geometric shape of varying colors.

jsid-1255911682-613745  DirtCrashr at Mon, 19 Oct 2009 00:21:22 +0000

Death to "Bump"! Banishment to the outer islands for "+1".

jsid-1255912003-613746  DJ at Mon, 19 Oct 2009 00:26:43 +0000

"Actually, avatars are useful for following conversations and keeping track of who said what."

That's what names are for.

jsid-1255918855-613751  Ken at Mon, 19 Oct 2009 02:20:55 +0000

Is Echo something like what Marko Kloos uses at his place?

jsid-1255926573-613759  Kevin Baker at Mon, 19 Oct 2009 04:29:33 +0000

Not that I can tell.

jsid-1255929026-613761  Stephen R at Mon, 19 Oct 2009 05:10:26 +0000

"'Actually, avatars are useful for following conversations and keeping track of who said what.'

'That's what names are for.'"

Well, yeah, but if you haven't noticed, people are visual creatures. If I'm trying to find a particular commenter in a long comment thread, it's a lot faster to skim for an image than read all the names.

Or are you arguing that avatars actually harm the situation somehow?

jsid-1255960997-613763  DJ at Mon, 19 Oct 2009 14:03:17 +0000

"Or are you arguing that avatars actually harm the situation somehow?"

No, not at all. I find reading names easy, and so skimming names to find and/or avoid works quite well.

jsid-1255965368-613766  Unix-Jedi at Mon, 19 Oct 2009 15:16:08 +0000


Hopefully you can (and will) turn some of that off.

Threading is useful - sometimes, but it's almost never implemented properly. The linear comments works better, is easier to read, and to find what you're looking for.

Avatars? More fluff and things to hold up loading the page.

Plus they take up valuable real estate.

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