Why providing an email when commenting here improves your experience

Leaving comments at this site will greatly help you stay in the loop and continue participating in the discussion.

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To all new commenters (of which I’ve been getting a lot recently) I would like to make a suggestion. You have probably noticed that I have a javascript based comment system ((Actually, you can still comment even if you have javascript deactivated, but it doesn’t thread and so you get comments very disconnected)) and there’s a lot of threading going on. This is very useful for longwinded conversations where many points are discussed at once but it has the problem that it’s not as easy to find when you’ve been replied to.

The solution to that exists. When you comment, you have the option of providing your email address, which I notice that most people do not fill in, I guess because of concerns about spamming. That’s not  a problem in itself but I wanted to point out the benefit you have when you do provide it. Mainly that you get email notification about new replies to your own comments.

The way it works is this: If you’ve filled in an email address, whenever someone responds to a comment you made directly, by using the “post reply” button directly under your comment (not the one in the end of the comment list), an email is dispatched to your address informing you that someone replied to your comment and also quoting what you had said (to jolt your memory).

At this point, you can follow the provided link which takes you immediately to the new comment, so that you may reply directly, or you can reply by simply replying to the email itself (that is, no need to visit the site at all). ((The later option is still a bit flaky sometimes but in general it should work.))

The biggest advantage thus is that you can continue in the conversation without having to take any extra action by yourself like subscribing to the comment RSS or visiting repeatedly to check if any new replies have been posted. It allows makes the discussion to progress faster and more intensely (pun intended)

There is also one side benefit to providing an email address in that if there is something wrong (as was the case when the “see more replies”  link broke) I can send you a direct email to inform you that no, your comment is not lost or deleted (as many assumed) and I’m working on fixing the problem.

So that’s all, if you can, I would ask you to provide an email address so that you don’t lose track of the conversation and you can easily continue without having to scour through the comments.

I’m aware that you may have a valid concern about providing the email that I have not considered and perhaps we can find a workaround. So if you still do not wish to use it, I’d love to hear why.

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