Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Needed: An Open-Protocol System for Commenting on the Web

One thing that many blogs have embraced is the trackback system for blogs to
shout out to other blogs that they’re linking to them or using their information.  This is a
wonderful idea, and a similar solution should be applied to comments.

Now, I’m not fully
up to speed with micro-formats and RDF, and such, but such a system should be easy to create and implement. 
The first thing we should do is extend RSS to include it.  We already have the <comments>
tag, which should obviously link to an RSS feed of comments for the item (using this new system, anyway.) 
So we need to add a <postComment> tag, yes?

This tag could go in either the
<channel> element (for Comment-Streams) or in the <item> element (for
news-streams and/or as a direct reply to other comments).  Lets break it down something like this:


style="border-bottom-style: none; text-align: left; padding-bottom: 0px; line-height: 12pt;
border-right-style: none; background-color: #f4f4f4; padding-left: 0px; width: 100%; padding-right: 0px;
font-family: 'Courier New', courier, monospace; direction: ltr; border-top-style: none;
color: black; font-size: 8pt; border-left-style: none; overflow: visible; padding-top: 0px" id="codeSnippet">
 1: <postComment             style="color: #ff0000">method="post"            style="color: #0000ff">>




 2: <link>http://www.example.org/postComment.php</            style="color: #800000">link>




 3: <input             style="color: #ff0000">type="hidden"
name="newsID"
value="12345"
/>




 4: <input             style="color: #ff0000">type="text"
name="name"
required="true"
/>




 5: <input             style="color: #ff0000">type="text"
name="email"
required="true"
/>




 6: <textarea             style="color: #ff0000">name="comment"
/>




 7: <captcha            style="color: #0000ff">>




 8: <link>http://www.example.org/captcha/render.php</            style="color: #800000">link>




 9: <desc>How many kittens are in the picture?</            style="color: #800000">desc>




 10: </captcha            style="color: #0000ff">>




 11: </postComment            style="color: #0000ff">>




This
would allow a large amount of customization for systems that have different fields without too much change
needed.  Just an extension to the current RSS spec.  Essentially something similar could
be done.  What are your thoughts, improvements, and ideas for this?