A Thought About Blogs

By | 2007/03/03

Today I wanted to get a few things out in the open that have been bothering me. Nothing serious really, just a few pet-peeves that have been getting on my nerves recently. I don’t mean to point any fingers to anyone in particular, just an overall observation and a few suggestions.

First of all I find that far too few sites have a contact page. I think this should be a critical part of any website, particularly a blog. I find too many times I would like to contact a blogger or webmaster but there are absolutely no methods to do so outside of leaving a comment (if that!).

I list a number of methods for contact on this site and there is another option I prefer which is the contact form. The form I suggest, for WordPress, is found here:

Contact Form ][

  1. Unpack/upload the "wp-contact-form" directory "wp-content/plugins/".
  2. Activate the plugin from the Admin interface; "Plugins".
  3. Go to "Options -> Contact Form ][ " and update the fields if necessary.
  4. Create a post or page (or edit existing), and press the "Contact Form"
  5. Place [.CONTACT-FORM.] where you'd like it to appear. (minus the dots)

My second pet peve is needing to register on a blog in order to leave a comment. I visit dozens and dozens of blogs on a daily basis and often times would like to leave a comment but it requires me to register. That is not something I really want to do in order to leave a single comment and generally puts me to the point of not wanting to come back. Blogs should be a two-way street of communication, and shouldn't require people to jump through hoops. I love hearing from all of the readers on my blog and I'm even working on a few improvements to the commenting system (ie; larger commenting box, previews, etc)

For those of you that maintain a blog I really encourage you to open commenting. I have visited a number of your sites (both commenters and publishers on the ubuntu planet) and hate to see that I'm locked out from leaving a comment unless I go hoop-jumping.

Below are a few plugins for WordPress that I suggest for comment-spam lockdown.

Akismet

Spam Karma 2

Math Comment Protection

I have those setup on this blog and I rarely get any spam, yet I'm still able to hear from all of you. Imagine how much less you'd enjoy this blog or how much less useful it could be without user contributions!

Well now that is out in the open I feel better. Hopefully we will be able to communicate better between websites based on these few suggestions.

11 thoughts on “A Thought About Blogs

  1. Aaron

    I agree on both counts. For a contact form, it’s absolutely needed, while registering for a blog to comment is not. Even if it does limit spam.

    Reply
  2. ubuntu tutorials

    ubu user – I am working on a site redesign that should make things easier to navigate. I understand some of you concerns and they have been on my mind too. I hope to have the design taken care of over the next few weeks.

    Reply
  3. Jeremy

    "My second pet peve is needing to register on a blog in order to leave a comment."

    I hear you on that one. I don’t want to be registering on some weird fella’s blog, sending my password in clear text (over HTTP, as nobody likes using HTTPS) and having access to the MD5 sum, so they can run a cracker on it.

    Reply
  4. Joseph Hall

    What’s funny is that I was working on a comment form for mine just a couple of days ago, and I got distracted. I’ll try and get it up there ASAP, just for you.

    Reply
  5. Dean

    Agreed on both points, and thanks for the link to the contact form plugin. I’ve been meaning to implement something like that for a while now.

    Glad to see you mentioned the Math Comment Protection Plugin too. I installed that plugin on my blog a few weeks ago and since then I haven’t received a single SPAM message.

    Reply
  6. JGJones

    Seconded! I agree wholeheartly about commenting/blogging being a 2 way street.

    One thing in my case, it’s more tricky…I’m Deaf and thus my primary language is sign language so I operate a vlog, signing in BSL (British Sign Language).

    However it’ve always seemed a bit daft that while I vlog in BSL, I get comments in a different language – English(!) So I’ve been looking into how I can enabled a video-based comment for my blog – that would be a killer feature.

    Cheers

    Reply
  7. Timothy

    I always make sure my sites are OpenID enabled. That way users can still comment without having to register.

    I also allow trackbacks & pingbacks
    although they are mostly being used by spammers.

    Reply
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