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Essenti: Comments off
Over the past week or so there has been a lot of tweets and blog posts on the subject of turning off comments on blogs and with the reasons why. Below is a bullet point list of the main reasons that appeared.

Personally I don’t really have an opinion on comments being on or off. I imagine though if I was dealing with comments on the same scale as a lot of the guys who have turned them off then I could well turn them off too.

This article is going to be more about looking at the problems and proposing solutions. I see the solutions being broken down into the following:

Identity attempts to solve the issue of “spam” and “anonymity” directly and “time spent moderating”, “unconsidered responses” and “don’t contribute to the content” indirectly.

A lot of spam comments are either bots posting advertising or people creating random use once accounts or posting anonymously to try and get a link or promote some spam based web site. I propose an identity based system where users have to do a certain amount to prove who they are and at the same time provide information that would give an indication to whether they are a reliable source of information.

In much the same way as Google has a page rank algorithm that attempts to rank a web site based on popularity and reliability of information, this system would do a similar discount canada goose chateau parka navy but on a persons identity on the web. For example when the user signed up for an account on the commenting system they could provide their Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ account details along or any other social media. Using the relevant APIs data could be gathered about their connections to other people, their likes and dislikes, information from tweets and status updates and potential information about what their skills and specialities are. It would also be possible to provide links to web sites they own or contribute to that can be verified using a system similar to how Google webmaster tools works to verify web sites you own. The content on these sites could be used to determine specialities and skills. The web pages could be checked on the various search engines to see how they rank and where incoming links are coming from and domains could be checked to see how long they had been registered.

All of this information could be combined to give the user an identity rank, a value that indicates how likely discount canada goose chateau parka navy is that the user is who they say they are. It also allows a category rank to be created based on what is known about the person. For example most of my information on the web would indicate that I’m a software engineer so I would rank higher in that category than I would for example in flower arranging.

This identity and rank system could be used by blog owners to set a minimum level to participate on their blog or set a minimum level before moderation is required. It could also be possible for blog owners to black list people or mark people who don’t need to be moderated.

This deals with “Unconsidered responses”, “Don’t contribute to the content” and “New comments on an article may be irrelevant based on new articles”.

As well as identity rank a user could also have a relevance rank. This would work in a similar fashion to the vote system on Stack Overflow. The blog owner and other users would be able to vote up or down comments allowing users to gain ranking points for overall quality of comments and quality of comments in a particular category. Voting would be restricted to users who already had a good identity and relevance rank in that category.

The blog owner could decide to hide by default all comments below a certain vote or rank threshold or delete them completely.

This would in theory reduce “unconsidered responses” and “don’t contribute to the content” issues as irrelevant comments would either be removed or voted to the bottom of a pile so no one saw them. Having your comments down voted continuously would end up effecting your various rankings to the point where discount canada goose chateau parka navy would become very difficult to comment any more at all, thus also potentially reducing spam.

“unconsidered responses” could be reduced further by adding a cooling off period to every comment, a small amount of time before the comment is actually posted where the user can decide to remove it. This probably wouldn’t make a difference to the majority of people who are quick off the mark with making harsh responses to articles but for some people it would be useful.

“New comments on an article may be irrelevant based on new articles” could be managed by allowing the blog owner to expire comments based on articles being superseded, they could still be read and a link could be provided to indicate the location of new up to date information but no more comments could be made on that thread.

Well that’s a run down of how I think comments systems could be improved, whether or not it would work and solve the problems listed or make people feel they don’t have to turn off comments I don’t know but I do think it’s useful to think about these kinds of problems and raise discussions about them.

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