Comments: love 'em or hate 'em?

I’ve seen a few people use CommentBox.io on Neocities and just found out about utteranc.es (there’s some other solutions in the resource list). I’ve also thought about/seen some more cobbled together setups like having dreamwidth embedded in your site or linking to it.

A big reason why there aren’t many comment sections obviously is due to people starting on static hosting and never moving away because of convenience. In general, having to think about spam management and HTML sanitization seems quite a hassle to me, but maybe I’m overestimating how much this would be an actual problem with the availability of pre-made tools you can integrate in your site. I must admit I haven’t looked too in-depth into many of them because my site is still in very early stages.

But I also feel like there’s some general dislike of comment sections in the “old web” (as vague as this term is) revival scene, much in the way there seems to be a general dislike of near-synchronous forms of communication like chatrooms.

So: comments. How do we (you) feel about them?

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I love comments! And when I decided to make a website, a comment section was non-negotiable. I didn’t have the technical knowledge to make my own so I ultimately decided on FastComments.com and have been continuously impressed with the service.

It costs me (and would probably cost you) $0.99 USD per month. All I had to do was add a line of Javascript at the end of all my pages (Hugo, my static site generator, makes that easy) and I was off to the races. It does too much awesomeness for me to list here, but I’d say my favorite is excellent exporting tools. Useful in the event they get too greedy for my liking.

I’ve read a significant number of opinions on why people don’t have comments. A popular one being email works just fine. And while I agree, I’m all about doing whatever I can for anybody visiting my site. In my mind, someone visiting my site has already gone incredibly out of their way to get there. If there’s something I can do to make their experience more worthwhile or easier for them, I’ll do it. Even at my expense: money & time / moderation.

There is something beautiful, I think, about giving people the chance to leave a piece of themselves on your site.

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I haven’t reached the the point of deciding whether to have comments, but I’m leaning towards not having them.

I’m not sure why?

I get why people would want them. It makes the site more social and invites conversation more easily.

But I guess I’m not sure I want that. People can email me if they like, and maybe I’ll include those responses in a post. But when I imagine all the things I want to do with my site, the additional work of managing spam and replying to comments doesn’t feature.

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As a surfer, I love them. If an article or chapter on someone’s site interests me I often want to see the wider discussion around it to see if others had different takes on the topic / any rebuttals, or theories, or just extra info.

When email is used instead it sorta becomes more like a two-way conversation between each reader and the author (which I then get to read later), rather than a group discussion between everyone. Both have their advantages but as a reader I’m more interested in the latter.

My own site isn’t up yet so I’m yet to see how much of a hassle it is from a webmeister’s perspective.

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I don’t have comments on my website because I’m not trying to host a community, and I don’t like that people use the presence of comments as “social proof” that a website is worth visiting. My website is my soapbox, and I’m not interested in sharing it. Like @eladnarra I think people can email me if they have something to say, or better yet link to my site, quote it on their own website, and then email me.

Also, giving me a moderator’s authority is like giving the One Ring to Gandalf. I’d probably abuse that power, albeit with the best of intentions at first.

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Thinking about it properly for the first time, I think I would be okay with having a comments section on my website? I definitely prefer blogs with comments sections.

At the moment, I don’t have a comments section on any of my websites, but I keep my email address prominent and invite people to contact me that way. I feel like the extra effort required to send an email is a natural filter for trolls or spammers. Guestbooks can also be useful

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I like having a small commment box on my homepage, its an easy way for otherwise shy visitors to say something, and all but one of the comments ive received have been very nice so far :3 I wouldn’t have one on every page, especially not my blog posts, since I’m not necessarily making everything for people to respond to, more just for me to have out there. But my comment box and guestbook help make me feel like my website is a lot less isolated from others ^^

I personally am not a big fan of email, I would rather not have a private one to one conversation with someone who I’ve never had contact with before. But I do have a guestbook for people who want to leave longer comments ^^

comment sections on more public sites tend to be toxic, but i find that here on the personal web people are much more friendly <3

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Mmm, I used to have a guestbook but the 3rd party service I was using shut down and I never made another one.

The small web is generally friendlier, I agree, but I have come across some hateful or spam comments on neocities sites. Usually those were the sites that had “instant” rather than pre-moderates comments.

My toxic trait is that I love sending emails to people I don’t know. Not just random strangers, you understand! But bloggers, web admins, writers, etc.

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What I would want most from a comments system is the ability to walk away from it for some months without it turning into a mess.

That means I would want these features:

  • messages go into a moderation queue before getting posted
  • security updates are automatic or done by somebody else
  • bots can’t somehow fill up the disk or drive up my bill
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I blogged about this recently: Native Comments on Blogs. That pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject.

With Guest books we invite visitors to say “Hi” and comment about our website as a whole, but comments are more specific to a blog post or a page. We narrow the focus.

That said, comment spam will happen especially if you are using one of the popular blogging platforms like Wordpress or Blogger. I get hundreds of spam comments daily on Wordpress but I use the AntiSpamBee plugin that weeds out the bad lot and I always have final, manual, approval before any comment goes live.

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I wouldn’t mind having comment sections on my website, to lower the barrier for people to ask questions and contribute information or perspectives I’m missing. But I’m also a bit wary of overcomplicating my website. It’s entirely handcrafted now, except for a small Python script that generates my little blog whenever I write a new post.

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I like when people leave comments in my guestbook. It lets me know they notice and appreciate what I’ve created.

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i don’t really like them, mainly for the aesthetic reason that i think it looks quite messy lol
personally, if you have thoughts about something i’ve written, i’d rather you just email me.

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I’m Team Comment. I think the ability to leave comments helps to foster a sense of community. Not everyone wants that but I do.

So far I just have a guestbook and an e-mail address available. I briefly played with Disqus, decided I didn’t like it and have spent the time since I pulled that waffling about what to do next.

What a lovely sentiment!

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