Friday, January 13, 2012

Two Level Comments, And Required Updates To Our Blogs

The new two level commenting feature has been out for a short 2 days - and already there are at least half a dozen separate problems being attributed to the introduction of that feature. Not every blog owner understands how intrusive this new feature must have been, to install, into Blogger.

The previous two Blogger feature releases - dynamic templates, and the New Blogger GUI, required major changes to the Blogger GUI. Two level commenting, while not requiring major GUI changes, was still challenging to develop. Two level comments required a significant upgrade to the content of our blogs, and were activated without the decision of the blog owners involved.

The two immediately previous major Blogger releases - dynamic templates, and the New Blogger GUI, each required a major amount of coding and testing. The bulk of those features, though, involved Blogger GUI code, which was separate from the code in our blogs. Also, both of those features are optional, with various menu selections which allow us to activate, at our convenience - and to deactivate, when we find that either feature is not to our liking.

Two level commenting, on the other hand, was automatically and instantly activated. Owners of almost all blogs which publish a full post feed, and which use the embedded comment form, suddenly found their blogs offering this exciting feature. Installation of this feature was a no brainer - if your blog publishes full posts feeds, and uses the embedded comment form, your blog now has two level commenting.

The automatic activation of the feature, combined with some content and formatting problems attributed to the feature, left some blog owners feeling powerless. People reporting some problems are being told to deactivate the full blog feed, or to change from the embedded comment form, to work around the problems. Neither change is preferred, by some blog owners.

As an alternative to either recommended change, some blog owners may find relief from various problems, by reloading a standard blog template, and / or resetting the post template. For blog owners who enjoyed installing a custom third party template, and tweaking the decorations and layout of the posts, this alternative is even less acceptable than the suggested feature deactivations. Yet if it's productive when tried, this technique should define the base causes of some of the problems being reported.

For blog owners who are comfortable with tweaking the post template, a manual post template update may provide a solution, for some blogs. This manual update, if done in reverse, may allow people to deactivate two level commenting, without deactivating the full post feed, or changing from the embedded comment form.

As Blogger developed and tested the changes required, to make two level comments work, they had the ability to test using the Blogger development environment, and various Blogger provided templates. They had no ability to test using the many blog template custmisations, and post template tweaks, which many of us have installed in our personal blogs. That being the case, many of the observed problems are not entirely the fault of Blogger - we have to accept some responsibility also.

In short, if anybody with a blog that publishes a full post feed, and uses the embedded comment form, finds changes in their blogs which are not to their liking, they need to return their blog and post templates to Blogger standard, before feeling themselves entitled to complain
What did Blogger do, this time?

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6 comments:

Beben Koben said...

only supports two level commenting with a script that is so substantial, I think the less efficient :)

Jean said...

Thank you. I'm so glad to see someone finally addressing this fiasco. When I saw a problem with my blog (freezing up, not allowing comments), I went to my Dashboard to check on my settings, but *could not* get to my Dashboard! I do have full post feed, but I'm not sure about the embedded comment form. But if that's standard, that's probably what I have, because my blog is just basic, standard Blogger. And still--on Day, is it, Four of this mess--I have no access to my Dashboard, can't post, can't do anything. I'm feeling very frustrated and would appreciate it if they could at least give me some idea of when this will be fixed. I don't care whose fault it is, I just want my blog back!

Mary C said...

I haven't had any problems. But I am curious why this feature requires a full post feed, rather than just a full comment feed. Any ideas?

Gabriele C. said...

So far I haven't had any problems with the comments *knocks on wood* but there's another thing that annoys me. When I log into Blogger, it keeps asking me for a cell phone number, and sometimes I have to repeat the login to get in at all. But I don't HAVE a cell phone mumber because I don't have a cell phone and I don't plan to get one. Any chance that feature could be made more ... optional?

Jean said...

PS to my earlier comment on this post: After a few anxious days, I downloaded Google's own Chrome browser and found that everything worked fine. Didn't need to do anything to get the two-level commenting feature; it was there and working fine. Wonder if anyone else had the same experience? Now, the only problem is--and it's a BIG one--people with other browsers have trouble commenting on my blog! One man with Internet Explorer tried repeatedly, to no avail. Wonder how many others just try once and give up and don't email me about it! And when I'm surfing blogs on one of my other browsers, I can't comment on Blogger blogs; have to be on Chrome. (Ooh, kinda sounds like a conspiracy, doesn't it!)

Nance said...

My problem is with my custom domain name and threaded comments. On my two blogspot blogs, threaded comments works fine in either Chrome or Firefox. In my blogger blog with a custom domain name and no other refinements that aren't standardly available, threaded comments do not work in Chrome, but do work in Firefox. Please advise. I've been leaving this query everywhere to no avail.

If I go back to blogspot hosting on that particular blog, do I lose anything other than my problem? What new problems will be generated in all likelihood?