Comments are back, and I’ve also made some changes to how I use Campfire. Going forward, depending on the context, some articles will have a time-boxed live chat, some will have comments, and some will have both.
There’s always room for improvement, and my experiments with Campfire as a replacement for comments was no exception. I’ve already addressed the advantages and disadvantages, so I’ll keep this brief and focus on my solution. I’ve still got several more ideas that involve getting my hands dirty with API’s, but I’m not in a hurry to take it that far just yet.
The first aspect that was killing everyone was the lack of focus in the chat rooms. So now, I’ll be using Campfire sparingly. Some posts will have it and some won’t. When it is available, it’s getting some additional visual prominence. 1 When it is present, every post will have a dedicated room and those rooms will only be available for 24 hours after it’s initially published. The links and other aspects promoting the room will obviously not appear after the room shuts down.
Ideally, this will make the chats a bit more focused and worthwhile. I’m not sure if 24 hours is the best time frame, but it makes sense as a good starting point. This all still leaves one of the largest drawbacks of Campfire, and that’s the fact that the archives aren’t public. My solution for this is to cherry-pick parts of the discussion and add them to the article as an update. This won’t notify everyone, but it will create an accessible record of the information for anyone who’s interested.
Finally, since a chat room doesn’t always make the most sense, the site is now ready to have comments enabled on selected posts. 2 There’s not much to say about comments other than the fact they’re here, so I’ll leave it alone. These solutions compliment each other pretty well, and I think it should address most of the concerns in the simplest way. I know the Campfire room hasn’t always been exciting thus far, but I think these changes are a good step in the right direction. I’ve enabled Campfire and comments on this post as a test run, so have at it and we’ll see how it goes.