As I mentioned, I have been reconsidering the way comments work on the blog.

I disabled them some time ago, fed up with the overhead of moderation, then outsourced replies to Medium for a while followed by webmentions and micro.blog.

While I have been reasonably happy with this arrangement I have also been wondering if it is enough. I said earlier that I am guilty of forcing readers to interact in certain ways and that is against the objectives of an open web.

Colin Devroe's post was the tipping point (I told you his points were compelling) and I decided it was time to get over myself and look at opening things up again.

When changing my theme last year I had completely removed all comment functionality, recently opting to write a custom comment section to handle webmentions. This was divided into three sections: replies, likes and generic webmentions not recognised as any other type.

This meant that I had to restore the original code for standard comments and combine it with the webmention handling to retain the division between comment types.

So, you can now reply to new posts directly on the page as well as reply to existing comments; the latter, however, is restricted to actual comments rather than likes or generic mentions.

With the Webmention for Comments plugin replies should send a webmention out to the original comment location if it was received from another site. That's as yet unproven so I'll be giving feedback if that doesn't appear to be happening.

I haven't yet decided whether to go back and enable in situ comments on previous posts or whether this should be a hard cutover. Perhaps I will once I'm happy that everything is working how it should.

One step at a time.

  1. I’m glad you’ve enabled comments too. The only way I was able to reply (short of writing on my own site, which I would only do if I was giving a longer response for the benefit of my readers) was on Micro.blog. I think giving people the flexibility to reply by Webmention or traditional comment is ideal.

    On a related note, I can’t recommend the WP-Spamshield plugin enough for dealing with spam comments. I haven’t had to deal with a single one since I’ve been blogging again. They don’t even go into moderation (although you can turn on a log to see what’s being marked as spam if you want).

    Happy blogging, Colin!

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    1. Colin Walker says: #
      Thanks Chris, I’ll look into that. It feels quite liberating to have taken this route, the open web is all about ownership and control and I’ve written a number of times about not letting external services dictate how you do things on your own site. This is one more step to achieving that.
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  2. Just a heads up, Colin. WP-Spamshield seems to be blocking Webmentions at my end. I’m working with Red Sand Media to get it resolved. They’re very responsive and are looking into a couple of log/diagnostic files I’ve sent them. I’m sure we’ll get it sorted out.
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