Keeping track of comments

I find it interesting how advances in web technology come in waves. Weblogs have been around forever, but blogs really came into their own with the development of simple CMS apps that ordinary folks could use (instead of manually editing and uploading every time they had something new to say). And each new advance begets a new problem.

With blogs that incorporate comment systems has arisen a new need: the need to keep track of the comments one has written. I like to follow up on comments that I leave on other people's blogs, so after commenting, I drag the link to a folder in my bookmarks toolbar in firefox. Then I occasionally revisit the links in the folder, deleting where necessary. It's not efficient, and I'd like to see some automation. Some scattered sites and systems have their own systems that work by email, such as LiveJournal and Movable Type. But that's not enough. There needs to be a system independent of the CMS in use by a site. I know others must be feeling just as frustrated.

So I wasn't entirely surprised to see a system appear on the del.icio.us/popular list recently: coComments. I'm signing up for the service as I write this, and I intend to test it thoroughly.

What do you do manually on the web that can be automated? What will the next advance be?


Responses: 2 so far

  1. Sally Carson says:

    What do you think about sites that have an option to "Subscribe to this Post's Discussion" via RSS? I think A List Apart has this feature. It seems to make sense for sites that have a lot of traffic and long discussions. For my site, I think it might be overkill, and I guess it is not too different from what you've described with manually bookmarking and checking back in.

    I can't wait to hear your thoughts about CoComments.

  2. Tim McCormack says:

    Well, I've used the "subscribe to comments" feature on some sites, but it still involves an extra step -- in this case, feed management. I like the feature of some blogs (now including this one) whereby users can ask to be emailed when new comments appear. But a more centralized system would be nice.

    My feelings on cocomment have gone from joy to annoyance back to joy again. I was initially under the impression that they would track all new comments on a post, but as I began using the service, I found that it only tracked other cocomment users' comments. However, in their latest release, they've begun tracking all comments, which I am very pleased about. They provide a firefox extension that automatically adds a tracking box to the comment area for most blog systems. Very cool!