Blog comments are like drive-by shootings: Someone fires off a comment, then disappears, never to be seen again. There’s no follow-through, and it’s hard to engage in a sustained back-and-forth shootout, I mean, conversation.
Subscribe to Comments changes that. It’s a free WordPress plugin that accomplishes something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: Make it easy for people who comment on blog posts to stay in the conversation, without demanding that they return to my website to see if anyone has responded to them.
With this plugin, all you have to do when posting a comment is check a box saying “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.” After that, you’ll get an email whenever anyone posts a followup comment to the same post. The plugin is easy to set up, works beautifully, and does wonders to keep people connected to the conversations on a blog. It should be installed in WordPress by default — and I hope it is, in future versions.
It would be even cooler if there was a “Subscribe to Comments” service that let me subscribe to the comments for any blog post, even on blogs that don’t have the plugin installed or aren’t running WordPress. But maybe I’m just dreaming. Bloglines, are you listening? This seems up your alley.
Thanks to Mark Jaquith for writing/updating this plugin and jbnimble for pointing me to it. It rocks.
The only gripe I have with this feature is that I get sent the spam comments, too.
Another way to keep track of comments is cocomment. Not perfect either, but useful all the same.