RFC: Comment systems


This throwaway line on my recent post about replacing social networks with RSS generated some interest:

And maybe… I need to re-enable blog post comments again.

But not for the reasons I thought. Re-enabling something again sounds like something Yogi Berra would say. It’s completely superfluous to mention, unless I had disabled blog comments once before. Which I hadn’t. So why am I even bothering to

@Georgina posted this comment on The Twitters:

@Rubenerd If you did enable comments on your blog again you’ll definitely see my face there on occasion 😉 Funnily enough I was reading a friend’s blog and she was not too chuffed about the growing number of monetised blogs, missing the days when people actually wrote about life.

That’s a good point, I hadn’t even considered all those paid blogs regurgitating the same stuff everywhere. In my head those aren’t blogs, they’re something else.

As for enabling comments, it raises a key concern: I statically generate my site, like a gentleman. It means my posts, themes, and other site assets are all in version control. I don’t need databases or an interpreter or server-side caching to limit hits to the software; the pages themselves are the cache. But it limits what I can do.

If I wanted to enable blog comments again, there are really only two choices:

  1. Implement something like Disqus on my static pages, which is reasonably the only game in town. I don’t like this because I dislike JS, and I’m concerned about tracking.

  2. Run a CMS again. This is a big jump in terms of server requirements, and negates all the convenience and performance of static sites, but puts the code server-side where it belongs.

I’m torn. I’m leaning towards 2, but 1 would let me flip the switch today. Maybe I’d include 1, but have instructions on how to block it? Or research Disqus alternatives?

Or if I went with 2, what would I do? I’d want something that runs on Postgres at a minimum, but none of the popular blog platforms support it without potentially breakable shims. Or do I roll my own?

Loyal Rubenerd readers, whaddya reckon?

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Hi!

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