Who actually subscribes to comment feeds?

Most blogs offer a feed for comments on their posts as well as different feeds for the posts themselves. Naturally, I subscribe to the comments feed for this web site, to instantly see when someone has added a comment. But who else subscribes to the comments feed? I sure don't do it on any blogs; if any particular discussion is that important so I want to stay in the loop, I just make sure to re-visit the page a day later or so. Do any of you subscribe to any comments feeds?
Posted in General |

19 Comments

  • Martin S, says:

    I dont subscribe, yet I think those who offer comment feeds should continue to do so, because it's still good to have the possibility to subscribe. And it's an easy thing to implement in a blog or similar.

  • I haven’t done so yet, but if I’d been around when ALA first published the flash satay article for example, I’d have subscribed to that discussion – I found the comments as helpful as the article :)

    I was gutted when ALA relaunched and the old discussions weren’t republished :(

  • Kalle Wibeck says:

    Yes absolutely!

    But I guess the main reason for it is because my RSS reader has an excellent way of displaying them.

    I just click an "expand comments" icon and voila there they are. I know that some people think they gets to many feeds in their list cause they forget to remove the comment feed they're no longer interested in…

  • No, I don't. It just isn't as easy to add a feed seen in Mozilla Firefox to my favorite RSS reader, Mozilla Thunderbird.

  • Good question there. I sometimes (temporarily) subscribe to a comment feed when I've commented on a post myself (I know, very egoistic). Some sites let you receive an e-mail if somebody has commented (mr. Orchard comes to mind), which also works quite well. However, there are still sites which don't have those functions or only have a comment feed for the entire site.

    I think a webplication, which checks permalinks (specific posts you'd like to follow) for a changed element (a div with <code>id="comments"</code> or whatever) each x seconds (or days :] ), would be quite handy. Perhaps there's something out there already :)

  • Btw, the comment feed for this post is http://www.robertnyman.com/2005/10/27/who-actuall…. I'm subscribed.

  • Jens Meiert says:

    Personally, I don't subscribe to comment feeds, and from a professional point of view, I suspect them to be almost always useless. I don't know any user test results on this (and I didn't test this issue myself), but when is it really useful to subscribe to such a feed? It will be a rather rare case, and thus you're better off not offering them.

  • Keeping track of posts that I have commented on poses a difficult problem. Sometimes I get sidetracked and forget to check back on something I've commented on and as a result I've missed out on the discussion. Maybe an option to set daily email reminders as opposed to sending a mail every time someone posts would be an idea?

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Martin S,

    Well, I think comments should be offered, in some sense at least. This web site offers one general feed for comments.

    Kalle,

    Interesting tool, thanks for the tip!

    Jeroen,

    So the question is: would you add comments feeds if it were easier?

    Steve,

    But is it worth adding the comments feed, as opposed to just navigating back to those few pages where you really want to follow the discussion?

    Krijn,

    Well, maybe, but are you that interested in so many discussions?

    Jens,

    I think it's ok to offer them, but personally, I don't think it's worth adding other blog's feeds to the feeds I follow. Too much of a hassle.

    Stuart,

    Yes, that might be useful. Personally, I do try to follow-up on the pages where I've commented, but sometimes one's due to forget about some of them.

  • But is it worth adding the comments feed, as opposed to just navigating back to those few pages where you really want to follow the discussion?

    I just navigate back to the pages.

    *Generally* comments are directed at the author, so perhaps a feed that reports each time the author has commented would be more useful/popular?

  • Jens Meiert says:

    Robert, nice "mass feedback" ;)

    I'm noting that for my blog – in theatres worldwide end of November, 2005.

  • andr3 says:

    Robert, i've been meaning to write about this exact topic! I've implemented a special way for users to keep track of their comments on my blog (by providing a customized feed for comments on the posts they comment, with the option of adding any desired posts) and from my stats i see very little usage… I'm the biggest subscriber to the comments feed. I've questioned myself whether it makes sense or not..

    People are striving with the matter of information overload, and providing a single feed for each and every post i think it's dumb, simply because you'll get a bunch of useless inactive feeds.. Nowadays it's hard to make someone subscribe to your main feed (given the ammount of feeds in their aggregator), let alone the comments one. ;)

    Bottom line, i'm considering removing it altogether, and keepint it for personal use only… not sure, yet.

  • Well, maybe, but are you that interested in so many discussions?

    Not really, although once I comment I'm probably interested in what other people think about it as well. With WordPress it's no effort to have those feeds, but I think I won't do the extra work on a custom website. Perhaps it depends on the number of different subjects you're discussing (like ALA).

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Steve,

    I just navigate back to the pages.

    Yeah, me too.

    Generally comments are directed at the author, so perhaps a feed that reports each time the author has commented would be more useful/popular?

    Well, maybe, but usually other people's comments are better than the author's own (like at this blog :-)).

    Jens,

    Sounds interesting. Let me know when it has launched! In English then, I hope?

    andr3,

    People are striving with the matter of information overload, and providing a single feed for each and every post i think it’s dumb, simply because you’ll get a bunch of useless inactive feeds.. Nowadays it’s hard to make someone subscribe to your main feed (given the ammount of feeds in their aggregator), let alone the comments one.

    Very true, it's hard to reach out and get noticed in the first place.

    But I think you should keep your functionality, if there's no more extra work. Some people will most likely appreciate it, and they will be happy that you offer it.

  • Norman Gerre says:

    Never use them. They could be useful with an intelligent RSS reader, but I'm not sure I'd want that either, given that I'm usually only interested in the comments to some tiny fraction of the posts my aggregator takes in.

    Threaded comments and comment-reply notification email, that's where it's at. (Isn't it sad that LiveJournal's comment system is the most advanced of all the popular blogging packages? By far?)

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Norman,

    I totally agree with you.

    And yes, maybe it's sad that LiveJournal's commenting system is the most advanced. I can't really tell, I haven't used it. :-)

  • ClintJCL says:

    I absolutely subscribe to comment feeds, and they definitely should be offered. As far as I'm concerned, it's the ONLY way you can have a conversation with a blog. For instance, you might respond to this comment with a comment of your own. But without a comment feed, I'm not even going to know. And if I'm involved in 150 different things (Which would not be much of a stretch at all), I don't want to have to check all 150 things every 5 minutes to stay on top. I know when someone comments on any of my *friends* FlickR photos. It's a great way to experience photos. And the blog comment feeds.. Yes… Definitely a good thing.

    I came here because I'm sick of missing all these livejournal comments because their "advanced" system that only gives me email notification when someone replies to oe of MY comments. so if i go back, oh look: missed out on a bunch of stuff. Where's the damn RSS comment feed??!?!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    ClintJCL,

    Interesting to hear, and good arguments. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>