Fixing The Comments by Removing ‘Luv

A bit of a short one today.

Recently Quietschisto brought to my attention a problem that I am now certain has existed a long time. Probably since very shortly after setting up last year in fact. It was pretty well invisible to me as from my side everything was working just fine.

The issue will also have been invisible to Blogger account holders, only really noticeable to other WordPress users.

What was it? Well, thanks to Quiet also helping with additional troubleshooting, I now know. If you are a WordPress user — you know the little notification pane in the top right, that can tell you when someone replies to or likes one of your comments? Doesn’t even have to be for your blog — can be a comment you’ve left on any other WordPress blog. Very handy for keeping track.

But here? If you commented directly via the page, you never would have received such a notification of my response.

Oddly, if you commented via WordPress Reader, then notifications worked and everything was hunky-dory.

Tracking down the source of the problem was a nightmare. Nothing I thought of at first seemed to be the cause. Jetpack comments seemed to be set correctly. WordPress accounts with comments were allowed. And like I mentioned, I was getting notifications OK even when I was offsite on another blog.

I eventually found out what was causing this by running through the plugins that I had that in any way touched the the comments form. There was really only one though, CommentLuv.

That was the plugin which allows commenters with a blog of their own to link to one of their recent posts. It’s been around for years, it’s a plugin I used to use on my old blogs just as a nice little touch of ‘thank-you’ to those taking the time to comment.

The problem?

In order to display the additional UI elements required for CommentLuv to work, it has to essentially hijack the comment form. It won’t allow the JetPack comment form to load by default — and if you override this behaviour? The CommentLuv UI elements vanish anyway.

So! I had a decision to make:

  • Keep notification responses broken, but allow people commenting via the page to use CommentLuv to reference their posts if they so wished, or
  • Fix comment response notifications, but remove CommentLuv.

I didn’t have any access to stats advising where most people commented from — page or reader — but I could see that only somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 of comments used the CommentLuv feature.

That plus the fact people could still drop a link to a post in a comment itself if needed, but I had no other way of fixing the notifications lead to the decision to remove CommentLuv. It’s a shame as I really liked what it offered other blogger-commenters. But just know, you’re welcome to replace the function by hand and drop a comment to your recent posts if you so wish to. And either way, I hope you appreciate actually being notified correctly when a response comes through!


This was a post for Blapril 2020, the annual blogging event (albeit usually as Blaugust), brought forward to help bring a sense of community during the challenging time of COVID-19. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in, year round!


Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

23 Responses

  1. I knew something was different on your last post!

    • Naithin says:

      Hopefully it’s OK! I figured fix the issue with no workaround rather than keep the thing that had alternates, but even that cool cold rational logic didn’t make the choice any easier. xD

      • I liked having my latest post with my comment but tbh, how many click that link? Not many for me, but maybe my content isn’t that interesting. It’s definitely more convenient now, as I can reply from the WordPress App instead of having to dig up your link and check for new comments ;)

        • Naithin says:

          It wasn’t just you — click throughs on the CommentLuv links were tiny across the board from what I could tell; but even so, it was more the principle of having it for me! :)

  2. Glad you were able to sort it out!

    Let’s test it, for good measure :-)

  3. Jeromai says:

    I prefer it off personally. It’s embarrassing when you want to comment to something and you wind up with it suggesting to link back to a 3 week old blog post, on a topic not even relevant to the discussion. ;)

    There’s always actually linking the blogger when it makes sense to, though tbh, click throughs barely occur for anything. Folks come to read one article and rarely divert. Only TVtropes bucks that trend!

    • Naithin says:

      And Wikipedia. Can often end up on an extended Wiki crawl starting from something quite random. :)

      You’re right though, the clickthroughs on the links were pretty small in the first place from what I could tell.

  4. Rakuno says:

    Oh, crap. I liked CommentLuv for the same reasons as you but if it is causing those kind of problems then it has to go.

    Thanks for sharing the information!

    • Naithin says:

      Not a problem, but if you’d like I can drop a comment on your next post and we can test on your site before ripping it out. I can’t recall if I get notified of replies on your blog or not, mostly because I can’t recall whether I commented last from Reader or the app or from your site directly.

      It should only be the latter case that is ‘broken’, people replying via Reader or App would work fine.

      I scrolled back far enough to where I did get a notification, and it looks like I probably(?) did it via Reader, because it has no CommLuv attachment on it.

      So yeah! Let me know, and can test it out for you tomorrow.

      • Rakuno says:

        No, that is fine. I think I will just take it off to be on the safe side. And it isn’t one that is that essential to my blog anyway.

  5. Belghast says:

    I never would have noticed this since I don’t read posts through WordPress, and instead use Feedly. I am not sure if I want to make the same decision however. I really value the functionality of CommentLuv, because there are a lot of times I will read a comment and then dig into a specific post by that person. When I scroll through my posts the overwhelming majority of the comments on my blog have the little red phoenix icon beside them indicating was entered with CommentLuv.

    • Belghast says:

      I’ve turned it off as a test, we will see if there are any noticeable changes.

      • Naithin says:

        Curious how it goes for you. And I certainly understand not wanting to turn it off. When I first realised what the problem was and the cost to fix it — I wasn’t sure the fix was worth the cost either.

        I wonder if it might be possible to get the two to co-exist, as CommentLuv does have some PHP that can be manually called to load its function. I haven’t even attempted diving down that path yet, but I still might come the weekend and can update accordingly.

  6. Heather says:

    Thanks for sharing Naithin because I’d been planning to try out Comment Luv in the future because I also really like the link to last blog post feature, however, the problems it causes with wordpress are not worth it :(

    • Naithin says:

      Like I mentioned to Bel above, I might try dig into the possibility of manually calling ComLuv with Jetpack. It might be possible.

      Bringing my hope levels down somewhat on this though is the fact there doesn’t already appear to be any guide on this… And it might just be that the way in which it is calling the URL from the wordpress profile won’t work with how ComLuv wants to do things.

      Still; worth a shot. I’ll update with findings!

  7. bhagpuss says:

    This makes me aware of something quite odd about myself that I hadn’t ever really thought about before. I noticed those little links on your blog and Belghast’s every time I commented or indeed just read the posts. I frequently thought about them and read the title of the posts linked, my own and other people. I was very consciously aware of both their presence and their purpose. But…

    It literally never once occured to me to click on one. I didn’t think about it and decide not to. My brain simply didn’t link the idea that I could do it with the idea that i should. And what’s more, as I think about it now, i realize the same applies to almost any clickable link on any blog, or any clickable button that does anything. I see them, I understand them, I go about my business.

    I also never click anything on any blog that tells me if anyone has replied to a comment or a thread, which is of course the reason you removed the Luv feature. I generally don’t revisit comment threads once I’ve commented. I leave enough comments already without going back and forth on the same threads.

    Anyway, interesting stuff. Now I’ve thought about it maybe I’ll change my behavior.

    • Naithin says:

      It seems like you might not be alone in that behaviour, honestly.

      I found I did click through if it was an interesting sounding post I hadn’t yet seen — but looking at the numbers, that was clearly not a common thing to do. (CommLuv also kept track of click throughs — and most had 0 or 1 depending on whether I’d used that link or not. Those with 0 were usually those I’d been notified of via another channel (i.e., blogroll which is typically how I find new posts, or the Blaugust Discord).

      Similar was true of inline links within posts too, veeeerrry few click throughs.

      This is actually pretty typical internet behaviour though, although my main broad set of stats is admittedly from marketing campaigns — but there a 2% click-through rate (as measured against the open rate) is considered incredibly good.

  8. Frostilyte says:

    I wonder if I can actually leave comments on your posts now. I was never able to in the past and always had to resort to using the wordpress reader for comments (like I am now). Will have to give on site another try the next time I happen to read one of your posts outside of the reader. :P

    • Naithin says:

      Hopefully you can! What was happening when you tried directly before? Submit but no show on comment, or an error of some sort?

      Suppose not too important now if it’s fixed — but definitely let me know if continues on! :)

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