This has been bugging me the last few days as we’ve quietly extended support for commenting within FeedBlitz (FYI comment links now appear for Blogger blogs whereas they didn’t before, for example, and new comment icons appear in FeedBlitz RSS feeds where appropriate).
But it kept on striking me as odd – why do feeds force subscribers to subscribe to something else (a site comments feed or an individual post’s comment feed), or to visit an alternative page or site to see the current conversation? Why aren’t the latest comments, you know, just there, in the feed, when it’s read? Why are we making readers to go to all this extra effort? Surely the conversation is part of the content, and it surely makes sense to have the conversation in the same context as the content, no matter where it’s being consumed.
From being bugged to taking action. As of now, all new feeds created on the FeedBlitz RSS service will include the 5 most recent comments if we can find them. You can change that (from none to the ten most recent), along with the entry title (such as “Talk to me!” instead of the default “Comments” and the text that displays when there are more comments available than your settings permit to be shown. Go to RSS / Settings and expand the Per-Post Customization area to access the comment integration settings. Publishers with existing feeds will can enable the feature at the same place.
The goal here is to increase engagement and user attention by providing the dialog in the context of the feed. And to see it in action (I have a limit of 5 comments set up and have changed the default text to “Join the Conversation!”) add http://feeds.feedblitz.com/feedblitz to your aggregator or RSS reader.
The one gotcha is that if you’re using a third party comment service (such as Disqus) then it’s unlikely that the relevant tags are going to be in your feed so you may not get this feature to show up. Yet.
Anyway – do chime in here, please. Corruption of the purity of the feed … or an interesting idea? Join the conversation!