Why Subscribe to Comments is crucial for WordPress blogs

I’ve been using WordPress for god knows how long now. I mainly blog about crap but, like any other blogger, I love to see people interacting with the site and leaving comments. As Darragh has outlined before, comments are the life blood of blogs. I browse a lot of blogs each day and comment on quite a few. The comments sections in these blogs sometimes turn into more than just standalone comments on an article, they become conversations instead.

Most of you will have seen the little tick box at the end of a comment form indicating whether or not you want to be emailed if someone else comments. It’s simple, effective and in most cases is the “Subscribe to Comments” plugin (developed by Mark Jaquith), at least on WordPress blogs. That single tick can drag me back to a post I had forgotten about and engage me in a conversation I may well have missed out on. Otherwise I’d have to subscribe to the comments feed for all of those blogs via RSS. Explain to me which is easier for non-techies to understand?

I mentioned to Donncha a while ago how this functionality should be built into WordPress.com. I know he looks after MU and not WP.com incidentally. The hosted version, while tracking your comments on other WordPress.com blogs, doesn’t offer the “Subscribe to Comments” functionality. I believe that’s something that should be addressed by the WP team. There are over 3.7 million blogs on the platform and a number of my friends are hosted there. Having the ability to track conversations within their comments would not only be good for the user but good for WordPress.com in terms of advertising etc.

Well, that’s my take on it anyway. What do ya reckon?

7 Comments

  1. Darren   •  

    I completely agree. I’ve told a number of people they should add this function. It makes the blog so much more interactive.

  2. Phil   •  

    yup totally agree with you. single greatest plugin.

  3. le craic   •  

    It’s a must have feature totally. I only put it on mine when Rosie asked where it was.

    As an alternative, people can use cocomment.com – it’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing I guess.

  4. anthony   •     Author

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    @Darren: It really does bridge the gap in terms of blog interaction.

    @Phil: It’s up there for greatest plugin/

    @le craic: I hadn’t heard of cocomment.com, will check it out.

  5. Andrew   •  

    I take your point but don’t agree entirely. i prefer to browse around a few blogs rather than spent too much time on one, just using it like a chat room. When i see the really big blogs where people are clearly just staying on one page for hours and refreshing it constantly to keep up with a conversation it annoys me slightly because I think they’d be better off spreading those comments around. I read an Arsenal blog that gets over a thousand comments every day. It sounds impressive but in reality it’s only the same thirty or so people coming on every day and chatting. It puts me off commenting because I’m inclined to think that anything I might want to say about the actual content of the blog is just gonna be buried amongst all the crap people are saying to each other.
    Surely big long chats are what forums, chatrooms and instant messaging is for. there’s definitely a place for discussing an issue in the comments but two much of it just gets tedious and could be a bit cliquey-looking and off-putting to any newcomers to a blog.

    Christ, most of my posts aren’t this long.

    Finally, I remembered the name of that keeper who saved Martin keown’s testimonial penalty. It was Robert Green. the little bollix.

  6. anthony   •     Author

    @Andrew: Good points man. I’ve seen that happen with a stream of comments and, as you say, that is better served by a forum/chat room. Blogs can poke discussion but meandering off the point and exploring things in depth can get tedious.

    I found that penalty on Youtube. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKIX-z5r-m0 Have to admit I lol’d when he made such an effort to save it. Wrecked it for Keown.

  7. Andrew   •  

    Heh, thanks for that link. I’d never actually seen the penalty before, just heard about it. And he saves the fucking rebound too! Muppet. 😡

    and now I’ve proven the point about people going off on an irrelevant tangent 🙂

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