It’s just data

Subscribing to comments

Dave Winer: Every time I post a comment on a weblog I have to remember to go back and see if anyone followed up. We have to figure a way to automate this.

Every entry on this weblog has a separate rss feed for comments. You can even automatically discover it. Simply subscribe...

I like the ability to subscribe to comments but one or two things still leave me wanting. The first which I have mentioned before is a common API for comment responses although I am close to implementing something that just works for your blog if nothing shows up in the next month or two.

The other thing I'd like to see is some way for the comment feed to describe what post it is a reply to. I'd love for RSS Bandit to be able to distinguish regular comments from responses to my comments in your blog. This would probably affect the way your present, track and store comments in your software before you can provide any of this information in the feed.

Just me thinking out loud...

Posted by Dare Obasanjo at

I'm not sure RSS feeds for comments on specific entries are the answer. Why? Because of the maintainance cost. Can you imagine how much crap you'd accumulate on your aggregator list if you subscribed to every entry you posted a comment to?
IOW, it would need too much cleaning up, so I don't think it is the best solution.

The real problem, as I see it, is one of notifications. Some blogging tools, like MT, already do it via e-mail for the blog owner, so, the same mechanism (or a variation thereof) would be appropriate for this.

However, this is not very nice right now, since most blog comment systems are linear, i.e. they don't support threading. If you don't support threading, actually realizing whom a comment replies to is hard (is it the writer of the entry? Is it the writer of another comment?)....

Posted by Tomas Restrepo at

Dare: my prefered API will be to simply to post the RSS. If you can describe what you want to see in my RSS, I'll try to comply.

Tomas: why can't aggregators clean up after themselves?

Posted by Sam Ruby at

If all I need to do is POST to the feed then I probably already have all the info I need (comment URI and title being most important).

As for notifications in the feed that might be slightly harder. Your feed already has identifying information about the poster althought it is in the comment instead of in the XML structure. Moving that to an <author> element would be cool if you could combine that with an <in-reply-to> element with the name of the author of the post being responded to.

That way if I see a comment with <in-reply-to homepage-url="">Dare Obasanjo</in-reply-to> I know to highlight it in red or something and perhaps provide a facility either email to responder or post directly to the blog.

Posted by Dare Obasanjo at

If RSS comment feeds become standard it would make sense to have a small personal serverside aggregator script (python/perl) that could be invoked by a bookmarklet.

This script would then create a single RSS feed that you could subscribe to in your normal aggregator.

It would add (meta)data to the feed so it would be easy to see which comment threads RSS items come from. And could be set up to clean up after itself.

An idea I bequeath to the LazyWeb&#8482;. Unless of course I get around to it first.

Posted by Xian at

It ate my entity. Sorry about that.

Posted by Xian at

Dare, the ManilaRPC interface includes an interface for discussion groups.

Anyway, to Sam, of course I know about RSS feeds for comments, but I don't want to promote the idea because it requires premeditation for each comment I post (I have to decide to subscribe, it isn't automatic) and I also have to remember to unsubscribe after a short period of time.

Posted by Dave Winer at

Why couldn't software been written to do this? Seems like an excellent new feature to me.

Posted by Timothy Appnel at

Yup, I added this tweak to oxDECAFBAD back in September. Doesn't seem to have caught much fire though.

Yes, with per-comment RSS feeds, you must remember to subscribe and unsubscribe - at present. As I've said in news aggregator wishlists before, why not support limited/trial-basis subscriptions that need renewal confirmation, or ability to set an explicit expiration?

What other solutions might there be? Receiving email when messages are posted to my blog seems to work for me - though only I receive those at present. There's also the various IM systems. And then, of course, you could try to float a web services based BlogCommentAPI with associated client & pub-sub features and hope everyone adopts it.

For what it's worth, I prefer RSS feeds with limited-time subscriptions.

Posted by l.m.orchard at

Oh yeah, and as for having to remember to subscribe to a thread in which you've commented... maybe a personal could come in handy here? :) Heh, heh.

Posted by l.m.orchard at

(personal proxy, that is.)

Posted by anonymous at

Dave, Les, others... my goal is to get to the point where you author a comment from the comfort of your personal aggregator. Perhaps the aggregator could have a global option to automatically subscribe to any comments that you have posted to (perhaps even overridable on a post by post basis).

I talked to Joe Gregorio (of Aggie and RESLOG fame) today about this, and he seems to think that this is doable. Perhaps other aggregator vendors will follow his lead.

Posted by Sam Ruby at

Comment blogging ///

Subscribing to comments. Dave Winer: Every time I post a comment on a weblog I have to remember to go back and see if anyone followed up. We have to figure a way to automate this. Every entry on this weblog has a separate rss feed for comments. You...

Excerpt from HIRSCHgarden at

Sam, that's interesting about following Sam's lead. Did you know that Radio's aggregator is already comment-aware? If you have a comment element in the feed, you can comment right from the aggregator. Look for the pencil icon and click on it. People say no one is using the features of RSS 2.0, I wish they wouldn't say that, because we do.

Posted by Dave Winer at

Dave: I'm a Radio aggregator user. ;-)

I've clicked on the pencil icon many-a-times. In fact, my own RSS 2.0 feed has the comment element in it. Try it!

Posted by Sam Ruby at

Okay I got it. I actually knew that since I subscribe to your weblog in the aggregator. Let me know if there's anything you'd like to see improved there. I'm looking for an excuse to do something lightweight in that part of the code.

Posted by Dave Winer at

The comments element is good. (as is the very similar indeed annotate:reference in RSS 1.0 ).

To make it work *really* well - and have commenting within a desktop aggregator - we'd need to standardise the commenting interface across tools. That might not be a bad thing to aim at, but it's a lot of people to get on board.

So, if that's too hard, how about we extend the elements behaviour to take into account the blog's RSD file? And then have RSD describe the commenting process. Is it a RESTian interface, is it XML-RPCable and so on...

Posted by Ben Hammersley at

Dave Winer: The "You Know Me" Button. Dave hates posting comments on blogs and then having to check back constantly to see if anyone has replied (I do too). Sam Ruby's solution is to provide the comments as a separate RSS feed for each of his ...

Pingback from Simon Willison: Archive for 20th January 2003


Sam Ruby: Subscribing to comments: "Every entry on this weblog has a separate rss feed for comments. You can even automatically discover it. Simply subscribe..." Regardless of whether or...

Excerpt from snellspace at

>this is not very nice right now,
>since most blog comment systems are
>linear, i.e. they don't support
>threading. If you don't support
>threading, actually realizing whom a
>comment replies to is hard

I believe you don't have know if the answer is a followup to your comment. As I comment on an entry, I'm interested in other comments too - let me know there are more comments.

But if you WOULD want to distinguish that, I'd prefair to see a "answer on this comment" link, wich would then somehow fill in an code into a additional field on the "Add your comment" formular - using JS or doing it manually. So then you'd just get a notice if it's a followup to your email.

I just don't like threading in a weblog :-) It's not a BB system, it's not fitting into it's character, imo.

Posted by Raphaël at

Summarizing the Simple Solution to Comment Tracking and Monitoring.

This is a summary-so-far and for posterity to a on-again-off-again discussion that he been on going for nearly a year -- comment tracking and monitoring. The bottom line is there is no need for a new web app and it doesn't have to be that difficult.... [more]

Trackback from tima thinking outloud.


Comment Followup

Dave Winer: Every time I post a comment on a weblog I have to remember to go back and see if anyone followed up. We have to figure a way to automate this. Agree or disagree? I agree. It would be nice. There are a lot of different comment and...

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