Me Want!

I thought my luck was too good to be true, with MT 2.6 not coming out on the usual Wednesday night, when I work until 8, and then I’m in no shape to be installing and testing a new toy. My luck just ran out, when I came across MTThreadedComments, a brilliant plugin + patch from Alexei Kosut that gives you threaded comments from Movable Type. I want it, I want it so bad I can taste it, but just this once I’m going to be smart and hold off until I’ve got the time to think it through and do it right, rather than just slap it in and then think about what I should have done.

I’m not quite sure about not having a comments form on the individual archive page: I don’t want to provide a link straight to a form from the main page, because commenting without reading the existing comments just isn’t proper, but having to go from the main page, to the entry page, to the comment form page, when there aren’t any comments yet, seems a bit annoying. So I’m thinking a form to reply at the root level on the individual entry page, with links to reply to individual comments. And I’ll have to figure out how to hack in replies to TrackBacks, too, since they’re just comments, and even though it seems a bit silly sometimes I do reply to them in my own comments. Mmmm. Pretty fun new shiny toy. Thanks, Alexei!


Comment by Kafkaesquí #
2003-02-20 05:27:10

Warning people how to report security issues. Holding off on playtime until the right opportunity. Planning ahead! Is our little Phil growing up?

Let’s hope not.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-22 21:10:04

Doesn’t look like it. Just a midlife crisis. In the end, I just threw it in live, and probably I’ve missed a dozen bugs.

Comment by Kafkaesquí #
2003-02-23 00:00:10

Ooh, I’m the impetus for first thread on I’m not worthy!

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-23 00:11:01

It’s shiny, it’s fun, it’s comments. Who better? When I run a string of entries that nobody can stand to comment on, who comes through, and finds a way to say something other than ”shut up, you boring git”?

(And who needs a long enough comment to make it over to the right margin right now?)

Comment by xian #
2003-02-20 10:19:53

Dave’s comment seems kind of off-base. Manila is not a blogging tool and is priced much higher than Movable Type. C’mon, lots of software has threaded comments, but Phil is obviously pumped because he like’s MT and is happy to see a key feature added.

Comment by xian #
2003-02-20 10:21:37

sorry for the repeat. got an error first time around, should have checked before re-trying…

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-20 10:33:50

Doubles are no problem, in fact they’re probably better: DreamHost hates MT, so when it grabs a ton of CPU for a few microseconds while rebuilding pages, their reaper kills the process, and even if your comment appears some places, it may still need a rebuild to show up everywhere, so I’d rather delete one of a double and know I need to rebuild than not know that there’s a comment halfway posted somewhere.

As to Dave, he’s just jerking my chain – he knows as well as we do that there’s a bit of a difference between an $899 system designed to manage sites for lots of users, some of whom may run weblogs as some of their sites, and a free weblog program.

Comment by Alexei Kosut #
2003-02-20 12:07:51

Sorry about that, Phil. I’ve had MTThreadedComments running on my weblog for a few days; I could have waited until today to release it if I’d known it would cause you trouble.

Obviously, tastes differ in how the comment system should be set up, and the example configuration reflects mine—that Movable Type has such flexible templates is, to me, one of its greatest features, and it should be pretty easy to rearrange the comment system any which way you like. Personally, I’ve been wanting to get the comment form off the entry archive page for a while now, and this was a good excuse. To me, the form seems to clutter the page, and I never quite liked that the entry archive page—which seems very much like a ”reading” page—had ”writing” portions in it. I get a little nervous when there’s a form on a page I just want to read.

But really, I just copied the way comments work on LiveJournal :-)

As for trackbacks… I thought about adding replies to trackbacks, but I didn’t do it, partly because I’d written enough code before thinking of it would have been a little bit of trouble to implement, and because I wasn’t sure anyone would ever want it. Obviously, I was wrong on that last count. When I want to comment on a trackback, though, I usually just follow the link and comment on the linked weblog (if it has comments). The idea of following up to an excerpt seems a little weird to me.

Besides, if you can comment on trackbacks, the logical next step is to be able to send trackbacks to comments. And that seemed like taking things a little too far. Or, at least, farther than dinnertime, and we were going out for sushi that night.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-20 12:36:05

”too far”? I do know both words, but I can’t seem to make sense of them together in that context. I’ve had entries where a comment got more links than the entry (not too surprising; I like most of my comment threads better than the entries too), so it’s only reasonable that people would want to send pings to a comment rather than the entry.

And since I’m working Saturday this week, there really wasn’t a good day, so you’re excused. This time.

Comment by Jim Roepcke #
2003-02-20 20:22:25

Manila is not a blogging tool? Hello!? Read the history books folks, was all about letting thousands of people try out browser-based content management, and what was the home page of all those sites? A weblog.

Jim Roepcke
Not A Manila User (anymore)

Comment by Dave Winer #
2003-02-20 20:56:33

Phil, I’m definitely not trying to yank your chain. Looking at the feature list of MT Pro is like deja vu all over again. They’re all features that Manila has had for years.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-20 22:07:13

Well, I don’t have much room to talk about Manila, having just flipped the page on my Manila site from December 5, 2001, but I think part of the problem is that nearly every other thing that people think of as weblog tools act pretty much the same, and every other thing that people think of as light or mid-weight CMSs act pretty much the same, and Manila just feels more like a CMS than a weblog tool.

When I think blog, I think small chunks of content, individually permalinked, and although I know that it’s possible to have (semi-)permalinked Manila news items mixed in with stories or is that the main page itself things, because I see them on every day, whenever I look at Manila I see Managing Editors, and departments, and Stories vs. News Items, and a discussion forum that’s comments on main page items but also a completely separate bulletin board, and to me it feels more like a CMS than a blog, and for one person who’s just looking for as transparent as possible a way to write some stuff on the web and have other people write comments on it, it’s priced more like a CMS than weblog software.

I agree 100% that MT Pro sounds a lot like Manila or for that matter CMS Brand X, and that probably means that I won’t be buying it, and by then may well have moved on to something else. It’s nice that it now comes with however many language packs, but to me all that means is that the code is more complicated to hack on because messages are all being passed through a translator that I still haven’t had time to look at. It’s nice that it will have ”improved author management,” but around here I’m the author and I don’t much want to be managed.

I guess my bottom line is that anything that makes money for you or Ben and Mena, and keeps Jake’s nose to the grindstone coming up with cool new things, is good for weblogging as a whole, and that’s good for me because I like to feel a part of that whole, but for my own personal use I want something that does what I want and no more, without any extra things that I don’t even understand.

The first pickup I ever worked on was a ’52 Ford, and it didn’t take long before I could tell you exactly what every single part on it was, and what it did, and how. My current pickup, you open up the hood and it’s just a solid mass, you can’t even pick out individual parts, much less get an arm in there and touch them. I use things like my new pickup or my current OS when I have to, but I only really love things that are simple, solid, and discrete enough to wrap my mind around.

Comment by Dave Winer #
2003-02-21 08:49:08

Phil, sorry I just saw your comment.

If you go to the prefs system, the News Items panel, and switch them on, and Manila will then behave like every other blogging system, with the workflow that Ben is planning for Movable Type Pro, already working.

The most common feature request for the News Items functionality, btw, is that the workflow functionality be made optional. ;->


Comment by Anil #
2003-02-21 09:45:21

Just from an executional standpoint, I think that the workflow stuff is being done by Ben and Mena. I’m sure no malice intended, but a large part of this thread is about people getting proper credit for their work.

FWIW, I don’t know that it matters who does what first so much as who executes well on something. I mean, I don’t know what the first magazine was, but I do know which magazines I’d pay to subscribe to.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-21 09:52:21

Maybe you could just have a pref to change the workflow labels from stuff about Managing Editor to things about ”this might not embarrass me if I publish it,” ”this probably wouldn’t embarrass me,” ”no, I’m sure this is what I mean.”

I did turn on News Items, but didn’t seem to end up with per-item permalinks. I suspect I should have actually looked at the News Item template, but then, I’m a user — mine host should have thought of that for me, dammit!

Apples and oranges rant still to come tonight, if I can stay awake after I make it through my mail, my aggregator, three support forums…

Comment by Dave Winer #
2003-02-21 10:36:45

So is the name of the company that makes Movable Type ”Six Apart” — if so I’ll just refer to it that way in the future. Anil, sorry I didn’t read the rest of the thread. I’m sandwiching in computer stuff between loading up my dumpster with garbage accumulated over 20-plus years living in the Bay Area. It’s unusually humbling work! ;->

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2003-02-21 11:28:03

Or BnM. Or ”the Trott’s,” which is way more letters, but has the advantage of alluding to whoever’s great phrase for people moving to MT that was — ”sorry, can’t this weekend, I’m getting a case of the Trott’s.”

I quite often omit mentioning Mena just because so many people omit Ben, like that thread a while back about how so many more women than men use MT because men don’t want to use a program written by a woman. Just because Mena has a wonderful and popular blog, and Ben only posts once every four months, doesn’t mean he shouldn’t get any credit at all.

Throwing stuff out is humbling? I’ve always thought it was delightful, the most liberating thing you can do. I’ve never envied you more than when you started talking about selling the house, getting rid of everything, and not having to be anywhere. Bliss!

Oh, and thanks to everyone for making such a great demonstration of why I need threaded comments.

Trackback by From The Orient #
2003-02-20 02:30:23


Woo hoo MTThreadedComments [via Phil who is pausing before installing] Read and review before installing? Where’s the fun in that?

Trackback by John's Jottings #
2003-02-20 04:39:02

Comments vs. Posting

If you write in a weblog I’ll bet you make comments on other weblogs and respond to those on yours. I’ll also bet you’ve done the same as I – half-way into a long comment you suddenly realize, ”Damn, this would make a good article on my weblog!” You th…

Trackback by Too Much News #
2003-02-20 05:17:24

Me Want!

phil ringnalda has cool popups when you move over links which have titles…

2003-02-20 05:22:27

Manila, the Movable Type killa

Dave Winer writes: Phil Ringnalda drools over a Movable Type plug-in that adds a feature that Manila had at

Trackback by Geodog's MT Weblog #
2003-02-20 23:27:31

Implemented RKB’s comment visibility design upgrade

Robert K. Brown implemented a nice design upgrade that makes it much easier to see who is commenting on a post and what they are saying. As soon as I saw it I wanted it, and he very n…

Trackback by Musings #
2003-02-22 22:55:07


The really cool people have, not just an RSS feed for their blog entries, but also a feed of recently

Trackback by In My Experience #
2003-02-24 16:49:02

Threaded Commenting (?)

I’m considering installing a threaded commenting plugin that allows for subject lines and threading in your comments. You would be able to reply not only to my posts, but to the comments of others as…

2003-02-26 22:11:07

New Comment Interface

A few days ago Phil Ringnalda posted about a new plugin for Movable Type that let you have threaded comments….

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