Improving blog comments and coffee cup lids

Something that warms my techie heart is when people make small, wonderful improvements to simplify things.

For instance, this morning, I had a cup of coffee with one of those lids on it where you sip through the little hole in the top. I always thought that was a good improvement on swearing because you hit a bump in the road. Not only does it keep your lap from scalding, but keeps your vocabulary less than vulgar.

This morning however, I noticed an improvement even on that. Someone put a little switch thingy on it, so I can even close that little hole. That’s pretty cool if you ask me.

Another great improvement in my life today has been making some minor changes to the comments on this blog (I’ll soon be doing the same with the Bellingham Real Estate blog too).

If you’re interested, the inspiration came from the gem of a site called

What I did

  1. Make admin/logged in user comments stand out – Essentially, this means that whenever I post a comment on my own blog, it gets highlighted in a different color. In this case, light blue. I’m a boy. I don’t like pink. Plus, I like the spotlight – not that you aren’t important, because you are! Ok, remove foot from mouth and continue
  2. Reduce trackbacks – Ok seriously, blogging has it’s own vocabulary and it took me about a year to figure this one out… I’m also a little slow. Trackbacks and pingbacks, for those of you who want to be down with the lingo, are just comments, but written on a different blog. They refer to the original post, but basically just link to the post. So, this blog picks it up as a “trackback” or “pingback” inside the comment section. Don’t ask me why, but it’s cool. The problem with it is that nobody wants the full post of the other person on their blog in the comment section. Maybe they are just referencing your post quickly. Thus, it doesn’t deserve the entire post being added as a comment. So, we just reduce the thing down to a simple link and say “Hey, someone wrote about this post… here’s a link to what they are saying”. And voila – you have what’s called a trackback or a pingback.

Simple, sweet, to the point.

Ok, for those techies who just read this and want to flame me for not getting into the nitty gritty of the differences between a trackback and a pingback, feel free. But just know that … well… I don’t care. I was trying to bring some non-techies into the know, just a little bit.

[tags]trackback, wp, wordpress, pingback, comments, blog, blogging[/tags]

Nate Ritter lives in Austin, Texas (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

3 Comments on "Improving blog comments and coffee cup lids"

  1. sawwer says:

    If spam is the problem, there are lots of good options for automated spamkilling with WordPress. If the other platforms don’t have equally good options, then we may see WordPress blogs as the only ones with comments….good for WordPress bloggers, bad for everyone else…

  2. nate says:


    Yes, I agree. WordPress has tons of good spam killer plugins, like Spam Karma 2 (which comes with WordPress 2), and a few more.

    Thanks for the comment and welcome to my blog.

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