Blogger Commenting Update

Well, I figured out what’s going on with the Blogger commenting issue. It isn’t a bug; it’s intentional. The Blogger team has added OpenID support for commenting in their Beta (or Draft) version of Blogger, to replace the manual name/URL option–hoping to encourage the use of OpenID and maybe reduce comment spam, I think. See their post about it here. In the meantime, for some crazy reason they thought it would be a good idea to take off the name/URL commenting not only in the Draft version, but also the current version, which does NOT yet have OpenID support. So, basically, they completely screwed everyone who isn’t using the Draft version.

I don’t think it’s a good idea, anyway, to get rid of the name/URL field…it took me more than half an hour to get an OpenID account and get it set up with my blog URL so I could comment and air my complaints about the whole thing. Now, granted, that’s a one-time thing, but it’s still a barrier of entry to the casual commenter, who will probably decide not to comment at all rather than go through the hassle. If I hadn’t been really angry about the implementation of this “feature” which seems to be actively trying to keep me from commenting on my friends’ blogs and wanted to let Blogger know how angry I was, I probably wouldn’t have bothered either.

In any case, the hassle I just went through doesn’t really do me much good, since the feature isn’t available in the current release yet. If you do want to implement it, you can log into your Blogger blog using draft.blogger.com instead of www.blogger.com, go to your dashboard settings under comments and select “Registered Users – includes OpenID” under “Who Can Comment?” Note that if you do this, there won’t be an option for anonymous commenting anymore. edit: Actually, you can set it to “Anyone” and OpenId is included. I swear it wasn’t when I checked a second ago, but I tried it again and it was. end edit I’m not necessarily suggesting you do it, just saying that you can. So basically, you can allow anyone to comment but they’re unable to leave URLs, or you can limit commenters to people with OpenIDs or Blogger accounts (which link to their profile rather than their blog, even if their blog is on Blogger, which can lead to confusion if they have more than one Blogger blog). Talk about exponentially increasing the barrier of entry for commenters, especially for those of us who have a strong mixture of casual readers without blogs (and probably without OpenIDs) and bloggers who don’t use Blogger. edit: So this complaint is mostly moot, though I still think forcing people to sign up for OpenID if they want to leave their URL is a bit heavy-handed. end edit

I like the support for OpenID; eventually being able to have one ID across many platforms is going to be almost necessary in the fragmented online world, but that time is not really here yet, and there needs to be an option for allowing traceable comments without forcing people to sign up for OpenID. I’m sorry, but even though I know what the issue is now, I still think Blogger dropped the ball on this. Anyone who wants to switch to WordPress.com or a self-hosted WordPress blog (or other blog platform, but I haven’t found one as easy to use and full-featured as WordPress yet, plus OPEN SOURCE, so I always recommend it), the time is right.

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