Anatomy of a comment

The Australian Museum web team recently began looking at commenting. We wanted to see what sort of items could appear in a comment.

After a look around a wide variety of sites, we came up with a list of possible aspects that could be included in a comment:

  1. Author name – who wrote the comment
  2. Authors url – the authors website
  3. Authors avatar – the digital representation of the author
  4. Permalink – a permanent link to the specific comment
  5. Number – A reference number for the specific comment
  6. Date – date of comment
  7. Time – time of comment
  8. Comment – the actual comment
  9. Edit this comment – allows authors to edit their comments (suggested by IM)
  10. Other comments by this personsee example
  11. Site owner flagging – some sort of visual distinction to shows comments from the site owner/s

Below is a chart showing some of the aspects listed above, checked across a range of blogs. This chart was prepared by the ever-patient Rose Cox.

The biggest surprises for me was the number of sites that did not include a permalink to each comment.Only 18 out of 70 sites checked used a permalink. I was also surpirsed by the variety of methods used to “house” the permalink. These included:

  1. Date
  2. Time
  3. Date and time (by far the most common option used by the 70 sample sites below)
  4. A graphic icon
  5. The # symbol
  6. The word “permalink”
  7. Comment title

So, are there any aspects of comments that we have missed?
Do you include all of these on your blog/site?
Specifically, do you include a permalink to your comments?
We’d love to hear!

Update: The chart below has been updated. The permalink column was incorrect. If you see other errors, please let me know.

Comment comparison chart

URL Author Avatar Permalink Date Time Comment Number
70/70 11/70 45/70 68/70 54/70 70/70 25/70
Jeffrey Zeldman yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
456 Berea Street yes no yes – using number yes no yes yes
Andy Budd yes no no yes yes yes no
Hicksdesign yes yes no yes no yes no
clagnut yes yes yes – using icon yes yes yes no
Weblog about Markup & Style yes no yes – using " permalink" yes yes yes yes
meyerweb.com yes no yes – using number yes yes yes yes
mezzoblue yes yes no yes yes yes yes
Signal vs. Noise yes no no yes no yes no
Nick Bradbury yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
Meryl’s notes yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
AdamPolselli.com yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
The Man in Blue yes no no yes yes yes yes
Si-blog yes yes no yes no yes no
SuperfluousBanter yes yes no yes no yes no
Ryan Brill yes no yes – using "#" yes yes yes no
Authentic Boredom yes no no yes no yes yes
Jeffrey Veen yes no no yes yes yes yes
Molly.com yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
IEBlog yes no yes – using "#" yes yes yes no
Mike Davidson yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes yes
Jason Santa Maria yes no yes – using icon yes yes yes yes
The Hivelogic Narrative yes no no no no yes no
CollyLogic yes no no yes yes yes no
ShaunInman.com yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes yes
Zooiblog yes yes yes – using date/time yes no yes yes
box of chocolates yes no yes – using time yes yes yes no
drew mclellan yes yes yes – using date/time yes no yes no
Boxes and Arrows yes yes no yes yes yes no
evolt.org yes no no yes yes yes no
SitePoint yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
UsableType yes no no yes no yes no
Brainstorms and Raves yes no yes – using word "permalink" yes yes yes yes
Karmakars.com yes no yes – using date/time yes yes no yes
Juicy Studio yes no yes – using "url string" yes yes yes yes
Matt Cutts yes no yes – using time yes yes yes no
Berkun blog yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
Bruce Lawson’s personal site yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes yes
Pen and Ink yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
rachelandrew yes no yes – using time yes yes yes yes
f berriman yes yes yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
fadtastic yes no yes -using "#" yes no yes no
Diary of a website yes no no yes no yes no
snook.ca yes no no yes no yes yes
lesscode.org yes no yes – using date yes no yes no
Citizen Agency yes no yes – using word "permalink" yes yes yes yes
ThePickards yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
Presentation Zen yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
D. Keith Robinson yes yes no no no yes yes
O’Reilly Radar yes no no yes yes yes no
Dexagogo yes no no yes no yes yes
the 200ok weblog yes yes yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
Surfin’ Safari yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
Wait till I come! yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
findability yes no no yes no yes no
Jens Meiert yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes yes
The NeoSmart Files yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
Rave About It Blog yes no yes – using "#" yes yes yes no
Cross-Media Entertainment yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes yes
Ben Balbo yes no no yes yes yes no
Jason Yip yes no no yes yes yes no
Bokardo yes no no yes no yes yes
FactoryCity yes no yes – using word "permalink" yes yes yes no
Read/WriteWeb yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes yes
Molt:n Core yes no no yes yes yes no
Notes on Design yes no yes – using date/time yes yes yes no
Smashingmagazine yes no no yes yes yes yes
A List Apart yes no yes – using comment title yes yes yes yes
Standardzilla Yes no yes – using time yes yes yes no
Engadget yes yes yes – using date/time yes yes yes no