Allowing anonymous comments

Gabor has a post here where he points out that the level of interaction is lower than the other blogs, he mentions and chromatic's blog as an example.

On more than one occasion I have typed in my comment only to realize that you need to be logged in to comment ( Gabor's , and chromatic's blog all require login) . I understand spam is a issue but if you want me to login to comment I will most probably not do it .

I am not saying that one should be preferred over another but am wondering if there is any correlation between allowing anonymous comments vs logging in


I absolutely agree that requiring login reduces the level of participation.

Some sites such as TechCrunch and Huffington Post do quite well requiring logins to comment; however, they allow a wider range of login choices than some MT-based sites.

For example, and chromatic's currently allow login via Movable Type, OpenID, Live Journal and Vox. It should be noted that Vox is no longer in service so should be removed. Consider that Gabor's blog uses Disqus which allows Disqus, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo or OpenID. HuffPost adds AOL, LinkedIn and Hotmail.

While allowing anonymous posts may increase participation, some sites have been very successful by requiring login but with support for a wider range of authentication providers. So there are a few options that sites can consider to increase participation.

Oh my goodness yes.

I've wanted to post on Chromatic's blog several times, but that Moveable Type login is ridiculous. The recover password "feature" is even worse - I have to remember my own recovery word/phrase? Eh. I think I have to go fold some socks.

Moveable Type makes me want to cry a little but that's another subject entirely.

You can go to your settings on and enable anonymous comments.

And yes, chromatic lost a few of my comments too, until I had my OpenID working well enough to be able to use it on his site.

But I don’t think Gabor is realistic. The vast majority of weblog articles I see all around the web (outside of Perl stuff) have no comments, or maybe 2 or 3. Not everyone is a Copyblogger or a Coding Horror or an Ongoing or the like. That doesn’t have anything to do with the height of the hurdle for would-be commenters.

Signing in here seems to be easy - all I need to do is click a link, no username or password required. Could be that in the past I set up some magic to deal with it, but that I cannot remember.

Anyway, are you sure it's the logging in part that makes that you don't see that many comments? Or could it be that the posts aren't visible that long? If I go to, I see the last 8 posts, and another 7 links in the right hand side margin. If there's a way to browse through older posts, I haven't found it. And I can tell you this: if I can't even see a post was made, I certainly will not comment on it.

Abigail, yes, that is true. There were plans to implement nicer paging than MT provides out of the box, so we took the default paging links out of the templates. But nothing has happened since.

I don't dream to have 50 comments on each blog post but if the average number of comments went up from 0.73 to 3 that would be a huge step forward.

Even if "only" the Tweets and Facebook shares went up to 10-20 that would probably a nice increase in coverage.

@Kiran, I personally don't like Anonymous comments or when people are using fake identities. (and I don't mean people who can be identified despite using only a nickname)

I don't think we are discussing here things that need any identity hiding.

Sorry, but there is no way I could resist this great opportunity.

... wondering if there is any correlation between allowing anonymous comments vs logging in.

Yes, there is! And it's exactly -1.

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About Kiran

user-pic I blog about Perl.