Thoughts on inline comments

In his post, Jamie responded to Dare Obasanjo’s post, Some Thoughts on Inline Comments in Activity Feeds, about the decision to not include inline comments in the new Windows Live What’s New feed. The two reasons highlighted are:

  1. If you’re looking at the profile of one of your friends then you don’t want to see lots of comments from people you don’t know.
  2. Comments don’t happen in the place where they should happen (e.g. on a person’s blog entry)

Here is my thoughts. I agreed with Dare’s second point, that it will pull away comments from where it should be, the blog post. This is just hypothetical, but I think, most power users (who actively monitor articles in many places within their short time) will most likely comment in the centralized location (Friend Feed). This could be the case if a discussion has already starts in the Feed comments because they could save time rather than have to track the comments in the article.

As an internet user, sometimes I stumble upon old yet informative articles located in blogs, when using search engine. In addition to the article, discussion in the comments are insightful addition to the article itself. It’s a lot easier to track the discussion if it’s posted in the blog post. If most of the discussion ends up in Friend Feed, without any trackback system to inform of another thread of discussion, I wouldn’t use up my time digging through hundreds of updates in the owner’s Feed. In this case, half of the knowledge that should be easily presented is gone.

But I support inline comments for some types, especially messenger picture and status change. Those two are mostly temporal information and for quick comments. Besides, in the feed in Messenger, if a friend changed status message, there’s link for “Post a Note”. I think, intuitively user will think, post a note to that action. But unlike blog post articles, these are really quick comments. For example, I wrote “I feel sick”, the comments might not really be that significant two months after. Besides, it’s more logical that the comment for an action is put on the action rather than in the User Notes down below.

So from Jamie’s picture, I think I’ll only disable inline commenting to blog posts.


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