Your Comment Has Been Posted

Published in Web Development on Tuesday, June 15th, 2004

Shouldn't we be providing a message that indicates when a users comment has been successfully posted?

Over at Asterisk, Keith is chatting about comments.

An interesting little idea was brought up in the, er, comments about this post on comments. A reader named SM mentions the following (comment #3):

‘Course there’s also that strange MT behavior that usually fails to confirm that your comment posted.

Now, to the best of my knowledge, I have never received a confirmation message when a comment is successfully added to a site (aside from DarkBlue's homespun Urban Mainframe, I believe).

When coding up client data entry forms, its standard practice to provide a confirmation message when data is submitted. With blogs, the user, if lucky, is forwarded to their comment. If they are forwarded it usually takes a second to scan and confirm that all is okay.

So wouldn't a Your Comment Has Been Posted message be a useful addition, helping users to know what has happened after they hit 'submit'?

Comments and Feedback

Both Dunstan Orchard and Ryan Brill have blogs that return email notifications of comment replies. But, I agree, this is a rarely implemented facility even though the code involved is trivial.

Interestingly Orchard and Brill have both written their own CMS.

Yours also provides e-mail notifications, if I\'m not mistaken. I should really head over and test your new setup! Haven\'t had much surfin\' time lately...

Dunstan was also providing the Yellow Fade, last time I posted a comment on his site. This could have the same effect as a message.

Short answer - YES!

Long answer - This is something that should be a part of almost any Web form as a default. Why it\'s not in there has been a something I\'ve been wondering for quite awhile.

It\'s really evident on my site and others with that cgi lag problem. The user is left hanging and unless they are famaliar with the problem try to submit their comment again and again.

It\'s a trick one because I still get quite a few comments from people who aren\'t all that tech savvy -- I don\'t want to keep them out of the discussion

By the way -- nice trick \"pre-populating\" your comment form with proper markup. Interesting idea!

Hey Keith, not-very-tech-savvy people are exactly what I was thinking about.

I\'m so used to being \"dumped in the middle of the desert\" after posting a comment, that I didn\'t even see the lack of what seems quite obvious. Someone unfamiliar with the blog landscape may just wonder what the heck happended after they hit \'Post\'.

nice trick \"pre-populating\" your comment form

Thanks - I actually have a set of Javascript tags that could help out with posting comments, but being \'application/xhtml+xml\' breaks them. This was the next best thing, next to providing tags on the side that one could copy and paste.

Well, at least I think there is an error page showing up when the comment isn\'t submitted, or am I wrong here??

Aren\'t we able to determine where the user is coming from? Meaning, if they just posted a comment, display a ...ehm... (normally hidden) alert div on the redirect page and informing them that the comment has been posted? Just an idea, though.

After giving this a little thought, it now seems to me that the best solution is to give instant feedback to the person who posted the comment. The feedback should indicate a successful posting, and it should display the posted comment. I like the idea of greying out the submit button after it has been clicked too.

I am not sure that the email option is necessary under those circumstances, although it certainly represents an alternative.

Minz, something could be cooked up the way that you describe it, however the exact details of \'how\' aren\'t clear to me yet. It would be nice to work something in.

Simon, the e-mail option is nice for people who rarely visit.

Take Keith, for example. That\'s his first comment here, and who knows if he\'ll visit anytime in the near future. If he forgets about his comment (he\'s a busy guy, aren\'t we all!) then maybe he and the conversation here lose out. By providing the facility to subscribe to the comments of individual posts, this could be avoided.

Another feature for the list, eh? ;-]

I agree with Simon\'s comment about disabling the submit button after pressing it. This would probably help someone like Keith out, to make it less easy for people to accidentally submit multiple times.

About confirming a successful state after filling out a form: I\'m not convinced it\'s really that necessary. If I write a comment, and I\'m returned to the list of comments, I can see that it has been successfully added. In a desktop application, you don\'t get a little confirmation message each time you do something, right? Anyway, I\'m sure it doesn\'t hurt to have one anyway, but I\'d prefer not to have it be its own page - it\'s annoying to have to click to get back to the context I was in before. I\'d rather go right back, and see a little message at the top of the page.

A note for myself and whomever reads these comments: over on you can subscribe to comments without posting! What a great idea.

Mike P. Sorry, \"subscribe without commenting\" was lost when I upgraded to Wordpress from Movable Type.

The old movable type installation for can temporarily be seen at

The plugin I used for MT was Scriptygoddess \"Subscribe To Comments\" -- \"subscribe without commenting\" came with it.

Recently, Scriptygoddess updated her Subscribe to comments to work with wordpress, that\'s the plugin I\'m using now -- unfortunately \"subscribe without commenting\" is no longer there, out of the box. I plan to implement it, though.


Note to webmaster: adding your own \"p\" tags shouldn\'t really be necessary when commenting -- why not move them out from the comment field and into the template?

Hey Joen, the markup idea is an effort to keep the pages semantically valuble and validating. There are other methods to do this (textile, markdown etc.) however we thought that the target audience here would be able to code. It is a bit of a pain, but it also allows such things as Posting Code, Anchors...

  • Lists
  • Etc.

By the way, I went in and cleaned up your previous post, adding the paragraph tags and an anchor..

There are some bugs to work out, for example I have a feeling the comment processor chokes on entities right now (kind of ironic, really) and there are a few other bugs, but for the most part the pages are valid and people seem to be able to say what they want to...

Some sites automatically send a trackback/pingback to the url you use in your comment.

We\'re still lacking a good general solution to track the comments you post, though...

In terms of MT, I agree with one of the comments above: an immediate congrats message would probably work

I can understand your take on validation, although I don\'t care for valid comments myself.

As for tracking comments - I don\'t know if this blog uses Wordpress or a homemade one - but I do know that in Wordpress, every post automatically comes with an RSS comment feed. I think that\'s a pretty good way of keeping track of things?

Tracking comments is an interesting one. I like the subscribe via e-mail option and the RSS version.

What I have experienced, with RSS feeds, is that you subscribe not to the comments of individual posts but to all of the comments. This can be a bit much, and tends to really fill up my inbox (I use Opera\'s built in RSS reader). That\'s with MT blogs, perhaps it\'s different with WordPress?

The e-mail notification, as I envision it, would be for single posts only. As e-mail is a little more widespread, it would cater to a larger audience as well.

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