A Questions of Comments and Policies

In recent weeks, more and more of you readers have been leaving comments. I like that. I have always enjoyed reading the discussion on my posts, and I’ve learned a lot in the process. It does make things complicated sometimes, though. When beliefs and political opinions clash, well, people can get upset and up and arms pretty quickly, and it’s no wonder. So I’ve been thinking lately about my comment policy.

In some sense, blogs are extensions of their owners. The way I run my blog, both in writing my posts and in my comments sections, is a reflection of who I am and what I value. And honestly? I think this is why the comments section generally works so very well. I love the space they provide for insight, reflection, and honest questions intelligently discussed. And the tone of my comments section in general is all the more impressive when you consider that I’ve actually only ever deleted a total of three comments.

But with the increase in comments and my upcoming posts that will serve as platforms for discussing arguments against abortion, I want to make sure that my blog’s comments sections don’t lose their usual charm. I want my comments sections to continue to be a safe place where people can hash out arguments, disagree at times, and yet extend a hand in friendship to all who hold similar values.

And so, my readers, I thought I’d ask for your input. What thoughts and suggestions do you have to offer?

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://thaliasmusingsnovels.com/ Amethyst

    I think your existing policy should be sufficient, but it might be a good idea to bring it to readers’ attention every so often. Like maybe put it in a comment after a post that’s likely to draw some controversy.

  • Rod

    I’d like to see your comments numbered so that when I check back I know where to pick up.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Wow…I hadn’t even really noticed that they weren’t. Sent a query to my tech guy, I’ll see what I can do!

      • Christine

        Are these numbers going to change when someone leaves a reply to an earlier comment? I notice that as they’re currently assigned, comments are numbered in the order that they appear on the screen. If this is going to continue (rather than just being for “legacy” comments) that could be confusing.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Hmm, yes, no kidding. Sending another email to the tech guy…

      • http://exconvert.blogspot.com Kacy

        Looks like your tech guy is quick on the draw. I see numbers.

  • http://exconvert.blogspot.com Kacy

    I agree with comment #1. Your existing policy looks good, but perhaps it needs to be in an easily located place on the blog.

    I’d also like to add that this is one of the few blogs where I consistently enjoy the comments in addition to the main posts.

  • Rod

    Thank you! Pretty quick techie!

  • machintelligence

    The adding numbers didn’t help, since they change as new comments come in. I can live with nested comments, particularly since there are only 3 levels. When the threads exceed 50 or so comments, it has the possibility of causing confusion. My personal preference is for non-nested comments, numbered sequentially as posted (and if a comment is deleted, the number remains,with a deleted notation). To respond to a previous comment one writes, for instance, Libby Anne @ 5 It would help if he could do it this way. It makes for more scrolling up and down the thread, but “new” comments that are replies do not get lost in the middle of the thread. This is just my preference, YMMV.

  • Caravelle

    I like non-nested comments too. Nested comments work best when there is some way of telling new comments from old ones, which isn’t so much the case here. One thing I do in that kind of situation is do a word search on the date. That works well when you have a few comments a day. It’s not so great if you have tons of comments per day (so even searching by today’s date there is a lot to wade through) or if comments are so infrequent you’re checking them once a week.

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      Exactly my experience, +1 on MI and Caravelle’s point.

  • Uly

    I’ll give a vote FOR comment threads, as I find it’s easier to track individual conversations that way, especially when total comments (as often happens here) exceed 20 or 30.

    Is it possible you can set it up so we can choose how we view comments? That’d be ideal on OUR side, I think, if it’s not a huge hassle on the tech side.

  • http://cfiottawa.com Eamon Knight

    To nest or not to nest, that is the question….

    OT1H, I like seeing what previous comment is being replied to (especially if it’s mine ;-)). OTOH, it’s a pain to find recent comments (the sidebar summary helps a lot, but we’re collectively being so blabbermouth here that it’s started overflowing rather quickly). OTGH….ok there is no gripping hand, that’s just to see who gets the reference.

    I kind of like the way Slacktivist is set up — a flat list, but each comment is annotated to say what it is replying to, and if you click on the annotation, it displays the previous comment in a pop-up. To my mind, it’s probably the optimum achievable compromise.

    • victoria

      The system on Get Rich Slowly isn’t bad either — they have nested comments, but the most recent ones are highlighted in darker and darker green.

    • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

      I don’t know if it’s possible here, but some sites let you choose your viewing options, so that you can have either threaded OR nested comments (I generally don’t care for threaded comments myself). I’m rather fond of Ravelry’s system which is threaded, but lists what comment you’re replying to and/or any replies to your comment with quicklinks. It’s a rather nice way of navigating sub-threads.

  • ABaker

    Libby, might I suggest investigating the way YouTube does their comments? They’re listed chronologically, but with a link you can click on to see which comment is being replied to (if applicable). As to your policy itself, I think it’s right on target. I like #2, personally: ‘Target arguments, not people’.

    Hope this helps!

    ~A

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