Code Face-Lift [en]

Version 0.8.1 was deployed this morning. It doesn’t bring you any new functions, but hopefully better stability (it was majorly a code face-lift).

Let us know if you notice anything funky! (As in, particularly, things that used to work and don’t work anymore — we know it can sometimes happen.)

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[Initially posted on the coComment blog.](

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Forgot to Tag a Comment? [en]

CoComment user Carme forgot to tag one of her (?) comments when posting it, and asked if tags could be added later.

Well, good news, Carme. They can. Go to your conversations page, by clicking on the coComment logo the Firefox extension adds on the bottom right of your browser window, for example. Then expand the conversation your comment is in by clicking on its title. And expand the comment you made which you want to tag, also by clicking on it.

You’ll see a list of tags at the bottom, and you can add to those or remove existing ones by clicking on the “Edit” link. This is what it looks like:

Editing Tags

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[Initially posted on the coComment blog.](

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Who Owns Your Comments? [en]

While doing my regular tour of the blogosphere (in the “what are people saying about coComment” department) I found an interesting post by Paul Sergeant. He has recently (and happily, may I say) discovered coComment, and he has the feeling (as we do too!) that coComment has an important role to play in the world of online conversations:

[…] the most exciting thing is Cocomment’s potential as a component in a much wider conversational subsystem. There is clear synergy with some of the things that Calico Jack has recently been working on. Leaving aside some reservations about data location, I can see Cocomment having an important role in a new generation of dynamic social networking applications.

Earlier in his post, however, Paul cites something Jon Udell says in a post answering the recurring “are blogs without comments blogs?” question. (Answer: they are, in my opinion). Let me reproduce it here too:

Ownership of your own stuff, and federation by linking to other people’s stuff, are the twin pillars of the blogosphere.

Now that’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of things so sharply under that angle before, particularly in regard to coComment. Who owns your comments?

I know that one thing coComment does for me is give me a bit more of a feeling that my comments are mine. I can display them on my site. I can see them all on one page. They are labeled as “mine”, because coComment knows they all belong to my account.

Quite some time ago, Ben Metcalfe noted that coComment introduces a semantic fork in the conversation. The fork isn’t as important as it used to be, because we now have a lovely coCo-crawler. For Ben, part of the problem was that the blog owner did not have any control over the conversations which were published on the coComment site. And I agree that this is a problem when it comes to spam and the like.

However, do we consider it a problem that the commenter doesn’t retain control over the comments he leaves on other people’s blogs? For example, it has always bothered me that value-added comments of mine, scattered all over the blogosphere, could disappear any day at a whim of the blog owner.

Comment ownership is a complex problem. The commenter writes the comment, but the blog owner hosts it. So of course, the blog owner has the right to decide what he agrees to host or not. But the person who wrote the comment might also want to claim some right to his writing once it’s published.

At coComment, for the moment, ownership is more on the side of the person who made the comment. This balances things out a bit, in my opinion, and gives back to the commenter a bit of ownership he might yearn for.

As a commenter, I like that. I can show people my comments even if they get stuck in moderation or are deleted by the blog owner. I have a record of all my comments.

As a blog owner, I’m less happy. If I look at the conversations coComment is recording for my blog, there are some comments there which I would like removed. Some random spam comments that made it through the filters. Some off-comment or autopromotional ones I wouldn’t want to have on my blog. But it’s not that bad, because the conversation is on coComment and not on my blog.

Do you see the difficulty? There are times when one could say the “blog owner rights” and “comment writer’s rights” come into conflict. How do you manage such situations? Do you think a service like coComment should mirror the blog conversation exactly, or not? Who owns a comment?

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Sampling the Blogosphere [en]

We regularly use Technorati to keep up-to-date with what the blogosphere is saying about coComment. Here are a few things that caught my attention today.

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Some Tips on Commenting [en]

Here at coComment, we quite like these commenting tips given by Reg Adkins over at Lifehack. I personally like the opening paragraph very much:

Posting a comment on someone’s website is like walking into their dining room and pulling a chair up to the table. If it’s your dining room table it can be a bit of a shock when someone shows up.

Read the rest of Reg’s suggestions, and let us know what you think. Do you agree? Disagree? Do you have other tips for being a “good commenter” that you would like to share with us?

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Laurent Haug Talks About coComment at SHiFT Conference [en]

Here I am in Lisbon, Portugal, trying to finish packing before my plane takes off. I was here for two days to attend the SHiFT conference. Before I leave, however, I’d like to mention the great talk Laurent gave about the lessons learned from the launch of coComment last February. It was very instructive (I was surprised to learn things about that period that I didn’t know!) and inspiring.

Laurent Haug and coComment logo at SHiFT.
photo by Mark Wubben

I’m not certain, but I think that a video recording of all talks made at SHiFT will be put online (they were recorded, in any case), and I’ll let you know when that happens. For the moment, check out Laurent’s slides and notes on his blog.

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Using coComment's Social Network [en]

John Cass tells us how coComment is making him discover people. Here’s what he says:

As I write comments on various blogs and track those conversations I start to come across the same people on different blogs. The value of CoComment in part is in helping me to quickly identify those people who share many of my interests. CoComment really is a social network that you can use to find people who share your same demographics and psychographics. In fact I’d suggest instead of calling social networks, demographic search engines, call them psychographic search engines.

What about you? Have you had a look at your coComment community? Has coComment encouraged you to get to know bloggers who participate in the same conversations as you better?

At coComment, we make a distinction between:

  • your neighbours, who comment on the same subjects as you;
  • your favourites, people you have explicitly chosen;
  • your subscribers: those who have marked you as a favourite.

Do these distinctions seem relevant to you? Do you use them? We’d like to hear from you.

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*[Initially posted on the coComment blog.](*

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Integration Page Updated [en]

Here we are! The page explaining how to integrate coComment into your blog has just been updated. You’ll see some changes in the javascript integration code — but not to worry, the old code still works.

Let me take this occasion to clarify again what this whole “integration” thing is about. When coComment captures comments left on blogs, it needs to catch all sorts of information: blog name and URL, comment author’s name, comment content, etc. Clicking on the bookmarklet or using the extension tells coComment to do that.

When coComment is integrated into a blog, two things happen:

  • the different variables coComment needs are given to it directly
  • coComment is given the power to catch the comments.

Consequence: if you integrate coComment into your blog, coComment will have the correct data (blog and post names, etc.) and will know to capture the comments made on it, be they by coComment users or other people.

If you don’t integrate coComment into your blog, then we still try and catch the comments (if a coComment user requests it by posting in the thread or simply choosing to track it) with the coCo-crawler. This is, however, a less precise way of capturing comments for the moment.

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Two Updated Plugins For WordPress [en]

WordPress users, this is for you! Two useful plugins for coComment have been updated:

  • coComment Enhancer by David has gone up to version 1.2.3b, with bug fixes as well as French and German translations.
    This plugin will integrate coComment into your blog. This means that it will ensure that coComment gets accurate data (post name, blog name, post url, etc.) independantly of the way you set up your template.

    It is definitely the easiest way to make your blog friendly for coComment if you’re using WordPress, and it ensures that coComment gets the right data even if you change your template.
  • Show coComments by Pablo has now been bumped up to 0.2 stable release after some bugfixes.
    This sidebar widget allows you to easily display your comments or conversations on your WordPress blog. It also works as a normal plugin if you don’t have a widget-enabled theme.

Thanks a bunch to David and Pablo for taking our feedback into account and updating their plugins. If you don’t use WordPress, all is not lost: check out our Integration page for instructions about integrating coComment into your blog (the little imps tell me it might very well be updated soon, so keep an eye on it). To display your latest comments on your blog, use a blog box which you can customize to your liking.

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Feeds For Tags! [en]

Specially for you today, something that will make tagging comments really useful: feeds by user and tag. Let’s look at an example together to see how it works.

First, a reminder: you already know you can subscribe to a user’s comments or the conversations that user has participated in. For that, you use the RSS feed links that are displayed on every user’s page. For example, mine look like this:

  • conversations:
  • comments:

You can also subscribe to comments identified by a given tag. This has been around for a while, but for some reason the link to the feed wasn’t visible on the page. It is now. Thus, to subscribe to comments tagged “coComment” you would use the following feed:

  • comments tagged “coComment”:

OK so far? Ready for the juicy part? How about subscribing to all the comments one user makes on a particular topic, identified by a tag? For example, maybe you don’t care much about the comments I usually make, but you want to keep an eye on the comments I tag “coComment”. If you’re on somebody’s conversations page (or yours!) and you click on a tag there, you’ll see an extra feed (labeled “Tag”) in the user feeds. For example:

  • Steph’s comments tagged “coComment”:

Pretty neat! But we didn’t stop there. We’ve added a little extra special something for when you want to subscribe to your own tags. You see, subscribing to my own comments tagged “superimportant” isn’t going to be very useful. It would be much more interesting if you could subscribe to the conversations in which you once used a given tag, wouldn’t it?

Well, you can do just that. If you go to your own user page, click on a tag, and subscribe to the “Tag” user feed you find there, you’ll see that it actually subscribes you to the conversations in which you used that tag.

This opens up all sorts of exciting doors about using tags (and creating tags!) to track certain conversations and not others. I have that problem all the time: I leave comments all over the place, but I’m not as interested in tracking certain conversations as I am others. For me, it’s really important to track my conversations tagged “coComment” seriously, so I’ll subscribe to this feed and check it regularly:

  • Steph’s conversations tagged “coComment”: (to be precise: conversations in which I posted a comment tagged “coComment”)

I could also use another tag called “important” or “priority” to label conversations I want to track more actively than the usual chatter that I just check once in a while on my conversations page. (I’m not doing it yet, but writing all this is making me realise this is the solution to my conversation overload problems!)

What about you? How do you like the new tag/user feeds? Are you using tags to help you track your conversations better? Share your experiences with your fellow coCommenters in the comments.

Happy tagging!

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