Rob, as a member of the Developer and Platform Group at Microsoft Ireland, you are supposed to be building a community – so how come I can’t leave a comment on your blog?

UPDATE – Rob has now turned off the need to register on his blog in order to comment – thanks Rob, I have now left a comment on your blog – woot!

18 thoughts on “Hello?”

  1. Tom,
    I think it has something to do with the fact that the MSDN blogs required that you are a user in the system before you can comment, i.e. they have no concept pf 100% anonymous comments.


  2. ahh ok.

    I had this same issue before and when I saw that identifing myself to the system (which I don’t like, as a feature), I was able to post a comment then.

    I guess this is a configurable option, as you have pointed out, both clare’s and rob’s blog behave slightly different.


  3. Hey Tom,

    You definitely should be able to add a comment to the blog! As per the sidebar on my blog, I always welcome comments. Just not anonymous ones 🙂

    You need to sign in in order to add comments. Click the “join” button at the top of the page to create a login account – should be a quick process. If you have any problems, please let me know!

  4. Hey Rob,

    but why do I have to Join? I can leave comments on Clare’s blog without having to register.

    I already have waaay too many logins to deal with – I really don’t need another (and I suspect I am not alone in this!).

  5. Also, Paul, could I get your thoughts on why you don’t like having to identify yourself?

    I am not religious about having that feature turned on, but…

    I feel it’s important to the sort of community I’ve been seeking to build. There’s been really nothing anonymous about my interactions with the developer community, both online and offline. To me, that’s important: my blog has consciously been about an open conversation, but not an anonymous one.

    If people don’t feel the need to reciprocate, there are plenty of places to have anonymous conversations on the internet (and, boy, are they happy to, especially about all things Microsoft!).

    On the other hand, it’s a quick process to sign yourself up for an account, and as you can see, many people do, and contribute to the blog in the comments.

    Hope that helps (and hope to see you on my blog!),

  6. Actually Rob,

    yes, it is. If every blog forced people to register before they could make comments – there would be no conversations (or very few, at least).

    I visit hundreds of blogs – I am not about to register to comment on any of them. If they disrespect me by forcing me to register (throwing the burden back on me) I simply write them off and move on to the next site.

  7. Actually, the entire MSDN blogs site requires only the one login.

    But perhaps this is the start of an interesting conversation.

    In the past I have had to deal with some pretty abominable filth in my comments, including racial slurs. Since requiring registration, that’s been a thing of the past. (Which is interesting, because there’s nothing stopping someone from creating a bogus account.)

    Because of my schedule, I can’t always tend to the blog’s comments regularly enough for something like that to be acceptable.

    With that in mind, which is the worse of the two evils: moderating comments, or requiring a login?

  8. Its nothing to do with your blog, its just that I don’t like the feature, just to be clear on that.

    The reason I really dislike this type of feature is mainly due to the fact that its another set of logon and password details that I have to remember and god knows I need another set of these like a whole in the head.

    Also like tom said above, I think it is a barrier to the two-way conversation that blogging is all about.

    Also, since this your blog is on a MS property, the folks might as well have gone the whole hog and used passport, as the usability of having to remember another set of logon and password just sucks in my view and at least with passport there is a chance that I’m already logged on.

    And finally, to wrap things up, I fail to see the value/purpose of the feature, from a user centric point of view. It doesn’t identify me, as its only a email alias etc… so I still fairly anonmous, and I’m already given the oppurtunity to identify myself, i.e. I can give the URL for my blog and if the 2 way discussion moves to another place (be it online or offline) there are many different ways this can proceed, i.e. we could move the converation to my blog, or to tom’s blog etc.. and I would be able to track it with RSS feeds or perhaps use something like CoComment.

    With the ways things are moving at the moment, I think the functional that this *feature* offers is counter productive and creates a silo.

    Personally, I think a identity system like Yadis would be more appropiate.



    just saw you comments about Spam and offensive comments. If its a choice between moderation and the login, my vote would be moderation.

  9. I can understand your concerns Rob – I have auto-moderation in place on my blogs – I have listed certain keywords which, if used, sends the comment into moderation – that facility is obviously unavailable to you on the msdn blog – scream at the developers that you want it! Tell them to check out WordPress – it is open source so they can even check out the code to do it!!!

    As it is unavailable, I would favour moderation over registration – it is a more open way of dealing with this issue.

    If you can, you should put a note on the blog saying that “Due to abuses in the past, comments on this site are moderated. Any comments containing [insert what you won’t allow here] will not be published” or words to that effect.

  10. yeah, I like the functionality offered by WordPress at the moment, I think they are leading the way on the functionality etc.. that blogging software needs.

    Rob you should have a look, its got some cool features that would sort out some of the spam issues.


  11. Guys,

    Thanks, that’s just the feedback I needed. You’re absolutely right about the need to choose the options that most encourage two-way conversation.

    You can comment now without expending the extra 30 seconds to register.

    And I fully intend to do as you propose, and scream at the developers of the blog engine (and it won’t be the first time). Community Server does not allow keyword auto-moderation (as far as I know), but it give an option to only moderate anonymous comments, which I’ve now turned on.

    Comment away!

  12. Hiya Rob

    I’m mostly with Tom on this one – I have no interest in leaving anonymous comments – however I expect to have to leave my name, email and blog address with a comment (as I am doing here) and not to have to set up a full log-on for a system I have no relationship with otherwise.

    I understand that does not leave you as the blog owner with much of a guard against anonymous comments – however you will loose out.

    A question of where you choose the balance to lie I guess and each to their own here.


  13. Thanks Rob,

    now, while you are at it, don’t forget to scream at Dave Northey and anyone else on an MSDN blog who has a registration requirement!

  14. Tom – only cause technically you can leave a comment on Rob’s blog! Nice conclusion to this discussion – well done all for good clean debate and intelligent/well argued posts.


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