CoComment: doing more with less

I have mixed feelings about CoComment: I like having some record of where I’ve commented, but I haven’t spent enough time figuring out any but the most basic features.

Serious pruningLooking at my comments today, I saw about twelve pages of comment history. I decided to act like a brain and prune this back a bit.

For one thing, a bunch of the comments were on my own blogs — this one and another I think of as the most narrowly-focused blog around (I created it for my parents, so the average number of hits a day is “one”).

And, from time to time, I’m willing to let a conversation go. If I commented somewhere four months ago, and only one other person did as well, and there hasn’t been anything added since then, I feel safe in no long tracking.

When I had a corporate job and a corporate cubicle, I strongly resisted retaining too much paper. I had a small bookshelf and one filing cabinet. When the files got up to 90% capacity, I’d weed them back to about 66%. I think it was Robert Townsend of Up the Organization who said it’s not the stuff you throw away that gets you in trouble; it’s the stuff you keep.

Informal pruningNaturally, I like to think my pruning is scientific and purposeful, though I suspect a fair amount of it is simply ripping out what looks rippable at the time.

So I managed to toss around 20% of what was being tracked — which is way above that magic number of seven plus-or-minus two. I chose the “natural pruner” picture that I did because this little guy couldn’t do too much damage in too short a time (unlike the ‘antler rats’ I used to have to defend my shrubbery against).

I did find myself coming up with informal guidelines for what to retain, and why, so the exercise paid off and not only in reducing the number of comments I was (theoretically) tracking.

“Serious pruning” photo by London Permaculture;
“Informal pruning” photo by Ben Cooper.

7 thoughts on “CoComment: doing more with less

  1. Thanks for the pointer to CoComment. Yet another service that’s pushing me inexorably from Safari to Firefox :)

    Your pruning sounds like what I do with my feed subscriptions every six months or so — once the unread articles hit around 1000, I start thinking “this is insane, there’s no way I can read this much” and start going wild with the (virtual) pruning shears. Then, probably the next day, I find a cool new blog and add it, and …

  2. At first I thought you were saying when the feeds hit 1,000.

    CoComment is quirky, but adequate enough. I figure that if no one else has chimed in on a conversation since I posted three months ago, not much is happening there.

    I get a lot of unread items in my NetVibes reader, too. I just tell myself it’s a stream — or maybe a bus route; there’ll be another one along soon.

  3. Hi,

    Maybe a few tricks can help you to organize your conversations with coComment:
    – You can tag your comments to directly access relevant conversations: tags can be entered when you comment, or later on from your conversation page (edit tags at the bottom of your comments). You can then view your conversation by tag on coComment web site (your tag list is available on the right side bar on your conversations page), or with RSS feeds.
    – An option is to use coComment groups. You can create groups (public, public restricted, or private), to organize your conversations (and also share it with others).

    Like this, no need to clean your conversation page. It can become very big, and, anyway, it is by default sorted by last comment date, so only the last active will be displayed on the first page of your conversations.

    To easily browse your conversations, you can also use the browser side bar and directly see the last updated (including by tag), and see the web site where the conversations is. The browser side bar is accessible after you install the browser extension.

  4. Thanks, Christophe. I’ll have to explore some of these.

    I may have been in a clean-out mode… having just started on two new projects that suddenly turned into three, I dug out of a month’s worth of procrastination on my real-world desktop.

    The biggest benefit is that CoComment knows where I’ve been, which I often don’t.

  5. I ended up going with, which seems to do about the same thing as CoComment but with (IMHO) a cleaner interface. I’m using the bookmarklet in Safari, so there is still that manual step I’ll need to remember to add into my workflow, but regardless this looks to be the tool that finally makes me less of a flake in online conversations :)

  6. Although tracking might be seen as similar between the two services, there are some major differences like:
    – Identifying your own comments
    – Sharing a conversation to invite someone to participate or just read
    – tagging your comments so it is easier to find a conversation (or to track only some specific tags)

    And, yes, with our extension, no need to manually ask to track a conversation: as soon as you comment, you track it.

  7. I was using co.mments before, but decided to give cocomment a try. I seem to like it better, the interface is easier to use, and tracking comments is displayed in a very easy manner.
    I also like their group feature, have joined a few of them.
    My two cents.

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