Allow comments on shared items with no comments

Allow comments on shared items that weren’t shared with a comment. I know that this was a design decision you made to try and keep the interface simple, but users want to comment on items without comments and it isn’t clear why we can’t. New users will think your system doesn’t allow comments at all.


If you want to comment on a story, why not share that story? Alternatively, reply to somebody who has. But I don’t like the idea of having a free radical shared comment with no requirement to back it by your own share.

“I don’t like the idea of having a free radical shared comment with no requirement to back it by your own share.”

“Back it by your own share” implies that sharing is endorsement. If sharing is endorsement, and I want to comment on a share without endorsing it, I’m unable to do so unless the original sharer remembered to leave “//” as a comment first.

See also:… (7 likes)… (6 likes)

It seems to be 2 trains of thought here for the following scenario:

Scenario. user1 wants to share a story, but they don’t feel they have a comment about the story. User2 who follows user1 finds the story interesting and wants to add a comment about the story.

There are 2 ways with the current system to deal with this

  1. User2 is unable to comment story because User1 did not leave a comment on the story so they have to re-share the story with their comment

  2. when User1 share the story they add a “useless” comment such as a “*” or something like that, so this story now has a comment which would allow User2 to comment on the story

Basically I would like to be able to do option 2 above without have to add a “useless” comment so people can comment on something I have shared. I know I am not the only person that does this because I have seen a number of users doing this.

I don’t think that this comment would be a “free radical” the comment would be attached to the item that was shared by User1, it just happens that the first comment is by User2 instead of User1

It just seems a bit strange that you have to reshare an item just to leave a comment, you may not necessarily want to share the item you just want to leave a comment.


I just [silently] launched those privacy controls. You can test them out by going to Manage > Profile. I think that will do much of what you’re looking for. I’ll be blogging about it soon.

Hooray! So, I see this in “Profile & Blurblog” > Privacy. But how do I approve people (“Only people I approve can see my shared stories and reply to me”)? Is it assumed that those I follow and follow me back have approval?

If somebody requests to follow you, you’ll get an email and they’ll show up on your dashboard.

So, those that I’ve already followed/have followed me are already in my secret club? If I decide I suddenly hate one of my [existing] close friends’ opinions and want to block them, how do I do that?

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Yup, follower removal is something I’ll be adding soon.

Yes, please address this problem. It doesn’t seem to be addressed by those privacy controls.

I really hope your view has evolved from this. Honestly, it sounds like there’s a disconnect between your view of this facet of reality and almost everyone else’s. My guess is that everyone else thinks, “Only my friends can see this share, and I want them to be able to comment on it,” and your initial view was, “Everyone in the world can see it, so comments need to be backed by a share first to contextualize it.”

Regardless, though, because shares now have privacy controls, can you get rid of the weird distinction between “shares without an initial comment, and so condemned to a life of no interaction” and “shares, which are commentable”?

Would you accept a github pull request that implemented this, if the code was up to standard?

+1 for this. It really just seems to make sense to allow comments on posts that don’t already have a comment on them.

If there’s opposition to enabling it across the board, maybe make it an opt-in in preferences?

I’m really disappointed with your response to this issue. The most enticing features of Newsblur were its sharing features, but this renders them unusable. Not only that: it paints a grim picture of your understanding of software usability in general.

Despite paying for your service, I’ve switched over to Feedly. If the sharing features improve, I’ll consider switching back.


There’s only one thing stopping me from implementing this, and that’s what the UI looks like for replying to a share. How do you reply to somebody who doesn’t have a comment to reply to?

Maybe add another box on the right under the Train/Save/Share buttons? Or add it to the menu that’s attached to the title? I guess if you added another box on the right, it could use the same textbox that sharing does.

You’re replying to the share itself, rather than to the comment on the share. The same “reply” button, which opens a text entry box, is still relevant.


But in order to reply to them, you would have to hit something to reply to. More than one of your friends might be sharing it. Oh, and I can’t add anything to the control list (train/save/share). It’s crowded enough as it is. This is the dilemma and why it hasn’t shipped. The backend supports it just fine.

OK, let’s take a step back. In the old Reader (I’m sorry if I keep using this as a touchstone, but it was so great), if more than one of your friends shared something, the share was not coalesced into a single item; you’d see the shared item multiple times, each of which could be commented on. That’s one way to go about it, and probably what I was expecting to happen because I hadn’t thought about any other way.

The other way would be to share it implicitly, and add your avatar to the list of people who shared it. The trick would be to syndicate your comment to all instances of the share that you can see. This would lower the perception that “sharing is endorsement”. But even then, what if you knew your other friends wouldn’t be into the share, or you didn’t want to talk about it with them, but you did want to have a discussion with the people who could see it on your friend’s original commentless share?

I think my first paragraph gets to the heart of the confusion: people don’t expect multiple shares to be coalesced into a single entity whose origin is now obscured. The significant speech act is perceived to be the share itself, and the identity of the sharer changes what the actual message is. “Samuel said foo,” is something you can reply to; “A bunch of people said foo,” is, as you point out, difficult to engage with.

There is a lot of surprising behavior for users here.

EDIT: What happens if multiple people share something with initial comments? Can’t you just insert an invisible default comment in case none was supplied?

One more thing: this issue,… , also is relevant. It’s more than just “I want to be able to see the comment and the content at the same time.” Having the initial comment at the top, made upon sharing, is a framing device for the reader of the share to understand why the sharer shared. When someone is replying to the share, they aren’t necessarily replying to the initial comment, which is why its proper place is before the content of the share.

Samuel, I feel like you still haven’t addressed the main issue here.

I switched from Reader to Newsblur. I even paid money for it. I got a bunch of my friends to do likewise. Very positive reviews from everyone, with one notable exception: we all end up sharing items with a “//” comment for the sole purpose of allowing comments from each other. Such an annoying work-around for preserving the one key feature we loved most in Reader.

Please either implement this, or, if there’s a fundamental decision NOT to implement this, please communicate it clearly.

Frankly, most of us will probably abandon Newsblur if this feature isn’t on the roadmap.

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