Some of you might have noticed a few changes with how we handle comments on Blogstorm and I wanted to explain things in a bit more detail. I will discuss the features first and the reason behind the changes at the end of the post.
In short when you leave a comment we now allow you to add a link to your profiles on sites such as Digg, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit & StumbleUpon as well as a link to your website.
The big change is that we now only allow registered users to leave links – if you don’t register you can still leave a comment but you can’t add a link. See below for a screenshot of how the new system looks:
You will notice the “More comments by” link at the bottom of the comment – this leads to your personal profile page with a live link to your website and other social network profile pages. To see an example check out Zoe Piper’s profile.
Once you have registered using the registration form you have access to a profile page which allows you to edit your details at any time.
The registration form allows you to add your Twitter & Facebook details – the rest of your information can be added once you log in. We use Gravatars to power the photos next to the comments – Gravatar is a free system and you can sign up here.
Why we are changing
The main reason behind this change is to encourage conversation – we want intelligent comments from regular readers and the best way to do this is to create a feeling of community behind the site.
My feeling is that if you read and comment on a blog on a regular basis then registering once is actually easier than typing your details every time you want to leave a comment.
In addition we are very aware of the fact that a blog post with hundreds of incoming links and hundreds of nofollow blog comments could be a very inefficient PageRank black hole and forcing users to register is likely to dramatically improve the signal to noise ratio of comments here on Blogstorm.
We won’t be going down the route of letting people leave dofollow comments despite the fact we offer live links from profile pages. It only needs one bad link to slip through the net and a popular blog post could be given a ranking penalty and that isn’t a risk we want to take.
Please try the system out – your feedback is appreciated.