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I now see Stallman's logic
By Dave Winer on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 9:49 AM.

Last Wednesday I wrote a piece describing some features I wanted in Disqus, the commenting system I use here on Scripting News. #

I sent a pointer to Daniel Ha at Disqus, but not much of a discussion followed (heh) -- which isn't surprising. Daniel is a busy guy, and I'm just a user. It's easy to say no to users. #

However... #

I still want the feature. #

It goes like this. #

Twitter limits you to 140 characters. I think it's brutal, but it serves a purpose. It keeps people concise.  #

That was 108 characters, and conveyed a few ideas. So it is useful for some things. #

Commenting software serves another purpose. You can comment. Hence its name. :-) #

A comment is a short thing. Like "There's a broken URL in this post" or "I found the code you're looking for, here's a pointer." #

But it should be possible to post something a bit longer to a comment, because sometimes we move a thread to a blog post because it can't be dealt with adequately in such a constrained space. You can breathe more easily in a comment thread. It's for problem solving. Twitter is good for announcing the problem, not solving it. #

However sometimes people use commenting software to write blog posts. Why do they write blog posts in other people's comments sections? I don't know, but I wish they wouldn't do it in mine. No one reads them. I want my comment threads to serve a purpose. They're not a place for random people to vent or tell their life story. They're here to accumulate knowledge and interesting perspectives. Not your rants, missives, screeds, autobiographies. Those belong in your space. #

I believe this very strongly. And I'm not a totally random person, please. So don't treat me like one. #

A picture named try.jpgAnyway -- I've heard that WordPress has the feature I want. It can limit comments to a blogger-determined maximum. I'd start with 1024 characters and see what happens. The text area wouldn't accept more than 1024. There would be a little JavaScript counter that says how many are left. Just like Twitter, but with a more generous allocation. But one that would be determined by the sysop. #

I could see playing some games with this. Like Casual Friday -- maybe one day a week we could up the minimum to 5000 characters.  #

Either enough people want this feature so Daniel & Co add it. Or I switch to some other software that has the feature (not desirable, but possible, I'd still use Disqus to host the old comments and use the new software for new posts). Or write my own software that does what I want (horrible, I already have way too much stuff on my plate to seriously consider adding something new to the mix, but if I have to I will do it. I have written commenting software that was used by a lot of people. However I don't relish dealing with spam. That looks like a massive undertaking.) Or do without.  #

Maybe finally I see the logic of Stallman's open source militancy. What a crock that I'm boxed into such a corner, for so long, because the developer of software I use, and promote, won't give me what amounts to a very small feature. I mean really, in the big perspective, isn't it ridiculous that a programmer would have to wait for such a long time (I asked for this the first time over a year ago) for something that could probably be added in an afternoon.  #

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