Why comments aren't immediately visible on entries here

February 16, 2014

Recently, a commentator on this entry left a comment with a good question that was unrelated to the entry. GlacJAY asked:

Why do I need one more click to see the comments?

The most useful answer is that things remain this way as a deliberate design decision that I've made because of how I want Wandering Thoughts to operate and come across to readers. I could sugar coat this, but I should be honest: the entries are what I really want people to read, not the comments. I see comments as an optional supplement for the entries, similar in spirit to footnotes.

Making it take an extra click to read comments for many URLs is a conscious way of de-emphasising the comments in favour of the entry text. I want you to read the entry text; then you can go on to read comments if you find the idea interesting enough. If I embedded comments on the main entry page, there are some entries (often entries that I care relatively strongly about) where the comments section would come to dominate the overall entry simply because of the relative volumes of text (eg this recent one). I very much don't want that. My writing is the important thing here as far as I'm concerned (and yes I'm biased).

(Related to this, I consider it a feature that you can't start reading an entry and then trivially skip down to the comments partway through. There is at least a little bit of a roadblock.)

This is not a blog design decision that works everywhere and for everyone. Some people want their entries to be the starting point for discussion and interaction; these people clearly want to make their comments more accessible and so on than I do here. I read a number of blogs like that, some of them where the comments section can be as interesting as the blog entries themselves.

(Some people go the other way and don't want on-blog comments at all. I don't feel this way and value comments here, but I do feel that comments are here primarily for me instead of for my readers. Which is a reason I'm willing to de-emphasise them for readers in the way I do.)

PS: that comments are treated this way is also caught up in the history of DWiki's original design and intended purpose (which was not to be a blog engine). But that's another story for another entry.

Written on 16 February 2014.
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Last modified: Sun Feb 16 01:28:12 2014
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