New Commenting System - StaticMan
Out with the old, and in with the new.
I had previously used the Facebook commenting system for my blog (and my dog-oriented blog), but I didn’t like it for a couple reasons. One, it required a Facebook account to use, even though almost everyone has a Facebook (well, not anymore, it seems the younger crowd isn’t interested in Facebook). Two, I’ve seemed to lose comments as the Facebook API versions increase (for instance, I had a number of interesting comments this Java programming post that just… vanished). Three, and this is more a benefit to the commenters, is that the Facebook comments provided little value in the way of backlinks. Essentially, I had little control over the comments and no way to back them up.
Why was I using Facebook comments? Well, this blog is a Jekyll blog - a static blog hosted on Github Pages (hence the github.io part of the URL) with essentially no backend - neither PHP nor Wordpress - so I didn’t have a database to store them or even a system to process them. Essentially I’m limited to using third-party systems.
I’ve searched before, but recently I decided to search again. If you’re curious, the Google search I used was “best comment system for static blogs.” That search led me to a year-old blog post entitled “Going Static: Episode II — Attack of the Comments” which discussed a new(ish) service called Staticman that would accomplish what I want.
To use Staticman, I have to add the Staticman app as a contributor to this blog’s repository on Github. When someone makes a comment on a post, it sends a POST request with the required information to the Staticman API, which then makes a pull request with the new comment. From there I either approve or deny the pull request, which will either post or delete the comment. I could have it auto-post the comment, but I want to filter out spam.
There is one potential drawback to this - adding Staticman as a contributor to the blog’s repository. I don’t think the app will get hacked (it’s not a big target) or that it would do anything malicious, to begin with. In either case, it’s a contributor, not the owner of the blog repository, so I could easily just deny access. Staticman is FOSS, so I could also host my own instance of Staticman. I’m just too lazy.
Hey, comment below to see it work! Just remember it won’t show right away as I currently need to approve comments.
5 comments for New Commenting System - StaticMan
Hey Joe, Staticman sounds really interesting, I’m curious to see it in action! I’d used Disqus when I tried Jekyll and was overall happy with it, but at least with Staticman the comments aren’t on a third party. I really like the idea of Jekyll, but I just found it too fiddly overall, for reasons like this!
Hey, Adam, if you want to see what the comments look like on the GitHub end of things, you can check out this repository’s pull requests - of particular interest may be the closed pull requests. Oh, and here is the pull request for your comment.
You might also want to check out my other blog’s closed pull requests since I’ve gotten a few spam comments there.
It’s pretty cool :) I had to check back to find your reply though - some sort of subscribe to comments or replies, and a reply feature would improve it, but it doesn’t look like that’s possible from the Staticman site right now.. maybe in the future!
I added a reply feature - it only goes one deep. Also, Staticman supports a subscribe feature, but you have to have (or rather, I have to have) a Mailgun account, but I don’t want to pay for it.
Oh, and I made our last two comments into replies manually :)
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Hi Joe, many thanks for this article. As the writer of a new blog, I’m looking for the best ways for readers to comment on my work and provide valuable feedback. I’ll certainly keep up to date on your posts, thank you.
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