Allow for comments on a shared post that does not have a comment

It seems that if someone you follow has shared something to their blublog without a comment it does not seem like you can add your own comment. It would be nice to allow for comments on shared items even if the person who shared the item did no add a comment when they did so.


See also:……

Samuel Clay (Official Rep) 4 days ago
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.

The issue that will never die. I’m still firmly in Ian’s camp here; If you share a story, anybody should be able to comment. Sam, you’re already splitting “public comments” out from comments from your friends, so what trouble would there be in allowing comments on shared items without parent comments?


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.


I wanted to dredge this topic up again because I find it really aggravating, and I cannot for the life of me understand why it hasn’t been fixed already. We have options to control who can see our shared items, and we have options to control whose comments we want to see. All the privacy controls are in place, so why not give us an “add comment” button when viewing somebody else’s shared item, whether or not they originally commented on it themselves?

Right now the only workaround is to share every item with a one-character comment just to trick the software into working the way we want it to. Judging by the number of requests to fix this, it’s widely perceived as a problem by the user base. If it doesn’t fit with your vision about how Newsblur “should” be used, then at least give those of us paying customers who disagree a preference to allow these dreaded “free radical” comments.


I’m happy to implement this, but I don’t have an interface for how it will work. How do you respond to a specific user? And I refuse to clutter the interface, so it’s going to be tough to figure it out, which is why it hasn’t happened yet.

Hi Sam, I appreciate you being willing to think about it. I was just talking about this with some local Newsblur users, and we all thought that the best solution would be to simply add a fourth button to the existing group of three (Train/Save/Share This Story) for “Add Comment” that would appear when viewing someone’s shared item.

To be clear, I’m only talking about adding this capability for items that have already been shared by a friend. The example use case would be:

  1. Alice shares a movie review, but doesn’t include a comment.
  2. Bob reads Alice’s shared item and uses the Add Comment button to reply with “haha I saw that on thursday, it was terrible”.

Perhaps an “Alice shared this without comment” with a “reply” button like a normal comment has? Perhaps relabel the button as “reply” seems nonsensical? “Comment on Alice’s share”?

Sam, did you use Google Reader? Because that is what people want.

Basically each user has a list of shares. Those shares have a list of people who can see the share (if you have fine-grained sharing). Anyone who can see a share can comment on that share and that comment will be seen by exactly the people who can see the share.

If Alice shares X and someone comments, it does not affect the fact that Bob shared X also. If Charlie follows Alice and Bob, he could comment separately on both X’s and neither would see the other comment. Each comment stream is connected to the cross-product of user and share.

The issue is that you have, I believe, a different mental model of commenting. I left NewsBlur because commenting was very strange and seemed to be site-wide rather than on individual shares. It was unclear who could see what.

The Reader model was clean, although the downside was that if you comment on something you do not know who can see your comment (because that was determined by the user who shared the article) but in the age of Twitter this seems to be less of an issue.

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Ian is exactly right - all that’s desired is the ability to have a discussion among friends after one of them shares a story. It seems like the UI for this would be incredibly simple.

Darn, this seems to have died out again. :frowning:

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It’s a new year and this incredibly important and incredibly simple feature is still, incredibly, missing. Will 2015 be the year that Newsblur finally becomes a proper replacement for Google Reader?

Matt, inoreader has what you’re looking for. We moved when it became clear that newsblur wasn’t designed for our use case.

Thanks Ian. I’ve checked out Inoreader and there’s a lot to like there, but their support for rule creation doesn’t seem to quite do what I want (primarily, can’t easily filter blog posts by category). This is one of the things I appreciate about NewsBlur.

inoreader has rule support to assign tags or ‘mark as read’ feed entries based on info in the RSS and it looks pretty comprehensive to me, but then it isn’t really something that I use so I don’t know!

Yah, I meant filtering on tags or categories that are present in the source material, not assigning tags based on the results of a regular expression. I’m talking about the tags/categories/whatever that the original blog post author has assigned to his post. For example, if I am subscribed to a technology site where I only want to see product reviews and filter out all the other stuff like industry news and politics, Newsbur makes it easy to allow only items tagged with “Reviews” to show up. You can probably do this with Inoreader if you try hard enough, but I appreciate how easy Newsblur makes it.

This really just comes down to the UI. I remember Reader’s “Share” vs “Comment” vs “Like” and couldn’t figure out why there were so many different ways to act on a story. If I add “Comment” to go along with “Share” to mean reply to somebody’s else share, I think we’re gonna have a lot more confused users. 

That said, I do see a nice difference b/w sharing, liking, and commenting (which seems like it isn’t even the exact same thing, it’s just comment without sharing, whereas you want replying to somebody who shared without commenting). So you can see some of the confusion here.

The database supports it just fine, though, so I would welcome a nice clean UX that makes it easy. If anybody mocks up a commentless-reply, I’d be glad to build it. I’ve thought it building for too long for it to be some obvious solution, but I feel like there is some answer out there.

I checked out inoreader today based on the suggestion from this thread. It appears to implement exactly what’s being asked for here, which is identical to the old Google Reader sharing/commenting object model. Samuel, it may be worth looking at that service for a working example–based on your comments I think you may be misremembering how Reader worked. It’s actually pretty straight-forward.

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let’s get away from reader and newsblur parlance for a second (specifically, the distinction between “comments” and “replies”), and switch to facebook. when one shares something on facebook, they are given the option to include some text of their own. perhaps they want to elaborate on why they shared this thing or what’s meaningful about it. but hey, perhaps they don’t, because they think the content speaks for itself. so they leave the field blank. on such shares, would you expect the comment stream below to cease existing?

you talk about UI confusion, but at this point i suspect any facebook user will be comfortable with the distinction between “share,” “comment,” and “like.”  but if you’re worried about alienating users, what if you took a pass at this functionality, and only enabled it at, to give users a chance to try it out and weigh in before releasing it into the wild?

would you accept a purely visual mockup of how this might look? i’m afraid i don’t have the technical chops to actually code something like this up. but i’m not so bad at visual aids :slight_smile: