Archive of ""

Archive for the "" Category


Posted on

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.


Comment Blogging

Posted on

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.


New Features

Posted on pushed a bunch of new features the other day (see announcement). One of the best things they’ve done is released a help section. While is not complicated and anyone who knows what they’re doing can figure it out by messing with it (especially if subscribed to their mailing list), however for new users this is not all that appealing, and a help section is a time-saver, even for more advanced users.

Another new feature in this set is what they’re calling ‘editable breadcrumbs’. Basically it’s what the advanced users have been doing since the beginning, navigating to an exact tag combination without having to click all the proper navigation links in the sidebar. Whereas people have been using the easy-to-remember URL system on to do this by entering manual URLs in the location bar of their browser, this system adds a textbox to the header area on your account so you can enter such custom tag combinations there directly, without having to remember the URL form, which could be useful to new users.

Following up to their Javascript Link Rolls feature (which allows you to easily include your recent bookmarks in your website), they have released ‘Tag Rolls’. The nice, dynamic interface lets you create, basically, a tag cloud of your bookmarks and provides a Javascript code to use for including it in your website.