Thanks, everyone, for the high-quality discussion and suggestions about comments and dates and updates and so on; if this were an IETF Working Group, I’d be comfy declaring “rough consensus”. I’ve made the obvious changes; herewith a description, along with general remarks on how this whole commenting thing is going.
How’s It Going? · Great! So far, I’m very pleased with the quality and tone. For example, if you cared about my piece Dynamic-Language IDEs or the follow-up Oooh, Cédric, I guarantee that you want to go back and read the comments on each; you’ll learn more about the ins and outs of this (important) subject than you would have from my original posts.
That Last Discussion · Craig Andera writes “About the only time comments are interesting in a feed to me is when I've left one and I want to keep tabs on the responses”. Gack. I disagree.
Antone Roundy, and others, point out the problems with per-entry comment feeds; namely, that various idiotic clients will poll each and every one regularly from now until the heat-death of the universe and there’s no way to stop them; given the volume at which I post, this would be untenable.
that you shouldn’t mark an entry updated for new comments unless the comments
are right there in the entry; and also urges consideration of
atom:rights. Can’t see anything to
Justin Watt asks why I haven’t joined in the discussion in the comments. I’m not going to say that I’ll never do that, but at the moment I’m disinclined; the ongoing fragments are my space, the comments are for the rest of the world, and I’d rather not get in the way.
Paul Hoffman suggests “Feel free to update a posting with ‘There was an interesting comment about ...’ That’s you adding content to your own blog.” That’s the right answer, I think.
Postmodern Sass wonders why I’m adding comments now after three years without them. The primary influence was probably Jonathan Schwartz; I thought it would be just crazy for him to turn on comments but he did anyhow, and it’s worked out pretty well.
Sam Ruby checked back in to, among other things, complain politely about my cowardly insistance on moderation. Cluck cluck cluck. I’ll give it a try, but I need a couple more defense perimeters in place. Also I need tool for efficiently mass-deleting comments in large numbers, because I’m not going to win every round in the fight with the spammers.
Rough Consensus · The vast majority of people are irritated when the arrival of a comment causes their newsreader to flag an item as updated. Also, they want a comment feed of some kind.
What I’m Doing · There’s now a global ongoing comment feed. It’s still a work-in-progress and has at least one escaping (sigh) bug.
The number of comments is still shown on the
ongoing front page, and I think that’s OK, but neither
atom:updated nor the summary nor the content are touched.
I will, when I think a comment is particularly material and interesting, update the top of the entry to say so, in such a way that it shows up in the feed and summary; exactly in the way I’ve already been doing in response to interesting comments, either via email or on other blogs. If the experience so far is any guide, you can expect this to happen a lot.
To-Do List · The most important to-do is to chase out a few lingering escaping bugs. I’ll keep on tinkering with anti-spam defenses, but I admit to severe nervousness about dropping the moderation; and I have to say, at this point the conversation doesn’t feel broken. Finally, I should improve the comment-authoring setup. I’d really like to avoid writing any code; there are all sorts of cool WYSIWYG-ish comment-writing tools out there, so I’ll try to put one to use here. In the meantime, I encourage people to write comments in the comfort and safety of their own blog, and just drop pointers into my comments.
Oh, and I really must fix whatever is stopping people using IE6 from seeing the “please contribute” message. It’s actually pretty amusing, whenever I say this to people face-to-face, the reaction is usually “yeah, whatever” (as in, they don’t use IE), except when it’s “who cares what IE users think?” I do. I’ll get on it.
The Software Infrastructure · Since I’ve been writing ongoing, the code that I write has been a fruitful generator of blog prose. Not this time; the thing works more or less as outlined here. My take-aways: It’s nice working in Ruby; no frameworks required; no databases required; XMLHttpRequest sure is handy. But I’ve said those things lots already.