Comment Gadget Fail

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I’ve switched back from the Google Friend Connect comment Gadget to the original Disqus comment setup.

Why I Wanted Friend Connect

I love the idea of readers “joining” Code Softly, much like they might follow a site on Blogger. So I added Friend Connect’s members gadget to the sidebar (you should totally join).

Once that was in, I found the recommendation widget, which was kind of a nice and generic thumbs-up gizmo, kinda like digg or reddit .

So far, so good. You can join the community and then flag posts you like.

Then I thought it would be cool if people could comment using the same identity they created when joining and recommending. That’s when things got rocky.

Where the Comment Gadget Falls Down

I was happy to see the commenting gadget in the Friend Connect gallery. I yanked the code for that sucker, tweaked it a bit, and punched it onto the site.

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I immediately saw a few problems:

  • No aggregation. There was no easy way to indicate on the homepage how many comments a post had. I got around this by showing a collapsed widget at the bottom of a post, but it still felt kinda awkward.

  • No formatting. Comments get all of their formatting removed. Things like whitespace are important for aesthetics, especially when people might be posting code snippets and stuff.

  • Strange comment counting. A reply to a comment isn’t “counted” as a comment. For example, if Lenny makes a comment, then Carl replies to Lenny, the total comment count is one.

  • No easy view of all the comments on the site.

With My Tail Between My Legs

After a few posts, I realized that feedback and discussion was suffering because of the limitations of the widget. Plus, the folks at Disqus had made some speed improvements.

So I put the older, richer, and yes better comments up. Maybe someday the Friend Connect widget will be improved upon, or someone can refute all my criticisms and I’ll be able to try it again. For now I’m sticking with what works.

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