Technical Blog

Comment Blogging

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On some ‘closed’ blogging / forum services there are present some features you cannot, present, find elsewhere. One of the most prominent of these is the ability to see all comments by a particular user. Some people have decided to overcome this problem by posting their comments to Johan Sundström at ecmanaut has come up with a Greasemonkey script to automate the process. This then allows you to have an RSS feed and aggregation page (powered nicely by for all comments you place on other people’s blogs, and even to publish all or some of these comments to your sidebar. I fully agree with the concept here, however I believe that using in this manner is counterproductive, for a few reasons :

  1. is about posting URLs, comments are content with often no proper URL themselves
  2. is about tagging, and while there is much useful metadata that can be associated with a comment, I see little or no use in tagging it
  3. Because is not meant for this application, many features that would be useful to comments are not and will never be implemented (see below)

Viewing all comments by a particular person is certianly a useful option, even including comments posted on their own blog, however a way to filter them to just on other people’s blogs would be useful. Following all comments on a particular post is certianly also a useful option, since so many bloggers are forced to reply to comments via their blog and via email to make sure the reply is received. Following all comments for a particular blog would also be useful. While some of these features are already provided by some blogging platforms / services, they are rarely all offered and rarely in a conveniant way.

What we truly need is a new service, one that tracks comments (and possible trackbacks) from all blogs just as is being done now by those posting to It could provide feeds and aggregation pages for all the features I’ve listed above, and probably many I haven’t thought of. Aggregation could also be merged in-service to one page / feed, much like the inbox, so that you could add posts / blogs to monitor the comments of without overcrowding your feedreader with feeds for old posts or even for all the blogs you comment on. A single feed is much more conveniant for such practise.

Johan’s Greasemonkey script could easily be modified to work with such a service instead of with, and independant bloggers could even integrate the comment-to-commentblogger link directly into their ‘your comment has been posted’ pages. Eventually, services like Blogger could theoretically even allow you to store your commentblogger username and password in your account and auto-post all your comments to your commentblogger account.


8 Responses


comments should have permalinks…and the point of tracking your comments somehow (for me anyway) is to be able to go back to conversations I had with some other blogger on some particular topic. ie here, I would tag commentblogging. if i was commenting on iraq – i’d tag iraq politics etc… so tagging is as useful for comments as anything else, if objective is to keep track of them.


Perhaps comments should have permalinks, but such cannot be guarenteed and usually they will contain URL fragments, making them more difficult to post as such.

I do see your point about tagging being a useful feature in comment blogging, however you will note that my third point (Because is not meant for this application, many features that would be useful to comments are not and will never be implemented) was, in fact, my biggest point. There is a lot more that could be done with a dedicated service than can be done by hacking it through

Johan Sundström

Like mackinaw above, I too find I have started to add topic tags to comments I post, besides the “mandated” mycomments tag slapped on to all my own comments on external blogs. The “mycomments” tag holds the semantical meaning of tying in the account as the origin of content, and the other tags I add refer to the microcontent provided in my comment post — which is in a way a sub-entity of the blog post, on which it resides.

All good blogs give permalink URLs to comments too, and my hack (somewhat optimistically) assumes that people keep the Blogger default option of <Post Permalink URL>#c<comment id number>, which is mostly correct (with Freshblog as a notable exception, dropping the leading fragment “c”).

(It never struck me people would start tagging their comments in their own blogs. Do people do that?)

You are probably right that targeted infrastructure for this particular purpose would probably better still serve the need, but as a let’s dig in and get our hands dirty kind of prototyping framework, the platform already provides surprisingly good tools in my opinion. It’s a good place to start converting the web into, um, let’s not coin the phrase “Web 3.0” quite yet. There will probably be some other moron around to do it for us eventually, if this takes on some steam. 😉


I certianly wasn’t trying to slam the way you are doing it, the posting seems to work, and work well, but it is very limited in the long run.

As per the comment permalinks… they don’t work here, I should maybe fix that. I haven’t changed that part of my template from the original default, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to work.

Johan Sundström

Oh, I didn’t think you were; I just reflected that it’s still a rather good feature match for being mostly not planned for usage. Somebody hacking a dedicated solution, for instance at the Ning playground or similar, would of course be a Great Thing.

Your comment permalinks actually work fine already, but you might want to fix the <a href> tags that say they point to permalinks; they lack a leading “c” just after the hash. the <a name> tags are already properly in place since earlier, presumably forever (being the Blogger default and all).



Had a peek ’round Ning, & I’m liking the look of what I see… 😉 Let me know how I can help in terms of publicity / testing . Will be happy to sign up as a user when you’re ready for that….



No fair peeking! Just kidding 😉 I’m planning on writing a blog post detailing the project early next week, just want to finish the aggregator and the importer first, and maybe start work on some greasemokey scripts based off of Johan’s commentblogging script. The basic features do work ‘as is’ however, so anyone interested in using/testing it is welcome to jump in whenever 😉


cool. i’m not sure yet if I grok what you’re doing – but I’m interested in following it. feel free to put me on a email list to let me know of feature developements, announcements, etc.

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