I am aware that Jon Udell has built some separate UI that may help out people trying this as a commenting system. Here’s a URL to it with an illustrative example: https://jonudell.info/h/facet/?wildcard_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fblog.cjeller.site%2F*&max=100
I’ve spent part of the morning going town a rabbit hole on comments on news and media sites and reading a lot of comments from an old episode of On the Media from July 25, 2008. (Here’s the original page and commentary as well as Jeff Jarvis’ subsequent posts, with some excellent comments, as well as two wonderful posts from Derek Powazek.)
Now that we’re 12 years on and have also gone through the social media revolution, I’d give my left arm to hear an extended discussion of what many of the principals of that conversation think today. Can Bob Garfield get Derek Powacek, Jeff Jarvis, Kevin Marks, Jay Rosen, Doc Searls, and Ira Glass back together to discuss where we’re at today?
Hopefully I’m not opening up any old wounds, but looking back at these extended conversations really makes me pine for the “good old days” before social media seemingly “ruined” things.
Why can’t we get back more substantive conversations like these online? Were we worried about the wrong things? Were early unfiltered comments really who we were and just couldn’t see it then? Does social media give us the right to reach in addition to the right to speech? How could we be doing better? Where should we go from here?
On the current On the Media, Bob Garfield launches into a screed on those who launch into screeds in online comments. He quotes Gawker — Gawker! — getting on his high-horse about comments. He talks with This American Life’s Ira Glass about why he got rid of comments on his site. But then he asks Glass something so leading — Garfield only tells about about his question but unfortunately does not reveal it to us — that Glass loses his constant cool for a moment in a rousing defense of vox pop. And then, for balance, Garfield has on a newspaper editor who — amen to this — says she thought we were way past this debate as she explains the value she gets from comments.
You caused a lot of discussion in your OtM piece about comments — and that discussion itself — in the comments on WNYC’s blog, in the comments on mine, and in blogs elsewhere — is an object lesson in the value of the conversation online.
But note well, my friend, that all of these people are speaking to you with intelligence, experience, generosity, and civility. You know what’s missing? Two things: First, the sort of nasty comments your own piece decries. And second: You. ❧
Annotated on February 25, 2020 at 10:54AM
The comments on this piece are interesting and illuminating, particularly all these years later. ❧
Annotated on February 25, 2020 at 11:07AM
Why can’t there be more sites with solid commentary like this anymore? Do the existence of Twitter and Facebook mean whe can’t have nice things anymore? ❧
Annotated on February 25, 2020 at 11:11AM
There's been a bit of a backlash recently against the angry commenter on newspaper websites. Some are calling for newspapers to stop allowing comments sections all together. But what about democracy on the web? Bob, with the help of "This American Life"'s Ira Glass, ruminates on the dark side of the comments section.
I just wrote a long, considered, friendly, and I hope helpful comment here but — sorry, I have to see the irony in this once again — your system wouldn’t let me say anything longer tahn 1,500 characters. If you want more intelligent conversations, you might want to expand past soundbite. ❧
In 2008, even before Twitter had become a thing at 180 characters, here’s a great reason that people should be posting their commentary on their own blogs.
This example from 2008 is particularly rich as you’ll find examples on this page of Derek Powazek and Jeff Jarvis posting comments with links to much richer content and commentary on their own websites.
We’re a decade+ on and we still haven’t managed to improve on this problem. In fact, we may have actually made it worse.
I’d love to see On the Media revisit this idea. (Of course their site doesn’t have comments at all anymore either.)
Annotated on February 25, 2020 at 10:47AM
The other day Bob Garfield had a good kvetch about dumb comments on newspaper websites on his show, On The Media, and I posted my two cents, but I still don’t feel better. I think that’…
The other day Bob Garfield had a good kvetch about dumb comments on newspaper websites on his show, On The Media, and I posted my two cents, but I still don’t feel better. I think that’s because Bob’s partly right: comments do suck sometimes.
So, instead of just poking him for sounding like Grandpa Simpson, I’d like to help fix the problem. Here are ten things newspapers could do, right now, to improve the quality of the comments on their sites. (There are lots more, but you know how newspaper editors can’t resist a top ten list.)
I love this list which I feel is very solid. I also think that newspapers/magazines could do this with an IndieWeb approach to give themselves even more control over aggregating and guiding their conversations.
Instead of moving in the correct direction of taking more ownership, most journalistic outlets (here’s a recent example) seem to be ceding their power and audience away to social media. Sure people will have conversations about pieces out in the world, but why not curate and encourage a better and more substantive discussion where you actually have full control? Twitter reactions may help spread their ideas and give some reach, but at best–from a commentary perspective–Twitter and others can only provide for online graffiti-like reactions for the hard work.
I particularly like the idea of having an editor of the comment desk.
Long comment threads on blog posts are a mixed blessing. It is great to have stirred up such great community discussion. But anything beyond, say, 20 comments is beginning to get beyond what anyone is willing to actually read. What likely happens is people read the article, read the first few comments, then start just scanning them (at increasingly swift rates) until they hit the bottom, then read the last one or two. At least, that's what I do.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball posted a response to critic who took him to task for not having comments on his site (skip down to “As for Wilcox’s arguments regarding user-submitted comments”). My humble site has a tiny fraction of the traffic of Daring Fireball, but in this latest incarnation, I also decided to go without comments. Here’s why. I agree wholeheartedly with John that the decision to add comments to your site begins and ends with the site’s owner. I also agree that his site is a “curated conversation.” Conversations have been happening between weblogs since the advent of the permalink. Joe Wilcox, who obviously has a bone to pick with John, has no right to pick that bone on John’s site.
Comments Replies and Responsibility was a session at IndieWebCamp Austin 2020.
I hadn’t taken a close look at the IndieWeb comments documentation when I marked up the latest version of comments for this site last week. Today I’m going to follow some of the advice Chris had and stare closer at some prior art. My first objective is to remove all of the unnecessary classes ad...
Since I only had 13 highlight posts versus 121 annotation posts (plus various additional annotations and highlights which I’ve rolled up into the body of some of my read posts) over the last year and a half, I felt it seemed redundant and bothersome to maintain two separate, but nearly identical post kinds. Semantically one may think of a highlight on some text as an annotation anyway, thus the idea of annotation subsumes that of a simple highlight.
As of this evening, I’ve changed all the custom highlight posts to be of the annotation kind. Other than the one word visual difference of the post kind text changing from “highlight” to “annotation” this change won’t affect much except for those who may have been subscribed to the highlight feed. Going forward you may consider subscribing to my annotation feed instead.
I had created highlight posts first, but in the end annotation posts have won the day. And for those that don’t have them, fear not, because honestly annotation posts are really just glorified bookmarks with custom text in the context. (The glorification only entails a highligher icon instead of a bookmark icon and a bit of CSS to color the text yellow.) I do find having them delineated for my personal research purposes useful though.
Now that this site supports Webmentions, I’ve been having some fun digging into how I’d like them to be presented. The theme I’m using is very bare-bones. I created it using Underscores a couple years ago when I decided I had lost touch with the code I was using and for some reason wanted to g...