Cut that comment bar out


Not every page needs a comment bar.

Typical uses of comment bars

Comment bars have (currently) a clear function on some pages.

What's typically discouraged in the comment bar

But, sometimes editors leave comments that would be more useful to others if they were instead added directly to the page.

And of course:


The comment bar has several benefits to the wiki.


The comment bar has several disadvantages to the wiki.


Perhaps the wiki needs alternative ways to get the sort of information that editors put in Comment Sections, without the problems. See below for proposals on how the wiki could incorporate other mechanisms in the place of or in addition to the Comments macro.

Discussion on key concepts

Some people feel, with all seriousness, that this is an important issue and view it as something that threatens to and — to some extent — has destroyed some of the core concepts of the wiki as a common space where equals meet and every piece of content is shared by all, with no special claim to parts of the wiki. That core concept is something that is viewed with great passion by those people. While a bit of fun is a great way to let off steam, the continued mocking of these ideals and beliefs is starting to get old.


We tolerate comment bars on user pages. That's because they're used for communication. They make life slightly easier when you need to communicate with your fellow editors.

We tolerate comment bars on business pages because people like to do "reviews." Ideally, users would edit the main text of the page and add their opinions directly, but few feel comfortable with that.

Outside of those two cases, please cut the comments out and just edit the page directly.

Some semi-irate wiki user who wishes people would edit the actual page instead of randomly throwing in their 60k ZWD (2008) in the comment bar.

Contribute here:

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2010-03-10 08:06:48   So, uhh, I'm not sure I understand this discussion, guys. What's going on here? —TomGarberson

2010-03-10 08:26:14   But without my comment bar, how do I add comments?! —TomGarberson

I feel that a comment bar on each page is useful in showing new users what is opinion and what is fact. I take a look at the UC Davis Budget Cuts page and the earlier versions of the CalPIRG page and I see way too many opinions and biased information on the main parts (because I hold an opposing view) and I feel that too many new users might take for fact what is on the main part of the page without a section for comments. What could be done is to have a notice on the top of each page for all new users who have only logged in a few times or have only been registered for a week about being able to add information to the main part of the page and what kind of information is appropriate. The script should not be too difficult I believe, just an addition of text to the header after comparing today's date to the user's registration date or checking the number of log-ins (which might require a new column). —hankim

I hate to open this can of worms, but it has to be said. The problem isn't the comment bar, the problem is anonymity. I have to get back to work, more later —jimstewart

As a local business owner, I'm going to shoot my cash cow. But if you check the comments on almost any salon page, you will see why the comment bar (though great for me, since I get at least 1 Wiki referral per week) is ruining the concept of the wiki. I don't believe that half the comments are true customer endorsements. Even the comments that may be by clients of the owners, I believe to be solicited in some way. There's an extremely high no. of single comment users, and no true way to test whether they are real or not. I love the wiki as ad space, but from what I've read, I doubt that's the purpose it was created for. —Davidlm

2010-03-10 17:20:06   I am going to vote with the people who wish to leave it in. I too feel that we need to be able to clearly distinguish between facts versus opinions. Also, I have found that the discussions here that were facilitated through the comment box have helped the community to discover further facts to add to the main article. BTW, if the starting portion of my comment came out as code, then we need to change how the comment box operates. —PaulAmnuaypayoat

Wes' Proposed solutions forward:

First off we need to:

The real question here, in my mind, is not "should page X have a comment section" but rather "how do we discuss page X" where X is one of:

Given all that, I think the choices forward are:

People *will* want to discuss everything and a good wiki should facilitate that. One page for documentation, one for discussing documentation editing and another for just "chatting" about the topic (currently missing). This is what we're missing and is needed. Ideally with "reply to this" buttons that would thread it properly (unlike most other forum pages out there)

More and more I am starting to agree with this, wading through long boring comments is a drag. I like the comment integration macro, that is pretty cool —DagonJones

When I first joined the wiki I would always try and integrate my thoughts, but make sure that people know they are mine, but I would find people moving my comments out of the body and into the comment's section. I remember my comment on burgers and brew with the bacon, which I believe is still in the article. We should have comment integration, it's just when I had that as my default stance I would find resistance from people... —StevenDaubert

2010-05-09 22:29:02   I was just realizing how, often when I am looking through recent changes I look especially for comments because they are more interesting for me to read than punctuation changes and other unremarkable edits. Before Sycamore, I used to look at the size of the difference between the old and new versions, to find especially interesting edits, the "Comment added." has partially replaced this for me. —NickSchmalenberger

2010-06-27 13:31:10   The question at this point for me is why should editors leave [[Comment]] macros on pages. What is to stop the mass removal of all comment macros throughout this wiki? Everyone can still edit, but they will have to edit rather than just drop a comment about how nasty their experience was or how they are sure that they were given food poisoning. —JasonAller

The comment bar is easy to use. Editing, right now, isn't. Lots of amazing contributions happen via the comment bar. —PhilipNeustrom

The only thing I don't get is that individuals have placed comment bars on business pages, only to have them removed, a la AM/PM. Are business pages an appropriate place to have the comment bar or not? —condemned2bfree

2010-07-02 20:46:56   I think this is about as simple as any other generalized issue is. The fact is that unsophisticated users leave unsophisticated feedback. People will be unproductive whether they use the comment bar or not, so it's up to the individual to sort through the junk to find the gems. Like mine, of course. —KBathory

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