Comments and Trackbacks
We now have an e-mail link on the sidebar (labelled "Contact"). Many thanks to Jackie for the encoding.
One of the great pros of blogging is interactivity and in the form of already-enabled comments and trackbacks this blog already has plenty of that, or, at least, the potential for it.
But this is only present for specific posts. What if someone wants to contact me for some other purpose, like, for instance, inviting me to a party (well, you never know)? Now, they could hijack an existing post and say: "Very sorry, but had to contact you." which is a bit Heath-Robinson if you ask me. And there is the element of confidentiality. What if, for instance, it was to tell me that the test results had come through? Nope, e-mail is best.
But, in my experience, if you publish your e-mail address anywhere online all you ever get is a torrent of spam. The way I got round it on Transport Blog (rather late in the day as it happened) was to compose a special page which alluded to my e-mail address and to hope that people were able to read through the lines. It seemed to work though it was rather clumsy. Having said that, now that I have moved to Hosting Matters (another decision I haven’t regretted) I seem to have the option to activate a spam filter. I think I may give this a go and see what happens.
I’ve made a few more changes over the last day or so:
- Added trackbacks. What’s a trackback? It’s essentially a way for one blogger to tell another that he has referred to one of his postings. They are very like comments except that they are hosted somewhere else. Because they are like comments I have combined the two (see here). I have always found separate buttons for comments and trackbacks slightly irritating. I have also put the trackbacks at the top as I think they are usually better written.
- Made a slight alteration to the colour of the banner. It’s now redder.
- Changed the font. Originally it was MS Sans Serif which I really liked. Unfortunately, some symbols weren’t displaying and there was a tendency for italicised words to run into their neighbours. I don’t get this with Arial
- Made the column slightly narrower
- Increased the line spacing. These last two changes are a consequence of the move to Arial. I think it improves the look.
I have finally solved my comments problem. Boy, that was hard work.
I’ve changed the way that links are displayed. They are now underlines and nothing but underlines. A not-so-cunning plot to expunge all colour from my blog? Almost. I’m certainly not a great believer in colour. Just because something is possible doesn’t mean it should be compulsory. I am a great believer that less is, indeed, more.
I never did solve that comment problem. Comments are by no means finished (although they work) it’s just that there are other, more pressing, concerns.
I finally managed to get captchas working - not easy - but then noticed yet another issue. If you submit a comment along with your URL then when it is published the link is to Patrick Crozier not to your site.
I am not even sure this is a bug. It may be to do with EE’s membership features forcing you to be a member (don’t ask) in order to have your URL displayed.
Anyway, right now I don’t seem to be able to get anywhere.
Comments have been implemented - sort of. They don’t have Captchas - couldn’t work out how to do them - and Trackbacks will have to wait for another day.
I didn’t mention why I was implementing comments; after all there are plenty of blogs eg Instapundit and Natalie Solent that don’t have them. It’s mainly to supply feedback in an easier form than e-mail.
The typical approach is to have a pop-up window. Occasionally, (and this is the approach favoured by EE’s template designers) the comments link takes the reader to the entry’s individual page. Apparently, this is slightly better for avoiding spam comments.
I think it is important that clicking on "comments" opens up a new window. It also seems to me that having the text of the original entry there in front of you is better than not having it there in front of you.