Comment Notification

One of the biggest things that “irks” me when I’m commenting on some other weblog that I seldom read is that I will most likely never see any response to what I write, even if one is directed at me. For this reason, I often write my own posts, expecting that with Trackback, the original author and subsequent commenters will be able to see my thoughts as well as reply to them.

However, occasionally I don’t want to write a full post, yet I still think that the discussion is worth having. For those times, I really wish that more weblog software packages would support notification of comments, preferably via email. LiveJournal has implemented this since long before I had an account, and the discussion I’ve seen, even on the most minor topics, are gigantic in comparison with the discussions you can find between commenters on most weblogs.

I understand that the cultures are different, and I understand that the goals of each are different, but this is one practice that I definitely miss from my old tools. For that reason, I have installed a wordpress plugin which allows you to ask for subsequent comments to entries to be mailed to you.

I hope that this will allow people, if they desire, to continue threads of conversation longer, and breed more communication between commenters to the site. I certainly know that to me, seeing more talking back and forth among people in comments has always been a great way for issues to be raised that might not seem “Deserving” of a fully thought out response in the form of a new post.

My major concern at this point is with spam: will people who comment find themselves innundated with spam? I hope that I can work with wordpress to keep spam to a minimum, thereby protecting those who receive those emails as well.

The next thing that I’m interested in is threaded comments. However, I’m pretty sure there’s not a “simple” plugin for those, and I do know that threading comments introduces a variety of issues, from display issues to conversion of a tree format to a SQL database. We’ll see. At the moment, I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether allowing people to receive notification of new comments is a good thing or bad thing. Also, since it is new, feel free to let me know how it works in your opinion. You don’t get copies of your own comments at the moment: something I still haven’t decided whether I’m going to change or not.

8 Responses to “Comment Notification”

  1. Roy Says:

    I like being able to get email notification of replies. That’s one of the largest things that makes LiveJournal what it is. Threading adds a lot to that, too.

    I don’t want a copy of my comment, personally. I know I left it, even if it’s a “I left it around here somewhere” sort of know.

    Also, I can’t tab to the checkbox from the URI field in Firefox 1.0 on XP.

  2. Phil Wilson Says:

    Email notification: a good thing.

  3. Christopher Schmidt Says:


    I don’t think you get a copy of your own comment with this system: let me know if you do. I’ll keep that in mind.

    I’ll also fix the tabbing issue in a little bit: I forgot to add a tabindex on the field, which WordPress uses everywhere.

  4. George Hotelling Says:

    It looks like you found something for WordPress, there’s a Movable Type plugin for this too. rdfs:seeAlso Posted Elsewhere needs to go internet-wide – Matt Haughey wants an version of Flickr’s “Comments from photos you’ve posted on” that works for all sites.

  5. Phil Wilson Says: for a first attempt at implementation of what Haughey suggests

  6. Christopher Schmidt Says:

    George: Of course, like so many commenting tools, LiveJournal had this kind of functionality years ago. For a long time it was not implemented anymore, but it was recently brought back after some DB changes to make it less intensive. You get two things: A list of the last comments posted to your own journal (typical of many weblog packages), but also the “Recent comments you’ve posted” view, with a list of comments you’ve posted, where you posted them, and when.

    Maybe with the 6A/LJ thing we’ll see some interesting TypeKey merging of features, although I wouldn’t really plan on it: the two services work in entirely different ways. (LiveJournal is way more centralized than just about anything else out there.)

    I’m still amazed by how many things LiveJournal has had forever that others have never thought of…

  7. Roy Says:


    I didn’t get a copy of my own comment, and understood that I wouldn’t from your post. Just letting my opinion on the matter be known. :p

    Tab issue is fixed. 🙂

    I need to get unlazy and start a blog for technical stuff. Of course, that requires actually posting…

  8. Christopher Schmidt Says:


    Actually posting things is completely overrated. There is no need for that kind of effort! Just look at me, do I ever post? 🙂

    More seriously, I’ve found that setting this thing up has given me a place to type a lot of things up that I wouldn’t have otherwise, but I’m still finding myself limited by expectations of people. For example, are people reading this (many of whom are semantic-web people, or similarly non-political) going to be boethered if I post my response to something I heard on the radio about US or World politics? I don’t know, the whole thing is kinda hard to work around, especially sincec I have a large captive audience with readers from .

    I wasn’t actually sure what would happen with regard to comments: I just installed the thing, I didn’t write it 😉