Comment Alley

Let’s Change the Game: A New Commenting Process

Your comments deserve to be a larger part of each article than the second-class status they get now. They enhance what is usually me blabbering on about something or other. I have always wondered why comments and the articles they’re attached to have to be separated. They’re off to the side (on Medium), or on the bottom of an article (as was always the case here). On some sites, comments are actually hidden behind several clicks and other inane visual elements that keep you from what others are saying. Others still have simply shut off their commenting systems altogether. I want to change that.

I want what you say to be front and center. Your thoughts should be involved in my writing, and ideally a part of the piece itself. What I want is to change how we bloggers handle comments. I want to take it away from some automated “on the side” software and make it an integral part of writing every article. Each and everything I write will continually be revised as others add ideas. This becomes ideal when it is a crucial, and ongoing part of the blogging process.

And a word about trust. You can trust that I will read each and every comment I get. I can’t promise I’ll post every single comment [1], but I will not reject a comment if it doesn’t agree with me or doesn’t follow some sort of rules I’ve dreamed up. If you take the time to contribute, I will take the time to include that (and in many cases reply inline when warranted).

Needless to say, this is all new to us. It’s going to be a learning process for both of us. I’m going to need to find the best ways to highlight your thoughts, and clearly show them separate from the article. I’ll need to find the best way to show a response to a comment versus an actual post edit in response to a comment. There are many challenges ahead, not to mention getting you to buy into the idea too. But, I feel this has the potential to change the way we look at writing. I prefer to think of it as a living thing that thrives on human interaction.

How is this going to work?

Every article you read here has a comment box (provided by Facebook’s commenting plugin). Just above this box is a link that takes you to the active commenting page. Right now, it’s just linking you to email (or other ways to contact me), but will shortly include other, lower friction, options. What I never want to automate is your simple directives and the flexibility of you saying “add this video after the second paragraph”.

That’s it. Just find a way to get me a message, tell me it’s a comment, and about which post. I will read it, find the relevant place to put your comment, and (if I can) notify you of what happened. So, go ahead, talk to me. Tell me what you like about a post. Tell me what you hate about a post. Let’s change how this thing works for the better.

1. Spammy posts and single word posts like “yep” or “nope” will probably be immediately rejected.