featured comments

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Featured comments or featured replies are a practice on some websites which typically add some sort of visual cue or indicator to comments often to indicate quality, value, or even specific authorship.

Another variation of this is featured author comments which provide a visual cue to comments by the post's original author(s) which can indicate a level of care and curation by the author. This may indicate that they're not only reading the comments, but replying to the more valuable comments and questions to add additional information that they may not have thought to include in the original post, but which are likely to be of a higher quality in line with the original post.


Why

Some sites can receive hundreds or thousands of comments on some posts and the level of value of some of these commentary may be either exceptionally low or even abusive. So-called "me-too" comments like "This is a great article", "I love this", "I'm bookmarking this", etc., while supportive of the author, don't provide any value for the readers of the article. Separating out low-level commentary (or even hiding it) from higher quality commentary may help provide readers with more value.

It's often actively said, particularly of silo commentary like that seen on YouTube and Hacker News, that one should never read the comments, in part because of the me-too nature of some comments, low quality, and/or abuse. Clapbacks, often seen on social media are an example of this sort of abusive behavior.

Highlighting good comments/questions and interactions can also help to provide positive feedback for such behavior.


How

There are a variety of ways to potentially implement this, but one might use some data to allow CSS rules to create a highlight of such data using color, outlines, backgrounds, stars, or other visual cues. See examples below for implementations.


IndieWeb examples


Other Examples

StackExchange

  • Stack Exchange and variants like Stack Overflow allow users to vote up replies to questions and reorder them on the page by default by the great number of votes received.

The UI allows users to sort answers by "Active", "Oldest", and "Votes" with votes being the default. The author of the question can also come back at a later date and accept the best answer which is shown on the site with a green checkmark next to the answer. Hovering over the answer will show a tool tip text stating something like "The question owner accepted this as the best answer Jun 20 '18 at 7:14."

Example of a Stack Exchange accepted answer indicating the number of votes and a green checkmark indicating the question author's acceptance.

CSS Tricks

  • CSS Tricks, an online design and development related magazine, has the ability to highlight comments by adding a background to the comment on the page showing a field of purple stars as seen in the example below, from this comment:
Put your desired alt text here

YouTube

Needs research: Is there something like a "featured like" too? Like how YouTube does it? Everyone can like comments, but when the original content poster likes a reaction it gets a special little heart icon.


Articles


Plugins

Plugins on platforms that add this sort of functionality

  • Featured Comments for WordPress - Lets the admin add “featured” or “buried” CSS class to selected comments. Handy to highlight comments that add value to your post.
  • ... add addition examples here

Brainstorming

  • Example of not reading comments
hang on. "Never read the comments" is a modern internet law; are you saying there are finally places, again, where reading the comments is good for you?! Yay!— Peter Molnar, https://chat.indieweb.org/2020-08-28#t1598630378087700

a reply to:

for everyone reading sgreger’s article on webmention legalities, be sure to read dan goldsmith’s comment! it’s an important rebuttal by an actual GDPR/tech tech lawyer. (whereas sgreger is a UX designer.)— Ryan Barrett, https://chat.indieweb.org/2020-08-28#t1598627062812900
  • Chris Aldrich is considering adding a feature like this to his site to highlight not only valuable responses, but to highlight responses posted on other people's personal websites and sent via webmention. In his experience these responses tend to be more interesting and valuable to the conversation at hand, perhaps because the authors are taking greater ownership in them because they're posted on their own website.
    • His hope is that this will also highlight the value of site-to-site Webmention technology and help to popularize its use.
    • He still has to figure out a way to block webmentions backfed from social silos, which can sometimes be problematic or abusive.

See Also