The Grumpy Troll

Ramblings of a grumpy troll.


Choosing how to handle comments on a website is non-trivial, if you care about doing it right. There are trade-offs to choose between, so as to handle the spectrum of concerns, between “Big corporations are evil data-gatherers who want to know where you live so that they can send the killbot drones when the day comes, so never use social media” to “there are a lot of people on the Internet, and only 0.001% of them need to be total jerks to ruin anonymity for everyone else, with their abuse, so if you don't want to deal with harassers, spammers and the like, then signin should be authenticated; oh, and authenticated against a system where people care about their long-term reputation, instead of just throw-away accounts; best to track everyone, always”.

There's some truth to even the extremes of these concerns (which is why capable politicians can always find a way to persuade people to back them, no matter which way they're trying to change things). Especially the killbot drones.

This grumpy person tends to default back to “no comments”.

One option is Social Share Privacy which doesn't load anything from a remote site until someone explicitly clicks on the icon to activate the network which they care about, and then a second click lets them comment. It's been a couple of years since I last poked at it and ran into issues with my dire website design skills, I should revisit that.

In the meantime, I saw an interesting commenting system from Hashrocket, a front-end design firm. Theirs is called Komments and was announced last November. I've decided to experiment with this, but the experiment might be brief.

Why brief? Well, there's no information about how data is handled, who owns it, what sort of service reliability there is, how they respond to legal demands, what billing might look like if usage grows, or pretty much anything at all, beyond “this exists, and it has these shiny features”.

What it does have is markdown, source code highlighting, plus authentication from your choice of Twitter, GitHub or Facebook, but with the comments still appearing on the website, instead of siloed off.

For the time being, I am loading this immediately, which means that every visit to my site with a javascript-enabled web-browser will also send requests to Hashrocket, allowing for some tracking. I see that they have tracking cookies from ‘Google Analytics’ and ‘New Relic’. That's two more than ideal for default serving on a personal website, but far fewer than seems to be the norm.

We'll see how this goes. -The Grumpy Troll

2017-04-15: disabled because komments hasn't been loading for a while anyway and upon investigation, appears to be failing TLS protocol negotiation.

Categories: blog comments social media