5 Reasons Why I Removed Blogger Threaded Comments

I found out from Shilpa recently that blogger has finally introduced the "threaded comments" feature. In her post about this, she mentioned how we could get this feature enabled in our blogs. I followed the steps outlined by her, but couldn't see a "reply" button below every comment on my posts. I blamed it on the fact that I have a highly customized *old* blogger template, and perhaps those steps only worked for new templates from the "Template Designer" screen.

After some hunting on the net, I found out how to manually enable this feature in my blog template. It's a fairly simple hack posted by nitecruzr, that enables the "threaded comments" on customized blogger templates. Although, apparently, this blogger implementation does not give a complete "threaded" feature -- it's just a 2-level version as of now. See the image below:
The above is a screen shot from the post on Shilpa's blog, and as you can see, replies to replies are not indented further to the right... there are only 2 levels. And what difference does it make? I honestly don't know!

Anyway, following nitecuzr's post, I was able to get the threaded comments working on my blog, but eventually, I took them off again. Why? Here the 5 reasons why I removed blogger threaded comments from here:

1. Page Load Position
Clicking on post titles (or "Read more" links) from the homepage or any other "index" or "archive" page (e.g. search pages, monthly archive pages) shows different behaviors for posts with comments and without comments. For posts without comments, the page load stops at the beginning of that particular post page (where it ideally should). But for posts with comments, it automatically scrolls down to the embedded comment form section. So if you haven't yet read that post, you'll have to scroll all the way up, to the beginning of the post. Minor irritant, but irritating nevertheless. And this behavior is consistent across the old and new templates.

2. Missing Comment Form
The embedded comment form is not visible on the first loading of any post page. It shows up only when you refresh that post. In my blog, with "threaded comments" ON, when you first opened any post, instead of the comment form, it showed the last widget of my blog (which is actually placed in the footer section). But in other non-customized templates, even newer ones, it shows a block of blank space where the comment form should be. The form becomes visible once you refresh your browser.

3. Comment Timestamps
The threaded (or 2-level) comment feature of blogger is automatically converting all comment timestamps into the Pacific time zone, regardless of your blog's time settings. It seems to be a "known-issue" with this feature, so the blogger team will eventually get around to fixing it. Don't know when though.

4. Author Comment Highlights
I have added some CSS styling to highlight the author comments here. When I switched to threaded comments, I lost all that highlighting. But, I'm sure this feature is there for threaded comments too. As you can see in the screen shot above, Shilpa's comment is highlighted. I'm assuming that author comment highlights feature is already built-in with the new templates. If I spend enough time digging into this, I will eventually figure out what changes are required to make the author highlights work with threaded comments on this template. But, I don't have that much time right now. Moreover, I'm thinking... maybe it would be better to just switch over to the new templates now... whenever I DO have enough time to migrate all my customizations to one of the new blogger templates.

5. Comment Subscriptions
In the old non-threaded comment format, blog authors usually prefix their replies with the name of the person whose comment they are replying to, so that people who have subscribed to the comment thread, and are getting all the replies in their mailbox, know automatically which reply is meant for whom. But with threaded comments, we blog authors will obviously stop this practice of using "@xyz". Now, wordpress automatically adds a "in response to [xyz]: " in its comment notifications, but I haven't yet been able to test the email notifications of threaded comments on blogger. If blogger hasn't made any such provision yet, it could become very confusing for the comment subscribers.

All that being said, "threaded comments" was a much awaited-for feature in blogger. A lot of blogger users have switched to wordpress simply because of the lack of this one feature. Some have integrated third party comment forms (Disqus, Intense Debate etc.) in their blogger templates. I'm going to do neither. I will just wait patiently for blogger to fine-tune their threaded comments -- especially the first 3 points mentioned here -- and until then, I will continue using non-threaded comments.

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Vyankatesh said...

I have also decided to wait until they fix the stuff and get it going completely.

Good post.

Chicky a.k.a. Kaddu said...

Thanks Vyankatesh. The good thing in all this R & D was that I got the profile pics back on, in comments. For some weird reason (Read: messed up code) they weren't showing earlier.

Shilpa Garg said...

Wow!! That's a wonderful explanation of the various issues!! Very enlightening! :)

Chicky a.k.a. Kaddu said...

Thanks Shilpa. It took quite some time to figure out why all these issues came up when I enabled threaded comments here. Mostly because the first logical reason for everything seemed that I must have messed up my template somehow, playing with it so many times! Then I went through the official blogger help forums, did a lot of google search, and finally realized that others were facing the same problems too. Thought of summing it all up in one post...

rads said...

Yeah I've noticed the threaded comments for blogger too...but I use a non-blogger custom template and I was sure it wouldn't work for me coz the template I use goes really crazy with scripts and stuff, so I never tried it, and seeing your analysis, I now confirm that it wouldn't work for me...I'm going old school too, thanks for this post.

Chicky a.k.a. Kaddu said...

Hi Rads! Well the hack posted by nitecruzr is really very simple. I'm sure it would work on your template too, i.e. if do want threaded comments.

MRie RNie said...

I think its already done for admin comment. coz u can customize blogspot default threaded comment.

Because now already have many tutor to customize threaded comment.

I think u can refer this 1 tutorial http://artistutorial.blogspot.com/2011/09/threaded-comments-for-blogger-comment.html

Chicky a.k.a. Kaddu said...

Hi MRie RNie. Thanks for dropping by & sharing that post. I went through the code in that post. Apparently, it is a manual hack for getting threaded comments in blogger. My post above was about the official blogger threaded comments. I found them quite shabby when I tried them.
In fact, I was tempted to use that manual hack that you shared, but then I noticed it wouldn't work unless people specifically use the "@AuthorName" format while replying to comments. So I've decided I'll just stick with non-threaded comments! :D

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