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John T. Unger

Comments Feed Fixed! Yay!

John T. Unger April 4, 2006

Update 4.10.06: The comments feed is now working and the instructions have been fixed and updated so that you can easily create a comments feed which validates perfectly. The new code used in the tutorial was found here. Many thanks to Anu Gupta for posting them at his blog. If you have subscribed to the comments using the link in the sidebar, you should be fine. The proper, functioning URL for following the comments at this blog should be: http://feeds.feedburner.com/TypepadHacksConversations End Update.

Update 4.10.06: Nope, the comments feed instructions are still not quite right. Apparently this is a trickier hack than I thought… I've changed the commenst feed here to use the instructions at TypePad Tips. I'd like to get the feed working so it displays comments only, as individual items, without the posts. I'll post a notice when I get the new feed to validate. End Update.

Timothy Appnel discovered a nasty little bug in the code I posted for creating a comments feed. It was assigning the comments the same date as the post, so they grouped into nice little conversations, but displayed in a random order. No good.

Thanks to Laura at the TypePad Help Desk, I think I have it all ironed out now. I've replaced the code example in the tutorial with the new, improved version. If you used this Hack for a feed from your own blog, you should replace the code too! You can get the new, improved, chronologically sound code here.

Thanks for keeping me honest, Tim. It helps a lot to have smart people checking my stuff. Corrections are always welcome here!

More Like This: Corrections


Tom G says:

Clearly, I'm running all over this site and Typepad Tips trying to add/experiment with anything I can...

Here is my current issue...


Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks in advance...

john t unger says:


My bad. I thought I had the comments feed working because it worked in the reader I use… But, I forgot to validate it as well since it seemed okay. There's still some issues that I haven't resolved, which Bud brought to my attention. I haven't had a chance to figure out where I went wrong with it yet, but will get it working and update the code as soon as I can.

dthomasmaddox says:

First, thanks for this blog and your stated purposes. You're filling a need that Six Apart should be ashamed of not filling and so performing an extraordinary service.

That being said, I don't understand how this blog serves as a forum. I don't see a way to start a topic or ask for help with particular problems. Am I missing something? Quite likely I am, but I'd assume that one of your constituencies here would be, precisely, people who are missing something.

Partly because some of us can't get our heads wrapped around many of the ways TypePad works; even more because TypePad's "documentation" is a joke.



john t unger says:

Hi Tom,

When I said forum, I meant it in a more archaic sense than I suspect you thought I did: "A public meeting or presentation involving a discussion usually among experts and often including audience participation" rather than internet forums, bulletin boards, lists, groups, etc.

I see blogs as a great way to encourage discussion, and if you look through the comments at the end of posts you'll see that happening here quite a bit.

Although you can't *start* a topic in the comments the way that you could in a forum, you *can* request a topic or ask for help pretty much anywhere. If the topic or request is quick, it can be answered in further comments. If more complicated, I might write a post about it and then it would get further discussed in the comments. If you wanted to submit a post or article, it's real easy to get in touch with me to submit it.

I had sort of thought that the Frequently Asked Questions page would work for that, but I can see now how that might not have been clear enough. I've added a new "participate" section to the sidebar in response to your question which will hopefully make it easier for people to make requests.

I'll also post a longer entry in the near future about how I do see blogs as a forum, and where the difference lies between blogs and forum software.

Alan Gutierrez says:


Don't be put off by the fact that you can't start a new "thread". This is becoming a new way to moderation a discussion. The blogger, John in this case, starts a new article based on what's being said in the comments. He creates open threads to get brand new ideas. When he starts up a new article, he's wise to quote and give credit to the people that suggested the topic.

It becomes John's burden to chose the new articles, and to take the heat when someone's suggestion is ignored. It's not a power trip. It's moderation. I like this much better than open thread message boards, because there is much more decorum.

Open thread message boards seem fair, but people end up spending so much time talking about moderation, the start to neglect the subject.

It is John's parlor where we are having this conversation, but he can't have this conversation without us. He doesn't want to sit around alone.

john t unger says:


well said. It *is* about moderation, and especially about staying on topic. I think this model helps to avoid flame wars and rudeness.

At the same time, since I won't ever delete comments uless they are spam, or completely inappropriate on some level (such as personal attacks) it is still a very open forum that depends on reader participation for it's liveliness.

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