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I posted before about how some people are posting their comments to At that time I said that I thought the idea good, but would far prefer it if there were a service dedicated to this use, for reasons I listed. After some discussion on the subject, and seeing more and more how useful content is sometimes lost because it is in a comment somewhere, I decided to try my hand at implementing the idea myself.

So, using Ning as the hosting and codebase, I have developed Commentosphere. Yes, it’s a tacky name, if you have another suggestion I’m more than open to it 😉 Developing on Ning was an interesting first-time experiance, on which I plan to write a post later. Currently posting to the service is handled primarily by a bookmarklet available on the about page or the posting page, but I hope eventually to have some greasmonkey script’s based off of Johan of Ecmanaut‘s script for You must have a Ning account to add comments to the service.

For those people who have been tagged their comments on I have included an importer. Having, however, no comment data on myself I have not been able to properly test it, so feedback on this feature would be greatly appreciated!

Comments may be filtered by tag, user, what post they are on, what blog they are on, what parents they have (more on that below), or any combination of these. They are also fully searchable. Tag intersections do not work yet, but I am trying to fix that. Syndication is possible via RSS 2.0 or JavaScript (for inclusion in a blog sidebar, see mine) and there is a JavaScript Feed Generation tool. Other formats (including JSON) should be coming soon.

Comments are semi-threaded on Commentosphere. It works like this: when adding a comment you can specify the permalink URLs of one or more comments that this comment is a reply to. When viewing that comment in the app these ‘parent’ comments are listed and linked to. A link to ‘child’ comments is presented and, if clicked, will bring up a page of all comments who have that comment set as their parent. Multiple parents is currently a tag buggy, but that should be fixed soon.

Last but not least is the aggregator. The aggregator lets you add posts, blogs, tags, and users to monitor for comments. When a new comment is added to Commentosphere for any item you monitor, it will be added to your aggregator. For off-Commentosphere comments you have the option of adding an RSS comments feed that will also have its content mixed into the page. The page may itself be syndicated via RSS to allow you to monitor comments from blogs across the web without cluttering your reader with all the innumerable feeds. The aggregator currently has a known bug in that it does not sort the items in any way, and thus they end up chrological, but grouped by source. This is obviously not the desired behaviour and I am working to correct this.

And that, in a (large) nutshell, is it. More information can be found on the about page or the tips page. Testing and feedback on all features (especially the importer) would be greatly appreciated.


35 Responses


cool – i haven’t looked at it yet, but keen on checking it out.

Johan Sundström


One thing about the importer: do you really have to use APIs requiring the account password? I’m not distrusting you, but I find it conceptually wrong to ever either post the password from one service to another (unless the two share a common roof, as is the case with Google accounts, for instance) nor to encourage others to. The API offers the power to do harm, and people are mostly well advised not to expose themselves even to the possibility.

That criticism aside, this will be a very interesting thing to play with. Really looking forward to your post about the Ning playground, too; that was just the thing missing for me to dive head first in, after having stalled at the PHP entry gate. 🙂

(I have chipped in at work to mend some really ugly PHP scripts at work since then, and possibly become even more prejudiced, but that can hopefully change. 😉

Johan Sundström

First thought on a names: this is larger than commenting. It’s generic talk on the web. “Web talk”? Hm. Seems taken already.

Second thought: this is essentially a dictaphone; you talk into it, hoping to be able to get back to that thought or those words, and perhaps share it with others at some later time. Web-a-dict? Plays on “addiction” too, our own to the web, or indeed others’ to us, wanting to hang on to every word we utter, now very conveniently doable by way of RSS? 🙂 Might cut away the dashes to form a simple, short “webadict”.


Have added the bookmarklet to blummy, marked “private”… will knock it over to “protected” / public w/ your permission?


Hmm… ‘webadict’… maybe, lol, seems kinda goofy to me, but commentosphere isn’t any more goofy 😉

RE: moving this post – it’s fine with me if this post remains under the original name after any other possible renames, but I’m not sure, I’ve never really had to deal with it before 😉

Sure, set the bookmarklet to public, fine by me 🙂

RE: API – I used the API because it allows me to pull in ALL posts, whereas anything else has a limit of the 100 most recent.

Johan seems to have had some problems with the importer. Sorry about that, I really wish I could have tested it more properly – I also wish Ning would hurry up and give me the ability to let others into the project!


I decided to create some dummy test data in my account to test the importer and quickly identified the problem. It seems to be working just fine now 🙂

Johan Sundström

It seems to be working just fine now 🙂

For a moment you had me thinking you had solved the past issues with larger bodies of data there, before realizing you had probably dropped the date part from all comment times and this was an old comment, after all.

Is this time format really intentional?


Yes, that is a relatively old comment. I currently have no dates in with my comment timestamps because (1) the default didn’t (2) blogger doesn’t have any dateformats for comments that I like. But I’ll change it to something a bit more reasonable anyway 🙂

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