I'm thinking about adding comments. What do you like? #indieweb

3 min read

Right now I don't have comments on my site. Despite this, I think discussion is one of the most important parts of the web. I'm definitely not anti-comment, and I love feedback.

My intention is that you'll write a reply on your own site and link over here. Using a back-end mechanism called webmention, which is supported by a growing number of platforms (there's a WordPress plugin), your comment can show up as if it was posted here, while living on your own site. If everyone starts to do this, we'll start building up distributed discussion threads across the web, that aren't owned by any one person or company. I think that's pretty cool.

But I also recognize that not everyone wants to do this, and not everyone can do this right now. Webmentions are a pretty technical proposition, and lots of people don't even have their own sites right now. If you saw this on Twitter or Facebook, you can comment there and those comments will show up here too, thanks to a back-end piece of glue called brid.gy. (You don't need to do anything for this to happen.)

Sometimes, though, you just want to post a damn comment. With that in mind, I'm curious: if you're reading this, do you prefer threaded comments - like you might find over on Reddit, or implemented over on Livejournal - or the single-track blog comments that you find in most places these days? There's a lot to be said for both. A lot of the supporting technologies around commenting - and regularly-updated content in general - are based around streams rather than threading, but that's not a good reason not to implement threads if they're more useful.

Then you start thinking about the form of comments. They've been text as a convention since forever, but this platform supports multiple kinds of content. I think allowing photo comments is a lovely idea, for example. Gawker's discussion platform Kinja supports this, and allows for some more colorful debate, as well as things like photo competitions. Audio and video comments are a bigger can of worms - Seesmic was a video discussion platform, before pivoting into more traditional media and being acquired by Hootsuite - but shouldn't questions of decorum and sensibility be up to the site owner rather than the platform?

At any rate, let me know what you'd like to see.

(And yes, #indieweb folks, I think displaying webmentions as threads is a very interesting thing to think about. As long as you mention both the base thread and the sub-comment, I think it could work out.)