Explaining the problem with comments on the blog

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/02/03 08:31 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2006/02/03/524026.aspx

(a little blog maintenance)

I thought I would explain what is happening with the comments here on blogs.msdn.com (at least until they fix the problems, that is!).

It currently looks like the following problems exist:

  1. Leading spaces will be removed, which of course hurts code samples in the comments. This always happens.
  2. If a comment is left anonymously, then all the new lines are being removed after the comment has been approved.
  3. If a comment that is not left anonymously is later edited by me, then its new lines would also be removed.
  4. The comment editor (a UI that is shown to me) has many rich formatting capabilities even though the comments are plain text only. If any of these capabilities are used, then all of the HTML tags will be visible.

#1 and #4 are longstanding issues that have been happening for months, while #2 and #3 are new issues since the latest Community Server upgrade.

Now personally I would not mind if I just allowed unmoderated comments and did not even need to approve them. But I am still getting comment spam, which I'd rather avoid if I could. And I'd rather spare readers the pain, if I can.

I really don't edit comments other than occasionally I edit typos in my own, which I will restrain myself from doing that.

I know that not everyone wants to register, even if all it means is that they need a Passport. I suppose getting a free e-mail account and getting a Passport with that would still be pretty anonymous (especially if you don't use it anywhere else!) but I certainly am not going to require people to be registered to leave comments at all.

Maybe the freedom to leave comments and not needing to wait until I get them posted will convince some people to register? :-)

Hopefully they will have theses issues fixed soon. I am very sorry for the inconvenience of all this....

# Maurits [MSFT] on 3 Feb 2006 11:44 AM:

It's notoriously difficult to effect indentation in HTML, so #1 is understandable. The rest are just embarrassing, especially for a software company.

# Ben Cooke on 3 Feb 2006 1:26 PM:

I don't suppose the server could support some alternative sign-on mechanisms such as TypeKey, could it? I've got enough passwords as it is, and while I've got no objection to you being able to see who I am I dom't want to create an account which is of no use to me other than for your weblog when there are other much-more-general cross-weblog authentication systems out there.

Not that there's anything particularly wrong with your weblog, of course. :)

# Michael S. Kaplan on 3 Feb 2006 1:46 PM:

Hi Ben,

It is not really up to me -- it is the Community Server project that is deciding what happens here.

Hi Maurits,

They could put the whole comment in 'pre' tags, couldn't they? That shoudl even preserve the spaces. Since it is plain text anyway....

# Maurits [MSFT] on 3 Feb 2006 2:27 PM:

<pre> and <tt> and their cousins work fine until you want to word-wrap long paragraphs. It's hard to get it right.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 3 Feb 2006 2:30 PM:

Aha, but now there is a way to a fix -- support the <pre> tag, and have a note that tells people to use that tag for source code! Then in the thing converting to named entities, make it not convert the tag.

Problem solved. :-)

# Jason Alexander on 3 Feb 2006 9:33 PM:

Hey Michael!

Thanks for the feedback - I've passed along your post to the CS guys, as well, to make sure we have your issues captured and addressed in a later release.

jalexander [at] telligent [dot] com

# Michael S. Kaplan on 3 Feb 2006 9:40 PM:

Thanka Jason!

Ben -- your point is kind of proven if even the folks who work for the company that created the software don't authenticate with the mechanisms the software uses. ;-)

# Yaytay on 4 Feb 2006 10:30 AM:

If they are changing the way MSDN blogs work you might ask them to make sure the results validate:

They all look a mess in FeedDemon at the moment.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 4 Feb 2006 10:41 AM:

Hi Yaytay --

Try the .RSS feed from FeedDemon, it works quite well for me, and even validates: http://www.feedvalidator.org/check.cgi?url=http://blogs.msdn.com/michkap/rss.aspx

# Yaytay on 4 Feb 2006 8:07 PM:

You are right, the .RSS feed works, something is broken in the atom generation.
Ah well, I guess I'll just switch all my MSDN feeds to RSS, I've no idea what the benefits of atom are supposed to be anyway :-)

# Dean Harding on 5 Feb 2006 11:09 PM:

I noticed someone in Larry's blog was able to post with <strong>HTML tags</strong> <em>enabled</em> - is that the case here as well?

# Dean Harding on 5 Feb 2006 11:12 PM:

Apparently not. I wonder how this guy was able to do it then:


Maybe something to do with the difference between anonymous and logged-in commenting (I'm logged in, but he's anonymous). Seems like if it's a feature and not a bug, that it'd be the other way around (i.e. anonymous people can't post HTML but logged-on people could).

Ah well :-)

# Michael S. Kaplan on 5 Feb 2006 11:23 PM:

I have been given some confirmation that the current behvior is not what they want -- so it would definitely be a bug. Not sure how that other comment did what it did though....

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