As of last night, the comment box is back on this blog. Let the comments begin! However, please be aware, there are a few changes.
The comment engine is provided by Disqus, a third party
I, your friendly blogger, am no longer the custodian of your comments.
Your comments are going to be in the Disqus database, much like if you posted them on Facebook or Twitter. It's no longer a matter of trusting only me with your name and e-mail address. You have to trust Disqus too.
There's no more anonymous commenting
Disqus allows site owners to enable or disable what it calls guest commenting. I have chosen to keep it disabled. You'll need to sign in to post a comment.
Disqus has been around for over a decade, so maybe you already have an account with them. If so, great! If not, it's easy enough to create a new one.
If you prefer, you can also use a Facebook, Twitter, or Google account to create a new Disqus account. That way, you'll have one less password to manage. It's up to you.
Historic comments are gone, at least for now
Although Disqus does have tools for importing historic comments, in my testing, I didn't like the results. I can't import avatars or any other profile information, breaking the association between commenters and their imported comments.
For example, if firstname.lastname@example.org leaves a comment today, another reader can easily see her comments on other posts, but only if they were created in Disqus. If email@example.com also left comments in the old system, you won't find them.
Until I can figure out a more elegant way to handle this, I'm just leaving the old comments out for now.
There's now an extra click to see or leave comments
You'll see a link with the text “Load comments” and the end of each post. You'll need to click the link in order to see comments or to post one.
Why did I do this?
One of my design goals for this website has been to have super fast page load speeds. So far, I think I've done an excellent job at accomplishing that goal.
However, bringing in the comment engine at page load time is excruciatingly slow. By introducing the extra click, I preserve the snappy experience for casual readers who aren't interested in comments, while also preserving the functionality for engaged readers who were going to stick around anyway.