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Want More Professional Comments? Just Add Style!

Design Tip #5: Intelligent Comments

Without question, getting comments from interested readers is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of blogging. Unfortunately, interacting with people through comments is an asynchronous task, and this oftentimes makes it difficult to follow the ongoing conversation.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen designers and programmers attempt to solve this problem with things like threaded comments or even in-line AJAX commenting. Problem is, solutions like these tend to fall into one of two categories:

  1. They are ugly as sin and a nightmare to style.
  2. They are technical, complicated, and require you to install a plugin to get the result you want.

Man, oh man… If there’s one thing I hate more than ugly, it’s complicated.

Clearly, we need a comment management solution that is not only stylish, but also simple enough that anyone can execute it.

Don’t be rude… Address your commenters directly!

When you’re out in public and somebody asks you a question, do you:

  • Address everyone in the surrounding area with your response, or…
  • Answer them directly

Silly question, right? Well, dialogue on the Web is no different, yet you often see Webmasters responding to comments without addressing the person who initially asked the question. And even in those cases where Webmasters do include the name of the addressee, the resulting styling usually leaves something to be desired.

Fortunately, WordPress (and just about every other CMS on the planet) contains comment ID numbers1, which allow you to link directly to any comment you like. When you respond to people’s questions, you should use this ID to link the commenter’s name to their original question.

From a usability standpoint, this is excellent because it leads readers down a direct path that will help them follow the conversation. Plus, it eliminates the incredibly annoying need to scroll through a long list of comments while looking for the original question.

Check out how this works by looking at a live example of an interactively-linked comment.

A little style makes everything better

Alright, now that you know how to address your readers, you need to add a bit of style to those comment links. However, due to the nature of comments on blogs, there are a couple of design constraints that we’ll need to work with in order to get the most effective, least confusing result.

  1. The links to commenters should not clash with regular links that people sometimes post in comments; therefore, they must be styled differently (and possibly behave differently) than normal comment links.
  2. The name of the commenter to whom you’re linking should stand out visibly, but the styling should not dominate other important elements (like the name of the person leaving the response, for instance).

On my sample comment, notice how I’ve styled the names of the people I’m addressing in bold. Also, notice how I’ve italicized their names to help differentiate them from my name, which appears at the top of the comment.

Finally, if you mouse over one of the links, you’ll see that it behaves differently than regular links on this site. Again, the entire goal of these commenter links is to foster the conversation and improve usability, so that’s why I’ve taken a minimalist, simplistic approach to styling them.

Enough theory, already—let’s get stylin’. Here’s the CSS I’m using, but keep in mind that your mileage may vary due to the way your anchor tags (<a>) are styled by default.

a.comment_link, a.comment_link:visited {
   color: #222;
   text-decoration: none;
   font-style: italic;
   font-weight: bold;
}

a.comment_link:hover {
   color: #222;
   text-decoration: underline;
}

Once you’ve got those definitions in your stylesheet, all you have to do is put them to use in your comments. A sample of what you would actually write in your comment box to get the desired result might look something like this:

<a class="comment_link" href="comment permalink">Commenter</a>

Keep in mind that with some WordPress themes, the comment_link class may already be in use. If you find that’s the case, simply change it to something like commenter_link… You get the idea ;)

The Bottom Line

You can’t just do one or two things well and have a truly remarkable Web site. If you want to stand apart from the crowd, you need to leverage small details—like better comments, for instance—to place your site in a position to succeed.

Remember, your success on the Web depends on how effectively you can communicate with your audience, and anything you can do to improve that interaction is going to pay dividends down the road.

1 Well-constructed WordPress themes contain permalinks to each comment. If your theme doesn’t, please consider upgrading to something more robust. I’m partial to these WordPress themes, but that may just be me…

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91 comments… read them below or add one

David Airey November 14, 2007

Hi Chris,

I wasn’t familiar with this technique, so thanks for pointing it out. Great example too.

A while back, I gave Brian’s threaded comments a shot, but didn’t like how it squeezed the comments further and further to the right. This also wasn’t helped when using the MyAvatar plugin to show faces of commenters, restricting the space further.

When I have a little extra time on my hands I’ll give this a shot.

Hope all’s well.

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Nathan Rice November 14, 2007

Good stuff, Chris… I usually address people with the standard @User method, but you’re right … it can get confusing if they have multiple comments. This method let’s you show them which comment you are about to address.

Very nice tip!

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Chris P. November 14, 2007

David — I had Brian’s Threaded Comments in mind when I came up with the idea for this post. From an ideological standpoint, the threaded comments are great, but in practice, they are a complete abomination.

The only way threaded comments could ever truly work (at least in a design sense) is if you had an infinitely extensible canvas. Obviously, that’s not possible on the Web, so in my opinion, threaded comments are not something that I consider practical.

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kumar March 10, 2013

Your comments system is very nice, can I get this type of plugin if I purchase thesis theme2. I want to’ve this type plugin with splitting the comments into no. Of pages (for example per every page 20comments, after that 21st comment on fresh new page. )
Is it possible?

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Nathan Rice November 14, 2007

Could it not work if it was only 1 level deep? Getting into multiple levels is stupid, for sure, but 1 level is doable, right?

Nathan

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Chris P. November 14, 2007

Nathan — If you can constrain threaded comments to one level deep, then I suppose it would be easy to craft styles to handle every possible scenario. Assuming that’s true, then yes, one level deep is doable.

However, one thing that immediately comes to mind is the overall usability and clarity of responses that are only one level deep…

What if a comment has a 3 responses (all at the same depth), but a user wants to respond to the second nested comment? Does he or she just use the convention I described here to indicate who he/she is responding to? If that were the case, then wouldn’t that type of style switching be confusing?

I feel like threaded comments do more to introduce confusion than anything else, but I’ll also be the first to admit that I carry a personal bias against them.

The Web is a top-to-bottom medium, and horizontal interruptions in the form of threaded comments are like nails on a chalkboard to me. Then again, I’m a hopeless perfectionist with strange obsessive compulsive tendencies about design :)

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Adnan November 14, 2007

Thanks again for an awesome post Chris.

However, the technique mentioned above, just sounds pretty long – especially when you’ve got to reply to 10 commenters. You’ve gotta go back and forth copy and pasting hyperlinks, commenter names, the “a href” structure.

Any bits of advice for making the whole process speedier?

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Chris P. November 14, 2007

Adnan — If you knew how long it took me to write a normal post like this one, you’d probably quit blogging altogether. Good markup and good site maintenance take time and are a lot of work.

That said, I do know of one way to expedite the process of obtaining the links and putting them in your comments. If you’re using Firefox (and why wouldn’t you be?), you can right click on the comment permalink and choose “Copy Link Location.” Once you’ve done that, you can simply use the Paste command in your comment box, and voila! You get the hyperlink without having to leave the page or manually copy a URL.

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Jake Bouma November 14, 2007

Hey Chris… thanks for the helpful suggestions. I’ve been doing the same thing, minus the hyperlinks for a bit, but adding the hyperlinks will be a great addition for myself and the commenters.

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Adnan November 14, 2007

That said, I do know of one way to expedite the process of obtaining the links and putting them in your comments. If you’re using Firefox (and why wouldn’t you be?), you can right click on the comment permalink and choose “Copy Link Location.” Once you’ve done that, you can simply use the Paste command in your comment box, and voila! You get the hyperlink without having to leave the page or manually copy a URL.

Awesome – that’s what I was looking for ;)

I know what you mean though about the site maintenance. I find it hard to keep up with only 900 odd subs, let alone the 4k odd you have. Was that one of the reasons for the long break?

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Chris P. November 14, 2007

Adnan — Frankly, I was a little burnt out and discouraged because I felt like the market cap on design was dropping due to all the free themes, images, tutorials, downloads, etc. that you can find all over the Web. With so much stuff available, trying to sell people on the basis of quality alone becomes much more difficult, especially when you’re dealing with what I like to call the “Napster generation”—people who think everything should be free for the taking.

Also, as someone who is keenly interested in SEO, watching the evolution of Google through 2007 has been extremely discouraging. It’s really hard to write articles on a topic like that if there is this huge, overriding negative sentiment, and as a result, I just didn’t write anything at all :)

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Adii November 14, 2007

Chris – great post! :) Just wish you’d blog more… Thanks for stopping my blog and commenting there as well – I feel privileged that someone as busy as yourself has taken the time out to comment on my blog! :)

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Jack November 14, 2007

I am in fact using the new 3 column layout – I already love it unconditionally, and this new comment trick will just make it even better!

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Tracy November 14, 2007

Great post, Chris. This is one of the many posts that reflects why you stand out in a crowd. Keep up the great work!

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Deron Sizemore November 14, 2007

Nice idea Chris! I’ve been waiting patiently for your next blog entry! ;)

I’ve never thought about doing this before, but it’s actually a great idea. I need to check and see if this is possible with ExpressionEngine.

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Chris P. November 14, 2007

Deron — ExpressionEngine definitely has that capability… I believe you can see a live example over at Veerle’s fantastic site.

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Deron Sizemore November 14, 2007

Chris: Wow, I’ve been to Veerle’s site many times and have never noticed that before. That’s great! Thanks.

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kristarella November 15, 2007

With so much stuff available, trying to sell people on the basis of quality alone becomes much more difficult, especially when you’re dealing with what I like to call the “Napster generation”—people who think everything should be free for the taking.

It’s definitely a problem. Every man and his dog seem to think that they can design and release a whole lot of themes for people, but so many are just ordinary. They don’t have flare, they don’t have any SEO, they don’t have aesthetic balance or elegant coding, they don’t work in all major browsers properly.

I’m not sure if the Napster generation thing is entirely accurate. Sure, some people expect things to be free, but overall I think it’s more a matter of educating the ignorant. People think that it’s easy to create quality web designs, but it’s not.

David Airey writes quite a few posts that help educate people about logo design.

There was also a good series of UserFriendly comics that show exactly what I mean.

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Rodney Ash February 14, 2011

I agree with you Krista. Even today a couple of years later there is no shortage of people who call themselves designers who are releasing themes into the marketplace by buckets full. They have no design sense including typography, color or spacial relationships. Very little flare as you say.

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David Airey November 15, 2007

Chris,

Interesting that the Google happenings are getting you down. Many people are on the same boat these days, unfortunately.

Kris,

Thanks for mentioning my posts on logo design. I’m glad you think they’re helping some people.

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Bruce November 15, 2007

Chris – it is so great to see you back into the swing of posting. Your content is always top-notch. Makes me proud to be a fellow GT alumni :)

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Daniel November 16, 2007

Chris – You mentioned that you spent a great deal of time constructing the articles and such. What exactly do you go through and how long does each step take you ? Just curious…

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Chris P. November 16, 2007

Daniel — This post, for instance, required quite a bit of additional work (beyond just the writing) in order to get it ready for publishing. Here’s a sample of the things I had to do:

  • Create the graphic at the top of the post
  • Create, test, and implement the code styles that you see in the body of the post
  • Create, test, and implement examples of interactively linked comments, both on this site and also on the Neoclassical Theme site

On top of all that, I’m a slow writer. I often rewrite, rearrange, and manipulate sections of text to make sure that everything flows in a manner that makes sense, and for me, this tends to be a time-consuming process.

I’m not really sure how long each step in the process takes, but this post took at least 4 solid hours of labor to produce.

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Dr. Lawrence Kindo May 20, 2010

Well put and crystal clear. I always wondered how much time guys like you with such precise sense of writing and direction take to post such a masterpiece that draws hundreds of comments and responses. Great post and I should say, a good 4 hour investment.

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Daniel November 16, 2007

That’s a really good in-dept analysis. Just what I was looking for :-D. Your style of writing is really clear, constructive and very well presented. It’s not too long, but it contains very good information as well. I cannot wait until my writing style develops ti something remotely close to that. Gotta keep on learning, reading and most of all, PRACTICING!

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nexuslex November 17, 2007

just an amateur comment…

hi Chris, I am using your PressRow theme on wordpress since a while now and still it strikes me once in a while how elegant it is

Great Job, thanks a lot

cheers

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Bryce November 19, 2007

Someone I knew has managed to make a really, really elegant looking installation of Threaded Comments: http://chrasy.com/2007/11/the-layout-it-sparkles/

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Chris P. November 21, 2007

Bryce — Very nice indeed! It’s hard to compete with talented high school kids when it comes to detailed solutions for design issues… They’ve got enough free time to try and tackle just about any problem :)

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Wayde Christie December 10, 2007

Hey Chris,

A great addition to this would be using the target pseudo class. Then you could not only jump to the users comment, but highlight it as well.

Here’s an example.

Cheers :)

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Chris P. December 10, 2007

Wayde — That is an excellent tip. IE 6 users will miss out on all the fun, but the great thing is that the target pseudo class won’t negatively affect the way the layout renders in IE. So, even in the worst-case scenario, the net gain is 0, which is not often the case with cool UI embellishments such as this.

I’ll definitely be toying with this in the near future. Thanks!

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Ashish December 14, 2007

That is SUPERB. Helps me because most of the times when the same commentator has posted multiple comments it takes a few more comments for them to find what I’m replying to. :D

I’d especially like it more with Wayde Christie’s idea. :)

Thanks for the superb tip. :)

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Aniq Rahman December 19, 2007

AN Hosting is $4.95/month now apparently – and they just doubled all of their specs ;)

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Jauhari January 26, 2008

Brilliant, Customizing Comment is very creative idea.

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adiestudio February 26, 2008

This is a great and smart way to make a comments style.

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NiklasK March 4, 2008

I never thought one could portray professionalism through their comment style/ Thanks for enlightening me.

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Claudiu March 6, 2008

Indeed, ID number comments seem to be the best when it comes to addressing your comments to someone’s post.
Also the classical (name) one isn’t hurting, so…:) both ways are good.

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Michael Salas March 12, 2008

I would love to add this sylish method of posting comments to my blog — I am not sure where to put the code you have given. Is there a step-by-step post that I have not seen. I am trying to “get” this stuff. Please be patient. Thanks in advance.
Michael

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Chris P. March 13, 2008

Michael — That code is CSS, which is a simple language that developers can use to style Web pages. In this case, you’d want to place the code from the post in your theme’s style.css file.

Unfortunately, I haven’t written a step-by-step post on the subject, but I highly recommend Stylin’ with CSS by Charles Wyke-Smith. The book provides an easy-to-understand overview of the interplay between CSS and HTML in Web development, and it has some really nice examples to boot.

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Michael Salas March 13, 2008

Thanks for the tip — just to check what I’m doing — in the style.css file, I found lines 294 and 296 that have the same text as you do in your post — the only difference is changing the numbers from #333 to #222. Is that correct? Or, are your two lines in addition to the existing lines?
The other line of code which you say to put into the “Comment Box” — Where is the comment box located? Do you mean literally putting into the box when you are responding to a comment? I’m going to purchase the book you suggested.
Thanks again.
Michael

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Chris P. March 13, 2008

Michael — I had forgotten that I added the .comment_link classes to Neoclassical 1.1! Because of this, you already have everything you need, and you won’t have to modify any code to get the results you’re after.

Regarding the “comment box,” yes—I literally mean the box that you write in when you submit a comment on a Web site. Here’s a sample of the code I used to address you in this very comment:

<a class="comment_link" href="your comment url">Michael</a>

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Michael Salas March 13, 2008

Thanks again Chris — I’ll change the numbers back to #333 in the style.css file. I left a comment for you in the Neoclassical thread. But since I have your attention here, please forgive me for going a little off topic — Is there a way to have the left sidebar Nav and other widgets stay at the top left side. With my first two posts, the Nav and other widget dropped below the fold, below my first post. I appreciate your intentions for the white space, but for my purposes, I really would like to have the info riding in the upper left side. What can be done? I really want to stick with Neoclassical. I was a photographer for 27 years before real estate. I think this will be a great showcase for my work — at least the work that relates to Newport. I plan on creating a photo blog in a few months. Thanks in advance.
Michael

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Chris P. March 14, 2008

Michael — I just checked your site in Safari, Firefox, and IE6, and everything looked just fine. Usually, when you have a sidebar “drop” beneath the content, it means that you’ve tried to place an element into one of the columns that is too wide for that column.

As far as Neoclassical goes, the sidebars each have an available width of 190px, and the center column will allow for elements up to 425px wide. Whenever you include an image in your site, be sure that it isn’t too wide for the column that you’d like to place it in.

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Michael Salas March 14, 2008

Yes – I am getting confirmation for other folks that it looks fine. It looks fine on my Firefox — But, on my machine running IE7, I’m getting the drop. It dropped after my first post. I have checked all widgets and YouTube – nothing over 190 or 425. Is there anything you suggest I check in IE7. It would be great if it looked good for me. :)

Thanks for the “Width” info.

Did you get my hint for a photo blog? I would use it as a “portfolio” site. I bet you could make a killer theme for this use. When you have spare time…

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Michael Salas March 14, 2008

Whoops! I forgot to ask you one more question — Is there a way to drop the Navigation down just a little so I could either place the Plugoo (172×190) or contact info (About Me Widget) on the top left sidebar? I’m with you, I want to keep it clean. But, I think this space would be good for either of these two uses. What do you think?

I have to tell you how much I appreciate your help. At first, I felt overwhelmed by all of this. Now, it seems manageable. There is lots of help out there.

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Bruce Keener March 14, 2008

Michael

I looked at the source of your post (looked no further than the first post) and did not see any obvious problems. But, it occurred to me that it may be worth testing your situation with the popularity and ShareThis plugins disabled … both have their own style sheets and there could be something odd with one of them. Just a thought.

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Aleron April 19, 2008

Comments style – cool.
I’ve always like Veerle’s site and love a good blockquote.

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Dina at EntprepreneursBreakfast.com April 29, 2008

Hi Chris,

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. You’re my blogging hero.

Now that that’s out of the way, I want to know what’s up with the Comments styling in Cutline.

I use the Cutline theme for my latest blog and I’m pretty happy with it. However, I’ve noticed that the paragraphs appear as double spaced when you’re writing comments, and single spaced once the comments are approved.

I hate the way this looks. So where’s the problem: with the actual Cutline theme, or with my blog in particular? Has anyone else ever mentioned this about the Comments in Cutline?

I’d email you privately, but I got 4 hours of sleep last night (boo hoo) and can’t find a contact page. Help me out, buddy! Thank you.

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Chris P. May 1, 2008

Dina — I have no idea what’s going on with Cutline, as I sold the theme in early 2007. Since then, I’ve gone on to produce a few more WordPress themes, but I highly recommend checking out Thesis, which is by far my best work in the theme department.

I’m fanatical about precise typographical design, so you won’t find any weird spacing issues or out-of-place elements with Thesis.

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Dina May 6, 2008

Hi, Chris. Thanks for your speedy reply. It figures there’s something amiss with Cutline now that it’s out of your hands. Based on what I keep seeing on your blog, I’d expect nothing less than perfection from you.

I had no idea people could *sell* open source Wordpress themes. Alas, some things just continue to be a mystery. Thanks for the info.

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Kathy May 7, 2008

Hi, Chris — how are you implementing the rotating “shout out” icons? Am assuming this requires access to PHP code and not just the stylesheet?

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Chris P. May 20, 2008

Kathy — I just use a counter with a modulus of 4, and this allows me to serve four different icons for the comments. It’s brutally simple, but the results are fun :)

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Blog2Life June 30, 2008

Styling comments is a key aspect to your site I’ve recently launched a new theme: Word Press’d in which I spent a good few hours coding the comments to get them just perfect!

They can really make or break your community!

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LosingWeight August 26, 2008

Great article. I’ll use this in my blog. I just wish some one would comment so I can reply to them…yeah that was a shameless plug.

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Brooke V. September 4, 2008

i think you said it all with number 1! They are ugly as sin and a nightmare to style. i completely agree they completely throw the style off, i couldnt have said it better myself even if i tried to!

Cheers,
Brooke V.

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thomas October 16, 2008

Nicely put amigo! Great post. I know a little late, but hey what yah expect ;o)

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Dannie October 27, 2008

Chris P. – I like this commenting solution compared to the threaded comments which does get sloppy. As the blog author this is really no sweat. But what about other users?

What if you have a blog (any blog) where comments are heavily directed toward other commentors rather than me the blog author? Do you have suggestions for how to incorporate your solution that makes it easy for all the commentors on the blog to use when addressing each other, especially for a non-tech savvy audience like I have on my sports blog that isn’t going to mess with any kind of code?

For example even on this post with bloggers and webmasters who have just be taught the technique and are familiar with code, I haven’t seen one person other than you utilize this technique when responding to another commentor.

The one big advantage I see that threaded comments offers over this method from the user’s perspective is the ability to simply hit reply when they want to reply to someone else. On my sports blog I have had people ask for threaded comments but I don’t like the result I get from any of the plugins out there.

In your reply to Adnan you said “Good markup and good site maintenance take time and are a lot of work.” Which I agree with, but is it fair or wise to pass that extra effort and time consumption to the readers?

Thought…I don’t know if this could be accomplished without the need for a newly created plugin, but can you add the “reply” option to comments and instead of threading comments simply make the action be what you proposed in this post? Basically I hit reply and in my comment field the stylized name of the person I am replying to along with the hyperlink to their comment is populated for me and then I can just go on writing me response. I’d love to have this feature built into Thesis as an option and we can simply use the custom CSS to stylize the output different from whatever you set as the default.

I am certainly not a web expert and maybe what I just wrote makes no sense, but I am trying to think like what would also be best for the readers in terms of usability.

Thanks

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Boston Web Design December 9, 2008

I agree.

You have to be willing to make a lot of small/relevant changes in order to completely overhaul a webpage. Making one change here or there is not going to make any difference. The value is in all the small details (a special font here, an interesting color there).

Nice post, very useful.

-Timothy-

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Alex December 31, 2008

This was a great article that highlighted, to a beginner like me, some of the more interesting things you can do with the comments.

Thanks a lot.

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Phil Kearney January 27, 2009

After spending 15 years building out major publishing web sites, and strategic models, I am finally setting up a blog (using your WordPress design Pearson – I have seen your styles for a while and recommend them to clients).

When you talk about comments, one thing that would be interesting is developing a presentation structure that is displayed in a non-linear format. Perhaps bubbling up from discussions or relational commenting. This is NOT intended to be market speak. Just a crazy-assed idea.

Also, I have been suggesting someone do this since 1997 – create the ultimate cliche designed website as a spoof but also as a learning exercise for those who either don’t know any better or should. As with any design, a good spoof (like any comedy) is well balanced, not over the top and not stupid. Has anyone seen this done well…or is anyone inspired to try? Just curious.

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Maury March 13, 2009

Hello Chris,
I have been studying your blog as I am in the midst of re-designing mine. I like the open feel of your theme and am presently designing my new page around the thesis theme.

I wanted to share one thing about this page. After reading many of your pages I never realized I could click a name to go back to the readers comment or their name to go to their web site. What a wonderful surprise. It is a great feature for someone awakened to this concept. The question is how to best awaken someone to this. Off the top of my head I might recommend adding a bit of subtle color (off black) to their names and add the …… like you use to underline commenter but maybe do a spaced dots . . . . . . with subtle color. I think this will bring curiosity and lead someone to explore why it is colored since we so often associate colored words with link to’s in our mind.

maury

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Gary March 15, 2009

As WordPress now supports threaded comments, does this devalue your suggestions here? Replying to multiple people in one post on a theme that supports threaded comments would break the logical flow of conversation(s).

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baloot April 22, 2009

hi chris,
i use your thesis theme for my blog.

i want to know:

- how to put a NOW ENJOYING and SPEAKERS (on every comments) just like your blog (i mean this blog)?

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George Serradinho May 19, 2009

Wow, you explained this very well and in detail. I address my commentators by name (e.g. @Andrew), but never thought of making their name bold. You have given me a great idea. Thanks for sharing this info, it will surely help me and my commentators.

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wie bali June 11, 2009

Good stuff, Chris… I usually address people with the standard @User method, but you’re right …!

i wanna try your tips

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jeff July 12, 2009

Cool! I’ll try it out soon. I’ll probably use in my next project I have in mind!

thanks guys

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vailu com August 15, 2009

how to hide comments count…?
i want more tips…

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Chris Pearson August 15, 2009

Vailu — Thanks for stealing my theme, asshole.

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Piyush Shekhar February 23, 2010

I have to try this on my blog, but i can’t select a proper theme :(

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bradenton sarasota web design February 27, 2010

Thanks Cris i never knew that would make a difference! I will make sure i spread the word!

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Mr.Hyd March 3, 2010

Thanks a lot for this wonderful post, i applied this on my other blog :-)

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Patrick March 10, 2010

Hi Chris
Professional stylish comments for blogs – great tip. I’ll have to read it a few more times before it sinks in. I can’t consentrate at the moment, maybe a can of Redbull or a cup of coffee will unlock my brain.
Request or Suggestion: Chris what about installing ready made css code in Thesis that can just be cut and paste ready to use with instructions? What do you think? Thanks

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Wendy March 26, 2010

I prefer to see comments nested, which for me makes it even easier to follow and also creates more of a conversation.

Also, one thing I would love love love to see on any website (my own or others) is a second checkbox option for notification of comments, to e-mail me only when someone replies directly to the comment I just left. Like I don’t care enough to receive 63 different comments on the post in general, but I would like to know if anyone has anything specific to say to me concerning my comment. (which I guess would only work with nested comments)

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anthony April 21, 2010

Hello: I just recently purchased thesis a few days ago and am having difficulties in linking my pages to the content. I can create pages and they display fine… but it does not display the details of that page. For instance, I info written for my “about us” page, but when this link is clicked, the message that displays says “login.” I have info written in the content box but it is not displaying when the link is click-only the word “login” displays. I have tried many things to link my pages to its content and had no luck.

I went to the DIY forums and tried viewing tutorials on this, but no one has been able to assist. Help! I am so stuck and cannot do anything until I find out how to lick pages to its content. I also want to link to pages from my widget(text typed) area- how do I do this?

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Chris Pearson April 21, 2010

Anthony, if you have questions about Thesis, you should direct them to the proper place—the DIYthemes forums. Try to ask only one question per forum post, and this will increase the chances of you receiving a quick, accurate response.

Also, from what I can tell, you need to set up your WordPress Permalinks. You may want to mention this in the forums, as this is looks to be part of the reason why you’re having these problems.

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Dong Eito May 1, 2010

Hi Chris,

I have the Thesis Developer version since 1.6. I’m so happy that you continue to innovate the features of this theme. It is really worth the price. I stop using other themes since then.

Being a graphic designer myself, I look forward to more thesis skin options that can really make our competitors fall from their chairs.

Cheers and more power!
Dong

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Julie Gallaher May 3, 2010

Hi Chris,

I’m a thesis user ;^D but I’m having trouble with comments. Somehow I am set up to require registration to comment. Can you point me towards undoing that requirement?

Missed you at SOBCon.

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Chris Pearson May 3, 2010

Julie, the option you’re looking for is a native WordPress option, and you’ll find it under SettingsDiscussion in the dashboard menu. Look under “Other comment settings” for the registration option.

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Chris M. October 13, 2010

Hey Chris (it always feels weird when I address someone by my own name! haha…)

This is my first comment. I am also a proud new user of Thesis (just got the Developer option this week).

Since we are on the topic of comments now, what is the best way to get the “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” in Thesis 1.8?

Love your work… Keep it up!

P.S. Sorry for starting a comment thread! Haha… Uh, well, actually, you started it first! :-)

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Chris Pearson October 13, 2010

Hi Chris (agreed on the name weirdness!), the “notify me of followup comments” text is the result of the fantastic Subscribe to Comments Plugin. Best of all, Thesis supports this plugin, so all you have to do is activate it, and you’ll be good to go :D

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Chris M. October 13, 2010

Oh no! I’ve dragged you further into a thread! [...cue sinister laugh]… :)

I thought you would mention this plugin, but I just wanted to make sure.

I have a question though… When do we know to care about these types of messages on the plugin info page, and when not to?

“Subscribe to Comments
Compatible up to: 2.3.1
Last Updated: 2007-12-14″

Chris Pearson October 13, 2010

There is a box beneath that message that indicates this plugin works with the current version of WordPress. That’s pretty much the bottom line.

Chris M. October 13, 2010

Looks like we’ve reached the threaded comments limit (which is one of the reasons you don’t like them I believe)… ;-)

Ok, so sometimes it really doesn’t matter what the other stuff says, as long as enough people have reported that it works, you go for it (in general). I have done this before, several times, but it always makes me nervous.

Thanks for indulging my questions!

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Peggy March 19, 2011

This is so true. For over a year I struggled with this particular issue, unable to generate hardly any comments in response to any of my posts. It was very frustrating to say the least. I did find by making some tweaks to the aesthetics, I seemed to get more comments than before the tweaks. I also agree that responding to the comments in a timely and engaging matter not only encourages a response, but also encourages others to post their comments.

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wondercorn March 28, 2011

I totally agree with you Chris. For years I didn’t got any clues about how I was supposed to reply, and that becomes even more terrifying when you cannot satisfy everyone reply. I started to wonder, maybe that is because I get it all wrong.

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C. Dog April 15, 2011

Pretty good tips, I have to admit. Honestly, I never would have considered thinking about using style as a way to encourage better comments more intelligently written. I always thought that the banter between myself and my commenters would dictate the level of professionalism in their commentary. Great post. Love to see more information like this.

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brandtson July 4, 2011

its a no brainer.

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Sanjin October 18, 2011

Well it looks like I am the last one to say this but, Thank you Chris for sharing and for your great post. Any help that I can get for my site is a huge! Thanks again.

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Koundeenya April 20, 2012

Comment part is always a mess on my blog. Whenever i click Reply, it gets posted as a new comment and when someone posts a new comment, it gets under SPAM. Atleast I hope, this could help me

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Dev May 10, 2012

I am using blogger and struggling with my old customized template to start working on threaded comments. I guess I need to get a new template all together. I understand that people would comment more and be involved if the design is better.

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subham July 10, 2014

I am a new blogger in web industry but i learn lots form your blog. i always try to give answer of my comment-er as early as possible. But i need your CSS style it will really change the looks of post. Thanks again Cris sir for giving the code.

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Hoot and/or Holler

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